firefox security software tips

secure online banking with firefox

When it comes to doing your banking business online I don’t like taking chances. If your Myspace account gets hacked, or someone posts dirty messages on your Twitter feed that can be annoying, but if someone manages to hack into your online banking account you enter a world of pain.

Banking companies spend tons of cash securing their web sites of course, but it only takes a small mistake somewhere along the line to allow bad people to access your hard earned money. So to make sure that the black hats don’t get any favours I’ve created a super-tight Firefox profile that I only use for online banking.

So how does this “Banking Fox” work?
Well, first you create a new profile called Banking for example by starting Firefox with the -ProfileManager command line parameter.
Next you create a new Firefox shortcut somewhere with the command line parameters -p Banking (or whatever you called your profile). You might also want to add the -no-remote parameter to that. That one makes it possible to run the banking-firefox next to your trusty old surfy-firefox.
To sum it all up, you’ll probably end up with something like this:

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -p Banking -no-remote

Using that brand new shortcut you should be getting the default Firefox layout again, with the Mozilla welcome page. If you’re seeing any customisations you’ve made in your default session, like bookmarks, you’re doing it wrong! Well, you probably didn’t close your previous session (like because you where reading this magnificent post). So to use the new one, you need to close all Firefox instances first. After fully reading this post of course…

Now that we have a profile to use, it’s time to dive into the settings, and make it as secure as possible. Here’s the ones I’ve changed:

On the privacy tab:

  • Keep history for 0 days: no sniffing my browser history kthx!
  • Don’t remember stuff I enter in form.
  • Don’t remember my downloads.
  • I don’t accept cookies from any sites, except my online banking sites.
  • Always clear private data when I close Firefox (and don’t ask either).
    That’s all private data, so be sure to check all those check boxes in the settings window.

On the security tab:

  • Do not remember passwords for sites.
    That’s one I turn off for all sessions btw. It just doesn’t feel like a smart idea.

So if in any way you’re browsing a website that managed to force feed you with some nasty sort of trojan which your anti-virus software doesn’t yet know about, there’s little chance it will manage to figure out your online banking info from your Firefox profile data.
Which is nice.

Photo by Earl G, cc-licensed

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