Mozilla Firefox has an army of dedicated fans. This is not surprising: the browser has established itself as reliable, fast, and most importantly, easily extensible with the help of many plugins. Among them – a whole set of tools to improve anonymity and privacy. They allow you to turn the “Fire Fox” into a powerful secure browser that will block user tracking. In this article, we’ll look at the most interesting ones.
Of course, nothing prevents you from downloading Tor Browser , which, by the way, is itself based on Firefox, or installing one of the protected browsers . But if you are already accustomed to Firefox as a comfortable house slipper, you have carefully kept links in the “Chosen” since the days of Windows XP, and in general are not inclined to change, extensions created by independent developers will come to the rescue. With their help, you can block tracking from Internet resources, change geolocation data, modify the browser’s “fingerprint”, and also do many other cool and useful things.
This is probably one of the most famous plugins for Firefox designed to combat surveillance by blocking and falsifying data collected by various tracking scripts. Privacy Possum prevents the acceptance of cookies, blocks HTTP headers
referrer also distorts the browser fingerprint, which makes fingerprinting difficult.
Sites can track a user not only using cookies, but also thanks to the so-called browser fingerprint. Moreover, in addition to the data of the browser itself (such as User Agent), the “fingerprint” includes information about the version and bitness of the OS, screen resolution and other parameters of the hardware and software configuration of the machine transmitted to the outside. Such a “fingerprint”, of course, is not unique, but with a certain degree of reliability it allows the user to be identified.
The plugin has no advanced settings: you can enable or disable it, and on the configuration page, disable automatic updates and allow it to run in a private window.
After installing Privacy Possum, I was extremely curious what the Panopticlick test, which we used last time to check for protected browsers , would say about its performance . The test showed that the plugin really blocks cookies and ad trackers, and using the Webkay website, we found out that when the extension is enabled, the browser leaves much less information about itself than without it – in fact, besides the IP address, only the processor’s capacity leaked out, OS version and Firefox itself. The result, frankly, is quite at the level of some Comodo Dragon.
Another plugin that “breaks” the fingerprinting mechanism by altering data sent to remote servers, including changing HTTP headers. The lilac-scarlet background of the settings page with an orange tint, as it were, hints to us that the add-on authors do not like to joke – everything is serious here!
This plugin is designed to combat search query tracking. Each user knows from his own bitter experience: it is enough to search the Internet for a shovel once, and the next week you will admire advertising for rakes, hoes and even motor-cultivators. This phenomenon is countered by TrackMeNot by sending randomized queries to search engines that make their electronic brains boil and melt. This plugin has more settings, but all of them, in general, are simple and straightforward.
Here you can, for example, enable or disable
burst mode– sending requests specifically to the search engine in which the user is looking for something at the moment, select the search engines used from the list or add your own there. Other settings include the frequency of sending requests and logging, which can be disabled if desired. The plugin is translated into six languages, but there is no Russian among them.
This addon protects against CDN tracking by sending many requests to public CDN services like YandexCDN, GHL, MaxCDN. Like any useful invention, CDN benefits not only ordinary users, but also merchants who want to know as much as possible about these very users, and better – everything.
CDN (Content Delivery Network), or content delivery (and distribution) network, is a distributed hardware and software infrastructure that accelerates the delivery of content to end users. Physically, this is implemented as follows: identical content is placed on several geographically dispersed servers in order to reduce the waiting time and data loading when accessing such a server. The same system, as a rule, uses scripts for collecting statistics and monitoring attendance, which can serve to track users.
Blocking and spoofing CDN requests can break some sites, so the plugin substitutes local files instead of downloaded from the network where necessary. The extension is also not rich in settings, but on the configuration page you can add domains to the whitelist – and no CDN filtering will be applied to them.
The name of this addon speaks for itself: it allows you to threaten the South Central, sitting somewhere in Mytishchi, that is, to change the geolocation in Firefox.
By default, the plugin offers to use the historic district of Greenwich in London as the current location, but if you wish, you can set any coordinates in the settings by moving somewhere in Soho. To do this, you need to enter the desired latitude and longitude and, if necessary, specify other parameters for the geolocation API. Obviously, the plugin will not help in the fight against algorithms that determine the user’s location by IP address, but it is capable of deceiving all other sites.
