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Firefox Portable - Does it leave any trace at all?

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Mike_Gore
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Firefox Portable - Does it leave any trace at all?

My question regards Firefox Portable. I am currently using this software from the USB drive (flash disk), and wanted to know if it leaves any trace whatsoever on the machine it is used (whether it be encrypted or unencrypted files, cookies, history, URLs typed on the address bar etc).

When using IE7, if I downloaded a file, what IE7 would do is, it would download the file to the Temperary Internet Folder, and once download is completed it would copy from the TIF location to the saved location. How does this work in Firefox Portable, when downloading files videos?

Since its already obvious that many use this for p*rn, I just wanted to be certain that the video files don't write to the hard disk at all, even when downloading, to the flash disk itself.

I would appreciate any comments.

thanks,

Mike

KickButts
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P*rn

I appreciate your honesty, but (call me naive) I don't agree with your statement that most people use FFP for p*rn. I, myself, use it because I change computers dozens of time during a normal work day.

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OliverK
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Agreed!

Agreed!

And this doesn't make your computer any safer- in case you were wondering!

P*rn viruses don't follow the normal route. They do whatever. But yes, saving your video to your flash drive should leave a trace on the host computer. Except that there's probably a way to track you.

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arizona480
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If you want to look at sites you dont want known...

Then yes, just using a portable copy then trashing the whole folder works as long as you don't place files that you have purposely saved elsewhere. The videos would go into your cache which you can set to whatever you want. If you are using it for sites that have alot of content to load, probably copying the portable folder off of the flash drive to a local hard drive would speed things up. To really be safe, you can use Eraser Portable to trash the whole PFF folder which has all of your personal data self-contained. If you are going on sites that you are not familiar with, then use "No Script" to avoid anything that may want to download without your permission.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/722

Mike_Gore
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Isn't that "no script" thing

Isn't that "no script" thing that you mentioned, the same thing when Javascript is disabled from options?

"The videos would go into your cache which you can set to whatever you want."

If firefox portable is being run on a flash disk, isn't the cache stored on the flash disk by default? Also I read that FFP doesn't use a cache at all? Or that the FFP stores everything including the cache in the same folder.

Bruce Pascoe
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...

Regarding NoScript: indeed, but you get the added benefit of being able to selectively reenable it for trustworthy sites. Smile

Mike_Gore
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Cache on flash disk by default?

"The videos would go into your cache which you can set to whatever you want."

If firefox portable is being run on a flash disk, isn't the cache stored on the flash disk by default? Also I read that FFP doesn't use a cache at all? Or that the FFP stores everything including the cache in the same folder.

ZachHudock
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Firefox Portable has cache

Firefox Portable has cache disabled. All personal data is stored in the /Data directory

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Jimbo
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They are tidy and portable, NOT stealthy

Stealth has never been a design goal for the apps on this site.

There are many ways that what you do in, say, FFP, could be tracked on the machine you used after you leave it, even if you follow all the advice given.

For example, many personal firewalls also have features that monitor and log all DNS lookups, so there would be a nice tidy list of every host you'd visited in the firewall log for someone to look at, no matter what browser you use.

Some people have local "internet accelerator" software installed, that will also act as a transparent web proxy, potentially storing copies of some or all of your downloaded content in arbitrary places on the host drive, completely without your knowledge.

Some plugins and addons, especially video playing ones, such as flash, can and do use the TEMP folder on the host machine for transient storage of data while they're running. Sometimes this will get deleted, sometimes it wont.

There are also MRU caches in the registry that show what apps you've run, and stuff like that, which are virtually impossible to tidy up.

If you're doing this somewhere like at work or school, then the servers and routers will almost certainly track and log what you look at, and the proxy server will potentially keep copies of what you're doing.

So, to answer your question in the context you're asking it, yes, it can leave traces that can be followed. No, it is not a "safe" way to do something that you shouldn't be doing. It was never intended to be.

TRexian
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USB log?

Doesn't Windows even log when portable devices are connected? So, there would be a history that a flash drive was connected, then likely the other history logs to show at least a bit of the traffic at the times the flash drive was connected.

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djrockstar4u
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The answer to all your questions

Yes, FFP does leave a trace, being a forensic investigator, I look at this stuff all day everyday. You have to think about everything that has to run, stuff will get stored in memory, you have the keyboard buffer, and other logs on the computer. This isn't a way to get around being caught, these programs aren't "away to stay hidden from the law" they are "On the go, take your files with you on any computer ex. bookmarks" So everything that you do on FFP can be traced, and you can still get in trouble, don't believe me? Download wireshark, fire up FFP, and watch what you see Smile Hope this clears this question up.

ZachHudock
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Right. Your personal data

Right. Your personal data and your settings aren't left behind, but other traces may still be there.

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TRexian
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Request app?

Wireshark? Someone made that portable yet? Wink Smile

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ZachHudock
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John was working with their

John was working with their devs on it, because it requires a driver to be installed.

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OliverK
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if they search, they'll find

if they search, they'll find a version.

I just tested it, but not knowing how to work with it, can' really test to see if it has everything.

It does install, then uninstall the driver.

I did it while in a lab and the amount of info was purely amazing!

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Cassandra
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Reply to Jimbo and Mike Gore

Jimbo, you are wrong on the extensions issue. All extensions can be configured to store temporary files on the same location where FFP is installed. This can be easily done. There are options for each and every extension.

Mike Gore, if you want real security use www.truecrypt.org and encrypt the whole system. Also use TrueCrypt containers on other partitions. That's the only way to be safe. If you are relying on any none encryption program and thinking you are safe you are wrong.

Encryption is the only way to protect yourself. If not, even a 12 years old child can sneak into your PC.

Jimbo
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Not all extensions

Some of them have full absolute paths including drive letters in strange arbitrary config files of their own, which the portable launcher knows nothing about, and which therefore will break if the drive letter changes.

Others sometimes explicitly use %TEMP% as a filestore, and may not clean up after themselves.

SJ2571
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Some traces ARE left on the host PC

When I run Firefox Portable, it creates this file on the host PC:

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\pluginreg.dat

So yes, traces ARE left behind. IMO, it should be 100% portable, like a Thinstall'ed Firefox is.

John T. Haller
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Removed

That's just a temporary file which is removed on exit.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

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