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Firefox Hacks by Nigel McFarlane

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Chapter 2. Security

Hacks 11-21

This chapter describes how to change the default security arrangements in Firefox. Security is a big subject, and it has plenty of baggage all of its own. One person’s safety is another’s prison. One person’s privacy is another person’s isolation. Changing security options amounts to changing who you are or aren’t willing to deal with. It also amounts to deciding how much you’re willing to let third parties know when you’re browsing the Web.

When you install Firefox, the default security settings give you a safe web browser. It is quite hard to create large holes by accidentally changing options. Firefox has also been closely inspected for internal problems. As a result, the browser and its underlying Mozilla technology have an excellent security track record. Rarely is a new security problem uncovered. When that happens, it is usually fixed within a day. The Firefox Update Manager informs you of new security patches, if any are made available.

If you don’t care about security at all, you can simply remove many of the hurdles that Firefox puts in your way. Security is a complex matter, though. Sometimes, doing away with security means just that: leaving the browser’s resources open to any exploitation. Some security regimes, however, don’t give you that option. In such cases, the best you can do is reply “I don’t care” every time you’re engaged over security. There are even rare cases in which there’s nothing at all that you can do to escape security ...

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