Tag Archives | cookies

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.

5 Ways to use Firefox to Filter the Web

firefox-safety We are always talking about adding features to Firefox, what about for those people who would like to take them away?  Better yet, how about adding features that let you take other features away?  Ok, now I am even confusing myself. 

Firefox has some great add-ons to use when it comes to blocking, filtering or checking out the sometimes shady information that may be passing through it.

LeechBlock – This extension is much more for saving you from looking at random stupid links when you should be working.  If you can not keep yourself focused, you may need to add this to your own Firefox install.

Flashblock – Tired of seeing the offers to punch President Bush, the Pope or any other important person to win an iPod?  The Flashblock add-on has your back as it will block all flash until it is told not to.

Adblock Plus – How could you not love Adblock Plus?  Filter out the ads you don’t want to see – and automatically subscribe to filters so you don’t waste time setting these things up yourself.  Not to mention, I did interview the creator of the script a few months back (very awesome guy!).

NoScript – NoScript allow JavaScript, Java and other executable content to run only from sites you trust.  Some feel it is better to browse the Web this way to make sure you don’t get bit by something nasty by randomly surfing through pages.

CookieSafe – This extension will allow you to easily control cookie permissions. It will appear on your statusbar. Just click on the icon to allow, block, or temporarily allow the site to set cookies.

Know of another blocking or filtering tool that does a better job?

When a Greasemonkey Goes Bad

Like many of the rest of you out there, I love hacking around with web sites and adding functionality to Firefox by plugging in a few Greasemonkey scripts.  Do you know what to watch out for when Greasemonkey scripts go bad?  You have probably seen the warning up on UserScripts.org but I wanted to touch base to let you know what you should be looking for.

The main problem is that people are writing scripts that steal your cookie.  With your cookie, they can grab other information such as your login and other sensitive information.  They say these are two things you should search any script for before installing:

.php?cookie=

and

encodeURIComponent(document.cookie)

For more tips on how to stay on the safe side, I would recommend reading through this thread via the UserScripts.org forums.  It has a lot of handy information if you install and uninstall a lot of Greasemonkey scripts.

CookiePie – Multiple Cookies for the Same Site

I know of several people out there that have multiple profiles for the same web site. For example, if Tom wanted to be able to have two different e-mail accounts at Gmail instead of one. Before you would have to use multiple browsers or do the logout and login dance to check them both. CookiePie looks to allow you to manage multiple cookies in one browser window.

The CookiePie extension enables you to maintain different cookies storage in different tabs and windows. To give you a better idea of what that would look like in action the creators of the extension have put together a video of CookiePie in action.

All in all, I would say this extension looks very promising for those who need to do multiple logins to the same service with little to no problems at all. If you are interested, I would encourage you all to check out the official site for the extension so you can learn more about what CoookiePie could do for you.

Greasemonkey Security Issues

Greasemonkey Security Issues?Well, this is one of those security issues that everybody always knew was there – but the community usually did a good job at policing it themselves to where it did not become an issue. It looks like somebody has been creating and uploading Greasemonkey scripts that steal your cookies. Since your cookies store a lot of information about you – you can see this is a kind of big deal here.

Here is the post that got my attention on UserScripts.org:

Someone has been attempting to post scripts that steal cookies. Thanks to several alert us.o citizens (including davey, descriptor, loucypher, joel h, pogue) we have been able to note that the script is malicious and then delete them.

I’m putting up a banner to warn people that newly uploaded/updated scripts should be put under extra scrutiny.

I’ve also decreased the cache duration of rss feeds to 10 minutes, so if you keep an eye on http://userscripts.org/feeds/recent_scripts it will be a lot fresher than normal (it was cached for an hour)

So yes, everybody should be extra careful when downloading scripts like this – even if it is from a trusted source. I am happy to see the UserScripts.org team moved so quickly on this though. That makes me feel a lot better about my continued use of their Firefox extension.

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

Don’t Track Me!

Track Me NotHey I see you, walking down the street – keeping your eye on me. Don’t think that I am not on to your little tricks, because I know exactly what you are doing. You are tracking me aren’t you?

If you have found yourself in the same boat I am in right now you might want to pick up the TrackMeNot extension for Firefox. Not sure what its about? Here is how the creators explain it:

TrackMeNot is a lightweight browser extension that helps protect web searchers from surveillance and data-profiling by search engines. It does so not by means of concealment or encryption (i.e. covering one’s tracks), but instead, paradoxically, by the opposite strategy: noise and obfuscation.

You can learn more about TrackMeNot via the official web site as well. This is a great tool for not just the paranoid among us but the folks that want to stay protected as well.

Hide Surfing Trails with Distrust

Distrust for FirefoxFeeling a little paranoid these days?

If people are peeking over your shoulder or watching what you are doing you might need a little help to feel like you are staying secure. I have a Firefox extension in my vanilla colored top secret folder that I am ready to pass under the proverbial desk right to you.

So what is the Distrust extension for Firefox all about?

Distrust is a Firefox extension that came to fill the need to privacy on your computer. Distrust aims to create a silent browsing experience which means that the browser should leave the computer as it was when browsing began.

If keeping things secret is the name of the game, this extension will help you keep things private. Other features include:

  • Disable the cache. (Both regular and SSL)
  • Set the cookies to live until the end of the session.
  • Clean up the history from item that were added after it was activated.
  • Clean up the downloaded items, from the download manager, that were added after it was activated.

Swap Your Cookies

CookieSwap is an extension that enables you to maintain numerous sets or “profiles” of cookies that you can quickly swap between while browsing. if you have more than one person using your version of Firefox, this extension makes switching between folks almost painless.

After it is installed, you can select who’s cookies you would like to use in the bottom section of the Firefox browser window. If you design web sites, you can setup numerous cookie profiles to look like different types of users and swap between those users quickly and easily to test your site in numerous modes.

+ Download and Install the CookieSwap Extension for Firefox!

Edit Your Cookies

Don’t toss your cookies – edit them!

This is a neat extension for Firefox. It allows you to edit your cookies that are stored in your Web browser to allow you to add or delete information from them. Cookie setting set in preferences/options take priority over the changes applied by this cookie editor.

For example, if you set an option to have your cookies to expire at the end of session, you won’t be able to change the expiration date on cookies using the editor. Feed your cookie editing needs!

+ Download and Install the Add N Edit Cookies Extension for Firefox!

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.

If there are times you want to surf the web without leaving a trace in your local computer, then this is the right extension for you. What it does is temporarily disable the following:

  • Browsing History (also in Address bar)
  • Cookies
  • Downloaded Files History
  • Disk Cache
  • Saved Form Information
  • Sending of ReferrerHeader

+ Learn More About the Stealther Extension for Firefox!