Securing Your Browser

Introduction: Securing Your Browser

About: Jack passed away May 20, 2018 after a long battle with cancer. His Instructables site will be kept active and questions will be answered by our son-in-law, Terry Pilling. Most of Jack's instructables are tuto…

These are the settings I use to secure my internet browser.

My bank recently made some changes, and now with these settings I can't use their internet banking site. I had to create a separate account on another computer with weak protection. I use this account only for internet banking and to feed them useless information.

If you use Windows forget Internet Explorer and use the Firefox browser. Or better yet install Linux.

Avoid all products, software and web sites from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter.

A software developer can not write an app for IOS or Android in such a way that it can not call home. They have undocumented code built into their APIs to make sure every program tells the company what you are doing, and where you are.

I recommend using the Firefox browser, and the settings windows I will be showing are from Firefox.

Next change your default search to, open the site and at the bottom click on the button that says "Use in Firefox" to set it as your default search. DuckDuckGo is a search portal like Google, except that they don't track you.

Step 1: History Settings

To open the window shown at the top click on Edit in the menu bar, then click on Preferences, then Privacy.

At the top of the window you see three options for tracking.

I check "Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked".

I don't think this really matters because most web sites ignore it anyway.

Copy the settings shown in the History section.

Notice that it accepts all cookies. Some sites will not work if you don't accept cookies.

Accepting cookies does not hurt anything, you just don't want to save them.

That is where the "Clear history when Firefox closes" comes in.

Click on Settings to open the "Settings for Clearing History" window and make sure everything under History is checked.

In the Data section you will notice the check box for Flash Cookies, you probably don't have it. I will be covering this later on in this instructable.

Step 2: Extensions to Block Pop-ups and Trackers

Click on Tools in the menu bar, then click on Add-ons to open the Firefox Add-ons page.

Click on extensions.

Search for and then install the following extensions:

  • Adblock Plus 2.6.6
  • Adblock Plus Pop-up Addon 0.9.2
  • Privacy Badger Firefox 0.1.4

By far the most important extension to install is Better Privacy 1.68, I will be covering it on the next page.

Step 3: Super Cookies: the Really Nasty Ones

Super-Cookies, also known as Flash-Cookies, Local Shared Objects, or LSO-Cookies require special attention. They can store more data (100k), they never expire, and they are hidden.

More information on them is available here:

Click on Tools in the menu bar, then click on Add-ons to open the Firefox Add-ons page.

Click on extensions. Search for Better Privacy.

Click to install, then click on "More" to read the warnings about super-cookies.

Click the Preferences button.

Click on the "Options and Help" tab.

Check the options that are checked in the second picture.

Now you should have the Flash Cookies check box shown in step one. Go back and make sure it is checked.

Step 4: Linux Users: Store Your Browser Cache in RAM

Firefox stores the browser cache in your home directory. You can mount /tmp in RAM and move the cache there. Then your cache will never be written to disk.

First you need to mount /tmp in RAM.

Edit your fstab file. If you use Ubuntu the command is:

gksudo gedit /etc/fstab

Add this line to fstab to mount /tmp (temporary files) as tmpfs (temporary file system):

tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0

Reboot for the changes to take effect.

Open about:config in Firefox. Right click in an open area and create a new string value called browser.cache.disk.parent_directory. Set the value to /tmp/$USER/firefox-tmp.

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