Category Archives: Software

‘Smart Referer’ Firefox Extension Blocks Google Two-Factor Authentication

The other day I echoed recommendations on Hardening Firefox that I got from an article by Keith Axline. Since then, however, I’ve learned two things.

First, Axline has changed his recommendations from HTTPS Everywhere to Smart HTTPS for the reasons given in this thread.

Second, I discovered that when I had Smart Referer on, I wasn’t able to use Google two-factor authentication.  Instead,  when google asked me to authenticate via my phone, I got timeouts instantly.

Disabling the Smart Referer extension temporarily (which is easy as it creates a button on the toolbar) allowed me to log in, and things seem to work fine if I re-enable Smart Referer immediately after I log in to my Gmail.  But that may be more annoyance than most people want, especially given that Google two factor authentication is more annoyance than most people want.

Posted in Software, Sufficiently Advanced Technology | Leave a comment

Memo to Self re: Hardening Firefox (Updated)

Make sure all of the following extensions are installed on all my computers

Also use 1.1.1.1 for DNS and change default search engine to Duck Duck Go or to Startpage. Full manual DNS settings are:

 1.1.1.1
 1.0.0.1 
 2606:4700:4700::1111 
 2606:4700:4700::1001

As per A Few Simple Steps to Vastly Increase Your Privacy Online.

Note that I already have a VPN, or I’d be suggesting that too.

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Firefox Hates On Its Users

Ok, maybe FF57 is faster, but it’s uglier and less functional. They finally pulled the trigger and killed off thousands of add-ons. My workflow just got noticeably worse.

I just lost about 30 enhancements and extensions. Admittedly, many were just frills. But I’ll particularly miss Tab Mix Plus, Autocopy, CoLT, Tab Mix Plus, Zoom Page and the beautiful and functional Nautipolis theme.

Oh, and did I mention I’m missing Tab Mix Plus?

With this revision and the disabling of key customizations, FireFox eliminates its #1 advantage over Chrome. After all these years, I may just switch.

Posted in Internet, Software | 4 Comments

Avira Does Not Play Nice With GCal Under IE11

avira-logoFor the record: under Win 7, IE 11, the Avira antivirus browser plugin causes Google’s calendar site, GCal, to freeze up and do other strange things. Using just Avira real-time protection, the main anti-virus program, does not cause the problem, just the browser add-on. The odd thing was that Gmail worked fine, but Gcal locked up, or got caught in a scripting error.

The fix is simple: disable the Avira add-on.

And, before you ask, no I don’t use IE much, but I do use it to access a 2nd gcal calendar that belongs to an organization without signing out of Google on my main browser or commingling the two identities in any way.

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Windows 7/8/8.1 Is Spying on You. This Batch File Will Reduce It.

Concerned by this batch file from an elevated command prompt to clean things up. I adapted it and slimmed it down from the to my eye excessive version at wildersecurity.com.

Text of the key parts of the file below if your system blocks downloads of .bat files, as well it might.
Continue reading

Posted in ID Cards and Identification, Law: Privacy, Software | 3 Comments

U Miami Security Self-Surveillance App: Clever or Creepy?

UGuardian App :: UMPD Campus Safety:

Miami has a new app which lets users phone quickly for campus cops, and also set a time to get from one place to another, during which ‘friends’ can monitor progress. And if the user doesn’t reach the destination in time, the app sends an alarm.

Most of it seems to have been crafted with some thought to user privacy. But at 0:55 the video mentions that if you use the enhanced 911 feature, it will send your location and “a recent selfie”. If it’s one the user downloads and earmarks in advance that’s OK. If the app just picks a recent picture, that gets a bit creepier. Anyone willing to download this app and report back?

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