Spoofing user agent strings with User Agent Switcher
User Agent Switcher is
an extension for FireFox, written by Chris Pederick that
allows you to switch the user agent string in FireFox. This is handy for Web testing
when you need to masquerade as another browser. For example, when testing Intelligent
Authentication, in order to cause the secondary authentication to occur I come
into the site (which looks at my user agent string) using FireFox 1.5, after I have
some FireFox history built up with Intelligent Authentication I then change the user
agent string using User Agent Switcher to Opera 5 which causes IA to ask for secondary
authentication. Or another example of its use for testing is when browser sniffing
code has been put in place and the result of the sniff is that you are redirected
to a certain page or message. With User Agent Switcher you can simply change the user
agent string to the desired browser and then masquerade as that browser in order to
get to the intended page or message. Pretty spiffy eh? No need to install a ton of
different browsers just to see one message. Note: when I say "page" I'm not implying
that you are testing this page for browser compatibility; FireFox will still render
Within the extension the list of user agent strings can be modified (which is great
because there are 100s of user agent strings). You can modify the list three different
- Use the extension "Options" section to input an agent manually.
- Use the extensions "Options" section to import a list of agents from an XML file.
Modify the Prefs.js file yourself found in your FireFox profile. The directory should
look something like: C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\ogrevxiy.default
User Agent Switcher installs with only a few user agents. This didn't cut it for my
testing, so I created this XML
file to extend the user agents.
It's a great FireFox extension that has real value for Web application testing. Give
it a try!