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Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-07 19:02
by Bulkley
Note: There was a thread about this a few years ago. Times and software have changed so a fresh review of options is appropriate.

Like many others I like to peruse the Internet cleanly, securely and without being pestered by advertisements and popups. I also don't like being tracked. I'm not up to anything nefarious, I just don't like being a cog in someone's data collection scheme. Consequently I use some browser extensions to assist with cleaning up the mess we find in so many Web sites and to stop the tracking. What follows are some of my findings. They are all open to criticism; there is no magic solution.

At present, I have the following extensions on Firefox. Most, if not all will work on other browsers.
BetterPrivacy to remove "super cookies" generated by Flash.
Canvas Fingerprint Blocker which disables HTML5 tracking.
HTTPS Everywhere.
Privacy Badger. This looks to be good but bears caution. Privacy Badger will deteriorate your browser experience In a nutshell, Privacy Badger doesn't know when to stop and can eventually clog up your browsing experience. True? I don't know.
Self Destructing Cookies.
uBlock Origin.
User-Agent Switcher. This is not really necessary.

I have disabled the following.
Disconnect. It seems to do much of what uBlock Origin does. Is the overlap beneficial?
µMatrix. I installed this as a mate to uBlock Origin. Immediately, Youtube and a major newspaper site failed to load.
Noscript. The closest to a single add-on fix is undoubtedly Noscript. Personally I find it too much work to be constantly tuning it for each and every site visited. What some users do is to use the Tor Browser without Tor which gives Firefox with Noscript already configured. I haven't tried it but might.

Here are some articles with suggested add-ons. They don't always agree.
Better Web Browsing
Hardening Mozilla Firefox For Privacy & Security 2016 Edition That date is important. Advice from 2009 is probably not good today.
How to stop browser tracking
a Review on Tracker and Script Blocker Extensions for Firefox

How about you?

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-07 20:04
by ruffwoof
NoScript. Ublock-origin, user-agent-override, and a large /etc/hosts file (1.3MB) ... in combination makes general browsing a pleasant enough experience for me.
User-Agent Switcher. This is not really necessary.

Attack vectors are more likely to be refined according to known systems/browser vulnerabilities ... user agent in that respect is a keeper IMO (potential hackers are more inclined to throw the wrong attacks at you), along with NoScript (otherwise easy for dubious sites to see if useragent is being used if javascript is enabled, along with a whole load of other stuff they can see/measure).

Frankly I'm not happy installing addons and would rather they were internal to each browser as they're a risk in themselves. I've never used Tor or a Tor browser but your indication that they're more self contained is an attractor for me. Thanks.

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-07 20:12
by nnm
Bulkley wrote:Privacy Badger will deteriorate your browser experience[/url] In a nutshell, Privacy Badger doesn't know when to stop and can eventually clog up your browsing experience.


unfortunately, any attempt to be anonymous will "deteriorate your browser experience". example: media simply not loading until you "disable your ad-blocker and refresh", usually with some sob story about them solely being funded by ads and what not. call me crazy, but all this shit is by design folks. to get you so frustrated and fed up you simply stop caring and say "*uck it, track me already, just load my damn page and let me get on with my life."

edit: the eff is now off the w3c committee due to the drm thing. have fun.

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-07 20:13
by Bulkley
If you follow the instructions on this page the Tor browser will function entirely in user space. The advantage is that there is no part of Tor browser in any root file. Pale Moon can also be used this way.

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-07 21:40
by HuangLao
I consider these essential:

NoScript (set to block all, then temporarily add the scripts that are needed for the site. example for youtube it only needs youtube.com script, not google, googlevideo etc...) the more you use it the easier it becomes, if a site will not work without blocking all or most scripts then I either don't use that site or I load up Tor browser....

HTTPS Everywhere

Ublock Origin (the best I've seen so far)

UnPlug (allows you to watch videos without loading scripts, great for youtube and other sites, works with most sites but not all)

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-07 23:55
by bester69
Have you seen tried Iridium?, Its oriented to organizations’ demands for privacy and security.
https://iridiumbrowser.de/#about

We think that privacy is more important than ever. We do not feel that your translations should be transparently sent to a central service which can potentially be misused. We think sending out literally anything you type is not an option. By using and recommending Iridium, you help evolve a serious alternative come true.

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-08 04:54
by debiman
^ stop recommending random chromium clones.

HuangLao wrote:NoScript (set to block all, then temporarily add the scripts that are needed for the site. example for youtube it only needs youtube.com script, not google, googlevideo etc...) the more you use it the easier it becomes...

this.
there's a learning curve, but it's worth it.
it also makes you realise how much crap they make you eat just by looking at their site.

oh and i also use passive url blocking via /etc/hosts.
this is basically the same adblock does (unfortunately without element collapsing).

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-08 20:42
by PeterB
Bulkley wrote: I like to peruse the Internet cleanly, securely and without being pestered by advertisements and popups. I also don't like being tracked.

There is a thread about the /etc/hosts fix for this here.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=129202

Regards,
Peter

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-09 03:06
by Bulkley
PeterB, thanks for the link. I have added the /etc/hosts list.
HuangLao & debiman, I'm beginning to grasp NoScript. Yes there is a learning curve.
nnm, agreed, the problem with junk is deliberate. The ads and other junk has clogged up the Net. I'm old enough to remember cruising the world with Gopher over a 9600 bit dial-up, pre-WWW. Without all the junk I could connect to libraries in Europe and Asia taking no longer than it does today. As our equipment gets more powerful and our Internet connections faster the junk piles up and slows it all down.

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-09 09:06
by Lysander
PeterB wrote:
Bulkley wrote: I like to peruse the Internet cleanly, securely and without being pestered by advertisements and popups. I also don't like being tracked.

There is a thread about the /etc/hosts fix for this here.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=129202


This was a very useful link, thank you. I'll have a go with it over the next few days.

I personally only use ublock origin and Privacy Badger. HTTPS Everywhere and Noscript have given me issues only because I haven't configured them properly. However, all this may be academic because I use Opera. I have tried to move to other browsers but I have used Opera for over ten years and am just too comfortable with it [against my better judgment]. If I were to every move on it would be to Vivaldi or maybe Chromium.

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-09 11:34
by dcihon
I have a question about using this to modify my hosts file.
I have my own mail server at home and I was modifying the hosts file for me to reach it.
This process overwrites each time it is updated.
Is there a way I can have my local server entry in the file used each time this is updated.
For example I wanted an entry similar to this:
192.168.1.21 www.mydomain.com mail.mydomain.com mydomain.com

Thanks

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-09 17:56
by debiman
dcihon, i use hostsblock which takes this into account by using a hosts.head header that will always be at the top of your /etc/hosts.

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-10 00:23
by dcihon
Thank you sir I will give that a try.

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-10 19:45
by debiman
don't "sir" me.

Re: Browser Add-ons for privacy and security

PostPosted: 2017-11-11 12:41
by dcihon
Sorry I hope you were joking.
Only out of respect.