~/

Firefox Hardening Guide

Update: 06 November 2022


Table of Contents


Introduction

When you visit a web page, your browser voluntarily sends information about its configuration, such as available fonts, browser type, and add-ons. If this combination of information is unique, it may be possible to identify and track you without using cookies. For more information on Browser Fingerprinting check out these sources:

How Unique Is Your Web Browser? Peter Eckersley, EFF.

Support Mozilla - Firefox’s protection against fingerprinting

What is browser fingerprinting? - amiunique.org

In the area of cybersecurity the “100% secure setup” does not exist, what you can do though, is reduce the amount of data collected by entities like Google, Meta, Cloudflare etc. and reduce attack vectors.

Backup and create Firefox profile

Before changing the configuration, you should make a backup of the default profile, or create a new profile to be used with the new settings.

To back up your profile, first close Firefox if it is open and then copy the default profile folder to another location, for example on Linux the profile folder is:

~/.mozilla/firefox/xxxxxxxx.default

when “xxxxxxxx” is the ID of your profile.

See: Back up and restore information in Firefox profiles

For create new profiles see: Create, remove or switch Firefox profiles also, see Multiple profiles and Containers section.

Firefox Preferences

Search Preferences

  • Go to Search:

    • Default Search Engine: select DuckDuckGo

    • Search Shortcuts: select DuckDuckGo, remove Google, Bing, eBay, Amazon, Wikipedia search engines

Notes:

about:config

The parameters are divided into “Sections” and are indicated with the format option = value for the sake of clarity (and also because you can easily copy the values into about:config :)). Anyway, You can use the file user.js to set all the parameters automatically at Firefox startup.

Sections:

  • StartUp Settings
  • Geolocation
  • Language / Locale
  • Auto-updates / Recommendations
  • Telemetry
  • Studies
  • Crash Reports
  • Captive Portal Detection / Network Checks
  • Safe Browsing
  • Network: DNS, Proxy, IPv6
  • Search Bar: Suggestions, Autofill
  • Passwords
  • Disk Cache / Memory
  • HTTPS / SSL/TLS / OSCP / CERTS
  • Headers / Referers
  • Audio/Video: WebRTC, WebGL, DRM
  • Downloads
  • Cookies
  • UI Features
  • Extensions
  • Shutdown Settings
  • Fingerprinting (RFP)

On the search bar digit: about:config and set the parameters as follows:

StartUp Settings

  • Disable about:config warning:

    browser.aboutConfig.showWarning = false

  • Set startup home page:
    • 0 = blank
    • 1 = home
    • 2 = last visited page
    • 3 = resume previous session

    browser.startup.page = 1

    browser.startup.homepage = "about:home"

  • Disable Activity Stream on new windows and tab pages:

    browser.newtabpage.enabled = false

    browser.newtab.preload = false

    browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.telemetry = false

    browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.telemetry = false

    browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.snippets = false

    browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.section.topstories = false

    browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.section.highlights.includePocket = false

    browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.showSponsored = false

    browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.feeds.discoverystreamfeed = false

    browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.showSponsoredTopSites = false

    browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.default.sites = ""

Geolocation

  • Use Mozilla geolocation service instead of Google if permission is granted:

    geo.provider.network.url = "https://location.services.mozilla.com/v1/geolocate?key=%MOZILLA_API_KEY%"

  • Disable using the OS’s geolocation service:

    geo.provider.ms-windows-location = false [Windows]

    geo.provider.use_corelocation = false [macOS]

    geo.provider.use_gpsd = false [Linux]

    geo.provider.use_geoclue = false [Linux]

  • Disable region updates:

    browser.region.network.url = ""

    browser.region.update.enabled = false

Language / Locale

  • Set language for displaying web pages:

    intl.accept_languages = "en-US, en"

    javascript.use_us_english_locale = true [HIDDEN PREF]

Auto-updates / Recommendations

  • Disable auto-installing Firefox updates:

    app.update.background.scheduling.enabled = false [Windows]

    app.update.auto = false [Non-Windows]

