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Hack 32. Work with Filtering Systems

Keep your web experience neat and tidy by integrating properly with other Net watchers.

Security programs can interpose themselves between Firefox and the network; this is especially common in organizational environments. There are few such tools on Linux/Unixwhere tools do exist, they are generally called firewalls or daemonsbut they are common on Windows. This hack reports briefly on what works and what doesn't.

In general, Firefox works with such tools well. There are many reports in the Mozilla community [Hack #97] about particular tools' successes or failure, but here's a summary: best practice requires that you have the latest minor version of your filtering tool installed if you want to interoperate with Firefox successfully.

You'll find a list of common filtering tools at Here are some brief comments about such tools:

Ad blockers

At least the following Windows tools have been reported interoperable: AdSubtract, atGuard, and adKiller. The popular Firefox extension AdBlock prevents advertorial content from being downloaded, and once that feature is enabled, no other ad-blocking tools should be required.

Security monitors

Tools like ZoneAlarm may complain about Firefox when it is first installed. Firefox occasionally communicates with itself via sockets, and this is what ZoneAlarm picks up. Configure ZoneAlarm to permit this, or tell the users to allow it when prompted. I know people who believe in Norton Internet Security and other Norton tools, but I personally have never had any success with them.

Download tools

Heavyweight download tools take care of big downloads, such as movie clips and game demos, for you. Most of these tools are well integrated with Firefox. I recommend Free Download Manager (

In addition to these tools, Firefox proxies [Hack #15] can be used to redirect web requests to filtering proxy servers as required.

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