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Firefox Privacy Settings & Addons To Use

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Firefox is ranked amongst some of the most secure web browsers. This is primarily due to the vast array of privacy add-ons it offers and the flexibility of the browser in dealing with the privacy settings. These things not only allow the users to attain the privacy and security of their choice but also makes the browser extraordinarily user-friendly and customizable.

The add-ons can be added and removed as per your desire or need. Also, the easy access to the deep configuration in settings allows you to tweak the settings as per your heart’s content. Apart from good privacy and security it offers, Firefox is also lightweight and robust; thus, it gives the best user experience.

Although generally considering Firefox is itself considerably secure. However, the ultimate level of protection ad security can only be acquired through these privacy add-ons and by adjusting the privacy settings.

Also, if the browser has given this liberty, then why not avail it? Therefore, I have compiled this article which contains:

  • Firefox privacy settings that you can configure
  • Tried and tested privacy add-ons

I have divided it into two parts, amongst which the first part contains a detailed insight into customizable privacy settings. So let’s get started!

Firefox privacy settings For anonymous Browsing

Firefox is unexceptionally diverse in the privacy setting it offers. There are various things that you can have adjusted as per your likes, such as:

1. Disable Telemetry

Firefox by default collects some telemetry information as it helps in the betterment of performance. However, the data collected can somehow hinder your privacy. Therefore, it is better to have it turned off.

To do so in Firefox Desktop, you can click on the open menu present on the top right of the browser. And the open up options> privacy and security > Firefox data collection and use. Here uncheck both the boxes present. For Android, go to menu> settings> privacy> data choices. Here uncheck all three boxes present.

2. Change search engine

In Firefox Quantum, the default search engine is set to Google, which is definite harm to privacy. Thus if you want to have a different default search engine, you can do so by:

Open up menu> options> search engine and privacy.

Here a drop-down dialogue is present which contains all the search engine you can choose from. Here pick the engine of your choice and get browsing!

3. Enable Do Not Track option

Just like most browsers, Firefox offers its users to turn down tracking requests altogether. This is with the Do Not Track option, and Firefox requests websites not to track its users. However, compliance of a website is not mandatory and can often be turned down too,

Nevertheless, having this option turned on is a feeble indeed but a step towards attaining privacy. To have it enabled, go to the Open Menu. From there open options,> Privacy and Security> Tracking protection. Here toggle the Do Not Track button to always.

4. Enable global tracking protection

Firefox has been entrusted with tracking protection since 2015, though it was well hidden away. Although Firefox is integrated with approx. 57 tracking protection features. But they are all only enabled in the Private Browsing mode by default.

However, if you want to enable it for all browsing, click on Open> options> privacy and security. There you will find the “tracking protection” option. Turn it to “always”, and you’re good to go!

Android users can turn this option on by going to Menu> settings> privacy> Do Not Track

5. Turn off WebRTC

Web Real-Time Communication commonly referred to as WebRTC is a standard through which browsers incorporate communicative features such as voice calling, video chat and P2P file sharing directly into browsers.

Unfortunately, the drawback here is that your real IP address is leaked through WebRTC. Now if you are someone who is not seeking anonymity over the internet.  However, if you are someone who is extremely conscious of privacy and is an avid VPN user, then it is better to have WebRTC turned off

For this, type in about:config into the URL bar. Here change the media.peeerconnection. Enabled value to false.

6.  Disable DRM

DRM or Digital Rights Management is necessary if you want to play Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime on your browser. This setting encrypts the content and protects copyrighting. In other words, limits what you do over these sites.

In 2015 Mozilla introduced DR, in Firefox, and received much backlash over it. This is because this code required bundling of closed source code in the open-source code Firefox browser. To get rid of the issue, Firefox allows DRM separately.

However, most privacy heads prefer having DRM turned off completely, even though it is not much harm in running it. You can do this by going through any of these three steps:

  1. Go to Menu of the Firefox Desktop, form their open Settings> General> Digital Rights Management Content. From here, uncheck Play Digital Rights Management Content. This will wipe off all HTML5 DRM code form the Hard Drive.
  2. Go to Menu> add-ons> plugins and make sure that the Shockwave Flash is set to Never Activate.
  3. (a). Type about:support in the URL bar and press enter. Scroll down until you see the Application Basics> Profile Folder and click on Open Folder button

(b).  In the Profile Folder, search and delete the gmp-eme-adobe and gmp-widevinecdm subfolders. Once this is done restart Firefox.

Although this process might not remove all the DRM from Firefox, this still is something.

