Earlier this week I recommended that you install Mozilla Firefox and adjust its privacy and security settings, and yesterday I talked about installing NoScript. Both of these tasks have made Firefox much more private and secure. Today I will ask you to install three more Firefox security and privacy add-ons, and remove some others.
Active Time: 5 minutes
What it Protects You From: Man-in-the-middle attacks, packet sniffing (HTTPS Everywhere), browser tracking, forensic exploitation (Self-Destructing Cookies), online tracking (Disconnect)
Firefox Security & Privacy Add-ons
Add-ons are small plug-ins that that enhance an existing piece of software. To install these add-ons follow the link provided. On the resulting webpage click the green “Add to Firefox” button.
HTTPS Everywhere: Many websites offer an encrypted (SSL) login page. Unfortunately, many of these pages revert to a plain-text connection after you have logged in. This can allow your ISP or a hacker to see what you are doing. To prevent this, HTTPS Everywhere attempts to force an encrypted connection during your entire session, on any website that is capable of a secure connection. HTTPS Everywhere is written by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an advocacy group for online privacy.
Self-Destructing Cookies: Self-Destructing Cookies deletes cookies and locally stored objects (LSOs) on a by-tab basis. I wrote about Self-Destructing Cookies last spring; for more details check out that article.
Disconnect: Disconnect is an anti-tracking application. It is very lightweight and prevents websites from tracking your behavior and serving you certain requests. I like Disconnect because it is incredibly lightweight but still very capable. It is definitely not as capable as NoScript, and I include this add-on as a redundancy. Disconnect provides some privacy protection for those situations when we have to allow scripts to run, or those extremely rare instances when you disable NoScript completely.
Additional Thoughts On Add-Ons
Non-Security/Privacy Add-ons: If you have been a Firefox user for a while, there is a good chance that you have some other add-ons in Firefox already. I encourage you to reconsider any add-on that does not improve your security or privacy. Add-ons like those from Amazon.com, eBay, and Facebook are counterproductive to security and privacy. Instead they give these services access to your browser. If you have add-ons like this, please consider removing them.
Browser Fingerprinting: Installing add-ons will make your browser more distinctive. Each additional add-on you have makes your browser just a bit more unique. If everyone reading this sets their browser up EXACTLY in this configuration, everyone benefits because all of our browser fingerprints become more similar. To test your browser’s uniqueness, click HERE.
And with this we are finished with browser setup! Tomorrow we are going to move on to something new, so stay with me!