FireFox Security Add-ons
If you use FireFox you probably know about their add-ons. FireFox has many add-ons to make web browsing easier, make your browser have character, can secure your browser, or even make your browser adapted to your liking. Mozilla is an open sourced community, this allows for safer, and better experience online. The add-ons I will be listing below are what I PERSONALLY use and prefer. I will not list anything that I do not use, have not used, or something that will install spyware, shareware, or snitchware on the browser. These are all highly downloaded, and trusted add-ons that I use everyday.
Ghostery is a highly trusted and very secure add-on. It is known for its vigorous tracker blocking. What many people don’t know is what is hidden inside webpages, there are 10, 20, 50+ trackers inside. When you see the share to Facebook, Twitter, or Pintrest buttons on the bottom of a page, there is mostly likely trackers inside the page allowing those icons to show up, and be visible. This is how ad networks track their users. They stick the ad code inside the page, and networks track the pages you were on, to show you relevant data. Well Ghostery finds the trackers, and blocks them. My website has about 6-7 trackers inside it. They link to Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, AddThis (social sharing widget), Disqus, Google Adsense, and maybe a few others that get stuffed in the other trackers. The reason is to be able for users to share my content, I have to have the shareable buttons so you can click and tweet it to friends. But, when you are not blocking these widgets and trackers, you send Twitter, Facebook, or whatever tracker is on site that you have visited FreedomHacker.net. It is an invasion to privacy and it is a shame that we have to have add-ons just to stop a site from tracking us. Once installed you can choose what you want to block, everything from Advertising to social widgets. Always be sure to block analytics. These are trackers that let a website owner know when you visited the site, for how long, how you got there, and some other data. The companies that tell the website owner this then turn around and sell that data in the hoards. Always block Analytics, if you are 100% untech savy, you will not notice anything. Pages will in turn load faster. Beacons is nothing other than random tracking. Some advert tracking, and just bloatware on a site. Blocking it will not harm you. Privacy may cause some problems if blocked. It is not a must have on a site, but if a site allows you to opt-out of their data harvesting, blocking this won’t help. This just allows you to block privacy notifications, so the privacy networks won’t show you turn up there. Widgets, depending if you use social media or not this may or may not harm you. On the bottom of this article you will see sharing buttons. You can click to share this on Twitter, Facebook, or any other network. This will block the tracking those widgets may put out, so social networks wont know you visited the site that has those buttons. It may completely block some of the buttons, or the buttons may appear dead when clicking on them. Based on your social network activity, you choose what you want. Ghostery is a very powerful add-on. When it block trackers some sites can load 10, 20x faster. Sites like CNet have close to 30-40 trackers, and the site is somewhat slow. With Ghostery on, I am flying through the pages, keeping my data secure. Another site known as CafePress has close to 80 trackers on their network. Its almost unreal the trackers they have. I choose to block every single tracker, and widget and keep going. If you aren’t tech savy, only block Analytics. If you know what you are doing, choose what you want. Also, block all cookies when it asks.
This is another add-on similar to ghostery. It blocks larger networks such as Twitter, and Google trackers. The layout and method is a lot more brutal. You can’t choose sections, it just has a per-installed list of what it will block. Use it if you want, but the layout is harsh.
3. No Script
This blocks all scripts. If another script is coming from a site that is not the page you are on it will block it. The add-on is phenomenal if you know what you are doing. This add on is very harsh on webpages, be very careful when using this add-on though. It can cause major problems.
4.Disconnect, or the Disconnect tool set.
Disconnect is by far one of the coolest and biggest blockers. Disconnect takes every piece of tracking on a website, and blacks it out. If I put a YouTube video inside a post of mine, and you have disconnect you won’t see it. Disconnect fully blacks out the internet to everything but the content you are viewing. It sees everything as a potential tracking threat. Google sells out your data, so disconnect blocks out everything affiliated with Google on the webpage. YouTube videos, Google search bars, Google Analytics, Google adsense, EVERYTHING. It does this for every tracker or company out there. It is a fun add-on to play with, as it shows every dot of tracking. Ghostery does this to, but Disconnect fully blacks out Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other companies. Again use it if you know what your doing. Disconnect has certain toolsets too. You can choose to just block everything Google (will block YouTube videos from showing, will blocks ads, will block analytic tracking, can cause some problems. But you can always disable it on certain pages), Facebook, and Twitter. I personally use the individual tools as it allows for easier use with myself. I go to a lot of sites that have content stuffed in them that I need to view, so having to enable, and disable on every page would be a hassle. I use the individual tools, but the full disconnect app is very fun and powerful.
There are hundreds of DuckDuckGo add-ons and I will list some of the best. DuckDuckComplete!, DuckDuckGo Plus, DuckDuckGo (HTTPS / SSL). Those are my top three. If you know me I am a huge supporter of DuckDuckGo. I have DuckDuckGo on my mobile phone, tablets, computers, and friends computers. I support their project heavily, and use them on a daily basis. Read Search Engines that take Privacy Serious and you will understand why I support the ongoing project to stop tracking. DuckDuckGo complete will allow you to type in anything into your browser bar, and it will search for it via DuckDuckGo. You can use it like a search bar. Type in “Why does 1+1=2”, and it will search DuckDuckGo for the answer instead of using the search bar or other engines.. DDG Plus adds it to any page. It puts a duck in the top right of the browser. Click it and you can type in anything you want. Then DDG https/SSL adds DuckDuckGo to your search bar. Take out the Google button and rep the DuckDuckGo search engine. Save your own privacy.
If you insist on using Google, Google sharing is a good one. It puts a proxy over everything Google. When you go to Google and make a search, it uses a proxy. If you log into GMail and it says your logging in from an unknown location, this is just the proxy making you appear in another location. Be careful logging into Adsense, or other Google products as it might appear like you have been hacked. Its very good for Google searches though.
This is an add-on that will automatically opt you out of advertising cookies. If you use Ghostery, DO NOT USE THIS. Ghostery already does this, but if not, you can use this with DNT, or just as a stand alone.
https everywhere will encrypt your web wherever it can. If the site allows https EFF will force it. This will encrypt Google, Facebook, Twitter, banking online, EFF, and other sites that use https. Https is a must have for some sites such as Amazon and eBay. Some sites don’t force it though. https everywhere will use it wherever it can. A must have for any browser!
Setting up FireFox the right way will eliminate a lot of add-ons, and it gives you full control over the browser. Set it up right, and stop getting your data harvested.
As always my overall review. There are plenty of add-ons I didn’t add that I use. These are just some of them. These are just some add-ons I use. There are plenty of other add-ons I use that I will post in another article. But these are just some of my main security ones. Post what you guys enjoy using below. I do not endorse adblock as it does not stop the the code render of the ad, only the image render. Therefore it does not enhance privacy, but instead block random images within sites. Blocking ads via Ghostery is far more realistic and enhances privacy.