Update All Plugins
The first step you’ll want to take straight out of the gate is updating all your plugins. Java and Flash are notorious for picking up all sorts of bad bugs, and other lesser known utilities such as Acrobat and Google Talk can be vulnerable to a proper supply of spyware. With the Mozilla plugin checker, you can automatically browse the update status of all plugins currently installed on your machine along with a detailed list of when they were last patched by their developers.
Two great add-ons include NoScript and AdBlockPlus, which prevents banner, search, and email ads from displaying during your web browsing experience. It also blocks ads on Youtube and most major network websites like ABC, NBC, and CBS.com. This prevents advertisers from using your cookies to display “pertinent materials” to you or your family while you’re trying to enjoy a show from the comfort of your couch at home, and also allows you the freedom to browse ad-heavy sites without the worry that any one of the hundred different pop-ups you usually encounter might lay down a tracking cookie on your hard drive.
Strengthen Your Sync
Similar to Chrome, Firefox comes with a built-in syncing features that keeps all your bookmarks, history, and favorites synced across every device you use the browser on. Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and OSX can all be linked together through a single account, so you’ll want to be sure this password is strong and not susceptible to classical brute-force decryption tactics.
Use Tor – The Onion Router
Both Vidalia and The Onion Router use a variation of the Firefox engine to connect to their various relay networks and manage the same operations a DNS would in different circumstances. Once installed, Tor can be activated from your normal browser with the click of a button, ghosting all your traffic from both traditional and nontraditional methods of consumer tracking and reporting. This is far and away the most secure option available, but it’s also the slowest, with some comparing the response times to the pre-broadband era we’ve all done so much to try and forget.
Verify that security options are enabled
This one is easy. On the Security tab, just be sure every box is checked off and you’ve set up a strong, established master password that no one would be able to guess in five tries or less. These setting will warn you if a website attempts to install third-party add-ons to your Firefox, add a malware wall that blocks reported attack sites, and will even redirect you if it looks like you’ve been routed to pages containing phishing programs and cookie trackers. It’s also where you’ll save your usernames and passwords for various sites, so follow the next step carefully to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.
Firefox’s Default Master Password
Like most web browsers, Firefox has a place where it keeps all of your stored username and password data which is vulnerable to anyone on your machine if left unprotected without a “master password” locked in front of it. When setting this barricade up, use capital letters, numbers, and symbols, and don’t write it down anywhere digital that might be exploited easily by attackers on the other end of the line.
Use Internal Security to Your Benefit
By default, Firefox comes pre-equipped with a variety of available options to keep your browsing fingerprint to a minimum, including selective cookie filtering and a pop-up blocker that claims 98% accuracy when swatting off windows that try and open on their own. Underneath the “Tracking” section in the Privacy tab, select the option “Do not tell sites anything about my tracking preferences”. This will prevent heavy-hitters such as Google and Facebook from submitting information they collect based on links and stories you find through their associated sites.
Get a VPN
This list wouldn’t be complete without the first and foremost option among security-concerned professionals, a virtual private network. There are hundreds of providers available from every country you can think of, and that’s where VPN Creative comes in to help filter through and find the best of the best. We recommend services like IPVanish if you’re someone who craves speed and fast download times, or Private Internet Access if privacy is of the utmost importance.
Need more guides just like this one? Then be sure to check out our, packed with helpful tips on how to keep your usernames, passwords, and sensitive data as secure as possible.