Archive | Security

Using a TACO to Protect Your Privacy

TACO in Action! The Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out (get it? TACO) extension sets up permanent opt-out cookies for many different advertising networks. 

Here is a little more about the extension from the developer:

Unlike other earlier opt-out solutions, this tool will make the cookies completely persistent. That is, clearing the browser’s cookies will delete all other installed cookies, except these.  Users wishing to delete these 40+ cookies (some advertising networks require multiple cookies, for different domain names) must first remove the add-on, before then deleting all installed cookies from the preferences window.

For a list of the 33 advertising networks that this tool help you hide from, check out the developer’s official web site.  So if you are more than a little concerned about who is watching you, this is a great security related add-on to add to your Firefox install.  Who said tacos aren’t good for you?  This one will help protect your privacy!

Find Out What Web Pages Are Watching You

Ghostery

What a minute, what was that?  Was it a bump in the night or a cookie in my browser?  Ghostery, the add-on for Firefox, will help you find out what web sites out there are keeping an eye on you, even when it isn’t overly obvious. 

Alerting you when you visit a web site with web bugs on it, Ghostery is a good extension to have if you are worried about your online privacy.  The web bugs in question are usually hidden scripts that track your behavior and are used by the site to understand you better.

Currently supporting over 130 services (with weekly updates and additions) here is a sample of the supported services:

  • Google Analytics Ghostery in Action in Firefox
  • MyBlogLog
  • Quantcast
  • IndexTools
  • SiteMeter
  • Lijit
  • Omniture
  • CrazyEgg
  • Snap
  • Omniture
  • Statcounter

Well deserving of it’s rank as a “recomended add-on” for Firefox, Ghostery does a great job at helping you keep an eye on what sites, ad networks and widgets are keeping an eye on you.

10 Ways Firefox Makes the Web a Safer Place

We all like tools that help us feel a little safer, right?  Firefox has a slew of tools you can use to add extra security to the platform.  One thing I really like about this is each person can decide how much more added security he or she needs.  How do you know which of the add-ons are the best?

Here are some of the most popular plugins that help with increasing the privacy or security for your Firefox installation.

NoScript

The best security you can get in a web browser! Allow active content to run only from sites you trust, and protect yourself against XSS and Clickjacking attacks.

WOT

WOT, Web of Trust, warns you about risky websites that try to scam visitors, deliver malware or send spam. Protect your computer against online threats by using WOT as your front-line layer of protection when browsing or searching in unfamiliar territory.

Stealther

Do you like to pretend that you are a super secret spy when browing the Web? Maybe you just don’t want that nosy brother or sister looking in on what you have been doing. No matter the situation, if you want to stay secret – the Stealther Firefox extension is for you.

FoxyProxy

FoxyProxy is an advanced proxy management tool that completely replaces Firefox’s limited proxying capabilities. It offers more features than SwitchProxy, ProxyButton, QuickProxy, xyzproxy, ProxyTex, TorButton, etc.

Fire Encrypter

Want Firefox to help you encrypt your secret files and documents? Maybe you just want to learn more about the encryption process? No matter which camp you fall into, the Fire Encrypter Firefox extension is for you. It brings the top secret world of encryption right into your favorite little browser.

Sxipper

Forget your passwords! Sxipper accurately fills in forms, manages passwords and your OpenIDs.

CookieCuller

Want more control over your cookies? No, I’m not talking about the ones your grandmother loves to shove down your throat – I am talking about the ones that involve your browser. The Firefox extension CookieCuller gives you total control over which cookies stay on your computer by letting you protect cookies of your choice while automatically deleting the rest.

Flashblock

Flashblock is an extension for the Mozilla, Firefox, and Netscape browsers that takes a pessimistic approach to dealing with Macromedia Flash content on a webpage and blocks ALL Flash content from loading. It then leaves placeholders on the webpage that allow you to click to download and then view the Flash content.

TrackMeNot

With all this talk about your privacy being attacked and people snooping on what you have been searching about, you are bound to feel a little paranoid. You might be watching over your shoulder as you type. You might be turning the lights out before you get Online. How can you protect yourself from being tracked in your searches though? If you use Firefox, you need the TrackMeNot extension.