  • Disable addons recommendations (uses Google Analytics):

    extensions.getAddons.showPane = false [HIDDEN PREF]

    extensions.htmlaboutaddons.recommendations.enabled = false

Telemetry

  • Disable telemetry:

    datareporting.policy.dataSubmissionEnabled = false

    datareporting.healthreport.uploadEnabled = false

    toolkit.telemetry.enabled = false [Default: false]

    toolkit.telemetry.unified = false

    toolkit.telemetry.server = "data:,"

    toolkit.telemetry.archive.enabled = false

    toolkit.telemetry.newProfilePing.enabled = false

    toolkit.telemetry.shutdownPingSender.enabled = false

    toolkit.telemetry.updatePing.enabled = false

    toolkit.telemetry.bhrPing.enabled = false

    toolkit.telemetry.firstShutdownPing.enabled = false

    toolkit.telemetry.coverage.opt-out = true [HIDDEN PREF]

    toolkit.coverage.opt-out = true [HIDDEN PREF]

    toolkit.coverage.endpoint.base = ""

    browser.ping-centre.telemetry = false

    beacon.enabled = false

Studies

  • Disable studies:

    app.shield.optoutstudies.enabled = false

  • Disable Normandy/Shield:

    app.normandy.enabled = false

    app.normandy.api_url = ""

Crash Reports

  • Disable crash reports:

    breakpad.reportURL = ""

    browser.tabs.crashReporting.sendReport = false

Captive Portal Detection / Network Checks

  • Disable captive portal detection:

    captivedetect.canonicalURL = ""

    network.captive-portal-service.enabled = false

  • Disable network connections checks:

    network.connectivity-service.enabled = false

Safe Browsing

  • Disable safe browsing service:

    browser.safebrowsing.malware.enabled = false

    browser.safebrowsing.phishing.enabled = false

  • Disable list of blocked URI:

    browser.safebrowsing.blockedURIs.enabled = false

  • Disable fetch of updates:

    browser.safebrowsing.provider.google4.gethashURL = ""

    browser.safebrowsing.provider.google4.updateURL = ""

    browser.safebrowsing.provider.google.gethashURL = ""

    browser.safebrowsing.provider.google.updateURL = ""

  • Disable checks for downloads:

    browser.safebrowsing.downloads.enabled = false

    browser.safebrowsing.downloads.remote.enabled = false

    browser.safebrowsing.downloads.remote.url = ""

  • Disable checks for unwanted software:

    browser.safebrowsing.downloads.remote.block_potentially_unwanted = false

    browser.safebrowsing.downloads.remote.block_uncommon = false

  • Disable bypasses the block of safe browsing with a click for current session:

    browser.safebrowsing.allowOverride = false

Network: DNS, Proxy, IPv6

  • Disable link prefetching:

    network.prefetch-next = false

  • Disable DNS prefetching:

    network.dns.disablePrefetch = true

  • Disable predictor:

    network.predictor.enabled = false

  • Disable link-mouseover opening connection to linked server:

    network.http.speculative-parallel-limit = 0

  • Disable mousedown speculative connections on bookmarks and history:

    browser.places.speculativeConnect.enabled = false

  • Disable IPv6:

    network.dns.disableIPv6 = true

  • Disable GIO protocols as a potential proxy bypass vectors:

    network.gio.supported-protocols = "" [HIDDEN PREF]

  • Disable using UNC (Uniform Naming Convention) paths (prevent proxy bypass):

    network.file.disable_unc_paths = true [HIDDEN PREF]

  • Remove special permissions for certain mozilla domains:

    permissions.manager.defaultsUrl = ""

  • Use Punycode in Internationalized Domain Names to eliminate possible spoofing:

    network.IDN_show_punycode = true

Search Bar: Suggestions, Autofill

  • Disable search suggestions:

    browser.search.suggest.enabled = false

    browser.urlbar.suggest.searches = false

  • Disable location bar domain guessing:

    browser.fixup.alternate.enabled = false

  • Display all parts of the url in the bar:

    browser.urlbar.trimURLs = false

  • Disable location bar making speculative connections:

    browser.urlbar.speculativeConnect.enabled = false

  • Disable form autofill:

    browser.formfill.enable = false

    extensions.formautofill.addresses.enabled = false

    extensions.formautofill.available = "off"

    extensions.formautofill.creditCards.available = false

    extensions.formautofill.creditCards.enabled = false

    extensions.formautofill.heuristics.enabled = false

  • Disable location bar contextual suggestions:

    browser.urlbar.quicksuggest.scenario = "history"

    browser.urlbar.quicksuggest.enabled = false

    browser.urlbar.suggest.quicksuggest.nonsponsored = false

    browser.urlbar.suggest.quicksuggest.sponsored = false

Passwords

  • Disable saving passwords:

    signon.rememberSignons = false

  • Disable autofill login and passwords:

    signon.autofillForms = false

  • Disable formless login capture for Password Manager:

    signon.formlessCapture.enabled = false

  • Hardens against potential credentials phishing:

