PrivacySuite Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I use Privacy Suite the first time?
- What is the "Master Password"?
- How do advanced users use Abine? / Why isn't it working correctly?
- What does "Switch Identity" mean?
- Help! I forgot my master password
- It saved the wrong login and password information. What do I do now?
- Can multiple users use Abine on the same machine?
- Ok, what is an identity? Why do I have more than one?
- I sometimes want Abine to be disabled. How can I do this most easily?
- Does Abine slow down my browser since you're doing stuff on the pages?
- Why does the privacy info page say I don't have any accounts at a site when I do have an account there?
- How do I automatically delete cookies from a site once I've left it?
- What is an "opt-out" cookie?
- Will PrivacySuite help stop unwanted junk email?
- Should I use this to login to my bank accounts and other financial sites?
- How do I import/export logins for PrivacySuite?
Security and Privacy
- Are you pinging your server to get updated information on databreaches or anything else?
- What if someone else is using my computer – can they get my passwords?
- Where are my passwords and other data stored?
- Can I trust this to keep my credit card #'s safe?
- How do I see all of my data? Where are my userids and passwords?
- How do I back up my profile data?
- Am I already opting out of targeted ad networks? Is this done automatically?
- Am I already opting out of other ways Web sites are tracking me?
- Help! I can't login to my mail/facebook/farm!
- I use a netbook with a small screen and can't see everything, what do I do?
- Why does my https connection say "partially encrypted" now with TACO?
- I clicked "Delete Cookies," but PrivacySuite still says there are dozens of cookies on my machine. Am I missing something?
- Why are there all these cookies on my machine now?
- How do I uninstall if something has gone wrong?
- 1. What is PrivacySuite?
Abine is a free browser add-on which you download, install, and use to control the information websites have about you. Companies and governments collect information about you both implicitly (through cookies, correlation, IP address, etc.) and explicitly (from web forms you submit). Abine helps you get and maintain control of both. Abine also lets you choose to opt-out of intrusive behavioral advertising. Remember, organize, and update all your logins, passwords, signup forms, and even credit cards from one very fast, secure tool.
- 2. How does PrivacySuite work?
If you're like most users (and Abine's founders), you spend way too much time re-typing, re-registering, re-setting, and recycling accounts. You worry about your online privacy and all your personal information on the web, but usually feel powerless to do anything about it. Remember even five or ten years ago, you didn't have too many online accounts. Now, keeping track of your accounts and personal information is much more important. Over time, we'll add more features to help you automatically manage your web experience. And we won't ever violate our principles by advertising or marketing to you to to do so.
- 3. What does PrivacySuite do?
Abine runs inside your browser, where it can be used to securely remember your passwords, logins, and other information. Abine can also auto-fill forms for you. This makes it much easier to use different logins and profiles at different sites. We stop advertisers from tracking you, keep you private when you want to be, and organize all your accounts automatically for you, every day. Want to update, delete, or otherwise control your account info? Do it with one click.
- 4. Is it safer than what I'm doing?
Yes, it's safer and easier because you own everything. All the information about your accounts is encrypted and stays on your machine. No other company or person can get to it. Seems sensible, right?
- 5. What can I control using PrivacySuite?
Logins.Can you remember all your accounts and passwords? How many times have you had to enter (and re-enter) your information online? Since you're creating more accounts daily, save time and gain control by keeping them organized.
Privacy.Do you want more online privacy for yourself and your family? Do you want to do something about it without giving up the convenience of social networks, search engines and online shopping? You don't have to become your own computer security department. PrivacySuite gives you back the control over your online privacy.
Security. Have you had your credit card number or identity stolen? Have your online passwords been compromised? Do you worry that it could happen to you, like it's happened to 100s of millions of other people? Abine's software and services help secure your information and make it possible to follow all of those online security best practices that are too cumbersome for most people.
- 6. Is PrivacySuite free?
Yes. We do have some upgraded features that cost extra, but the core tools will remain free to all users. Try it out now.
- 7. What’s the difference between TACO and PrivacySuite?
PrivacySuite and TACO both provide the same level of protection against social networks, ad networks, and tracking companies. They both place opt-out cookies that signal to advertisers that you want to opt-out of receiving target advertising (it's like the "Do Not Call" list for targeted advertising).
PrivacySuite and TACO come with different settings and apps enabled, but they have the same options and functionality. Eventually the two will be combined into one product; currently we’re updating the interface and functionality so that it's more user-friendly. These products are still in beta.
- 8. When will you release the next PrivacySuite? How much will this service cost?
