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Pro Tips: Enhancing Chrome, Firefox, & Safari Security

In this digital age, where information moves freely throughout the web, protecting your privacy is more important than ever. Your web browser, a gateway to the vast internet world, is critical to this attempt. If you value your privacy, it's time to examine your browser settings. In this post, we'll guide you through the steps you need to take to strengthen your online defenses and keep your personal information safe. Discover the power of small changes that can make a big difference in your digital privacy.

Chrome Browser Privacy Settings to Change

Browser Privacy, Chrome

1. Enable "Do Not Track"

Location: Settings > Privacy and Security > Cookies and other site data
"Do Not Track" is a Chrome setting that informs websites that you do not want to be monitored for advertising and analytics purposes. While this isn't an impeccable measure, activating it clearly conveys that you value your privacy. Keep in mind that not all websites will comply with this request, but it's an excellent starting point.

2. Clear browsing data regularly

Location: Settings > Privacy and Security > Clear browsing data
If you use Chrome as your browser, you can easily clear your browsing data such as cookies, cached images, and site data. This is a great way to keep your online activity private and prevent websites from tracking your actions over a long period of time. You can choose to clear data from a specific time range, allowing you to control your privacy easily and effectively.

3. Disable third-party cookies

Location: Settings > Privacy and Security > Cookies and other site data
Chrome, by default, permits third-party cookies, which advertisers can use to track your online behavior across multiple websites. Consider disabling third-party cookies to improve your privacy. This action will limit advertisers' capacity to create detailed profiles of your browsing habits.

4. Use secure DNS 

Location: Settings > Privacy and Security > Security > Use secure DNS

Enabling "Use secure DNS" is an effective way to safeguard your browsing privacy. This feature encrypts domain name system (DNS) queries, preventing your internet service provider (ISP) from keeping track of the websites you visit. In addition, you can choose to use Chrome's Secure DNS service or specify a custom DNS provider to have more control over your online activity.

5. Manage site permissions

Location: Settings > Privacy and Security > Site Settings
Chrome allows you to control site permissions on a per-site basis. You may manage options such as location access, camera and microphone access, and notifications. Check and modify these permissions to ensure that websites only access the information they truly require, boosting your overall privacy.

6. Enable enhanced safe browsing

Location: Settings > Privacy and Security > Security > Enhanced protection
To enhance your protection against phishing and malware-infected websites, go to Settings > Privacy and Security > Security > Enhanced Protection in Chrome. With this feature enabled, Chrome will perform real-time checks on the websites you visit and warn you if you are about to enter a potentially harmful site.

7. Review and remove extensions

Location: Settings > Extensions
Browser extensions can be both useful and intrusive. Review your installed extensions on a regular basis and remove any that you no longer use or trust. Because some extensions may have access to your browser data, it's critical to keep this list up to date for increased privacy.

8. Control your privacy

Location: Data and privacy > Privacy Checkup
Google employs a single login account for its suite of services, housing substantial user data. Fortunately, you can take charge of this information.
Access your Google Account by visiting myaccount.google.com and logging in. Navigate to Data and Privacy, then choose Privacy Checkup. Follow the prompts to customize your preferences.

Safari Browser Privacy Settings to Change

Browser Privacy, Safari

1. Enable Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP)

ITP is a Safari feature that actively disables cross-site tracking cookies, preventing advertisers from tracking your online activity across several websites.
How to enable ITP:
  • Open Safari. 
  • Click on "Safari" in the top menu bar.
  • Select "Preferences."
  • Go to the "Privacy" tab.
Ensure that the "Prevent cross-site tracking" option is checked.

2. Block all cookies

Cookies can be used to monitor your online activity. By blocking all cookies on Safari, you reduce the amount of information that websites can collect about you.
How to block all cookies:
Follow the same steps as mentioned above to access Safari's preferences.
  • Under the "Privacy" tab, select "Block all cookies."

