A recent exposure detected that Chrome and Chromium browsers down a “hotword” binary blob from the web which allows listening to microphone input of the user without her knowledge or consent. If you are not using a security-oriented browser like Tor or disabling JS everywhere this is a potential threat. Local Load is a Firefox extension that tries to reduce the chances. Continue reading Local Load: load JS libraries from local resource
We explored uBlock, one of the most promising ad-blockers for webbrowsers, in an earlier article. However, there has been a recent fallout among the developers leading to a fork of the original project. Continue reading The uBlock Origin vs. uBlock show
We explored vimb browser with vim like controls recently. A new extension, pterosaur brings vim editing capabilities to Firefox browser’s text fields. Once you install the extension, you can use any vim shortcut you use for editing text in vim. Continue reading pterosaur: edit Firefox text fields like vim
If you are not aware of it already, Adblock Plus is one of the most resource intensive browser add-ons out there. Yet many of use it to stop annoying ads, flash etc. uBlock is a new bowser add-on that brings to you the functionality of Adblock Plus, only at the cost of lesser resources. There are other alternatives like Disconnect and Privacy Badger but none of them are as light as uBlock.
uBlock is not just an ad blocker, it is a generl purpose blocker which uses lists like EasyList to block websites. EasyList, Peter Lowe’s Adservers, EasyPrivacy are enabled in uBlock by default. It also supports hosts files. There is an advanced user mode which allows more fine-grained control on the extension like dynamic filtering, which works like a firewall with custom rules.
From the authors performance analysis results, uBlock uses lesser RAM than Adguard, AdBlock and Adblock Plus, much lesser processing and blocking count better than all (second only to Ghostery) these three.
The author advices not too use any other blocker along with uBlock as uBlock can handle things better than all of them.
uBlock is available for Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari. It also works great on Yandex Browser which I am using.
While Firefox continues its research to fork each process as a separate tab, a new extension named Priv8 adds the support for running sandboxed tabs in the popular browser. In one of our earlier articles we explored Firejail which runs Firefox in a sandboxed environment. Priv8 takes it to the next level.
A sandbox tab is unrelated to any other tab and you can open multiple accounts of the same service using it. A sandbox is created by adding a domain to it. The procedure is similar to adding a new site to speed dial. The user can select a distinct colour for the sandbox URL on the tab. A sandboxed tab data is persistent across browser sessions.
Firejail is a restricted sandbox primarily for running browsers (but works with any other program). Downloading unverified binaries is particularly dangerous. Rogue binaries may harm the system themselves or open up channels for an adversary to access the system. Though Linux is known to be less prone to virus and malware attacks, it’s always advisable not to compromise in terms of security. Firewall, antivirus software are recommended. Firejail reduces the risk of security breaches by using Linux Namespaces, a virtualization technology available in Linux kernel. It allows a process and all its descendants to have their own private view of the globally shared kernel resources, such as the network stack, process table, mount table, IPC space.
Firejail is implemented in C and needs only the libc and posix threads libraries which are available by default on any Linux system. The main features are:
- Linux namespaces support: mount, UTS, IPC, PID, network
- Process separation
- Filesystem support: local filesystem mounted read-only, chroot filesystem, and overlay filesystem
- Support for running multiple sandboxes on top of the same filesystem
- Server sandboxing
- GUI application sandboxing
- User login session sandboxing
- Private mode
- Filesystem security profile support; default security profiles for Firefox, Midori and Evince
- Bash, zsh and csh shell support
- Seccomp support
- Linux capabilities support
- Extensive networking support
- Extensive monitoring support
- and more…
Firejail can be compiled easily on any Linux platform. Or download packages from here.
$ firejail firefox OR $ firejail program_name
FireSSH is a cool Firefox extension that you can use to connect to a remote SSH server directly from your browser. It runs wherever Firefox runs. Quite handy when you want to stay anonymous (e.g. behind a proxy) and don’t want to connect to external servers using a desktop client which may reveal your online identity.
For Google Chrome a similar extension is Secure Shell.
If you want to change your Firefox proxy on the fly specifically for a website or for a session, try the Hola Unblocker extension for Firefox. It has some excellent features:
- Doesn’t slow down browsing, even speeds up in specific cases
- Secure and enhances online privacy
- Access and use easily from the Firefox toolbar shortcut
- Choose a proxy from any country
- Multiple ways to choose proxy address
- Free of cost
Webpage: Hola Unblocker
Here are some of the Firefox extensions I use(d) regularly:
- Adblock Plus: Blocks annoying ads.
- AddThis: Post pages to various sites and services like Gmail, WordPress, Facebook from the context menu.
- Auto Shutdown NG: Fine tune what to do after download is complete and you are not available.
- ChmFox: View CHM files in Firefox.
- Copy Plain Text: Copy text from a page as plain text without formatting.
- FDV Speed Dial: Saves a lot of typing. Can create dial images from default site images instead of site previews.
- Flashblock: Stops flash videos from streaming automatically.
- InstantFox: Address bar shortcuts and suggestions.
- New Old Menu: Return to the old menus of Firefox.
- QuickDrag: Extremely useful. Drag and open an image or a link in a separate tab.
- Resurrect Pages: Get server-cached pages when a site is down.
- Side Tabs: Place tabs in a sidebar. Great for widescreen laptops.
- United States English Spellchecker: Detects spelling mistakes in typing.