Tag Archives: Firefox

3 steps to install DNScrypt to improve your privacy – Ubuntu version

Also if you use OpenDNS to improve your standard of privacy, you are not protected by “last mile” dangers but you can boost your security installing DNScrypt on your digital device. DNScrypt “works by encrypting all DNS traffic between the user and OpenDNS, preventing any spying, spoofing or man-in-the-middle attacks”.

DNScrypt “is a protocol that authenticates communications between a DNS client and a DNS resolver” and it “is not a replacement for a VPN, as it only authenticates DNS traffic, and doesn’t prevent “DNS leaks”, or third-party DNS resolvers from logging your activity”.

For this reason you have to be conscious that DNScrpt is just a -very good- improvement of your privacy but not the definitive solution to all your privacy concerns.

DNScrypt is so versatile that you can install it on every kind of device you prefer. In fact it is possible to download DNScrypt for servers, IOS, OSX, Android, Windows and Linux computers (DNScrypt-proxy version). Obviously the installation and setup will vary a little depending the OS you installed on your device.

Concept-Skyscraper-Feeds-on-Air-Pollution-Uses-It-to-Grow-433607-2

Image from softpedia.com

Here we are talking about DNScrypt installation on Ubuntu.

For this purpose I suggest to use the Terminal that allows you to install DNScrypt i just 3 steps:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:anton+/dnscrypt
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install dnscrypt-proxy

Last but not least, you need to interface the Internet traffic of your computer through the DNScrypt-proxy. For this reason you have to Edit your Network Configuration and add the address 127.0.0.2 to the “DNS Servers” line as for the below screenshot:

DNSCrypt

Now you can start DNScrypt just typing:

sudo dnscrypt-proxy -R opendns -a 127.0.0.2:53 -u okturtles

Where, in my specific case, okturtles is the name of the remote DNS resolver I decided to use. I chose that specific risolver from the list I found into into my computer after DNScrypt-proxy installation:

/usr/share/dnscrypt-proxy/dnscrypt-resolvers.csv

As usual in similar situations, you may want to spend another couple of minutes to configure your computer to start DNScrypt at the computer boot. Open the Session and Startup manager through the desktop Dash and Add this specific command to the Application Autostart menu:

sudo dnscrypt-proxy -R opendns -a 127.0.0.2:53 -u dnscrypt

HTML5 Privacy Matters: DOM Storage. How to solve it in only 2 steps!

Recently I started an online course that was created using the Google Course Builder.

After I registered the course I was not able to access it because “my browser didn’t allow the web storage” and, for this reason, a message informed me that it would be necessary to use a up-to-date browser as Chrome or Firefox.

The only problem is that I always use Firefox. Obviously a “particular” version of Firefox where I also added a bunch of different add-ons to enhance the privacy protection level of my navigation and, for this reason, the Google course was not available for me.

Normally I would have decided to quit the course because I prefer not to modify my Firefox configuration after I spent so much time searching the best add-ons to preserve a minimum of privacy.  But, in this case, I really wanted to attend the course and so I decided to manually operate on the Firefox configuration to “solve” the problem and allow Google to keep all the information it would have considered as essential.

This is the list of what I did:

– open Firefox and type:

about:config

in the address bar.

– search for:

dom.storage.enabled

and change its configuration from “false” to “true” double-clicking on it.

After this fast change in the Firefox’s configuration menu I was able to attend the Google course but….. I am conscious that my privacy is a little bit less protected because now Google can store up to 5 MB of content on my browser. In fact, before HTML 5 we were used to “cookies” and we were able to “manage” (better: erase) them also if, as the LSO Flash cookies, they were more persistent than usual. Moreover in the old html times, the space available for cookies on your local browser was 4 KB (yes… KB) but now, in the Html 5 era, a single website can easily manage and permanently store till 5 MB on your browser. And this is the reason why I decided to protect my privacy disabling the DOM Storage on Firefox and this is also the reason because I will disable DOM Storage as soon as I complete the Google course…
DOM STORAGE
If you are not a simple user but you prefer to directly and consciously operate on the Firefox configuration to improve your privacy level, you would read this interesting post by BestVPN.
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References:

Protect your Privacy: use a Self-destructing, single-use File Sharing Service

encryption-100410129-primary-idge

Image from infoworld.com

If you need to share a confidential file to one of your colleague and you have not enough time to manually encrypt the file before uploading it to a you may consider to use securesha.re.

