Firefox - Customizing Privacy Settings
This article explains how to adjust the privacy and security settings in Firefox.
By default, Firefox is configured with very good security levels (especially when compared with Internet Explorer). You can adjust privacy and security settings to your tastes by going to Tools → Options → Privacy tab.
Cookies are small files written to your hard drive by website's to keep track of certain preferences. For example, if you log into a chat forum, the system needs some way of keeping track of who you are: it does this by writing a file to your computer and then reading it every time it needs to identify you.
Not surprisingly, some companies take advantage of this ability to do more than it was intended use. Commonly, a third party (generally advertising research groups) will write a cookie to your hard drive and use it to track every site you visit and how long you spend there. The next time you connect to a server with their ads, they'll read the cookie and upload information on your viewing habits to their servers which they'll sell to advertisers.
One of the strengths of the Firefox browser is that, for the most part, that is all they can do (Internet Explorer, for example, makes it easy for companies to actually install keylogging programs which keep track of everything you do). Still, most of us prefer to keep our business our own and Firefox provides easy ways of doing that, just beware that altering how browser handle cookies can affect the functionality of some websites.
To disable third-party cookies:
- In Windows: go to Tools → Options → Privacy → uncheck the "Accept third-party cookies" box
- In Mac: go to Firefox → Preferences → Privacy & Cookies → uncheck the "Accept third-party cookies" box