How to separate various components of your browsing?

I was quite lost for a good title so I’d explain it in a bit. This article is about how to effectively separate (isolate / sandbox) various components of your browsing such your work email & personal email, Social Media, Shopping lists etc.

You might have often noticed that when you browse for something it shows up later as suggested items or in advertisement. For example if you are looking up flights for some place you will get a bunch of advertisements about tourist packages for that place etc.

All of this is done via cookies. Every time you visit a website it embeds cookies which are basically small snippets of free to access data. It’s original purpose is for the website to remember that particular browser for future convenience. But this same protocol is exploited by advertisers, social media etc. to gain additional data of the users. This stands in the gray area of legality but the long long list of ‘Terms & Conditions’ that we agree to gives them the power to mine such data with impunity.

The recent Facebook controversy was related to this very technique. All you browsing data, website history everything was being accessed and stored by Facebook for improving it’s advertisement ability.

Let’s take an example. You are using your work associate email and then you use the same browser for different stuff. This will end up associating your work account with your personal browsing habits. (YouTube, trading habits etc.). You obviously don’t want that and this leads to people using a different browser for work and personal browsing.

NOTE: A regular ad-blocker only bocks advertisements it doesn’t prevent them from tracking you.
That being said, do take a look at our recommended Browser Extensions for any browser including a robust and secure ad-blocker.

But if you had a system which doesn’t let one website’s cookies interact with another website this will prevent any association from building up. This isolation of environments is known as sandboxing. It creates a separate browser instance which is absolutely isolated from the rest of the browser, anything that you do in that, any history, tracking, cookies is limited to that instance. This can be done on any browser but manually doing it a quite difficult.

Fortunately Mozilla Firefox (The best browser in the world!) has a really great add on / extension known as the ‘Multi-Account Container’ this add on has been created by Mozilla itself so you can completely trust it.

To start using it just follow these steps:
1] Add the Add-On from here, you will see an ‘Add To Firefox’ button just click on it, agree to all permissions it asks for and add the extension. It will appear in your tool bar.
2] Click on the extension, it will by default have four containers, Personal, Work, Banking & Shopping.
While these are quite sufficient, recently Mozilla also launched a special container for Facebook, to add it go here. Once you have added it, the extension will show a Facebook container along with the first four.
3] Now you need to configure the containers for your websites, clicking on any of the container will open a New Tab of/in that container. The tab will have the colour code of that container as well. Then simply visit nay website you want and you are good to go, if you want some website to always open in that particular container, again click on the Extension, you will see an ‘Always Open In check box, just select it and the website will open in that container by default.

You can even open a work tab and a personal tab and sign in with two different gmail (generalized example) accounts. Every link you click in a particular container will open in that container but you have the option to right click and open it in any other container.

You can open the Facebook container and keep Facebook signed in without any risk to your privacy because it has been effectively sand-boxed.

You also have the option to add other containers for example I have a red colour coded container for Unsafe browsing, another for everything related to my institute etc.

It’s a simple extension which will make your browsing much easier, streamlined and most importantly Private.

Author: Rohan Dandavate

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