Currently, we only have a beta version available for Firefox, available here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/privacysuite/
Right now, we don’t have any details on the cost for the upcoming version of PrivacySuite. We anticipate that it will be made up of small apps, of which some will be free and some will have a relatively modest upgrade cost to access advanced features.
This is the same model we’re using for the beta version: currently you pay $5 a month to protect your email address and phone number. The beta also includes a private proxy service that is a paid upgrade.
- 1. How do I use PrivacySuite the first time?
Just browse the internet as usual. Log in to sites as you always do. Let PrivacySuite remember your account information.
- 2. How do advanced users use PrivacySuite?
PrivacySuite helps you manage all your accounts, passwords, and personal information online as you use the Internet. Many users create multiple identities with different emails and other safe information. They can then easily switch to use different profiles at different kinds of sites. Use these features if you're ever concerned that certain sites know too much about you. Other advanced users make the most out of our cookie blocking and email shielding features. See our online manual for more thorough documentation of our various features.
- 3. Why isn't it working correctly?
If you're having trouble automatically filling a certain form, it may be due to an issue in recognizing the page forms. Send us the URL in an email and we'll do our best to fix it. firstname.lastname@example.org
If something else isn't working right, please let us know.
- 4. What does "Switch Identity" mean?
Your PrivacySuite identity is all the stuff a particular web site or account knows about you. You can literally create different kinds of profiles for your online presence. For example, if you want to search for sensitive medical advice, switch to an identity that can't be tracked back to your job or your social network. After you get the advice, then switch back to your regular persona.
- 5. Help! I forgot my master password!
Your master password is your own padlock to your passwords and account info. We do not have access to your passwords so we cannot recover it if it's lost. In this situation, you will have to either try your best to remember it or reset all of your settings. Resetting your Abine installation will erase your saved logins and accounts.
- 6. It saved the wrong login and password information. What do I do now?
If you guess the wrong login or password, sometimes Abine will save this information, thinking you have another account at the site. You will then have more than one account id displayed in the login window. You can quickly delete the incorrect logins by just clicking on the "X". After confirming, that account userid will be deleted.
- 7. Can multiple users use PrivacySuite on the same machine?
Nope, your master password prevents others from using your copy of PrivacySuite. Therefore, make sure you never tell this password to anyone else who might use your computer. We plan on adding features for multiple users of Abine on one computer in the future.
- 8. Ok, what is an identity? Why do I have more than one?
Identities are simple and convenient sets of information you have saved to auto-fill into forms later when needed. For some sites, like banks and travel sites, you'll need to use mostly real information. But for many others, you can choose to provide less information or easily keep your data separated.
- 9. How can I easily disable PrivacySuite at one site?
To most easily disable PrivacySuite at an individual site, click on the PrivacySuite icon in the upper right hand corner and toggle the switch to "OFF."
- 10. Does the PrivacySuite slow down my browser since you're doing stuff on the pages?
PrivacySuite interacts with each web page as it loads. We do this to make sure that your privacy controls are maintained. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to block cookies that a site tries to set or stop websites from using flash plugins to store data about you. See the Tech Specs and Cookies pages for more details.
The good news: it takes only 3/10s of a second longer to protect your privacy, and we're working to make it even faster.
Check out our page on browser performance for more info.
- 11. Why does the privacy info page say I don't have any accounts at a site when I do have an account there?
What we really mean there is that we don't know if you have an account at that site. There's a beta privacy app in the PrivacySuite for security managing accounts, generating passwords, etc. If we're managing an account there we can include that in the Privacy Info window as well as change the risk depending on wether or not you're using your primary email of a shielded disposable email address. So unless you are using the beta "Logins and Passwords" privacy app we can't tell for sure if you've got an account yet.
- 12. How do I automatically delete cookies from a site once I've left it?
PrivacySuite allows you to "Accept for Session" cookies you want deleted once you've closed your browser:
- Go to the "Opt Out and Block" tab
- Under the cookies area, click "Advanced Settings"
- Below "Let Web Sites Store Cookies," choose "For Session." This will delete all cookies from a site once you close your browser.
- 13. What is an "opt-out" cookie?
"Opt-out" cookies are pieces of electronic data that are installed on your computer (like regular cookies). But while regular cookies tell Web sites information about your online behavior, opt-out cookies tell advertising companies that you don't want to be tracked anymore. Normally, a user interested in opting out of online tracking has to download each marketing company's opt-out cookie from the company Web site. Now, the PrivacySuite's new TACO add-on will do that for you by automatically opting out of most behavioral advertising and keeping those opt-out cookies on your machine to ensure your opt out is persistent.
