Improve Firefox Security

10 Jul 2013 13:48
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As long as browser security is concerned, Mozilla Firefox works slightly different than Internet Explorer. In Firefox there is nothing like Security Zones and Digital Signatures; unlike Internet Explorer. It doesn’t mean Firefox has compromised in the user security and privacy. Some of its security features are designed in a different way.

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In this article we’ll review the Firefox security features and know different ways to improve Firefox security.

Reviewing Firefox Security:

1. No Digital Signatures
2. Absence of ActiveX
3. Anti-Phishing & Anti-Malware Feature
4. Open Source Code- Pros & Cons
5. Using Third Party Security Plug-Ins
6. Set the Master Password

No Digital Signatures

There is nothing like Digital Signature in Firefox. A program manager at Microsoft pointed this out as a serious flaw. However the developers of Firefox felt no need to introduce Digital Signatures because of existence of many fraudulent Digital Signatures. Another reason is that anyone can obtain a Digital Signatures by paying an amount of money. Does it guarantee complete security of the software? No, it doesn’t.

Absence of ActiveX

ActiveX are part of Internet Explorer which let the user run small application programs and download scripts to his computer. This causes a security risk, if you run applications or download scripts from untrusted sources.

Firefox compromises with the performance in order to provide better security. There is absence of ActiveX in the browser as a fix to this vulnerability. Hence it won’t run malicious software or download malicious scripts. As long as ActiveX security holes are concerned, it gives no chance for vulnerabilities. Obviously, it won’t let you run genuine small applications or download safe scripts either. This is a good change to improve
Firefox security.

Anti-Phishing & Anti-Malware Feature

The web browser comes with an anti-phishing and anti-malware feature. Whenever you visit a website that installs a Trojan horse or spyware, the website is automatically blocked and prevented from doing so. A warning message appears telling the website is not safe to visit.

Open Source Code- Pros & Cons

Mozilla Firefox is an open source web browser. Anyone could have access to application code. When it comes to security, there are pros and cons of being an open source application.

Cons

Hackers can easily get access to Firefox source code. They may use security vulnerabilities and bugs for malicious purpose.

Pros

The good news is that many people who have access to the source code are interested in finding and fixing the bugs. Many experts have already fixed several security bugs that enhanced browser security and privacy. The developers have already announced a prize of $500 along with a t-shirt for anyone who successfully spots a program bug.

Using Third Party Security Plug-Ins

Firefox is customizable. It supports third party plug-ins which may enhance browser security. There are many plug-ins available which provide more security features, enhance user privacy and security. Download a plug-in to improve Firefox security.
Some of them are listed below:

1. BetterPrivacy:
As the name describes, the plug-in is related to user privacy. It blows away Local Shared Objects (LSOs), advertisers and cookies left behind by websites, Adobe Flash applications and videos.

2. NoScript:
This plug-in offers an interesting feature that prevents attacks on your system. It only permits trusted domains to run JavaScripts and blocks malicious functions occurring behind the scene.

3. HideBad:
This plug-in offers a button which lets you quickly close all tabs. It has more importance in the system security because whenever you see a website downloading malicious files automatically, you can use the button to exit. This fulfils security needs of beginner to advance users.

Set the Master Password

As default, anyone who has access to your computer (either physically or virtually) can log-in to the websites where you have saved the user name and password. This causes a great security threat to the personal information stored online. Anyone who has physical or virtual access to your computer can log-in to your Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo and other accounts provided that the password was saved in the browser database.

Firefox has come with a solution- Master Password. Now specify a single Master Password in order to protect other saved passwords in the list. In this way, you have to enter the Master Password at the first time in your session for better security and safety. Those who don’t have access to your Master Password can’t retrieve other saved passwords nor log-in to your web accounts.

Specify a Master Password to improve Firefox security. Here are the steps for you:

1. Open Mozilla Firefox.
2. Click the Firefox button on the left hand side of your screen.
3. Select Options.
4. Options dialog opens.
5. Click the Security tab.
6. Under Passwords category, check-up the box “Use a master password”.
7. Specify a good strength Master Password that no one can guess or retrieve. Click OK and restart your session.

Recommended: Increase Firefox Security with Privacy Scanner Reginout

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