A record of URLs visited is stored in an SQL database within the users’ Firefox profile directory. The following commands will reveal the file’s path:
find -type f -name places.sqlite
Unfortunately viewing the data in
places.sqlite isn’t straightforward, but the average Linux command line provides two options.
The strings utility (part of binutils) will extract text from the file and present it in a more readable form. Unfortunately the output includes all text from that file, giving a lot of junk to sift through. To solve this, we can request only strings longer than n characters with the following:
strings -n 15 places.sqlite
This should already be installed on the computer by default, or easily available in the distribution’s software repository. If sqlite is installed, the database can be viewed by using:
sqlite3 places.sqlite ".dump"
Browser Configuration Entries
The database can be disabled in the Firefox browser by entering
about:config in the address bar, searching the configuration list for
places.history.enabled, and then setting its value as false.
The database can also be configured through the options available under the .places namespace.
storage.vacuum.last.places.sqlite refers to the database maintenance. The numeric value indicates the UNIX time when the database was last maintained. e.g. 1333808124 translates to 7th April 2012, 14:15.
With the configuration tab open, it’s worth looking at other entries listed under the .privacy namespace:
privacy.sanitize.sanitizeOnShutdown clears all history when Firefox is closed, if set as true.
privacy.clearOnShutdown.passwords clears all passwords when set as true.
Unless geolocation is needed,
geo.enabled should also be set as false.