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Secure Firefox Browser and Protect Your Privacy

I have chosen to use Firefox as my primary browser because it has a large open-source community resulting in a great selection of strong-privacy related add-ons that are updated on a regular basis. However, many of the add-ons I recommend using are also available to other browsers. If you are completely uninterested in using Firefox, do a little research and see if you can find a version of the addon for your preferred browser. If a certain add-on is not available for your browser, see if there is an alternative that will accomplish the same thing.

 

Configure Firefox

 

  1. Click the Firefox Menu button in the top-left-corner of your browser.
  2. Click “Options” in the second column of the drop-down box.

 

Firefox privacy settings

 

Setup Firefox Privacy Settings

By setting the below options you are essentially configuring Firefox to always run in private browsing mode, instead of selecting it manually each time you load the program.

  1. Select the “Privacy” tab that looks like an unlocked padlock.
  2. In the “Tracking” box, check the box that says “Tell websites I do not want to be tracked.”
  3. Under “History,” use the drop-down menu to select “Never remember history.”
  4. Use the drop-down menu in the “Location Bar” box to select either “Bookmarks” or “Nothing.”
  5. Now is also a good time to click the “clear all current history” link in the “History” box to give yourself a fresh start.

 

Firefox Security settings

 

Setup Firefox Security Settings

 

    1. Select the security tab that looks like a locked [padlock looks closed in image?] padlock.
    2. Check the box labeled “Warn me when sites try to install add-ons”.
    3. Check the box labeled “Block reported attack sites.”
    4. Check the box labeled “Block reported web forgeries.”

 

You will notice that I do not have anything selected in the passwords section. If you do decide to allow your browser to log your passwords, I highly recommend using the master password option as well.

 

Install Firefox Add-ons

Now that you have configured your browser’s primary privacy and security settings, it is time to beef-up security and reduce your Internet footprint by installing some great add-ons.

  • Adblock Plus. Blocks ads and other trackers. Once installed, you will also need to subscribe to the Fanboy Lists here. They integrate with the add-on through Firefox in order to automatically keep Adblock Plus up to date.
  • Better Privacy. Removes local shared object (LSO) cookies from flash videos.
  • Ghostery. Blocks tracking pixels as well as other trackers and advertisements. After you install Ghostery you will need to restart Firefox and follow the setup wizard page. I recommend enabeling all of Ghostery’s blocking options because you can always override it if necessary.
  • Https everywhere. Many websites are? on the Internet support encrypted https connections, but they still default to unencrypted http connections. This add-on detects those instances and attempts to force a secure connection wherever you go.
  • RefControl. This add-on allows you to block the ability of web-pages to determine what page you clicked through in order to get to that page. Once installed, you will need to configure it by going into your add-ons manager’s “Extensions” tab and click the “Options” button to the right of RefControl Here, you will be able to set your default referrer and specify specific rules for individual pages or domains. Some website features will not work correctly without a valid referrer. In those instances, you can easily switch RefControl off using the icon in the bottom-right-hand corner of your browser.
  • Startpage SSL. This add-on adds an option to use Startpage in Firefox’s quick search box. Startpage is an SSL-secured search engine made by ixquick that harvests Google search results and returns them to you without recording or revealing any personally identifiable information including IP-address.

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