BugMeNot

Tired of web sites asking you to register to view the content inside?  Bypass compulsory web registration with the context menu via bugmenot.com.

Know of another Firefox security add-on that is well worth using, just not that popular yet?  Do any of these add-ons make you sleep a little easier at night?  Let me know what you think the best security add-on for Firefox is.

How to Recover Your Master Password

Reset Master Password

Have you lost your master password?

If you want to add another layer of protection to your Firefox browser, you can turn on the master password option.  In short, this will allow you to secure your login information – especially if your PC is used by more than one person, so they can’t snoop through Firefox’s options and find your passwords.

Now if you find yourself not remembering your master password, there is an easy way to reset it.  There is a down side though, because resetting your master password will remove all of your saved user names and passwords. To start the process, copy and paste this location into your Firefox address bar:

chrome://pippki/content/resetpassword.xul

This is your “Reset Master Password” page.  For one more time, it warns you:

If you reset your master password, all your stored web and e-mail password, form data, personal certificates, and private keys will be forgotten. Are you sure you want to reset your master password?

Then you will be given the option to “Reset” or “Cancel”.  Hit the button labled “Reset” and your master password should be reset.

How to Clear Private Data in Firefox

Clear Private DataWorried somebody is going to snoop around on what you are doing from within Firefox?  Have no fear!  Although private browsing hasn’t made its way to Firefox yet, you can still clear your private data in Firefox very easily.

What is Firefox Saving About Me?

Now the first question you may have is what type of content is saved by Firefox?

  • Browsing History: contains a log web locations you have previously visited.
  • Download History: keeps a list of files you’ve downloaded.
  • Saved Form and Search History: contains a list of phrases you have entered in text fields, such as web searches, and name and address fields.
  • Cache: stores temporary files, such as web pages and other online media, that you have downloaded from the Internet.
  • Cookies: stores files created by web sites, that store information on your computer, such as your preferences when visiting that site. (When a web site has a “remember this” check box, they are using a cookie.)
  • Offline Website Data: information web sites have stored on your computer for use without an internet connection.
  • Saved Passwords: contains a list of user names and passwords you have opted to have Firefox remember.
  • Authenticated Sessions: keeps you logged into secure web sites, you have already used the password manager to log in to.

Firefox makes it very simple to clear a few or all of these settings.  From the top of Firefox, in the menu bar – select Tools > Clear Private Data.  (You can also pull this up by using the keyboard combination Ctrl + Shift + Del )  Check mark the data you want to clear, then click on Clear Private Data Now, to clear the data; or click on Cancel, to close the Clear Private Data window, without clearing any private data.

How to Automate the Private Data Cleaning

I have my Firefox set to clear certain private data when I close Firefox.  To do this, go to Tools > Options and then click on the Privacy Tab.  From there, look at the settings listed under Private Data.  you have the option to:

  • Always clear my private data when I close Firefox
  • Ask me before clearing private data

Clicking on the “Settings” will allow you to choose what is cleared when you exit Firefox.

Watch Out for the Trojan Greasemonkey!

943948800 Are the badware baddies trying to target a new audience?

Got this e-mailed in from a reader, so wanted to spread the word.  Can never be too careful these days.

BitDefender has identified this new bit of holiday cheer as Trojan.PWS.ChromeInject.A” (the ChromeInject suffix refers to the Chrome component of Firefox). The trojan installs itself into Firefox’s add-on directory, registers itself as Greasemonkey, and begins searching your hard drive for passwords, login details, your World of WarCraft account information, and your library card number.

You can read more about the situation over at ars technicaThe real Greasemonkey is still malware-free and is totally safe to use. This trojan in question isn’t even the Greasemonkey script.  It just calls itself that to try to trick you down download it.  This seems to be a pretty stupid move from the trojan writers though, due to the fact that Firefox users who use Greasemoney (I would say) have a little higher Internet intelligence than your average punch a monkey to win a iPod person.