- 14. Will Privacy Suite help stop unwanted junk email?
Many people want to know if the PrivacySuite will help stop all the unwanted junk in their e-mail. For example if I am researching a subject like health insurance on Google, I often end up with mass amounts of sales and adds in my e-mail in box.
The PrivacySuite automatically helps stop / minimize what's called "ad targeting" where your searches and other information are pulled together from many web sites (not just Google) and then advertisers use these "profiles" to send you ads and emails.
However, if what you're talking about is only the spam in your email inbox, it would probably be a good idea to use a better spam filter. (Tell us what email service you use and what browser and we can offer help email@example.com)
Lastly, the PrivacySuite also offers disposable email addresses which are terrific ways to not get your real email address on the list of marketers and spammers. Best of all, it's free.
- 15. Should I use this to login to my bank accounts and other financial sites?
Even though this would seem obvious, the answer is probably not. Banks and financial sites have special security parameters around their logins, making it tougher for any login and password manager to work correctly. We try to let you know if a particular online bank or investment site works or doesn’t, but we’re still in trial-and-error mode here. Over time, we’ll improve and you can always request a fix to a form from us.>>
- 16. How do I import/export logins for PrivacySuite?
First, download PrivacySuite into Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/privacysuite/To export:
- Open PrivacySuite
- Mouseover “More”
- Choose “Preferences”
- Choose “Import/Export”
- Choose “Export Settings”
- Save the file
- Open PrivacySuite
- Mouseover “More”
- Choose “Preferences”
- Choose “Import/Export”
- Choose “Import Settings”
- Navigate to the file and choose “Open”
Security and Privacy
- 1. Are you pinging your server to get updated information on databreaches or anything else?
We only make outbound connections for two reasons:
1. To update our list of ad trackers and opt-out cookies, and
2. To check for updates to the add-on.
Just like any other add-on, Firefox does an update check for new versions about once a day. We also pull down any additional updates to form mappings or recommended configuration settings, but this data is flowing from our server to your computer, nothing is being sent the other way. We check for data breaches against a list that's included in the install, and gets updated only when new versions of the add-on are installed. (Later we'll add a way for you to update it whenever you want.)
- 2. Can I trust Abine/PrivacySuite to keep my credit card #'s safe?
Abine's mission is to give internet users true security and control. We do not store your credit card numbers or passwords on our servers -- instead, they are encrypted with the password only you know and stored on your PC. You can read more the technical details here.
Your credit cards here are as safe as they are in your wallet. In fact, not typing in your credit cards on each new site not only saves you time, but protects against some key logger attacks.
- 3. What if someone else is using my computer – can they get my passwords?
Nope, you have a master password. You never told this to anyone else who might use your computer, right? Right.
- 4. Where are my passwords and other data stored?
The PrivacySuite software encrypts and stores all passwords and account data on your PC. It can only be seen by you with your master password. We do not store your data on our servers and cannot access them, by design. They are encrypted using industry standard 256 Bit AES encryption.
Windows: If you are a Windows user, all your data can be found in your application/data directory: For example: C:\Documents and Settings\User\Application Data\Abine.
(Note: on Windows 2000 and Windows XP, the "Document and Settings" directory is generally hidden; to access the directory, you may need to set Windows Explorer to show System and Hidden directories and files.)
Macintosh: On Mac OS X, a typical profile location is: ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profile id/Abine
Linux: On Linux, a typical profile location is: ~/.abine
- 5. How do I see my data? Where are all my userids, and passwords?
All your sites with account information are stored only on your PC. You can view and change any of your account info easily by opening the PrivacySuite from your toolbar and clicking on the My Accounts and Sites tab.
IMPORTANT: To see your passwords, userids, and info for that site, you need to click on the account id underneath the site in the left navigation bar.
- 6. How do I back up my profile data?
Occasionally, your browser software or computer system may malfunction and cause important profile data to be lost. Therefore we recommend that you make a backup copy of your PrivacySuite data periodically. Backup frequency will depend on your usage. Just copy the PrivacySuite directory to a portable drive or whatever means of backup you prefer.
Soon we'll have a feature that takes care of this automatically and securely.
- 7. Am I already opting out of targeted ad networks? Is this done automatically?
Yes. You're automatically opted out of 100 behavioral ad networks. Nothing more you need to do. Each day, the program creates 100+ customized cookies that tell the ad networks "Don't track me", and that's it. No matter which sites you visit, they'll work. (Of course, you can allow these to track you if you want by clicking on the button saying "stop opt out".
