Dealing With The Bane Of The Web
Much like my desire to access work computers in a safe and secure manner, I decided I needed a better way to handle those few moments when the bane of the web is required.
I use two computers to access the web, an office desktop and a laptop.
A virtual machine would suffice but consumes additional hard drive space. A separate user account is clunky but an option. Another approach is a separate web browser profile, or using a different web browser altogether.
After some reflection I decided I wanted a private browsing session or equivalent. A separate profile or browser that uses only private sessions seemed palatable.
I wanted the following:
- No caching to disk.
- All cookies are session-only.
- Third-party cookies are disabled.
- Limited but separate bookmarks.
- Restore configured defaults upon closing the browser.
Firefox supports multiple profiles and running multiple instances. While well documented, this approach requires starting Firefox with command line parameters or creating multiple desktop shortcuts. While that approach is doable, I thought using a different browser would provide a better sandbox. A different browser environment is more likely to remind me that I am browsing the web using the bane of the web and have my pants down at my ankles.
The default Slackware comes with two web browsers, Firefox and SeaMonkey. Konqueror could be considered a third default browser but I do not use KDE. Additional web browsers are available through slackbuilds.org.
I started with SeaMonkey.
I created a new
cp /usr/share/applications/seamonkey.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
I modified the new
That modification opens SeaMonkey in a private browsing window with a respective reminder.
Being a private window, browser session related data should be deleted automatically upon closing.
Nonetheless, I configured the disk cache to zero bytes. I configured SeaMonkey to use session cookies only and not allow third-party cookies. I configured SeaMonkey to delete all private data upon closing.
Upon logging out I use a shell script to scrub files from my Firefox profile. I updated the script to support SeaMonkey and added a touch more to delete additional files.
For the moment I am content with this approach.
I do not know my future with Firefox. I might have to adjust this approach should I abandon Firefox and use SeaMonkey full time.