Between Mozilla adding more “features” to Firefox, and malicious scripts on websites, we have been recommending the following changes and add-ons to Firefox users.
Please note that these are only suggestions; if you disagree with something, you don’t have to do it (but we would love to hear why in the comments)! We are not going to go into detail about how great each plugin is – we expect that you will exercise due diligence before using anything described in this post.
To get rid of the “recommendations” and ads inside Firefox new tabs, click the gear on the top right, and select “Classic” or “blank.”
Unless you have visited this before, you will see a prompt with a statement that you should be careful when editing anything.
loop.enabled and set to “false” by double-clicking.
Reason: Firefox Hello uses Tokbox, which is owned by Telefónica Digital, a subsidiary of Telefónica (a Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider). We do not appreciate an ISP service being integrated into the web browser. This should be a plugin, not a core feature.
Added June 2, 2015
browser.pocket.enabled and set to “false” by double-clicking.
Reason: Pocket is a proprietary “save it for later” page reader that has replaced Firefox’s “Reading List” feature. It is yet another closed-source integration that should have been a plugin. It requires a 3rd-party login (including Firefox account). An open source alternative to Pocket is Wallabag.
Google Safe Browsing
browser.safebrowsing.*enabled and set all to false by double-clicking.
Note: Some of this can also be turned off by navigating to
Menu -> Options -> Security (or clicking here) and ensuring “Block reported web forgeries” and “Block reported attack sites” are un-checked.
Reason: This is the “Google Safe browsing” extension. While many might find this useful, we do not like the pages we visit being sent back to Google. Turning this off can be perceived as making your browser less secure, so make sure that you are careful what links you click. uBlock, NoScript and Ghostery pick up some of the slack in helping prevent malicious attacks.
Each Scoundrel has their own preference in which add-ons they use. Here is the list of add-ons that we all agree are useful.
HTTPS Everywhere – “HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure. ”
NoScript Security Suite – “Allow active content to run only from sites you trust, and protect yourself against XSS and Clickjacking attacks.”
uBlock – “An efficient blocker: easy on memory and CPU footprint, and yet can load and enforce thousands more filters than other popular blockers out there.”
Ghostery – “See who’s tracking your web browsing and block them with Ghostery.”
uBlock Note: Make sure to go to
Menu -> Add-ons and click on uBlock
Options, and scroll down and click
Show Dashboard to customize. Alternatively, you can visit this link.