Securing Your Browser

Your browser is your gateway to the internet in most cases, and therefore is worth securing properly. Generally speaking, on the user end, most of them operate roughly the same, so it's worth making the switch if one can offer you significantly more privacy or security.

Currently Chrome is the favorite browser of most frequent internet users, but I would argue this is a mistake. Chrome is very fast and secure, but it's basically just spyware. Instead, you can get almost identical speeds and security with a massive improvement in privacy by switching to Firefox. In this section, I'm going to walk you through some setting changes and plugins you can set up in Firefox to improve your privacy and security.

Settings

Start by going to Options. On the first tab, “Options,” scroll all the way to the bottom where it says “Network Settings.” Open these by clicking the gray “Settings” button, scroll to the bottom, and check the box that says “Enable DNS over HTTPS," then choose "NextDNS" if the option is available (Cloudflare is fine if not). Click “Okay” then go down to the "Search" tab on the left. Under "Default Search Engine," select "DuckDuckGo," then unclick "Provide search suggestions." I also recommend removing all the other search engines listed under "One-Click Search Engines." Please resist the urge to stick with Google search as a default, Google is one of the top privacy offenders and they will collect and store all your searches and use them to build a profile about you.

Next visit the “Privacy & Security” tab on the left. The first section is “Enhanced Tracking Protection.” Click the third option, “Custom,” and set Cookies to “All third-party cookies,” set Tracking content to “In all windows,” and turn on Cryptominers and Fingerprinters. Finally, type “about:config” in the address bar, click “Accept the Risk and Continue,” then type “esni” in the search bar. Only one option should appear, “network.security.esni.enabled.” Make sure this is set to “true” (if it is not, you can change that simply by double clicking it), and close that tab.

Plugins

Now for the plugins. Start with HTTPS Everywhere, which is a plugin that forces websites to use secure connections whenever possible. Once it finishes installing, click on it and enable “Encrypt All Sites Elligible.” You can still access insecure sites with this setting enabled, but it’ll bring up a big warning page first, which allows you to make the decision over whether or not it’s worth the risk. Over 87% of the internet uses HTTPS, so this warning page should be very rare.

Next install AdNauseum, a powerful ad-blocker that not only blocks adds, but will also click on them behind the scenes, which causes data collection to think you're interested in things you really aren't, which makes your marketing profile useless and costs advertisers money. Ads may seem like a minor inconvenience to you, but actually misleading ads are a common method of delivering malware and tracking, so it’s best just to block them altogether (and it makes your browsing experience much more pleasant). Once installed, open the plugin and open the settings. Be sure to enable "Hide Ads," "Click Ads," and "Block Malware." Under "Click Ads," set it to Always and check "Don't click non-tracking Ads." Under "Extra Privacy" on the same page, click "Prevent WebRTC from leaking local IP addresses." Now click on the tab “Filter lists” and enable everything under “Essentials,” “Annoyances,” “Malware,” “Annoyances,” and "Other."

The final plugin we're going to install is called Privacy Badger. We're only going to make two easy adjustments to the settings here, which we can access by clicking on the plugin and clicking the gear icon in the top right corner. On the "General Settings" page, enable "Prevent WebRTC from leaking local IP address" and "Learn in Private/Incognito windows." That's it. We're done, we've created a reasonably secure browser, and to top it off, this concludes the "Most Important" section of the book/site. If you've done all this, you can rest easy knowing you've made yourself a fairly difficult target to compromise digitally and moved yourself into the top tier of private and secure internet users.

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