Security and Privacy Enhancements for Firefox Users Through CustomizeGoogle

Cyber Chief Magazine brings you the tactics to uncover and neutralize the insider threat

CustomizeGoogle is a Firefox extension I haven been using for quite some time now. It offers some valuable settings that are aimed to Google users. Some of them include URL previews, Google search suggest words, customizing search result pages and much more.

The extension also contains a number of security enhancements that could make your online life much easier and more private. This is an overview of these security functions in CustomizeGoogle.

Force GMail over https

This option is perfect for notebook users that connect to untrusted networks. When connecting to a public WLAN you could accidentally start GMail without SSL, so your user credentials could be shared with someone prying on the same WLAN. With this option checked on, Gmail will automatically force https.

Calendar/Reader/Docs over https

The same thing as in the previous example. This option is turned on by default.

Turn off annoying Spam counter in GMail

I get more and more spam on my GMail accounts. With CustomizeGoogle you can easily customize the look of the GMail left side menu to remove the spam counter from the list.

Remove spam sites form Google search

Unfortunately Google search engine started to spit more and more false results. By false I am thinking about all the different spam sites that will turn up when you search for a large percentage of words, especially related to different products. CustomizeGoogle lets you enter a list of spam sites that won’t show in your Google search results.

You can add sites manually or use a sample URL list – the latter should be a much better, productive and less time consuming option.

Is Google your big brother?

Google cookie UID records all of your interaction with Google online applications (searches, program use, etc). Through this method, your online privacy gets challenged, so this extension will try its best to help you stay as much as anonymous (to Google) as you can possibly be.

Google Analyzer is a powerful web statistics script used by a number of leading web sites. As with all stats programs, Google Analytics gives you cookies and tracks your usage of the web sites it “listens” on. Through this extension, you can even make yourself invisible to Google Analytics.

CustomizeGoogle also offers options for blocking Google ads and sponsored results but I didn’t have the need to use them.