lunatechian (lunatech-ian)

one relating to, belonging to, or resembling lunatech

safer browsing using Firefox

I prefer Firefox to be my browser, instead of Google Chrome or Safari. I do not trust Chrome, because it is made by Google, a company which has a strong incentive to collect a lot of data about user's behavior. Chrome also sends what you type into the location bar incrementally to the server to try to guess the URL the user is trying to get to. Firefox is open-source and has shown strong commitment for protecting the user's privacy.

Firefox browser is available on mobile systems as well (Android and iOS), so the same set of extensions and settings can be applied on the desktop and on your mobile device.

The first change I make is to set my default search engine to DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo does not track its users . It also hides the search terms from site that show up in the results (it calls this as preventing "search leakage").

My next step is to install the following Firefox extensions

  • Self-Destructing Cookies - Self-Destructing Cookies is not just a cookie manager, it's a new cookie policy. You set how long cookies from each website will live and this addon enforces your choices.
  • Adblock Edge - Adblock Edge is a fork of the Adblock Plus and it does not have an "acceptable ads" feature. It might be getting deprecated in favor of uBlock Origin. I have not checked out uBlock Origin yet.
  • NoScript - This is one of those extensions that will definitely break a lot of websites. This extension blocks javascript, flash, java and other executable content on websites. You then whitelist the domains that you want to allow to run javascript.
  • Ghostery - Ghostery blocks trackers.

I also make it a point to check the "lock" icon on the HTTPS sites - especially for banks and social media sites.

Even after all this, know that you can still be tracked, your data can still be sniffed. If you want to maintain your privacy and make it harder for companies to profile you, then I strongly suggest you have a look at this interesting video - Anonymity and Privacy in Public Space and on the Internet.