Quite a simple but extremely useful plugin that forces the browser to force HTTPS on when connecting to sites that support it, even if you typed a prefix in the address bar
http. After installing the extension, an icon appears in the Firefox toolbar, by clicking on which you can deactivate the plugin, enable or disable forced blocking of unencrypted HTTP requests, and add the site opened in the browser to the list of exclusions by pressing one button. Quite a useful tool for everyone who cares about their own safety.
A well-known, very popular and highly demanded plugin that allows you to add a feature to Firefox, similar to the advertised VPN in Opera. You just specify the address and port of any free proxy server in the addon settings, after which you can enable or disable it with one click – and all blocked Internet resources become available again as if by magic.
FoxyProxy supports several proxy servers at once, so you can quickly switch between them if any service from the list suddenly falls off. For greater convenience, the add-on allows you to import previously created settings or a previously prepared proxy list, as well as export it for transfer to another computer. Many server types are supported: HTTP, HTTPS, SOCKS 5 and 4, WPAD and PAC URL – there is plenty to choose from. All in all, this plugin is a must-have for every Firefox user. If you haven’t installed it yet, hurry up to correct this omission.
It is known that it is scripts that are most often the main reason for the leakage of confidential data in the browser and violation of privacy. In the Tor Browser, the NoScript mode is available out of the box, in Firefox it can be enabled by installing the plugin of the same name.
The extension divides all sites into three categories – “default”, “trusted” and “untrusted”. For the first category, it is allowed to execute only some of the most “safe” types of scripts, everything is allowed to trusted ones, and scripts on untrusted sites are, accordingly, under a total ban. You can edit the lists and move the site from one category to another on the tab
Per-Site Permissions in the plugin settings window. Since the NoScript mode quite often breaks the structure of web pages, by pressing one button in the Firefox toolbar, you can temporarily disable the add-on for the current site or immediately add it to the trusted ones. As in the previous case, NoScript supports import and export of settings, which allows you to quickly transfer them from one system to another.
Block Origin and Matrix
Two plugins from one developer, the first of which is for blocking ads, and the second for intercepting and blocking browser requests. The uBlock Origin extension has a huge number of settings, which are not so easy to deal with on the fly.
Here you can set the types of content to be blocked and change the display of statistics, edit filter lists, create your own filters and filtering rules. In the settings, you can create a whitelist of domains to which content filtering will not be applied, as well as import rules and settings from another computer.
The uMatrix plugin is configured in the same way – the user can edit the rules for filtering requests, the black list of domains to be blocked, and a number of privacy settings. Among them – automatic deletion of blocked and session cookies, clearing the contents of the local storage of the browser at specified intervals, blocking all attempts to audit hyperlinks, prohibiting the download of mixed content from web pages simultaneously via HTTP and HTTPS, and some others.
Of course, to understand the parameters of these add-ons, you will have to spend some time. But it’s worth it: if set up correctly, you won’t need any other ad blockers or content filters.
Google search link fix
This is a simple plugin that blocks the collection of statistics about clicks on links in Google search results. Install it if you do not want to send information about the search results that interest you to the “Corporation of Good”. Or use Yandex.
An addon from the Firefox developers aimed at targeting Facebook. It blocks the collection of user data by this social network not only within Facebook itself, but also on all affiliated sites, including Instagram and Messenger. In addition, the Facebook Like and Share buttons on any web page track that you visited that page, even if you did not click them – provided that you are logged into the social network. Facebook Container blocks this activity and removes spy buttons from web pages.
Use this plugin if you don’t want to share your web surfing history with Mark Zuckerberg and send him information about your online activity.
And that’s not all
Undoubtedly, this list of plugins is far from complete – if you want, you can find many other free Firefox extensions that will make your browser even more secure and take care of your privacy. We have considered only the most famous of them, which can satisfy most of the needs of even the most sophisticated user. We will be glad if you share your interesting finds in the comments.