    • 0 = don’t allow sub-resources to open HTTP authentication credentials dialogs
    • 1 = don’t allow cross-origin sub-resources to open HTTP authentication credentials dialogs
    • 2 = allow sub-resources to open HTTP authentication credentials dialogs (default)

    network.auth.subresource-http-auth-allow = 1

Disk Cache / Memory

  • Disable disk cache:

    browser.cache.disk.enable = false

  • Disable storing extra session data:
    • 0 = everywhere
    • 1 = unencrypted sites
    • 2 = nowhere

    browser.sessionstore.privacy_level = 2

  • Disable resuming session from crash:

    browser.sessionstore.resume_from_crash = false

  • Disable page thumbnail collection

    browser.pagethumbnails.capturing_disabled = true [HIDDEN PREF]

  • Delete temporary files opened with external apps:

    browser.helperApps.deleteTempFileOnExit = true

HTTPS / SSL/TLS / OSCP / CERTS

  • Enable HTTPS-Only mode in all windows:

    dom.security.https_only_mode = true

  • Disable sending HTTP request for checking HTTPS support by the server:

    dom.security.https_only_mode_send_http_background_request = false

  • Display advanced information on Insecure Connection warning pages:

    browser.xul.error_pages.expert_bad_cert = true

  • Disable TLS1.3 0-RTT (round-trip time):

    security.tls.enable_0rtt_data = false

  • Set OCSP to terminate the connection when a CA isn’t validate:

    security.OCSP.require = true

  • Disable SHA-1 certificates:

    security.pki.sha1_enforcement_level = 1

  • Enable strict pinning (PKP (Public Key Pinning)):
    • 0 = disabled
    • 1 = allow user MiTM (i.e. your Antivirus)
    • 2 = strict

    security.cert_pinning.enforcement_level = 2

  • Enable CRLite
    • 0 = disabled
    • 1 = consult CRLite but only collect telemetry (default)
    • 2 = consult CRLite and enforce both “Revoked” and “Not Revoked” results
    • 3 = consult CRLite and enforce “Not Revoked” results, but defer to OCSP for “Revoked”

    security.remote_settings.crlite_filters.enabled = true

    security.pki.crlite_mode = 2

Headers / Referers

  • Control when to send a referer:
    • 0 = always (default)
    • 1 = only if base domains match
    • 2 = only if hosts match

    network.http.referer.XOriginPolicy = 2

  • Control the amount of information to send:
    • 0 = send full URI (default): https://example.com:8888/foo/bar.html?id=1234
    • 1 = scheme+host+port+path: https://example.com:8888/foo/bar.html
    • 2 = scheme+host+port: https://example.com:8888

    network.http.referer.XOriginTrimmingPolicy = 2

Audio/Video: WebRTC, WebGL, DRM

  • Disable WebRTC:

    media.peerconnection.enabled = false

  • Force WebRTC inside the proxy:

    media.peerconnection.ice.proxy_only_if_behind_proxy = true

  • Force a single network interface for ICE candidates generation:

    media.peerconnection.ice.default_address_only = true

  • Force exclusion of private IPs from ICE candidates:

    media.peerconnection.ice.no_host = true

  • Disable WebGL (Web Graphics Library):

    webgl.disabled = true

  • Disable autoplay of HTML5 media:
    • 0 = allow all
    • 1 = block non-muted media (default)
    • 5 = block all

    media.autoplay.default = 5

  • Disable DRM Content: media.eme.enabled = false

Downloads

  • Always ask you where to save files:

    browser.download.useDownloadDir = false

  • Disable adding downloads to system’s “recent documents” list:

    browser.download.manager.addToRecentDocs = false

Cookies

  • Enable ETP (Enhanced Tracking Protection), ETP strict mode enables Total Cookie Protection (TCP):

    browser.contentblocking.category = "strict"

  • Enable state partitioning of service workers:

    privacy.partition.serviceWorkers = true

  • Enable APS (Always Partitioning Storage)

    privacy.partition.always_partition_third_party_non_cookie_storage = true

    privacy.partition.always_partition_third_party_non_cookie_storage.exempt_sessionstorage = true

UI Features

  • Block popup windows:

    dom.disable_open_during_load = true

  • Limit events that can cause a popup:

    dom.popup_allowed_events = click dblclick mousedown pointerdown

  • Disable Pocket extension:

    extensions.pocket.enabled = false

  • Disable Screenshots extension:

    extensions.Screenshots.disabled = true

  • Disable PDJFS scripting:

    pdfjs.enableScripting = false

  • Enable Containers and show the UI settings:

    privacy.userContext.enabled = true

    privacy.userContext.enabled = true

Extensions

  • Set extensions to work on restricted domains, and their scopeis to “profile+applications”:

    extensions.enabledScopes = 5 [HIDDEN PREF]

    extensions.webextensions.restrictedDomains = ""

