Mozilla blocks cybersecurity firm DarkMatter from Firefox citing to certify the safety of websites for Firefox users.
Mozilla said DarkMatter would have administered the gatekeeper role and it had been linked by Reuters and other reports to a state-run hacking program.
The program’s operations included hacking into the internet accounts of human rights activists, journalists and officials from rival governments, Reuters found.
DarkMatter has denied being connected to offensive hacking operations, saying the reports of its involvement were based on “false, defamatory, and unsubstantiated statements.”
Selena Deckelmann, Mozilla’s senior director of engineering, said the reports from Reuters, as well as the New York Times and the Intercept, had made the browser company fear that DarkMatter would use the role of internet security gatekeeper to launch surveillance efforts.
Mozilla concluded “that placing our trust in DarkMatter and disregarding credible evidence would put both the web and users at risk,” Deckelmann told Reuters.
Websites seeking designation as safe by internet browsers have to be certified by an outside organization, which will confirm their identity and vouch for their security.
The certifying organization also helps secure the connection between an approved website and its users, promising traffic will not be intercepted.
Organizations that want to obtain certifying authority must apply to browser makers like Mozilla and Microsoft.
In May, a DarkMatter executive said the company would move its certificate business to a new entity called DigitalTrust. That company would be controlled by a firm called DM Investments, which is owned by DarkMatter founder Faisal Al Bannai.