Firefox Monitor: Built at 36 Degrees North

October 4, 2018

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By: Luke Crouch, Mozilla Firefox Developer and 36 Degrees North Member

That sinking feeling. You’re reading the news and you learn about a data breach. Hackers have stolen names, passwords and other data from a service that you use. It seems like we experience that sinking feeling more and more these days. But we don’t have to despair. While technology will never be impervious to attacks, we can make sure that we’re able to respond well when our personal data and passwords are part of a breach.

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My coworker/fellow 36 Degrees North member Lesley Norton and I (and our Mozilla Security colleagues) recently built a tool designed to help with that, called Firefox Monitor. It's a free service that notifies people when they’ve been part of a data breach. When you visit monitor.firefox.com and type in your email address, it will let you know if your email address and/or personal info has been compromised and, more importantly, what to do about it.

I’ve been part of the Mozilla team at 36°N since the coworking space first opened in 2016. Our remote team has used the facility to collaborate more effectively with each other- and with other software developers in Tulsa’s tech community.

A great example of this is with Lesley. In late 2017, she attended Coding Dojo, a three-month coding bootcamp hosted in the 36°N classroom. When our Firefox Security Engineering team was ready to expand, I popped into the classroom to share the opportunity with the Coding Dojo graduates. The instructor immediately referred Lesley as a good candidate.

Since June of this year, Lesley and I have been working together on the front- and back-end code of the Firefox Monitor site. You've probably seen us hustling around Basecamp, discussing HTML, CSS, JavaScript, APIs, crypto hashing, and writing over 22,000 lines of code. Over 80 percent of Monitor’s code was written within these walls!

All our work led to one great moment on September 25, 2018: launch day. (To optimize the launch time for our global audience, we were up at Basecamp at 1:00am that morning. Thank goodness for that bottomless coffee.) It was such a rush pushing out our work to the world.

In the first week after the launch, Firefox Monitor gained 40,000 subscribers. And we hope to grow to upwards of 150,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

That’s 150,000 internet users made safer from data breaches- all because of connections made at 36 Degrees North.

Thanks to all who supported us along the way. We’re excited to see how we continue to grow in the years to come.