Greasemonkey Help Need Help? Be sure to check out the Beginner’s Guide to Greasemonkey!

Private Browsing Makes Debut in Latest Nightly Build

Private Browsing in Firefox 

A of noise has been made about the excitement around private browsing.  Personally, this isn’t the feature I have been waiting for years to see, but it is nice to see Firefox keeping up with the competition and adding this feature in.  With this new mode (coming to Firefox 3.1) your browsing, cookies, temporary files, search, forms, and download history will not be saved.

Best thing about it that I have seen is that they will not interrupt the interface with some big bold “Hey you, you are browsing privately now” graphic.  You just get the simple (Private Browsing) in the title bar.

firefox-private-browsing-2

So are you excited to see private surfing added to Firefox or is this one of those “ehh, I guess it is ok” features for you too? Learn more about it at ehsanakhgari.org

Interview With the Mind Behind NoScript

ss0 So what type of questions would you have for the mind behind NoScript?  I recently got to chat with Giorgio Maone, the creator of possibly the most popular security related extension for Firefox.

Why would the random Firefox user off the street be using NoScript?

Firefox is an extremely safe browser, because it can take advantage of an open and agile development process, a very security-minded core development team and a multi-vendor security coordination group, including people from major Linux distributions and IT integrators, which I’m also a member of. This ensures that many experts with different backgrounds and points of view are steadily discussing about making Firefox safer and stronger, and that discussion quickly translates in bug fixing and enhancement code.

Continue Reading →

Security Zone Policy Errors in Firefox 3

Here is an interesting update that seems to be drawing a little heat from the Web at large.  Depending on your Internet settings (from Control Panel > Internet Options) you might have issues with some downloads being blocked.

Fx3exeBlocked

Here is what Mozilla has to say about the issue.

Starting in Firefox 3, downloads of executable files (e.g., .exe or .msi) may fail and the Firefox Downloads window will contain this message, under the filename:  This download has been blocked by your Security Zone Policy.

This issue occurs because Firefox 3 now honors your Windows security settings for downloading applications and other potentially unsafe files from the Internet.

The rage here is that the Internet Options you see from the Control Panel links back to Internet Explorer 7.  So in a round about wacky way, Firefox 3 follows IE7′s security settings.  Need a fix?

To change the setting, open Internet Options (via Control Panel or from Internet Explorer -> Tools) and click the Security tab. With the Internet zone icon highlighted, click the Custom level… button. A list of security settings for the Internet zone will appear. Find the “Launching applications and unsafe files” setting (under Miscellaneous) and select “Prompt (recommended)”.

If that does not do the trick for you, there are a few more fix suggestions on Mozillazine.org you can try.  So are you upset about this or could you care less?

Firefox 3.0.1 = Patched Up and Ready for the Masses

The latest version of Firefox is out and patches a few holes here and there in our favorite browser.  Here is the official word from Mozilla:

We strongly recommend that all Firefox users upgrade to this latest release. If you already have Firefox 3.0, you will receive an automated update notification within 24 to 48 hours. This update can also be applied manually by selecting “Check for Updates…” from the Help menu.

get-firefox-301So what exactly is new in Firefox 3.0.1?  Here are a few of the details from the release notes.

  • Fixed several security issues.
  • Fixed several stability issues.
  • Fixed an issue where the phishing and malware database did not update on first launch.
  • Under certain circumstances, Firefox 3.0 did not properly save the SSL certificate exceptions list.
  • Updated the internal Public Suffix list.
  • In certain cases, installing Firefox 2 in the same directory in which Firefox 3 has been installed resulted in Firefox 2 being unstable. This issue was fixed as part of Firefox 2.0.0.15.
  • Fixed an issue where, when printing a selected region of content from the middle of a page, some of the output was missing (bug 433373).
  • Fixed a Linux issues where, for users on a PPP connection (dialup or DSL) Firefox always started in “Offline” mode (bug 424626).

For more information, be sure to check out the official release notes for Firefox 3.0.1 and happy browsing to all, and to all a good night day.