Firefox is tracking you: Here's how to stop it

Mountain View, California - Ask most Firefox fans what they like about the internet browser, and they'll probably mention that it's more privacy-friendly than Google Chrome.

Firefox has about 198 million users that employ its internet browser.
Firefox has about 198 million users that employ its internet browser.  © IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

But could Firefox be tracking you without your consent?

One IT security analyst has found out that the browser is, by default, sharing information about its 198 million users with its developers at Mozilla.

This tracking was discovered by online security researcher Mike Kuketz in an analysis of the desktop version of the browser.

It surely comes as a surprise to many Firefox fans, who have heard claims that Mozilla takes extra efforts to protect user privacy.

"Mozilla tracks the user by default," Kuketz wrote in his findings. "Among other things, information on usage behavior and crash reports are being shared. You also automatically take part in so-called Firefox studies."

However, according to Kuketz, Firefox can – "unlike its competitors such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge" – still be converted into a completely privacy-friendly browser. But you have to look for – or be told about – the setting in order to find it.

For the millions of users who don't often take a look at their privacy settings, Mozilla's decision to force them to actively opt out of tracking means they will also likely continue to unwillingly share data with the company.

To stop sharing data with Mozilla, you'll need to take a deep dive into your privacy settings. Here's how:

When going into settings, click on "Privacy & Security" and scroll all the way down until you get to "Firefox data collection and use." Then, uncheck all the boxes.

You should also select the setting "blank page" under "Settings/Start page/New windows and tabs/New tabs," as otherwise, lots of data is loaded from Mozilla in the background every time you open a new tab.

In addition, you can remove all checkmarks such as "sponsored shortcuts" under "Firefox Home Content."

What's more, if you don't want to automatically share information with Google, you'll have to change the default search engine under "Settings/Search" and deactivate search suggestions.

Mozilla also occasionally shares data and files with Google in an effort to prevent phishing and other hacking attacks. To turn this off, you need to remove all checked boxes under "Settings/Privacy & Security/Deceptive Content and Dangerous Software Protection."

Follow these easy steps, and you should be free from the company's secret tracking methods in no time.

Cover photo: IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

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