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Browsing Safely With Firefox

Revision as of 23:01, 23 April 2012 by TClement (Talk | contribs)

This page covers how to configure the settings in Firefox for private web browsing. We are covering Firefox because it is the best browser for privacy. The Mozilla foundation (creators of Firefox) have a long track record of Internet activism and supporting open source software. In addition, Firefox does not track you (like Google Chrome).

Test how easily identified your browser is at the EFF's Panopticlick.

General Settings

First,we will go over the basic privacy settings in general settings, which can be found in the options bar in Firefox 11 (Firefox > Options > Options) or for iOS, Preferences.

Content: Enable block popup windows and disable Javascript when it isn’t needed.

Privacy: Enable the DNT (Do-Not-Track). For history, use custom settings. “Always use private browsing mode” should be enabled. “Remember my browsing history”, “Remember download history” and “Remember search and form history” should be turned off. “Accept cookies from sites”, but un-check “Accept third party cookies” as they aren’t needed often. Location bar: select “Suggest nothing”.

Security: Enable “Warn me when sites try to install add-ons”, “Block reported attack sites” and “Block reported web forgeries”. Under Passwords, disable “Remember passwords for sites” and use a master password.

Advanced – General – System Defaults: Disable “Submit crash reports and performance data”.

Advanced – Network – Offline Storage: Check “Override automatic cache management and limit cache to 0MB space”. Further—you can un-check “Tell me when a website asks to store data for offline storage use”.

Advanced – Encryption: Ensure both “Use SSL 3.0 and Use TLS 1.0″ are enabled. Then click validation > check “When an OCSP server connection fails, treat the certificate as invalid”.

Registry Panel Settings


For these settings, you will need to type “about:config” without the quotes into the URL bar to get the Firefox registry panel.

about:config -> geo.enabled -> double click to false – what does this do? When this is enabled, websites will be able to identify your location based on your IP address.

about:config -> browser.sessionhistory.max_entries -> change value to 2 – this increases your privacy.

about:config -> -> double click to false – this should always be set to false. Leaving this enabled lets the browser store data onto your computer.

about:config -> browser.display.use_document_fonts -> change value to 0 – This limits the fonts it sends to websites you visit. The fonts on your computer can be very unique and it could identify your workplace.

about:config -> browser.cache.offline.capacity -> change to 0 – without going into depth, this one is like the two below. It prevents the browser from storing local data.

about:config -> browser.cache.offline.enable -> change to false – This prevents the browser from storing cache on your system.

about:config -> browser.cache.memory.enable -> change to false – again this is better off left at false. It prevents the browser from storing cache memory on the computer.

Privacy Protecting Add-Ons

AdBlockPlus - Automatically blocks ads from being displayed. Unfortunately now allows "non-intrusive" ads by default, so set your filter to "Fanboy's List".

Ghostery - Blocks analytical software (e.g. Google Analytics).

HTTPS Everywhere - Automatically makes Firefox use HTTPS encryption when possible. Protects against people seeing what you're doing on different websites. More OpE^2 info on this add-on.

NoScript - Blocks malicious scripts and provides firewall-like protection within Firefox.

Collusion - Allows you to see all the third parties that are tracking your movements across the Web. It will show, in real time, how that data creates a spider-web of interaction between companies and other trackers.

QuickProxy - A simple proxy button. Good for quickly switching between browsing Tor/I2P sites and the normal Internet.

EXIF Viewer - Allows for easy viewing of EXIF data (which can contain personal info) in images with a right click.

BetterPrivacy - Deletes flash cookies.

MD5 Reborned Hasher - This extension allows to check the MD2, MD5, SHA1, SHA256, SHA384 or SHA512 sum of a downloaded file.

Key Scrambler - Protect your Internet browsing from keyloggers.

FireGloves - Impedes fingerprinting-based tracking.

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