Archive for the ‘Browsers’ Category

Protect Yourself Against Firesheep Attacks

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Firesheep is a Firefox extension that basically allows anyone you are sharing a wireless network with to discover and access certain online sessions that you are logged into. Many sites encrypt information only for your initial log in; once you successfully log in, the server (that hosts the website you are accessing) sends your browser a cookie granting you access. Once you are logged in, the site reverts back to an unencrypted transmission. Firesheep allows other users to access someone else’s cookies and enter websites using that login information.

To effectively combat Firesheep, you can download one of several plug-ins for Firefox that will force a webpage to use a secure web connection. However, in order for this work, the website must support full end-to-end encryption (either as HTTPS or SSL). For more information and to learn how to install one of these plug-ins, visit the University Information Security Office page.

Wolfram Alpha: A Different Way to Search

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Wolfram Alpha is an online service that distinguishes itself from typical search engines by providing answers to factual queries, rather than answering a question with a listing of Web pages.  Wolfram Alpha functions as an answer engine by retrieving answers from its own internal knowledge base.   To see how Wolfram Alpha works, try entering a city name, date or math formula. You can also check out the Example by Topic page or watch an overview video to learn more.  To add Wolfram Alpha functionality to your Web browser, visit the Downloads page to find plug-ins and toolbars.

Setting your Default Web Browser

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

When you click on links from emails or documents, your default Web browser will open these URLs. For example, if you use Microsoft Windows, Internet Explorer is usually set as the default Web browser, unless you change it. If you install another Web browser, such as Firefox, you will most likely be prompted to change your default browser during installation. You can easily change your default Web browser at any time by opening the browser you would like to set as the default and adjusting the settings.

Firefox 3: Open Firefox; from the Tools menu, select Options. Click on the Advanced tab. Then make sure the General tab is selected.  Click Check Now to see if Firefox is set as your default browser. If it is not set to default, you will be prompted to select Firefox.

Internet Explorer:  Open Internet Explorer,  under Tools, select Internet Options. Click on the Programs tab. Click on the Make Default button to set Internet Explorer as your default.

Safari:  Open Safari; from the Safari menu, select Preferences. From the Main tab, choose your default browser from the drop-down menu.

Save Web Forms as you Type with Lazarus

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

If you’ve ever lost your work when typing in an online form, posting content to Blackboard or writing webmail, then you know how frustrating it can be!  Next time you can prevent this inconvenience by installing a very helpful Firefox add-on, Lazarus: Form Recovery. Lazarus automatically saves the text you have entered in a form, blog response or even an email and allows you to easily recover your work.  

After installing Lazarus, all you have to do to recover text in a Web document is return to the Web page and right-click on the field where you lost the data. You will have the option to recover text or to recover a form depending on what you need. After you select an option, the text is automatically re-entered.  You can also keep your data secure by setting Lazarus to require a password to restore your forms.

Customize your Web Print Size

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

1X1When printing from the Web, components of a webpage such as headers, side menus or ads can take up a large portion of the printed page.  In some cases, the text font-size on a webpage may be too small for printing.  With Aardvark, a Firefox add-on, you can easily clean up a webpage for easier viewing and printing.

Once you install the add-on to Firefox, to get started, just right-click on a page and select Start Aardvark. With your mouse, you can select areas and use simple keystrokes such as R – to remove, I – to isolate or W – to widen the area.
For pages with small text,  follow these steps to isolate a portion of a webpage and increase the text-size for printing:

1. Right-click and select Start Aardvark.
2. Use the red rectangle to select an area.


3. Use the keystroke “I” to isolate the selection.
4. Once you have customized the webpage, make sure to move your cursor off of  the page (so you do not print any red rectangles) then select File > Print Preview.  In Print Preview, adjust the scale to a higher percentage to increase the text size.
5.  Select Print.
Note: Your computer might save the print preview scale setting for future printing. Also, Aardvark is not being supported anymore. If you’re running an old version of Firefox (10 or earlier) it will still work. It is not available for later versions.

Backing up your Firefox Profile

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

1X1If you have personal settings, bookmarks and extensions added on to your Firefox Web browser, it is helpful to know how to back-up your profile folder that contains all of this information.   If you are backing up your computer system or you would like to add your Firefox profile to another computer, follow these instructions to locate and restore your profile:

Locating your Firefox Profile Folder

Windows and Mac: Firefox 3.6

(For older versions of Firefox, click here for instructions)

  • 1.  Click on the Help menu at the top of the Firefox browser and select Troubleshooting Information….


  • 2.  Under Application Basics, click Open Containing Folder. This will open your profile folder in a new window.

Backing up your Profile

  • 1. Locate your profile as noted above.
  • 2. Close the Firefox browser but leave the profile window open.
  • 3. Go one level above your profile folder.


  • 4. For a PC, right-click on the folder and select Copy.
    For a Mac, control-click on the folder and select Copy.
  • 5. Paste the folder to the appropriate location where you store  your back-up files, such as a USB stick, external harddrive or CD/DVD.Restoring your Profile


  • 1. Locate your profile as noted above.
  • 2. Close the Firefox browser but leave the profile window open.
  • 3. If your existing profile folder and profile backup folder have the same name, simply replace the existing profile folder with the profile backup, then start up Firefox.
    Note: The file names must match exactly for this to work. If they have a different name or you are saving to a different location, you can find additional instructions here.

Private Web Browsing

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

When you surf the Internet, your Web browser stores various information from the websites you visit on your local hard drive. While the storage of Web browsing information may be convenient on your personal computer, if you use a shared computer you may not want to leave a trail of all of the websites you visit. An individual that uses a shared computer after you do may view your browsing history and if you didn’t securely log out of your email, online banking, or a shopping website, a malicious user could potentially access one of your accounts.

If you are using one of the computer labs at Loyola, the browsing history is automatically cleared each time you log out. However, if you are using a shared computer elsewhere on campus or other public locations it is a good idea to get in the habit of clearing your browsing history, especially when you access secure data.  The caveat of relying on clearing your browsing history is that you have to remember to do it.

If you use Firefox (3.5 and later), you have the option to activate a Private Browsing feature before you start surfing the Web.  Private Browsing prevents Firefox from retaining information about the sites you have visited on the computer you are using.  To use Private Browsing in Firefox, click on Start Private Browsing from the Tools menu.  Visit Firefox’s Private Browsing page to learn more.  Safari and Internet Explorer 8 also have similar private browsing options.

Enhance your Web Browsing Experience with Firefox Add-ons

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Whether or not you are already using Mozilla Firefox for Web browsing, it’s helpful to know how you can extend Firefox to more precisely meet your needs.  Firefox Add-ons, such as themes and extensions, are small pieces of software that add functionality to Firefox.  Add-ons enable you to customize Firefox’s interface, manage bookmarks on-line, display weather forecasts in your toolbar, and much more. In this week’s tech tip, we’ll provide some information to help get you started as well as recommend a few add-ons that seem impossible to live without.

Getting Started

In order to take advantage of Firefox add-ons, you’ll need to install Mozilla Firefox; if you already have Firefox, we recommend that you upgrade to the latest version, found here.  Once you install Firefox, you can visit the Firefox Add-ons page to browse and start installing add-ons.  Keep in mind that you can access preferences, updates, and uninstall add-ons within Firefox by clicking on the Tools menu and selecting Add-ons.  Then just click on the extension or theme that you would like to manage.


Colorful Tabs – With this add-on, each tab is colored a different color.  These vivid colors make it easy to distinguish between tabs and they make your browser look pretty snappy too.

Forecastfox – Get customizable weather forecasts to display in any Firefox toolbar or status bar.