Privacy in this day and age is becoming ever more important. Especially when it comes to browsing the Internet, focusing on protecting your privacy is extremely important to do. The bad guys and even legitimate companies use your identity online to profile your activity based on many factors including your location, etc. Firefox is stepping up the battle to win the privacy war. Firefox has a new feature that is enabled with an official add-on called Private Network. The Firefox Private Network allows you to have a good measure of protection over simply browsing the Internet with a traditional browser that exposes your identity to the world. In this post we will take a look at how to protect Internet Privacy install Firefox Private Network and see how this enables you to have a good deal of protection.
Why is Internet Privacy Needed?
There are many dangers when connecting your device to the Internet. If you are connected to an open Wi-Fi connection such as in a public location, this is open to the world, including potential hackers who are trying to steal your identity, financial information, or otherwise see what you are doing on the Internet.
Advertisers are craftily using your data harvested online to target ads to you. This can include your location. Firefox Private Network protects you in both of these cases.
It does the following:
- Encrypts your personal data online including web addresses visited and the data you exchange with websites. Having this extra layer of protection helps to hide passwords, emails, credit card numbers and other sensitive data from prying eyes.
- It also hides your location by presenting your public facing Internet address as something totally different than your current location.
I found that it was an interesting collaboration between Firefox and Cloudflare that is behind the technology to enable the Firefox Private Network. The solution includes the following points to note:
- Bound by Cloudflare’s strong privacy controls to help limit any data they would themselves be keeping
- Easily enabled by using an extension
- You can use the Firefox account sign in to sync the Private Network across your installations
- Currently the service is free and is in Beta for testing in the United States only
Protect Internet Privacy Install Firefox Private Network
To install the Firefox Private Network add-on, make sure you are running the latest version of Firefox. Launch Firefox and visit the link:
- Click the Add to Firefox button on this page
When you click the Add to Firefox button, you will be presented with the Add Firefox Private Network dialog box. You will need to click the Add button to proceed. As you can see, you will need to accept the:
- Access your data for all websites
- Control browser proxy settings
- Access browser tabs
Once installed, the Firefox Private Network button will appear in the upper right-hand corner.
To use the Firefox Private Network, you need to click on the icon and then Sign in to use the service.
The sign in is based on email address. Enter your email address.
Enter a password.
Once you enter your email address and password, you should receive a verification code to enter to continue. Although this dialog box says within 20 minutes, I received it almost instantly to Gmail.
After entering the verification code, the Firefox Private Network will have a green check mark on the icon to indicate the tunnel to Cloudflare is active.
What is Different Once the Firefox Private Network is Activated?
From an end user perspective, you won’t really see anything different. However, if you Google “What is my IP” from your browser, you will see the public Internet IP address is different than your normal Internet IP address. When I looked up my external IP address, I was assigned an IPv6 address, which is different than my normal connection.
It think the message that Firefox is sending here is Protect Internet Privacy Install Firefox Private Network. There is certainly merit to this solution. Privacy is an ever-increasing battle fought by both individuals and businesses alike.
One thing that is not spelled out is if Firefox/Cloudflare is going to monetize the solution. It certainly seems like this will be a service at some point that users would need to subscribe to in order to benefit from the secure tunnel being provided to Cloudflare.
Until then, be sure to check out the Firefox Private Network add-on to take this new functionality for a test drive. I think Firefox definitely has the right idea here with Internet browser traffic. It is yet to be seen what the service turns into or if the other browser vendors like Google are going to follow suit with some type of service of their own.