Firefox: Firefox Security and Privacy

Lesson 5: Firefox Security and Privacy


Firefox security and privacy

Firefox includes a range of security features, including security indicators and malware protection. Because of its advanced security features, Firefox offers an extremely safe browsing experience. Firefox also allows you to control what information you share online, keeping your personal information private.

Watch the video below to learn the basics of security and privacy in Firefox.

Website security indicators

Whenever you navigate to a website, Firefox will display a security indicator to the left of the web address in the address bar.

Understanding these indicators can help you stay safe when entering personal information online.

  • SSL icon The HTTPS indicator will appear if the site is using a secure connection. Always check for this icon when entering sensitive information, like your credit card number or birth date. A secure connection makes it almost impossible for someone to access your information.
  • SSL icon The non-SSL indicator will appear for most websites, which means the site is not using a secure connection. This is not important for many websites, like a news source or weather forecast, but you should avoid entering sensitive personal information on these pages. This indicator is usually hidden for most websites. To view it, click the site information button to the left of the URL.

Firefox offers a high level of protection from malicious websites, but you should still use your best judgement when browsing online. Review our Internet Safety tutorial to learn more about staying safe online.

Maintaining your privacy in Firefox

Firefox takes great care to keep your personal information private. It offers many ways to control your privacy, like modifying your privacy settings, deleting your history, and browsing in a private window.

Privacy settings

Firefox allows you to control some of the information you share online, which you can modify in your privacy settings. We recommend not changing Firefox's default selections, as they allow for the best balance of privacy and security while browsing. However, you can modify them if you want.

To modify your privacy settings:

  1. Click the menu button in the top-right corner of the browser and select Options.
  2. The Options dialog box will appear. Click Privacy.
  3. From here, you can customize your privacy settings. For example, you can tell websites that you don't want your browsing habits tracked, stop Firefox from recording your history, and more.

Deleting browsing history

Like all browsers, Firefox keeps a record of every website you visit in your browsing history. You may want to remove some or all of your browsing history for the sake of privacy.

To remove specific sites from history:

  1. Click the menu button in the top-right corner of the browser, select History, then click Show All History.
  2. The Library will appear in a new window with your full browsing history.
  3. Click any link to select it, right-click it, then click Delete This Page to remove it from the history. Press and hold the Ctrl key to select multiple items.

To clear all browsing data:

Firefox makes it easy to delete some or all of your history. For example, sometimes you might want to remove only your history from the past hour instead of removing your entire history. You might also want to remove all of your saved pages and cookies but keep your saved passwords.

  1. Click the menu button in the top-right corner of the browser, click History, then select Clear Recent History.
  2. A dialog box will appear. Click the Details drop-down arrow, then choose the time range and browsing data you want to delete.
  3. When you're ready, click Clear Now.
  4. The selected browsing history will be cleared.

Private browsing

For added privacy, Firefox also offers private browsing, which allows you to browse the web without recording your history or storing cookies. This is a great way to keep your browsing history secret when planning a party or buying a gift for someone who shares your computer.

To create a private window:

  1. Click the menu button in the top-right corner of the browser, then select New Private Window.
  2. A private browsing window will appear, which you'll use just like a regular Firefox window. Note the private icon in the top-right corner of the browser, which confirms that you are in private browsing mode.

Private browsing does not make Firefox more secure—it only stops Firefox from saving history and cookies for that session. Don't use a private window to view any websites you wouldn't feel safe viewing in a regular Firefox window.