Mozilla launch website security scanning service

to help webmasters better protect their websites – users Mozilla has built online scanner that can check if web servers have best security settings in place.

Dubbed Observatory, tool was built for in house use by Mozilla security engineer April King who was encourag to expand it – make it available to whole world.

She took inspiration from the SSL Server Test widely appreciated scanner that rates website’s SSL/TLS configuration – highlights potential weaknesses. Like Qualys’ scanner, Observatory uses scoring system from 0 to 100 with possibility of extra bonus points which translates into grades from F – A+.

Unlike SSL Server Test, which only checks website’s TLS implementation, Mozilla’s Observatory scans for wide range of web security mechanisms.

  • include cookie security flags
  •  Cross Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)
  •  Content Security Policy (CSP)
  • HTTP Public Key Pinning
  • HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)
  • redirections, subresource integrity
  • X-Frame-Options, X-Content-Type-Options
  • X-XSS-Protection, and more.

The tool doesn’t only check for the presence of these technologies.

“These technologies are spread over dozens of standard documents, and while individual articles may talk about them, there wasn’t one place to go for site operators to learn what each of technologies do, how to implement them, and how important they were,” King said in a blog post.

The code behind Observatory is open source. An API and command-line tools are available for administrators who need to scan a large number of websites periodically or who want to perform those scans internally.

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