Privacy Switch, Part 3: Firefox

It’s been quite a while since my last post in this series, thanks to my exams. Today I’ll talk about how you can make your Firefox more secure, without ruining your browsing experience. Basically, this is a list of add-ons which will try to ensure you don’t get tracked on the web.

AdBlock Edge

Can you guess what it does? It blocks ads. No, seriously. 😛

Unlike AdBlock Plus, its fork AdBlock Edge disables ads everywhere — even those which ABP considers “acceptable” (sic).

Link: AdBlock Edge

Hips Don’t Lie and Ducks Don’t Spy

Obviously, ABE disables ads from DuckDuckGo as well, but since DDG politely asked me to allow their ads, I whitelisted it. Because I trust that DDG will never track my searching habits. And moreover, I like polite ducks.

Disconnect

Whenever you visit a page with a Facebook Like button, Facebook knows you have been there, even if you don’t click it. Same goes for +1 and Tweet buttons as well.

Disconnect is an add-on that prevents the sites you visit from contacting these (and many other) services. A side-effect of this is that the social buttons won’t be visible anywhere. Nonetheless, you can always use bookmarklets when you feel like sharing a page to a social network, thus dodging the in-page tracking.

Link: Disconnect

HTTPS Everywhere

The concept is simple: enable HTTPS everywhere. It tries to encrypt your communications wherever possible. Simple as that. (I wonder why browsers don’t have this as a default feature.)

By the way, this add-on was developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Link: HTTPS Everywhere

NoScript

What NoScript does is, prevent the sites from running executable code on your device. In technical terms, it blocks client-side scripts like Java and JavaScript.

The problem is that a lot of sites don’t work properly without scripts, and NoScript makes your browsing suck. In these cases, you can whitelist selected scripts, temporarily or permanently, so that NoScript stays out of the way. But at some point, you’ll realize it’s a pain in the donkey to whitelist each site you want to use properly. So if you want a normal browsing experience, just go to NoScript’s Preferences and check the box saying Scripts Globally Allowed (dangerous).

So what’s the point of installing it? You see, apart from blocking scripts, NoScript also protects you from other security attacks like XSS, CSRF and clickjacking. So it always makes sense to keep it installed.

Link: NoScript


So that’s it. These add-ons will greatly enhance your online privacy. Of course, all of them are libre. Firefox might warn you before installing some of them, since Mozilla might not have verified their origins, but don’t worry; you can trust them all right.

Happy surfing!


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