Mozilla Firefox Logo

Web Browser

Mozilla Firefox is default web browser in Ubuntu and therefore already installed.

Settings

Select “Edit” - “Preferences” from the menu.

General

Select the “General” tab in the Preferences dialog.

Change Home Page to https://duckduckgo.com/:

Mozilla Firefox - Preferences - General - Startup

Untick “Prompt integration options for any website” below “Desktop Integration”:

Mozilla Firefox - Preferences - General - Desktop Integration

Privacy

Select the “Privacy” tab in the Preferences dialog.

Select “Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked” under “Tracking”:

Mozilla Firefox - Preferences - Privacy - Tracking

History settings:

  • Select “Use custom settings for history”.
  • Untick “Always use private browsing mode”
  • Untick “Remember my browsing and download history”
  • Untick “Remember search and form history”
  • Tick “Accept cookies from sites”
  • Select “Never” in the “Accept third-party cookies” dropdown.
  • Select “they expire” in the “Keep until” dropdown.
  • Tick “Clear history when Firefox closes”
Mozilla Firefox - Preferences - Privacy - History

Click the “Show Cookies…” Button:

You will see already an awful lot of cookies in the list, even on a freshly installed system after just a few minutes of browsing the web:

Mozilla Firefox - Preferences - Privacy - History - Cookies

Click the “Remove All Cookies” Button and close the dialog.

Click the “Settings…” Button beisdes the checkmark “Clear history when Firefox closes”:

Mozilla Firefox - Preferences - Privacy - History - Settings for Clearing History

Don’t worry about these rather restricting cookie-settings, as they will be managed by some extensions we will install later on.

Advanced

Select the “Advanced” tab in the Preferences dialog. Select the “Data Choices” tab.

Untick “Enable Firefox Health Report”:

Mozilla Firefox - Preferences - Advanced - Data Choices

So Firefox borwser will no longer phone home.

After all these changes it might be time to restart Firefox.

Security and Privacy Extensions

There are various add-ons for Firefox which enhance security and privacy.

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin is an efficient ad blocker: easy on memory and CPU footprint, and yet can load and enforce thousands more filters than other popular blockers out there.

DNSSEC TLSA Validator

DNSSEC TLSA Validator allows you to check the existence and validity of DNSSEC and TLSA records related to the domain of the website you visit.

Colored icons in the browser address bar, indicate if a websites can be trusted, by relying on digitally signed information provided by the owner of the websites domain, without involvment of third-parties, like certificate authorities, browser vendors et al.

Privacy Badger

Privacy Badger stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web. Currently in beta.

Privacy Badger is published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation,

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere automatically connects you with HTTPS instead of HTTP on all websites that are known to support HTTPS as well as HTTP. This includes connections to third-party sites which may provide embedded content on a visited website.

HTTPS-Everywhere is published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation which maintains a list of major websites supporting HTTPS.

Perspectives

Perspectives can ..

  • Provide a second-layer of security to detect attacks due to a compromised or malicious certificate authority.
  • Securely determine the validity of “self-signed” certificates that have not been signed by a certificate authority, avoiding the “scary” Firefox security error when it is safe to do so.

This plugin uses an existing set of Network Notary servers run by the Perspectives Project.

Perspectives is a new approach to helping computers communicate securely on the Internet, based on a research project of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. With Perspectives, public “network notary” servers regularly monitor the TLS certificates used by 100,000s+ websites to help your browser detect “man-in-the-middle” attacks without relying on certificate authorities.

Visit the Perspectives Project for more information how this works.

Decentraleyes

Decentraleyes protects you against tracking through “free”, centralized, content delivery. It prevents a lot of requests from reaching networks like Google Hosted Libraries, and serves local files to keep sites from breaking. Complements regular content blockers.

Blocked services:

  • Google Hosted Libraries
  • Microsoft Ajax CDN
  • CDNJS (Cloudflare)
  • jQuery CDN (MaxCDN)
  • jsDelivr (MaxCDN)
  • Yandex CDN
  • Baidu CDN
  • Sina Public Resources
  • UpYun Libraries.

Bundles ressources:

  • AngularJS
  • Backbone.js
  • Dojo
  • Ember.js
  • Ext Core
  • jQuery
  • jQuery UI
  • Modernizr
  • MooTools
  • Prototype
  • Scriptaculous
  • SWFObject
  • Underscore.js
  • Web Font Loader

Self-Destructing Cookies

The Self-Destructing Cookies extension gets rid of a site’s cookies and LocalStorage as soon as you close its tabs. This way it protects your browser from trackers and zombie-cookies. Trustworthy services can be whitelisted.

Other Useful Extensions

Following are some extensions which are not directly related to privacy and security but recommended as useful:

SixOrNot - IPv4/IPv6 Protocol Indicator.

Cert Viewer Plus - Certificate viewer enhancements: PEM format view, file export, trust configuration.

Context Search - Expands the context menu’s ‘Search for’ item into a list of installed search engines, allowing you to choose the engine you want to use for each search.

GNotifier - GNotifier integrates Firefox’s notifications with the native notification system from various Linux desktops including Unity.

HeadingsMap - The extension generates a documentmap or index of any web document structured with headings and/or with sections in HTML.

SPDY indicator - An indicator showing SPDY support in the address bar.

Uppity - Navigate up one level (directory) in the currently displayed website.

Extensions To Disable

Ubuntu installs its own extension, which might be disabled:

  • Unity Websites integration

Search-Engines

There are alternative search engines who offer same quality, but better privacy, as the ones from Google, Yahoo or Microsoft.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is an Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. DuckDuckGo gets its results from over one hundred different sources.

See their Firefox help page for ways to use it with Firefox.

StartPage

Startpage puts itself between your browser and the Google search engine. The search results are generated by Google, but without your computer connecting with Google servers.

Additionally they offer to fetch any website and display it for you, without that any connection between your computer and the target website is made.

See their “Add to browser” page for help to add it as search engine.

Mycroft Project

The Mycroft project is a directory of thousends of search engines, which can be each added to your search egine list.

Search-Engines to Remove

The following search engines can be removed, by clicking the dropdown list of search engines and choosing the “Manage Search Engines” entry at the bottom of the list:

  • Google
  • Yahoo!
  • Bing
  • Amazon
  • eBay
Mozilla Firefox - Manage Search Engines

Click on the “Remove” Button for every search engine you want to have removed.

Security Tests

Various pages check your browser for vulnerabilities against current threats.

How’s My SSL? is a cute little website that tells you how secure your TLS client is. TLS clients just like the browser you’re reading this with.

SSL Labs Client Test shows you the SSL/TLS Capabilities of your Browser and vulnerabilities against selected discovered security issues (i.e. FREAK, POODLE).

Qualys® BrowserCheck recommends you to scan your browser regularly to stay up to date with the latest versions and plugins.