(TLDR: install uBlock Origin, HTTPS Everywhere and Cookie Autodelete.)
If you're serious about privacy and security when it comes to browsing the web, please kindly turn your attention to the new and improved Firefox Quantum. This newly updated Firefox comes with a bunch of built-in security improvements, including a more secure add-on store, fixes to memory leaks and tracking protection.
Below we will go through our favorite add-ons, followed by settings and then some closing thoughts.
- uBlock Origin: uBlock Origin has different modes depending on how locked-down you want your browser to be. For this blog post, we are going to recommend "medium mode", described in detail here.
To activate medium mode, first open up the settings and click on the button to open up uBlock Origin panel menu:
Next check off both "I am an advance user" and "Disable WebRTC from leaking local IP address":
Once advanced settings are activated, your settings menu should now look like this:
Finally, if uBlock Origin medium mode causes a website to not work properly, you can disable blocking by clicking the green buttons in the right-hand panel:
HTTPS Everywhere: No need to configure HTTPS Everywhere, the default settings are fine. If you want a closer look at HTTPS Everywhere, however, check out this blog post.
Cookie Autodelete: Finally, Cookie Autodelete is good to go with its default settings, as well. However, on sites that you trust and require cookies, you will need to allow cookies permanently, or for the session. You can do this by opening up the Cookie Autodelete menu while on a website and clicking either "greylist" or "whitelist" for some or all the domains:
While there are many other notable extensions (i.e. Privacy Badger, Disconnect, Lastpass), we consider the three mentioned above to be the most important. Good luck!
Restrict Flash in the Add-ons Plugins tab
Under the "Plugins" tab, you should make Firefox "ask to activate" because Flash is notoriously exploitable (some people remove it completely):
First things first, go to the side menu and click "preference". Then under the "general" tab set Firefox to the default browser and set https://www.startpage.com to your default search engine:
Next, click on the "Search" tab and select "Startpage" as your default search engine & also turn off "Provide search suggestions":
Privacy & Security tab
Finally, under the "Privacy & Security" tab, make your settings as follows:
In the sections above you should:
- disabling Firefox from saving your passwords
- Use "custom" setting for history: disable "Remember my browsing and download history", disable "Remember my search and form history", "Accept cookies from websites" and keep until "I close Firefox" (alternately, you can accept third-party cookies "from visited").
- Finally, disable suggesting history, etc. in the address bar.
In the heading "Security", you should check off the box "Block dangerous and deceptive content":
Under the "Firefox Data Collection and Use" section you can be selfish and decline to send Mozilla, the Firefox parent company, your user data:
Type about:config in your Firefox URL bar to access advanced configuration settings. While we plan on posting about the About:Config settings in a future post, for now we will just show you how to disable Firefox from tracking your location. After navigating to about:config in the address bar, simply check the warning box to proceed to the settings area:
Once there, type in "geo.enabled" in the search bar and change the value to "False" by double-clicking where it says "True":
If you want to check out some other neat settings in the about:config menu, have a look at this blog post.
Managing your privacy and security is always a trade-off when it comes to convenience. It is up to you how cautious you want to be. Our general advice, however, is that it's better safe than sorry. Some of the suggestions above can seem inconvenient at first, but, once you get used to them, they aren't really that bad. At the end of the day, privacy and security, both on the web and when you're away from the keyboard, comes down to a set of habits and best-practices: the more you do it, the better you get.