This online service let you to share a file through its online service encrypting it before it is uploaded to the securesha.re servers.

DevStash.io uses a 128-bit client-side AES encryption through a SSL protocol. This website automatically offers a 40 charaters long, randomly generated password that can be changed by user if he/she prefers to use its own passphrase.

Moreover securesha.re keep the file reachable in a long, random URL to decrease that files could be discovered through a brute force search.

Last but not least, this website let you delete the uploaded file after a pre-defined amount of time or/and after a pre-defined number of views. The default configuration allows just one view and an automatic deleting after seven days but the views can be extended till 10 and the amount of days reduced to just 1 day.

Personally I normally prefer to encrypt files by myself before sharing them online but I will keep securesha.re in mind in the case I need to share a file and I have not my laptop with me.

Online Speech to Text Recognition

radio64It’s fast, it’s immediate and it lets you to write an email or a text in a while, anywhere you are. When you use a mobile, you need to find the right app. For my experience the universal app for this doesn’t exist. It depends on the model of the mobile in general and in particular on the type of the installed microphone. This means you need to test different apps to fins a suitable solution for your specific needs. But usually it doesn’t keep much time.

When you are at home or for more complex works that need to be directly edited on a PC, you usually cannot use any Android app and so you need a similar tool. This is my case.

If you google it, you will find different solutions. Some of them are desktop software that can be installed and settled up in a reasonable time (usually few hours). These software are really accurate and have many tools that allow you to develop complex texts typing just few keys to refine some inaccuracies. The “problem” is represented by their cost that, for some products, is high (… certainly, we are talking about few bucks…). 

Instead, a good solution could be the online -speech to text- tools offered by different websites. They are usually free but you need to be obviously connected to the web if you want to use them. 

Furthermore the text results generated by these on line tools are connected with the particular model of microphone you installed into your PC. Also in this situation you can find enthusiastic reviews for an on line tool that is completely ineffective for you. And as for Android apps you need to spend some hours to discover what is the best online tool for your needs. Last but not least to use them you need to authorized Flash (sic! yes the nosey Flash…) for managing your audio hardware.

In my experience, after some tests, the best sites offering  -speech to text- tools are four:

  • Speechlogger that is really simple to use and the most versatile as for exporting the “written” text but it works just on the Chrome Browser (version 25 or later) and this is a big limitation when you are fond of Firefox:
  • TalkTyper that is also complete and it is supported by different browser (Firefox included);
  • Dictation that is very minimalist as web graphics but it really does what it promises in every browser…;
  • SpeechPad that  is very complete but it requires a free registration to use the -speech to text- feature. There are two big features offered by this website. The first is about that it has a good grade of recognition for speeches in Russian. The second feature is represented by the possibility of using an audio file or an url redirecting to audio files and/or video (but only for YouTube or HTML5audio/video).

Some of the above described websites have a large selection of different languages you can be interested to use. Others have a narrow choice of languages but for the accuracy of the -speech to text- work, could really be what you are looking for.

So, to conclude, if you need a -speech to text- online tool, you have just to invest some hours to find the right website for your needs. When you will start to use these kind of online tools you save a lot of time that before you spent for typing.

