Perhaps this will help someone in their quest for greater online privacy
and enhance their computer security. I'm simply trying to give back to
the list for all the help I've received over the years. This is what I
I use Firefox simply because it allows me to stay in control of my
browser. If you didn't know... "about:config" in the address bar allows
control of any available setting. While private browsing seems to work
well I like to keep everything in a single window to permit more
flexibility and take the tab-specific route to essentially equivalent
security that private browsing provides. So these are my plugins:
1. NoScript - virtually every exploit/tracking out there starts with the
scripting approach. This kills javacript & the others while providing
real-time total control of the tool.
2. Better Privacy - this tool deals with LSO tracking. This is just in
case since I don't use flash since I don't need it anymore. I'll get to
3. Privacy Badger - this blocks trackers websites use; it's sponsored by
eff.org. This is my Ghostery replacement since I don't like the recent
developments with that tool.
4. uBlock Origin - this is a FOSS ad blocker. I use this to replace
AdBlock Plus since I don't like recent developments with that tool
either. Then in preferences I enable the 3rd party filters: Fanboy
privacy, Fanboy social media, and hpHosts multipurpose list.
5. Cookie Controller - this deals with general-purpose cookies.
These are my security essential plugins. Here is how I'm able to play
videos on youtube & cnn etc. w/o flash.
1. I use the "Video Without Flash" plugin.
2. Install vlc with vlc extras also.
3. Install all the gstreamer & gstreamer1 plugins
I don't watch many video's but this gives me everything I need. Perhaps
there are some this approach won't play but I haven't run across them yet.
Back to Firefox configuration in about:config...
1. search on geo and change geo:enabled to false (double click it)
2. geo.wifi.uri - change to localhost
3. browser.search.geoSpecificDefaults - change to false
4. search for pocket - disable I don't want anything auto-updating my
Then in my Firefox preferences I remove all the default search engines
(they all try to track you) except DuckDuckGo and add the Startpage
search engine as my default. This will give you google results privately
and even provides a proxy thru which you may visit a site.
FWIW I do the same geo stuff in Thunderbird in the Config Editor.
I never get geographical-specific ads then and my browser does not
remember anything about me since Firefox is also set to delete all
history when it closes. The only thing sites are ever able to determine
about me is thru my isp provided ip address and then they customize
"stuff" for that location 100 miles away.
Then more generally about security...
I run this config inside a virtualbox vm. Yes that's Fedora running
inside Virtualbox on a Fedora host. Why? To provide a layer of
abstraction in case the worst happens, my primary system is not likely
to be compromised. In reality all of this resides in a single file on
the host which is then deleted or backed up or transferred easily. I run
another separate vm for banking and that is its only function in life.
It only boots once or twice a month so I can log in and pay bills or
transfer $ etc. I still use FF with the above config but simply provide
a permanent exception to NoScript so the bank or credit card site gives
me the best experience. I don't ever visit other sites or check email or
do anything else in my banking vm. Then I turn it off except to keep it
updated. I try not to browse the web on my host and always keep an
original vm "Fedora Master" copy so if I want to start from scratch - to
ensure no trackers are present it's a simple clone / file copy and I
have a brand new Fedora environment. I give it 4 cpu cores & 8gb ram
from the host and get good response & performance. I have plenty more on
the host. I have another vm dedicated solely to use TOR.
Then here are some other plugins I use to make things more convenient.
1. New Tab Override sets specific page for new tabs
2. Mozilla Archive Format
3. Toolbar Buttons adds icons for convenient tasks. It has an icon
for about:config and for noscript exceptions (so you don't have to pull
down a menu) and many others. I like it.
4. Download Flash & Video even when the option is not available on
5. IdentFavIcon & FavIconReloader for when your bookmark loses its icon
This works for me and provides a good experience since I'm able to run
1920x1440 inside a vm since my host is running 2560x1600. However on my
13" laptop it can get frustrating fast since it all get's so small so I
rarely use vm's there. I just use the more general FF configuration.
Perhaps this will provide info you haven't considered before.