AMO Blocklist

This is a high-level overview of the addons-server implementation of the addons blocklist.

Full-Stack Overview

Firefox determines which add-ons are unsafe to allow to continue to be enabled by checking a blocklist. With v1 and v2 blocklist this is literally a list of addon guids, plus other metadata, that should be blocked from executing (v1 is XML format, v2 is JSON format); with v3 blocklist this is a bloomfilter that is queried - if the addon guid and xpi version is present then it’s in the blocklist so should be blocked by Firefox.

The blocklists are all served via Firefox Remote Settings (the current implementation is Kinto):


v2/v1 are referred to as “legacy” blocklist in these docs.

AMO holds the addon blocklist records and generates the bloomfilters as needed, which are then uploaded to Remote Settings. The records are managed via the admin tools on addons-server.

If any changes are needed to the contents of the v1/v2 blocklist it must be made via the Firefox Remote Settings web admin tool - there is no longer any way to import or export changes between the v1/v2 blocklist and the v3 blocklist.

Admin Tool

Block records aren’t created and changed directly via the admin tool; instead BlockSubmission records are created that hold details of the submission of (potentially many) blocks that will be created, updated, or deleted. If the add-ons that the Block affects are used by a significant number of users (see DUAL_SIGNOFF_AVERAGE_DAILY_USERS_THRESHOLD setting - currently 100k) then the BlockSubmission must be signed off (approved) by another admin user first.

Once the submission is approved - or immediately after saving if the average daily user counts are under the threshold - a task is started to asynchronously create, update, or delete, Block records.

Bloomfilter Generation

Generating a bloomfilter can be quite slow, so a new one is only generated every 6 hours - or less frequently if no Block records have been changed/added/deleted in that time - via a cron job.

An ad-hoc bloomfilter can be created with the export_blocklist command but it isn’t considered for the cron job (or stashing)

Bloomfilter records

A record is created on Remote Settings for each bloomfilter and the filter uploaded as an attachment. The generation_time property represents the point in time when all previous addon guid + versions and blocks were used to generate the bloomfilter. An add-on version/file from before this time will definitely be accounted for in the bloomfilter so we can reliably assert if it’s blocked or not. An add-on version/file from after this time can’t be reliably asserted - there may be false positives or false negatives.

See and

Bloomfilter record example

  "attachment": {
    "hash": "37ba24caec49afe6c97c424623e226e31ad052286ffa66d794eb82497dabc279",
    "size": 28561,
    "filename": "filter.bin",
    "location": "staging/addons-bloomfilters/1234567890.bin",
    "mimetype": "application/octet-stream"
  "key_format": "{guid}:{version}",
  "attachment_type": "bloomfilter-base",
  "generation_time": 1587990908999,


Because the bloomfilter files can be quite large “stash” files are also generated, which represent the changes since the previous bloomfilter generation and can be used by Firefox instead to save on bandwidth.

Multiple stashes can be applied by Firefox (in chronological order) to match the state of an up-to-date bloomfilter.

Stash record example

  "stash": {
    "blocked": [
    "unblocked": [
  "key_format": "{guid}:{version}",
  "stash_time": 1587990908999,

The blocked items represent new versions that should be blocked in addition to any matches in the bloomfilter; the unblocked items represent versions that shouldn’t be blocked (even though they would match the bloomfilter). stash_time is a timestamp that can be relied on to order the stashes.

addons-bloomfilter collection

The collection on Remote Settings at any given point will consist of a single record with “attachment-type”: “bloomfilter-base”, which is the base bloomfilter to compare the stash files to, and potentially subsequent records which either contain an attachment with “attachment-type”: “bloomfilter-full”, or stash data directly in the data property. The client-side algorithm would be to:

  • Get the entire collection from Remote Settings (the implementation supports diffing so only new records would be downloaded).

  • Download the base bloomfilter attachment (“attachment-type”: “bloomfilter-base”) if it hasn’t already been downloaded.

  • Gather the stash records and consolidate them, taking into account timestamps so later stashes override earlier stashes.

Stashing support disabled in Firefox

If stashing support is disabled in a Firefox version the stash records can be ignored and all bloomfilters considered instead. (Records with a bloomfilter attachment always have a generation_time field). Firefox would just download the latest attachment and use that as it’s bloomfilter.


The server process is:

  • If the blocklist_mlbf_submit waffle switch is enabled, check if there have been any changes to the blocklist since the previous execution of the cron job - if not return without any action. (not blocked guids)

  • Produce a list of all “guid:version” combinations of all signed webextension addons/versions in the database. (blocked guids)

  • Produce a list of “guid:version” combinations that the Block records cover. Blocks have a minimum and maximum version range - 0 being the minimum, and * meaning infinity, so 0 - * would be all versions of an add-on.

  • Create and verify a bloomfilter with these two lists (we use; save the filter file and the two lists (as JSON)

  • Compare list of blocked guids from this execution to the base bloomfilter file. If there have been few changes then write those changes to a stash JSON blob

    1. Upload the stash as JSON data in record

    2. Upload the filter as an attachment to a separate record with the type bloomfilter-full

  • If there have been many changes then:

    1. clear the collection on Remote Settings

    2. Upload the filter as an attachment to a separate record with the type bloomfilter-base

Legacy Blocklist

To populate the blocklist on AMO the legacy blocklist on Remote Settings was imported; all guids that matched addons on AMO (and that had at least one webextension version) were added; any guids that were regular expressions were “expanded” to individual records for each addon present in the AMO database.

Support for importing the legacy blocklist into AMO, and exporting changes from AMO into the legacy blocklist, has now been removed; it is no longer possible to propagate changes made to the v2 blocklist via the remote-settings web admin tool to the v3 blocklist held on AMO, or visa versa.