During a recent review of changes to the Firefox profile (I'm version controlling it) there turned out to be a new property searchdefaulthash in search-metadata.json:

"[global]":{
    [...]
    "searchdefault":"Google",
    "searchdefaulthash":"fGiy1O53LgQtereW/4qUSlwFfagTNKGghURIbAFw8wY=",
    "searchdefaultexpir":1442682088627
}

It looks like the output of openssl dgst -sha256 -binary | openssl enc -base64, but the input is not simply Google:

$ printf Google | openssl dgst -sha256 -binary | openssl enc -base64
zncGZ+X5sNj1U2e7eUGWidkMSEUbsz8Hnzqacq4TLeg=

The concern is whether this is something personally identifying which is sent when searching on Google. I could find literally nothing about searchdefaulthash on Google and DuckDuckGo, so I'm a bit stumped how it's created & used.

Update: It looks like it has something to do with making some search engines only visible in some countries, although the reason for that is puzzling.

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.