A small collection of Firefox add-ons you can install to improve (a little bit) your privacy – Part 4

What about a “simple” antivirus or a firewall for Firefox? No, a specific antivirus doesn’t exist as add-on for Firefox but an effective firewall could be installed anyway: Bluhell Firewall. Bluhell  is a good firewall with specific features that allow you to better protect your privacy. In fact this add-on is able to firewall all nasty web resources. The big difference between Bluhell and others similar add-ons is that you cannot configure anything. It simply tries to do all the works for you filtering web traffic through seven different predefined rules. At the beginning I was skeptic about the fact I couldn’t personally configure the firewall but when I tested it I was delighted by the results. It is really effective and light so my navigation remains smooth and fast but with a better level of protection for my privacy.

uBlock  is similar to Bluhell Firewall and seems (as for my personal experience) to be a little more “slow” than its concurrent Bluhell Firewall but has the indisputable advantage that you can decide many of its functions. Moreover it is a more classic web filter and you can really decide what to block in a detailed way. uBlock seems to need less hardware consumption  than AdBlocker. About its efficiency I can say that this add-on is not bad and it appears to be really efficient (perhaps more than other more famous…).

Priv8  is a specific sandbox that independently manage one or more Tab. It was built to allow multiple GMail accounts in the same browser when Goole didn’t allow it yet. Now is still a good add-on if we want to visit some websites that we consider not safe. The barrier between the sandboxed tab and the other parts of the browser is not impassable but it is not bad for some common risks. This because the attack will remain finite to that specific Tab preventing an instant reading of cookies and other sensible information you are managing (and, sic!…, temporary saving) in the other Tabs.

Don’t forget that at the end of your navigation it is useful to clean all the temporary files and the Flash LSO (local Shared Objects) stored by your browser.

If you decided to not protect yourself by Flash or if you needed to use it anyway it’s better to wipe common cookies and risky LSO and cookies.

To solve the LSO problem you have a couple of good choices. The first is Eraser , a specific add-on that clean your system everytime you want. It is simple to use and very fast so, for beginners, could improve privacy without headaches.

But if you want a better LSO protection Click&Clean  is what you are looking for. This add-on is really configurable and it allows to automatically run also external Shell Commands and/or applications as Bleach Bit and Computer Janitor. In few words it is effective, fast and user-friendly (highly recommended…).

For more general purposes, AskForSanitize  is another useful tool you may prefer if you want to select what to clean when Firefox is closing down. Usually I prefer to select all the possible options and I am not very interested to “save” anything of my navigation but the fact that a window appears after I close Firefox is a good reminder that my browser is really doing what I want. It could appear silly but the AskForSanitize window reassure me…  

If you want to add a little bit of more security I suggest to install Secure Sanitizer. This add-on has more or less the same features of AskForSanitize but it does the same using (if you choose this particular option) a “US DoD 5220″ three steps wiping. The result is, as obvious, a more accurate cleaning and consequently a more difficult data restoring if you lose possession of your PC and third parties want to know more about your navigation.

To be continued! …with other tips about Firefox add-ons….

Link

The Ultimate Guide to Making Firefox Faster

A small collection of Firefox add-ons you can install to improve (a little bit) your privacy – Part 2

I already described the privacy concerns related to Flash files in the my last post about Firefox add-ons and privacy. Today I want to talk about some interesting Firefox add-ons that could be helpful to reduce privacy risks during Internet navigation.

The first add-on is Flash Control  that “controls as and when to display the Flash player and the HTML5 player”. Another similar add-on is Flashblock  that does not allow Flash player to send information about your computer until you will decide to allow it. Personally I prefer Flash Control that is very intuitive and you decide when and what to watch just clicking on the Flash icon in the middle of the player. 

But, if you are a purist and you want to be able to control not only Flash player but also Javascript, SilverLight, images and proxies, QuickJava is what you are looking for. QuickJava is intuitive, easy to control and really effective.

In fact, you must not  underestimate Javascripts that are dangerous too if you think that they are equally able to remotely discover many information about your Ip, User-Agent, Architecture, OS Language, System Time, Screen Resolution. Statistically, when you have all these details, you have semi-unique fingerprints of the computer… and so someone could be also able to  know who are you. For this reason an add-on as Disable WebRTC is recommended because it blocks JavaScripts to access your local IP(s), without any user prompt.

References:

https://discourse.mozilla-community.org/t/support-flash-control/2479

http://flashblock.mozdev.org/ 

http://quickjavaplugin.blogspot.com/ 

https://addons.mozilla.org/it/firefox/addon/happy-bonobo-disable-webrtc/?src=api