Firefox Privacy Add-ons

As I have mentioned above, Firefox being all customizable offers a wide variety of privacy add-ons from its users. Here is an insight into these add-ons:

1. uBlock Origin

This is a reasonably lightweight but unexceptionally sturdy ad blocker and anti-tracking add-on. It is equipped with a blocking list that allows you to filter the content that appears on your web browser. Moreover, it comes with a variety of handy features, thus promising a smooth web experience such as:

  1. On-the-fly listing feature that makes sure the web pages don’t break down due to adblocking.
  2. It allows users to select the type of elements they want to block, such as:: Pop-ups, Large media elements, Cosmetic details, Remote fonts
  3. The Element Zapper or the Element Picker mode allows users to customize what they want running on a web page.

Although it is a great add-on to use as solely, however, it works even better when paired up with Privacy Badger.

2. Privacy Badger

This double-duty ad blocker and anti-tracking add-on are developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation(EFF). Although it is better recommended to use with uBlock, it, however, has numerous great features too such as:

  1. Instead of using blocklists, it keeps a watch on scripts that are integrated with web pages.
  2. Upon detecting a source tracking you, it immediately “springs into action” and tells the browser not to load content from the source. 
  3. It displays which tracking scripts are present on a web page and which script is tracking you.
  4. It either manually deals with the tracking scripts and let the users decide what they want to do with them that is either: Block, Block cookies, Allow tracking

All in all, it is an excellent add-on to have.

3. HTTPS Everywhere

Developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, it is an exceedingly useful add-on to have. Just like the name depicts, it works to ensure that you are always connected to a secure HTTPS connection.

However, it only connects to the connection if it is available.  In case the connection is unavailable, it will continue with the regular unsecured HTTP connection. This can be changed in the settings though. However, it is still better to keep an eye out on the Padlock icon in the URL.

4. NoScript

This exceedingly handy tool.

 gives you command over the scripts that run over your browser. However, most websites don’t collaborate well with NoScript, thus working it may require some technical knowledge.

This add-on is indeed useful, as it protects against:

  1. Cross-site scripting
  2. Clickjacking

But it is unfortunately only handy for those tech-savvy users. However, it is essential to take notice that it works in combination with uBlock Origin,  PrivacyBadger or uMatrix.

5. uMatrix

Another wonderful creation of the geniuses behind the creation of uBlock Origin, it is a hybrid crossover of uBlock Origin and NoScript. This robust platform allows you to have customized privacy as per you will. However, the drawback here is that it is still a little hard to grasp. 

6. Cookie AutoDelete

A seemingly more advanced replacement of the now outdated, Self-Destructing Cookie, this add-on automatically deletes HTTP cookies once you close down the browser. This handy add-on provides a high level of protection from tracking through cookies. And it does so without affecting the website! 

Apart from that, t also guarantees real-time protection against:

  • Flash/zombie cookies
  • ETags
  • Cleans DOM storage.

This add-on complements remarkably with Better Privacy.

7. Random Agent Spoofer

To ensure better performance for its users, web browser user agent informs web sites information regarding the user such as:

  1. Type of computer
  2. The OS that the user is on.
  3. What browser the user is browsing on.

Although this information may seem harmless but is rater used for browser fingerprinting, therefore, with Random Agent Spoofer add-on, the data is given to the agent is randomly changed.  For example, if you are using a PC with a Firefox browser, it will inform the agent that you are using Android with Chrome.

8. Canvas Defender

Canvas Defender helps you protect against Canvas Fingerprinting. This is the most common type of Browser Fingerprinting in which:

  1. A script is used, that instructs your browser to draw a hidden image.
  2. It then uses small variations in how the image is drawn to generate a unique ID code. 
  3. This ID code is them used to track you.

However, Canvas Defender helps prevent this efficiently. It does so by creating a unique and persistent noise; this noise, in turn, hides canvas fingerprinting. In short, it is a great privacy add-on to use.

9. Decentraleyes

This add on works to ensure privacy while browsing. It does so by hosting CND resources locally. This means that when your browser requests one of these CND resources, the application is blocked. Instead, it serves you a local version.

10. Mailvelope

Mailvelope is an add-on that works to ensure end-to-end PGP encryption on a browser. Although PGP is by far the most secure way to send private emails. But, it is quite unpopular as it is challenging to use.

However, it works perfectly with browser-based email services such as Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and GMX. Though this method is not nearly as secure as working with a PP mail client, it still makes thing easier.

So if you are ready to be patient, then this add-on is the ultimate answer to secure webmails.

11. Keepasshttp-connector

This excellent open-source manager is a must-have for anyone who finds passwords a burden! The keepasshttp-connector add-on allows complete browser integration to Firefox. Thus it is there to make your lives easier. 

Final words

Privacy on a browser is indeed a very crucial element to being online. With Firefox, you can see that privacy is a priority. So now that you are aware of how to customize, you should get going!


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