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Utility companies say to close browser at logout for security - Does close tab do the same?
When closing out of my account on a utility company web page, they say that info remains on the browser as long as it is open, and that the browser should be closed for security when logged out. If I close the tab, does that do the same for security as closing the browser?
All Replies (3)
No, at a minimum you should close the window.
If that website knew what is was doing, it would open a new window to enter critical data within and then when the transaction was completed it would automatically close that window. Website coding can close windows that it opens, but it can't close windows the user opened.
Note that you can set Firefox to clear specific data when you close Firefox.
- Tools > Options > Privacy > Firefox will: "Use custom settings for history": [X] "Clear history when Firefox closes" > Settings
You can also use "History > Clear Recent History" to clear specific data like cookies and cache from the last hour(s):
Note that clearing "Site Preferences" clears all exceptions for cookies, images, pop-up windows, software installation, passwords, and other website specific data.
You can let all cookies expire when Firefox is closed to make them session cookies.
- Firefox/Tools > Options > Privacy > "Use custom settings for history" > Cookies: Keep until: "I close Firefox"
Create a cookie 'allow' exception for cookies that you would like to keep.
- Firefox/Tools > Options > Privacy > "Use custom settings for history" > Cookies: Exceptions
If you want to prevent Firefox from storing data from specific domains like your bank website to disk then you can visit such sites in a New Private Window.
By default, Firefox stores up to 3 closed windows and up to 10 closed tabs per window, so whether you close a tab or a window, it's possible to re-open them using the History menu if you haven't closed a lot more windows and tabs. A site designed with high security/privacy in mind will not allow you to go back, back, back into pages viewed during a logged out session, but some sites do.
I think cor-el's suggestion to use a private window for sites you do not want in your session history is the most practical workaround. You can open a private window using Ctrl+Shift+p, or right-clicking a link or bookmark and choosing Open in New Private Window.