Conflict between Nitrokey Pro and Firefox 84?

since the latest update to Firefox 84 (on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, 64-bit) I noticed a conflict between the Nitrokey Pro and one of my Firefox profiles (nitrokey-app and pcscd running):

  • Nitrokey is not plugged in: Firefox works as usual
  • Insert Nitrokey: Firefox hangs when trying to re-load a web page, the spinner is active, and the window is not being refreshed. The only option is to kill Firefox.
  • When Firefox is started when the Nitrokey is plugged in, the main window is created, but no contents at all is rendered. Again Firefox must be killed.
  • Launching Firefox with the option --safe-mode works fine but…
  • … manually disabling all extensions and launching Firefox doesn’t.

The effect does not occur with other profiles, nor with the Tor browser. I guess I could just create a new profile, but I don’t want to lose my bookmarks, history etc. etc. Any idea what could hang Firefox, and how could I clean my profile?
Thanks in advance, Albrecht.

Do you have OpenSC installed and configured in Firefox? In this case, I think it may interfere.


Do you have any security devices configured for that profile? If so, could you remove them temporarily and test again? My clear settings are below.

  1. Firefox -> Preferences -> Privacy

  2. Then Security Devices

Thanks a lot, but neither opensc had been installed, nor the security devices were activated… Finally, I create a new profile and managed to copy all settings, bookmarks and history – and the interference is gone. Very strange!

Thanks again, happy Christmas, Albrecht.

That’s pretty strange - can you modify the command below and replace /home/saper/.mozilla/firefox/ with a full path to non-working Firefox profile directory?

modutil -dbdir /home/saper/.mozilla/firefox/ -list
certutil -d /home/saper/.mozilla/firefox/ -L

Do they break/hang also with Nitrokey installed?

You might need to install nss to get those commands installed.

Unfortunately, I erased the old Firefox profile folder after successfully configuring the new one, so I cannot test this any more. However, my “broken” profile was actually very old (probably more than 10 years) and thus went through a plethora of upgrades.

As using the new profile with exactly the same extensions and Firefox settings does work just fine with the Nitrokey, I am pretty sure that Firefox is to blame for the hang.

Thanks, Albrecht.

1 Like

I think I observe this too, on Windows though. This is my test VM, relatively recent, so not that old. And indeed it looks like FF picks up the OpenSC installation (that I also have on that VM) and tries to use the token as soon as it’s inserted, though it’s somewhat intermittent, so sometimes it conflicts with e.g. NitrokeyApp and sometimes it doesn’t.

Here’s how it looks like upon inserting the key:

And if I remove (“Unload”) the detected OpenSC modules, the problem seems to go away. Funny enough, there’s a ~15 year-old bug in FF Bugzilla about something like that, where just 5 days ago developers asked if it could be closed :slight_smile: :

1 Like

Another data point: I think I have reproduced it myself with my Firefox (83 or 84) on Linux Fedora, while making load tests on Nitrokey HSM. Other browsers though, including Firefox Nightly 86 run concurrently, were not affected.