How to Secure Your Firefox Browser

Stay safe while browsing the web

Firefox is a secure browser and is the basis of the privacy-focused Tor Browser. Depending on the level of security you want, you'll need to put in some work to lock down Firefox. The configuration is a breeze, so it doesn't take long to get the secure browser you want. To get started, follow these Firefox security best practices.

Enable Do Not Track

The first and most basic thing you can do is enable the Firefox built-in Do Not Track protection. Do Not Track is good, but it's not foolproof. Many sites, including the malicious ones, ignore it. Still, it's a good thing to have enabled by default.

  1. Open Firefox, then select the main menu icon in the upper-right corner of the screen.

    The Firefox More menu
  2. Select Preferences.

    Firefox with the Preferences option highlighted
  3. Go to the left panel and choose Privacy & Security.

    Privacy & Security in Firefox settings
  4. In the Send websites a "Do Not Track" signal section, select Always.

    The Always setting for Do Not Track

Increase Your Tracking Protection

The latest versions of Firefox include built-in tracking protection. The standard protection provided by Firefox is good, but you can take it a step further.

  1. Go to the main menu and select Preferences.

  2. Go to the Privacy & Security tab, then scroll to the Enhanced Tracking Protection section. Firefox is set to Standard protection by default.

    Firefox tracking protection
  3. If you want more control, scroll down and select Custom. The Cookies, Tracking content, Cryptominers, and Fingerprinters check boxes are selected by default. Leave these selected.

  4. Select the Cookies drop-down arrow, then choose All third-party cookies.

    This option warns you that some sites may break, but this is a rare occurrence.

    The Block all third-party cookies option
  5. Select the Tracking content drop-down arrow, then choose In all windows.

    In All Windows setting for Tracking Content

Install Add-Ons

In the past, malicious add-ons were used to target Firefox. Now, there are fantastic security add-ons that make a difference in keeping the browser safe.

  1. Open the main menu and select Add-ons.

    The Add-ons options
  2. From the Add-ons Manager page, go to the Find more add-ons box and enter HTTPS Everywhere.

    The Add-Ons search bar
  3. In the Search results section, select HTTPS Everywhere.

    Firefox add-on search results
  4. In the HTTPS Everywhere section, select Add to Firefox.

    The Add to Firefox button
  5. When prompted to confirm the add-on install, select Add.

    The Add button
  6. Firefox installs HTTPS Everywhere. The add-on redirects to the encrypted version of a website automatically, if one is available.

There are other recommended add-ons you can install to protect yourself. The process is the same as shown above. Repeat the steps for each of the following add-ons:

  • Privacy Badger: Privacy Badger monitors the sites you browse for any that appear to be tracking you and blocks those sites.
  • uBlock Origin: uBlock Origin is a powerful adblocker add-on.
  • NoScript: NoScript prevents the browser from running potentially malicious JavaScript.
  • Cookie AutoDelete: Cookie AutoDelete automatically deletes the cookies stored from the browsing tab as soon as you close it.
  • Decentraleyes: Decentraleyes prevents tracking through content delivery networks (CDN).

Enable Containers

Firefox container tabs compartmentalize your browsing to keep cookies and trackers from following you between sites. This feature is built by Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, and helps contain invasive sites.

Firefox Facebook Container add-on page

Change Your Search

Firefox gives you a choice of search engines. If you don't like the default search engine, here's how to change it:

  1. Open the main menu and select Preferences.

    Firefox with the Preferences option highlighted
  2. Go to the left panel and select Search.

    The Search tab
  3. Scroll down to Default Search Engine and select the drop-down menu to choose a new search engine. Of the default options, DuckDuckGo is the most secure and private.

    Default Search Engine options in Firefox

After you set a default search engine, your searches through the address bar and new tabs go through that search engine. There are other options that you can get through add-ons. A couple of good options are:

  • Startpage: A private search engine that doesn't track you.
  • Ecosia: A moderately private engine that uses its profits to plant trees.