- 8. Am I already opting out of other ways Web sites are tracking me?
No. This is not done automatically. If you have it turned, on, we show you in the "privacy alerts pop up window" if there are other ways web sites are tracking you. Blocking these is currently optional and so you need to do it yourself right now. Just click "Block it" when you see the window come up or block a whole group of tracking technologies at once by going to the "Opt-Out and Block" tab. We remind you that like cookies, the danger is that sometimes blocking these trackers may cause problems using certain sites. (why they're optional).
- 1. Help! I can't login to my mail/facebook/farm!
If you can't login to a webmail or other accounts (banks are little different), its probably because a cookie that website insists on using has been blocked. This can be confusing, as some websites (like Facebook) put cookies on many, many other websites, so blocking all on one site can inadvertently block cookies you may need on another. As a result you might not have noticed that they got blocked as well when you were adjusting settings on a website.In the updated version 3.02:
The new update makes this very easy, go to the website and then in the Firefox tools menu select "TACO 3.0/Abine", go to "Cookie Settings" and choose "Allow Cookies for this site" or "Allow Cookies for all sites"
In version 3.01 and earlier:
The sure way to fix this is to clear any cookie blocks right out of Firefox. Here's how:
- Make sure that you are accepting cookies and 3rd party cookies
- Go to Tools->Options in the *Firefox* menu (or File->Preferences on a Mac). See the screenshots below.
- The options window will come up. Click on "Privacy"
- Set the "Firefox will:" drop down menu to "Use custom settings for history"
- From the options below, make sure that "Accept cookies from sites" is checked.
- Click the "Exceptions" button to check the exceptions list to make sure you haven't block a specific site. (if you don't see exceptions button - choose "Firefox will: use custom settings".
- Find anything with the id of the website you are having issues with in the list (such as "login.yahoo.com and "yahoo.com") that has a status of "Blocked". Select them, and click "Remove Site" or "Remove All Sites" to get rid of all the exceptions (this will unblock other cookies as well).
You now should be able to log into your website. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can't.
- 2. I use a netbook with a small screen and can't see everything, what do I do?
If you use a netbook or other device with a particularly small screen then we have an updated version that will automatically scale itself to fit your resolution. We're working a more elegant way to do this, but you can get this fixed version right now on our updates page.
- 3. Why does my https connection say "partially encrypted" now with TACO?
For some sites it will appear that https (or SSL) is not encrypting the entire session. This is due to the addition of an iframe into the page that is entirely local to your browser and is a container for some PrivacySuite windows.
Your session with the website is encrypted. However the page will report it as a "partially" encrypted connection. We are working on making sure this is resolved. If you are concerned you can disable TACO on a specific site and see the connection status.
- 4. I clicked "Delete Cookies," but PrivacySuite still says there are dozens of cookies on my machine. Am I missing something?
Nope. It seems counterintuitive, but when you delete cookies, there are lots of ways new cookies can be sent to your computer to replace the ones you deleted, for example when you reload a page, or go to a second page at the same site. One good thing is that while the deleted cookies may have had lots of information on your surf history, the new cookies typically contain little or no historical information about you (they're just beginning to map your surfing). So that's one way your privacy can be improved – by deleting the old cookies, even though replacement cookies can come back, you're kind of erasing the chalkboard of information the site had stored about you.
If you don't want the site to send you new cookies, you can "block" cookies using your PrivacySuite software. Note that blocking cookies might impact the performance of some cookie-based Web sites – but PrivacySuite makes it easy to "Undo" your cookie selections if you find you're having problems using the site.
Click here for more information how to delete cookies.
- 5. Why are there all these cookies on my machine now?
We've been asked why did I find a bunch of new tracking cookies on my machine and what are they? (for example, for Windows users in: C:\Documents and Settings\User\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxx.default\cookies.sqlite:\)
Those cookies are actually opt-out of targeted advertising. Like the do not call list, they tell advertising networks that you are telling them not to deliver targeted advertising to you. TACO creates them for you and keeps them updated, and replaces them in case a websites is able removing or overwriting them.
- 6. How do I uninstall if something has gone wrong?
If you need to uninstall it's easy. On Firefox it is all done from within the Firefox browser.For Firefox:
- In the Firefox menu, go to "Tools" and pick "Add-ons" (Screenshots are below)
- A window will appear. Click "Extensions"
- Select TACO (or PrivacySuite) from the list and then click the "Disable" or "Uninstall" button.
- Restart Firefox
For Internet Explorer:
For Internet Explorer uninstalls, you go through the normal "Add/Remove Programs" feature.