Firefox Security Basics

For those of you using Mozilla Firefox or Safari as your primary browser(s), give yourselves a pat on the back. Far more secure, responsive and leaner than Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari are the two top browsers available for any system. Since the Mozilla team just released the 1.5 beta version, today I’m going to focus on setting up Firefox for a basically secure browser. Surprisingly few of the security settings are by default in a secure mode, but this also makes the browser easier to use. If all the settings were locked down, it would be like opening a bank vault every time you wanted to go outside. My personal security settings are like a deadbolt on your front door–less secure than the bank vault, but easier to use on a daily basis. Your personal settings may change as you delve deeper into security particulars.
For now, I’ll start with where these settings are found: they are located in the Preferences menu under “File” in the Menu Bar when Firefox is running. Opening the Preferences brings up a window with icons “General,” and “Privacy.” Clicking on “Privacy” brings up a row of tabs, one of which is Cookies. This tab allows sites to set or be denied cookies with better customization than either Safari or Internet Explorer. My personal settings consist of allowing sites to set cookies, but for the originating site only, and unless I have removed cookies set by the site before. I also select “Keep Cookies: Until I close Firefox” which allows the sites to set temporary cookies for use at financial institutions or the like, then securely delete them afterwards. It is functional, and even though it leaves a short trail, the trail is deleted soon afterward. Closing your browser is always a good way to close that trail after going to a sensitive site like your bank anyway, so once in the habit, Firefox will help keep your computer secure and clean.