Firefox Secure

It seems everyone has their own opinion on which browser is better or more secure. I'm not going to engage in that debate, but if you prefer Firefox (like I do), here are my favorite security add-ons:

ProfileSwitcher: This allows you to easily switch between Firefox profiles. Although it's not hosted on Mozilla's official Add-Ons site, it's by far the best profile manager out there. Another quirk: the author requires you to "right-click and save target as..." (ironically, an IE term) to download the xpi file, which you then have to manually open in Firefox (File > Open File...), but other than that the installation is a breeze. Why do you need need a profile switcher? Well, I'll be describing some cool add-ons below, but together they practically reduce the browser to a empty text-based shell (which is good for secure browsing). For times when you need to access the internet without all the security measures (a rare scenario), you can use this add-on to switch to a default installation of Firefox. For my purposes, I created a new profile called "Firefox Secure". When you run the new Firefox profile, you'll need to load the ProfileSwitcher add-on to it as well.

NoScript: This will essentially block any script from running in your browser. Scripts (such as JavaScript, Flash, XPI, etc.) can be used to install malware, drive-by downloads, pop-ups, and other security risks. NoScript allows you to selectively enable scripts so you can watch your YouTube videos without running the advertising scripts.

Flashblock: This blocks annoying Flash videos/ads from displaying in your browser and allows you to selectively enable them. This is helpful for sites with multiple Flash objects on the page but you only want to view one (NoScript is an all or nothing block so you first unblock the site with NoScript and then unblock the desired Flash file with Flashblock).

Adblock Plus: Removes ads and banners - a simple set and forget add-on that is incredibly powerful.

CookieSafe: A simple add-on to Manage and block cookies.

ImgLikeOpera: The internet can be a visually scarry place. Even "safe" sites occasionally have bad or annoying images. Although Adblock blocks many ads and banners, this add-on blocks all images by default and allows you to selectively enable them. It's also great for dial-up users who don't want to waste precious bandwidth.

Clear Private Data: A simple add-on to clear your browsing history, cache, etc. You can right-click anywhere on the page and select "Clear Private data..." or add the optional toolbar (View > Toolbars > Customize...)

Although there are more extreme add-ons (RefControl, User Agent Switcher, Torbutton, etc.), these are the ones I use the most often and would recommend for anyone serious about browsing securely.

P.S. For OS-level cleaning, I recommend CCleaner for Windows or BleachBit for Linux.


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