  • Display always the installation prompt:

    extensions.postDownloadThirdPartyPrompt = false

Shutdown Settings

  • Clear history, cookies and site data when Firefox closes:

    network.cookie.lifetimePolicy = 2

    privacy.sanitize.sanitizeOnShutdown = true

    privacy.clearOnShutdown.cache = true

    privacy.clearOnShutdown.cookies = true

    privacy.clearOnShutdown.downloads = true

    privacy.clearOnShutdown.formdata = true

    privacy.clearOnShutdown.history = true

    privacy.clearOnShutdown.offlineApps = true

    privacy.clearOnShutdown.sessions = true

    privacy.clearOnShutdown.sitesettings = false

    privacy.sanitize.timeSpan = 0

Fingerprinting (RFP)

  • Enable RFP:

    privacy.resistFingerprinting = true

  • Set new window size rounding max values:

    privacy.window.maxInnerWidth = 1600

    privacy.window.maxInnerHeight = 900

  • Disable mozAddonManager Web API:

    privacy.resistFingerprinting.block_mozAddonManager = true [Hidden pref]

  • Disable using system colors:

    browser.display.use_system_colors = false [Default: false [Non-Windows]]

  • Disable showing about:blank page when possible at startup

    browser.startup.blankWindow = false

  • Disable using system colors:

    browser.display.use_system_colors = false [Default: false [Non-Windows]]

user.js

If you want (is recommended), you can use the user.js file with the settings of this guide or with your preferred settings, it is recommended to create a new profile for this purpose. Before using the file check the entries and modify/add them according to your preferences, don’t copy/paste without know what you are doing.

Download the user.js template from my GitHub gist, note that this user.js is configured for Linux systems, so if you use Windows or macOS edit, comment/uncomment the relevant entries according to the instructions listed above.

More information about Firefox user.js:

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin

  • Install uBlock Origin:

    Click on Add to Firefox

  • Open the plugin settings:

    Click the icon to the right of the search bar then select Open the dashboard

  • Enable additional blocklists:

    In the dashboard select Filter lists, this is my lists selection (you can select your favorite ones):

My uBlock Origin blocklists:

* Built-in:
    * All checked

* Ads:
    * EasyList

* Privacy:
    * AdGuard URL Tracking Protection
    * EasyPrivacy

* Malware Domains:
    * Online Malicious URL Blocklist
    * Phishing URL Blocklist

* Annoyances:
    * Anti-Facebook
    * Fanboy's Annoyance

* Multipurpose:
    * Peter Lowe's Ad and tracking server list

For more information about uBlock usage see the Wiki on GitHub, check the Blocking mode: Medium mode, is very powerful :).

DoH (DNS over HTTPS)

DNS-over-HTTPS, DNS-over-TLS, and DNSCrypt resolvers will not make you anonymous. Using Anonymized DNSCrypt hides only your DNS traffic from your Internet Service Provider. However, using any of these protocols will prevent DNS hijacking, and make your DNS requests harder for third parties to eavesdrop on and tamper with. For more information about DNS and DoH see: Wikipedia - DNS over HTTPS

If you want to set DoH on Firefox:

Go to Edit -> Settings -> General -> Network Settings, click on Settings, select Enable DNS over HTTPS, in Use Provider window, select Custom and insert your DoH provider.

Multiple profiles and Containers

A good practice is to use multiple profiles for different purposes, e.g. (work, streaming, personal, finance), read here how to manage profiles in Firefox.

In the latest versions of Firefox you can create Containers, Firefox Multi-Account Containers lets you keep parts of your online life separated into color-coded tabs that preserve your privacy. Cookies are separated by container, allowing you to use the web with multiple identities or accounts simultaneously.

Browser Leak Tests

There are come resources where you can test your browser to see how unique it is:

https://coveryourtracks.eff.org/

https://www.amiunique.org/

https://browserleaks.com/

https://arkenfox.github.io/TZP/tzp.html

Recommendations:

Take this guide as a starting point and learn about the meaning of the various options, configuring Firefox parameters is a fairly complex topic. Although I do my best so that there are not, there may be errors or inaccuracies in this guide, so don’t blindly copy/paste, and if you find something wrong I invite you to contact me to fix the problem. Your security depends not only on technical countermeasures, but also on how you behave online, so search for information, compare them, and think with you head.


Resources:

Thank you guys for your awesome work!