Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Privacy in Internet - Avoid flash cookies

Due to some of the recent developments in the area, the browsers have a Do Not Track functionality which does not let the sites to identify a browser and ultimately you and your browsing habits. But the Ad providers are using Flash cookies which need to be blocked separately.
The method here is to block all flash content in FireFox and let the user choose which flash content to run. This has another advantage that unnecessary flash Ads will also not be played and thus saving bandwidth. An 'Activate Adobe Flash' message will be shown over blocked content. So, if you want to play a flash, click on the link and view it.
  1. Open FireFox and press ctrl + shift + A to open Add-ons Manager.
  2. Find Shockwave flash in the list.
  3. Change the button to the right end to 'Ask to Activate'.

Now if a site try to save flash cookie, you will see a notification below the address bar. You can now see how many of the sites you regularly visit are tracking you.

NOTE: This method is also not sufficient to avoid browser finger printing used by Ad providers. I will blog later on how to avoid browser fingerprinting.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Best way to get portable WiFi Internet in India for light or medium users

I think this post will benefit users who are thinking to get Internet in their mobile devices.

If you are a light internet user and have multiple devices, one way you can choose is to tether your connection with your devices. This will drain battery on your device. Otherwise you will need to buy Internet packs on all the devices which will not be a cost-effective method.

My plan is to have a single connection that can be shared with all the devices so that you need only one data plan and the devices will be connected with WiFi means less battery drain. The initial investment is a bit high though ;-)

The devices you need are:
  1. GSM WiFi dongle that usually supports 5 - 10 devices to be connected at once. (Sample)
  2. USB power-bank. (Sample)
  3. BSNL GSM connection with Internet. I chose BSNL as this is the cheapest with Rs.155 for 1GB data as of now and will support both 3G and 2G on this pack.
Setup is simple, slide in the SIM to the WiFi dongle and connect to a computer. You can add the WiFi security information (as you do while Tethering in mobile) in the page that automatically opens. You can select 3G only for faster Internet.
After this one time process, you can use the WiFi dongle in the power-bank and you can connect your devices. A 2100 mAh power bank can power the WiFi dongle for almost 12 hours.

Not just home, you can use this setup anywhere you want and the battery drain on your device will be less compared to using data in the device's connection. I believe with BSNL you can go anywhere in India and continue to use the Internet.