Internet Browser Privacy & Security Rig, Thoughts?

  dragoncat 03:07 21 Apr 2018

I'm trying to decide what to recommend to my friends and family in terms of avoiding trackers, malicious ads, fingerprinting, unnecessary data use, etc. on the internet. I am not a techie per se, but I am the most tech literate among us (God help us all lol) and I keep getting asked for advice. What should I tell people?

Personally, I've been using Epic Privacy Browser for a while, simply because it was quicker to set up than Firefox-plus-extensions-and-fiddling on my new machine. But, it is based on proprietary software (Chrome) and there are actually some extensions out there that I could stand to use that just aren't available with it (which is, of course, partly its point...)

I had a read of this click here and tried it (partly) for a friend, without using some of the things that would be more likely to get in her way, such as NoScript (which I have used before myself but damn do you know it's there...) From that, in terms of extensions, it seemed to suggest using uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, HTTPS Everywhere, Cookie AutoDelete, Random User-Agent, Canvas Defender AND Decentraleyes to cover as many bases as possible (without using NoScript or uMatrix, which I thought would get in the way too much, or BetterPrivacy which is not available). That's a lot of extensions! But it didn't seem to slow the browsing down any. I think that perhaps the speed gained in loading less crap was spent on the processing of filtering out and misdirecting the crap, so in the end the speed was about the same. I couldn't find any webpages that were broken by it in a quick surf through her bookmarks bar.

The question is, will that setup actually help her? It is a bit unique, and so relies heavily on the anti-fingerprinting plugins. And I have read things on some forums suggesting overlap between these plugins (for example, HTTPS Everywhere might be redundant even though everyone goes on about it). Also, if she adds things like the Honey extension for shopping discounts, or the OneNote web clipper, does that undo the whole exercise? Those plugins request a lot of access (although understandably for their function) to work. And one of the points of Epic Privacy Browser not allowing you to add these things is that they can poke holes in your setup.

I did go into the settings as well, although I left things like WebRTC and DRM available. I also didn't mess around in about:config, mostly due to time constraints, but also because I don't think she would be able to undo that stuff without me physically coming round and doing it for her.

Obviously Tor is better than the lot, Brave is less fingerprintable, etc... but I don't want to recommend things to people that sacrifice their enjoyment of using the web or their convenience for a whisker more protection if I could make Firefox damn good without breaking it. Or do I need to (a) protect them from themselves re: extensions, or (b) throw in the towel?

What do you guys think? Can I have my Firefox and eat it?

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