Detox-Comic

Firefox with NOSCRIPT

Summary

There is no such thing as a completely secure web browser, but runing Mozilla's Firefox with the NOSCRIPT plugin comes close.

Why Firefox with NOSCRIPT

Mozilla's Firefox is a popular browser and Mozilla have been quick to address security issues over the years making it a popular browser within the computer security industry. Combined with the NOSCRIPT plugin, Firefox is made even more secure by giving you control over what can run within the browser window for every web site you visit.

Installing Firefox

Download the latest version of Firefox from Mozilla ( http://www.mozilla-europe.org/en/firefox/ ) and run the installer.

I like to chose the Custom option when installing as it allows me to choose what I want installing and how. I also say no to any bundled toolbars or add-ons that installers may try to sneak past you.

Once installed I change a few settings in Options, selected from the Tools menu:

  • Under Privacy I chose never to remember history
  • Under Security I chose never to remember passwords for sites
  • Under Advanced then Update I select ask me what to do when new updates are available.

Installing NOSCRIPT

Next install NOSCRIPT ( http://noscript.net/ ) by clicking the INSTALL button on the web site. You may need to click an allow button if you get a popup or yellow bar at the top of the web page. Once the Firefox add-on is installed you will need to restart Firefox in order to active the NOSCRIPT plugin.

How NOSCRIPT works

NOSCRIPT works by preventing scripts and third party content from running by default on any web page that you visit.

When you visit a web page for the first time (after installing NOSCRIPT) it brings up a control bar at the bottom of the web page. From the button you can see all the web sites that are providing scripts and content just for the current web page that you are using. You can choose to allow everything to run always or only this time, or you can select which sites can run content in your browser individually, and this also can be set for always or just for this session.

NOSCRIPT therefore gives you control over the content that is displayed in your web browser that can potentially be dangerous.

Using Firefox with NOSCRIPT

As you surf each day you will become used to teaching NOSCRIPT which sites to trust and which to block. NOSCRIPT will remember your answers but you can always select the forbid option to untrust a particular web site if you ever change your mind. You can do this from the NOSCRIPT icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your web browser window.

Summary

In my opinion the NOSCRIPT add-on when combined with Mozilla's Firefox web browser makes Firefox one of the most secure web browsers available today as it gives you more control over what can and cannot run scripts and content in your web browser.

In fact it's amazing just being able to see all the sites that are actually running scripts and content in your browser when you visit each site! Without NOSCRIPT they would run by default without your permission and you would be none the wiser.

So until someone creates a more secure web browser I highly recommend using Firefox and NOSCRIPT.

If you have any feedback regarding this article, or you have a suggestion for a new article, or just want to say thanks for the info then feel free to drop me an email at dave@detoxcomic.com.

Article date: 28th January 2011

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