by M.D. Creekmore Survival Tips: The Survivalist Blog
Recently by M.D. Creekmore: Bugging Out vs. Hunkering Down
Firefox Security and Privacy Settings
We recommend Firefox as the basis for configuring a safe browsing experience. We don't recommend Google or Microsoft browsers since they are tied to companies that have search engines. It is therefore in their vested interest to design their browsers to cooperate as efficiently as possible with their search engines to gain and index the maximum amount of information. Firefox is far from perfect and has its own issues but they can be mitigated as described below.
There are other less popular browsers available. However, the uniqueness of these browsers will only aid search engines and web sites in tracking you. Anonymity is based on being one in a sea of many. Niche browsers won't do that for you.
Tool bar and web site helper applications
Having tool bars from various companies or web site helper plug-ins installed on your browser will defeat all of the things mentioned below. Having a Toolbar from Google, Yahoo, etc. is an open invitation to track everything you do. Also, logging into a Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft or similar account will instantly allow them to track you.
How to prevent your browser form sending information to web sites After following the steps below, you’ll be much harder to track. Coupled with our VPN service to mask your IP address and private email service, your Internet footprint will be as minimal as possible.
1) Cookies and history are the oldest of the tracking methods. Modern websites will not work well without them but they need to be managed. Make sure cookies and history are deleted every time you close your browser.
Under Tools/Options/Privacy: Do not check the ‘private browsing mode’ box (this is false security). The following boxes need to be checked in order to properly clear your cookies/history: Accept cookies from sites Accept third party cookies (drop down box should say ‘Until I close Firefox’) Clear history when Firefox closes Click on the Settings tab in the Privacy window. Check all of the boxes so that it clears everything when you close the browser.
Newer versions of Firefox include a box to ‘Delete Flash Cookies’. This is important and if you have an older version, upgrade to a newer one that includes this essential option. Or, you could use the plug-in named Better Privacy to clear the flash cookies. However, it is no longer necessary with the newer version of Firefox and adds an identifying marker to your browser that is unnecessary.
Following the steps above will allow browsing on sites to proceed without issues but will clear everything every time you close the browser, which you should always do when going from one web site to another.
2) Now add the plug-in No Script
This will prevent server-side scripts from running in your browser without your permission. This plug-in blocks all java scripts from running on web pages. This is both a privacy and security plug-in. By preventing the applications from running the instant you visit a page, there is little risk of malware affecting you in the background if you go to a compromised site.
Modern web sites have hidden links to a multitude of other web sites. Many of these scripts that load have nothing to do with the function of the site you are visiting. They are scripts that connect you to other sites like FaceBook, Google, Double Click, Twitter, etc. This allows these outside sites to track your activity across the Internet even though you never went to their site. By only allowing the essential java scripts that make the desired web site function, while preventing the others, you increase your privacy significantly.
After installing this plug-in most sites will not operate properly. You have to train the browser for each site you visit as to what to allow and not allow. No Script will give you a nice drop down menu telling you what sites are attempting to run scripts and then you can pick the ones that apply to the site you are on while rejecting the trackers.
By default No Script allows well known sites to operate freely. We suggest you change the default setting to restrict everything and then set all permissions manually. For example, If you go to a website that uses Google Analytics to track their visitors then Google will try to load google-analytics.com and run the java script to track you. If you have this disabled in No Script then you are less trackable without any functionality loss. All the search engines, tracking sites and social networking sites operate the same way. All of them are out to get every last bit of information on you in order to make money.
Firefox has a feature called Prefetching that downloads pages (in the background) that it thinks you are going to click on in the future. This is a serious security flaw since in order to make this guess it's saving lots of information of your previously visited sites. To turn this off, type: about:config into the address bar of Firefox and press enter. Agree to the warning about making changes to the system. Type: network.prefetch-next into the search bar Right click on the option and select Toggle to change the setting to False.
4) Referer logging is used to allow websites and web servers to identify what sites you previously visited. To turn this off, type: about:config into the address bar of Firefox and press enter. Agree to the warning about making changes to the system. Type: Network.http.sendRefererHeader into the search bar and set the entry to 0.
5) With Geo-location Firefox will try and tell websites where you're located
To turn this off, type: about:config into the address bar of Firefox and press enter. Agree to the warning about making changes to the system. Type geo.enabled into the search bar Right click on the option and select Toggle to change the setting to False.
6) Mozilla has a feature called ‘DOM storage’ in recent versions of Firefox which can be used to track you. To turn this off, type: about:config into the address bar of Firefox and press enter. Agree to the warning about making changes to the system. Type dom.storage.enabled into the search bar Right click on the option and select Toggle to change the setting to False.
This article was provided by http://www.unspyable.com/.
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M.D. Creekmore [send him mail] is a full-time blogger and preparedness consultant. He currently lives completely off-grid somewhere in the Appalachian mountains and is the author of 31 Days to Survival and The Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat both published by Paladin Press. To connect with M.D. Creekmore please visit his Survival Blog.