Where's the copious documentation?

FourthParty is experimental software that's very much in flux. We don't plan to write extensive documentation in the near future. If you have a question, skim the Get Started and FAQ pages and search the mailing list archives. If you still don't have an answer, post your question to the mailing list.

How do I run a web crawl with FourthParty?

There are a number of well-supported tools for automating Firefox, including MozMill, JSSh, Selenium, and Watir. Many researchers seed their crawls with the Alexa or Quantcast lists of most-visited websites. To prevent your crawl from pausing on modal dialogs, you may want to prevent access to window.open, window.alert, window.confirm, window.prompt, and window.onbeforeunload using Firefox's configurable security policies.

Can FourthParty measure browser plugin behavior, such as Flash Local Shared Objects?

Not at present; we intend to add this functionality in a future release. FourthParty does currently record HTTP traffic and content loads that use NPAPI. Content loaded by a plugin appears in the content_policy table with a content_type of 12.

Which versions of Firefox does FourthParty support?

FourthParty works with Firefox 4 and newer. We recommend using the latest version; many sites in the long tail of the web attempt to exploit browser security vulnerabilities. Future versions of FourthParty may require a modified version of Firefox.

Where do I report a bug or request a feature?

Check the issue tracker and mailing list archives. If your issue hasn't been addressed, post a message (with specifics, please!) to the mailing list.

What technologies does FourthParty rely on?

FourthParty makes extensive use of the Mozilla Add-on SDK (aka Jetpack), XPCOM, SQLite, and ECMAScript proxies.

Will FourthParty support the other major browsers?

The extension APIs in Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari are far more limited than in Firefox. Until that changes, we do not have plans to support any other browser.

Who develops FourthParty?

FourthParty is a community-developed project. If you'd like to contribute, get started by participating on the mailing list. The initial release of FourthParty was written by Jonathan Mayer.

How is FourthParty licensed?

FourthParty is free, open source software. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License v3. All text on fourthparty.info is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Stanford Security Lab
Stanford Security Lab
The Center for Internet and Society
Stanford Center for Internet and Society