Secure your browsing with Firefox

If you haven’t read the previous post of this series, I suggest you do. If you have done that, or you are already a Firefox fan, then read on to know more on securing your browsing on firefox.

One of the major aspects of firefox is its extensibility, which is possible by the use of addons. Addons are either themes, plugins, or extensions. While themes enhance the appearance of the browser, plugins enable viewing of certain types of content from within the browser, such as flash and videos. However, extensions improve the functionality of the browser. Choosing the right extensions can effectively improve your online browsing experience.

The top five must have firefox extensions:

1. NoScript

NoScript is the best security extension that firefox has got till date. It works by blocking all scripts from ‘unknown’ websites. Once the page is loaded, you can allow or permanently block scripts on that website. You can also allow scripts to run temporarily for the current firefox session. This extension also blocks Java applets, flash and silverlight objects on the page. With a wide range of options to configure from, this is a must-have extension for all firefox users.

2. Adblock Plus

As the name suggests, this versatile extension blocks all the annoying ads on the webpages. All kinds of ads such as textlinks, banners, rotating images and video ads are blocked. You can also add a subscription list which is updated with all new ad loaders. Thus, once installed, Adbock Plus saves you the distractions arising from the adverts.

*This extension must be taken with a pinch of salt. Though it sounds all pretty and nice, you may lose out on good deals, and links to better websites. I suggest using it selectively for different websites.

3. DownThemAll!

The ultimate download helper extension for firefox. It is the best because, it does all the work of a commercial download manager program and the best part is that it works from within firefox. It splits the files upto 10 chunks and downloads them simultaneously thereby increasing download speeds.

*Did I mention that it works for links as well? 😉

4. Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer

Are you one among those who browse the internet at several places? Home, Office, Laptop, etc? Imagine having to maintain a separate list of bookmarks at each browser! Foxmarks helps to overcome this problem by synchronizing the bookmarks between the ones on your system with the ones on the server. All you need is sign-up for an account (or you could also use your own FTP server) and foxmarks maintains a global bookmarks list on the server which is updated every time you add a new bookmark. Hence wherever you log on to the internet from, your bookmark list will be intact.

*This extension has saved my bookmarks several times when there were browser crashes, and I have no need to make backups while I’m reinstalling my OS. 🙂

5. StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is an amazing extension that helps you ‘stumble upon’ webpages based upon your interests. This is one of the long standing extensions in the history of firefox and is awesome fun and very useful when you are searching for something specific.

*I have elaborated upon how to acquire StumbleUpon in one of my previous posts, take a look for complete instructions.

The next part of the series, will contain information on more utility addons which are particulary useful and help you browse the internet with ease.

Two Interesting news clips..

How to Lose Control Over Your Computer After Watching Porn

OK, so you’re watching porn. Nobody blames you for that but you might become a porn hater after visiting one of the websites described in the following lines. Yes, I know, it may sound impossible for many of you but read this: a pornographic website can seriously damage users’ computers and steal their money. How? It’s simple. It seems like some adult websites are inviting the consumers to a three-days trial to access the material published on the website. The only requirement is the software provided by the service which must be downloaded and installed on the computer. No problem until this point, no infection, no threat.

After the free trial, the disaster begins. According to Seth Purdy of McAfee, the software installed on the system requires the user to subscribe for an additional 90 days period for a price of approximately $80. Since some of the consumers might refuse to do so, they are attacked with numerous popups asking for subscription. No problem, you might say, I close them and that’s it. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you but that’s not possible. The popups remain on top of other windows and can’t be resized, closed or moved.

The interesting fact is that the danger raised by the popups is even mentioned in the Terms of Conditions displayed on the website but avoided by most consumers since they are not opened before the download is started.

“If You choose to ignore the payment reminders and do not pay the Membership Fee, You hereby understand and acknowledge that the prompt reminders may become more frequent and that You may lose the ability to use Your computer until You have submitted payment. The payment reminders will be active while your computer is online or offline,” one paragraph reads according to the McAfee official.

Want Porn? Install Google Pack!

Let’s suppose you’re browsing a website and you see an invitation to view a free porn clip (naughty but let’s admit it, it happens…). What are you doing? You click on it and try to load the movie. But what if an error pops-up and tells you that a proper codec was not found and you’re advised to install Google Pack? So, what do you want to do now? You install Google Pack because you want to view the pornographic clip. Sex sells, no matter whether it attracts you directly or through Google Pack. That’s right, Google Pack is only a way to bring money to the owner of the page who discovered a simple, smart and malicious way to earn money.

Alex Eckelberry wrote on the Sunbelt Blog that some website owners are inviting consumers to download Google Pack in order to view a porn movie. In case you don’t know, webmasters can easily earn money by implementing Google products referrals into their pages and, once a user installs a software, the publisher receives a certain amount of money. But the Mountain View company strictly prohibits this kind of trick to attract users and the websites should be banned very soon.

“In this case, one can assume it pays as well or better to push this legitimate application as it is to push malware (I’m sure that these folks would be pushing malware if the money was there, as it’s all about money). Intriguing that Google’s high affiliate commissions are in competition with malware,” the Sunbelt official wrote.

Sure, installing Google Pack is pretty useful because it contains numerous software solutions such as Google Earth, Norton Security Scan, Google Desktop, Adobe Reader, Skype, StarOffice and many other utilities. But from inviting users to download Google Pack because it’s useful to luring them to download it for watching a porn movie there is Google’s terms which strictly prohibit these kinds of activities.

“Google has been contacted about this rogue affiliate and I expect the affiliate will be down very rapidly — Google’s responses on these matters are very rapid,” Alex Eckelberry added.

Courtesy: Softpedia