Paranoia’l activity Pt.1 – Basic browser privacy

A word about Paranoia’l activity blog series:

We are living in a world where; information is considered as gold, where there is no respect for privacy. Our digital lives are being haunted by  data breaches, privacy invasions and Govt. funded mass communication monitoring systems. At this point there is no wonder, we are getting paranoid about our digital activities.
There is this cold feeling, someone is always watching us!!
I’d like to introduce some methods, tools and open source technologies which will help us to protect our digital lives and ensure our privacy!

Browsers; they take us to the mighty world of the Internet! Its the main interface which help us connect to the internet. But  the browsers leaks a large amount of information about us; The users!
Just for the awareness of non-tech savvy users, the browsers exposes our public IP, private IP, our location, Cookies (which will be used to track the users and serve ads), our browsing history etc etc
More than that, our day-to-day browsing activities are being tracked and used for different purposes. We can use a web service browserleaks.com to identify what kind of information is exposed by our browser to the websites which we visit. Browserleaks.com offers various vectors which can be used to analyze leaked information from browsers.
Navigate to https://browserleaks.com/ip  and lets see what kind of IP related information is exposed there:

My public IP address and exact location is displayed here.
Even my internal/private IP and IPv6 address is exposed

WebRTC is an open framework for audio and video components used in web based voice and video chat applications. Anyway, the below information is shared by WebRTC service. Refer browserleaks.com/webrtc  to view other info leaked by WebRTC.

Public IP address exposed by Flash player plugin

Flash player plugin is essential for browsers, so that they can render video content. It also reveals system based information to outside world via browsers. Information such as IPs, OS, screen resolution, arcgitecture, audio/video encoders etc etc
Refer to browserleaks.com/flash  to identify the information shared by your browser using flash.

My operating system and DNS servers are also exposed 
Geolocation  information – Exact physical location

Header information and User-Agent

We are not done here yet. Please use the portal browserleaks.com to identify the other browser information which is being leaked.

Countermeasures : Basic browser privacy

We can disable/block some of the vectors/features in our browser manually; after that lets  use some plugins which will help us to ensure privacy and escape from browsing history tracking and targeted advertisements.
The methods I’m about to explain here, it does not offer extreme Anonymity! Please use Tor or dedicated VPNs to achieve that.

Disable WebRTC and avoid IP leakage;
go to about:config in firefox
set the value of media.peerconnection.enabled to false

Note: Some applications may require WebRTC to function properly. Be wise and configure accordingly.

Disable Flash player plugin
go to about:addons in firefox
select Ask to Activate option

The browser will ask your permission every time a flash video is about to play, so that you can be in control and choose when to give permission.

Disable Geo-location
go to about:addons in firefox
set the value of geo.enabled to false

Modifying Headers and User-Agent via Random Agent Spoofer plugin

I’ll update this post once i get some free time! 🙂