3. Limit website access to location services

Location data can be used for tailored advertising as well as potentially intrusive tracking. You retain more control over your privacy by blocking access to your location.
How to limit location access:
  • Navigate to Safari's preferences.
  • Click on the "Websites" tab.
  • Choose "Location" from the left sidebar.
  • Set the "When visiting other websites" option to "Deny."

Related: These Awesome Extensions Add Functionality to Your Browser

4. Disable autofill for personal information

Although autofill appears to be convenient, it can potentially store sensitive data that can be exploited if your computer is compromised.
How to disable autofill:
  • Visit Safari's Preferences.
  • Go to the "AutoFill" tab.
  • Uncheck the boxes for "Using info from my contacts" and "Usernames and passwords."

5. Customize website permissions

You can control which websites have access to your camera, microphone, and other devices by changing permissions for particular websites.
How to customize website permissions:
  • In Safari's Preferences, click on the "Websites" tab.
  • Select a specific website from the left sidebar.
  • Adjust permissions for location, camera, microphone, and other data.

6. Keep Safari updated

Using the latest version of Safari ensures that you have access to the most recent security and privacy updates.
How to update Safari:
  • On a Mac, go to the Apple menu > App Store > Updates.
  • Look for Safari updates and install them.

Firefox Browser Privacy Settings to Change

Browser Privacy, Firefox

1. Enable Enhanced Tracking Protection

The "Enhanced Tracking Protection" feature in Firefox is a powerful tool for protecting your privacy. It disables cookies and trackers from well-known advertising and analytics companies, decreasing the amount of information gathered about your online activities. To enable it, follow these steps:

  • Click on the three horizontal lines in the upper right corner to open the menu.
  • Select "Options" (or "Preferences" on macOS).
  • Go to the "Privacy & Security" tab.
  • Under "Enhanced Tracking Protection," choose "Strict" to block most trackers.

This option enhances your online privacy by preventing websites from following you around the internet.

2. Manage cookies

Cookies, as we mentioned, can be invasive. Firefox allows you to control how cookies are handled:

  • In the "Privacy & Security" tab, scroll down to the "Cookies and Site Data" section.
  • You can disable third-party cookies or configure Firefox to remove cookies when you close the browser.

Managing cookies will reduce the risk of being tracked by advertisers and other third parties.

3. Use Firefox Multi-Account Containers

tabs, firefox

Image source: Online Tech Tips

Firefox's "Multi-Account Containers" feature is a robust tool that allows you to separate your online identities. You can create different containers for different online activities like work, personal use, or shopping. This helps prevent websites from tracking your browsing behavior across containers, ensuring better privacy for you.

  • Open your Firefox browser and click the menu symbol (three horizontal lines) in the upper right corner, then select "Add-ons" from the dropdown menu.
  • Install the "Multi-Account Containers" add-on from the Firefox Add-ons store.
  • Create and customize containers to suit your needs, and assign websites to specific containers.

4. Disable Telemetry and Data Collection

Firefox collects data by default in order to improve its speed and features. To increase your privacy, you can, however, opt out of this data collection:

  • Scroll down to the "Firefox Data Collection and Use" section in the "Privacy & Security" tab.
  • Disable the data collection options by unchecking the boxes next to them.
  • Disabling unnecessary data collection ensures that Firefox doesn't send your browsing information to Mozilla.

Related: Beyond Chrome: 5 Private Browsers for Better Security

5. Enable DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH)

DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) is a privacy feature in Firefox that encrypts and protects the browser's Domain Name System (DNS) queries. Instead of transmitting these queries in plain text, which can be intercepted or monitored by third parties such as internet service providers (ISPs), the Department of Homeland Security sends them through an encrypted connection to a trusted DNS resolver. This protects user privacy by making it more difficult for anyone to eavesdrop on or control the websites users visit, improving both security and confidentiality while surfing the web.. Firefox has native DoH support:

  • Scroll down to the "Network Settings" section on the "General" menu.
  • Select "Settings" and check the box next to "Enable DNS over HTTPS."

Enabling DoH protects your privacy by encrypting the process of converting domain names to IP addresses.

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