Online Privacy – 2 – Browser Extensions

Browser Extensions for Online Privacy

Browser extensions are 3rd party software applications that extend or limit the capabilities or functionality of your web browser. They provide users with greater control over their browsing experience. Although browser extensions can themselves pose a risk of compromise (if they contain malicious code or have been poorly coded and leak personal information) these extensions have been extensively tested and are widely regarded as being trustworthy and safe.

Force Encryption (Secure Sockets Layer)

online privacy browser extensions
HTTPS Everywhere “encrypts the web”. More and more servers support encrypted communications but many of those servers are not configured to automatically use encryption and will default to plaintext communication or included unencrypted external resources which can break the encryption or enable man-in-the-middle attacks. HTTPS Everywhere forces communications over HTTPS even when the https:// prefix is omitted. It also uses rewrites to ensure that encryption is not broken by external resources or references to http:// URI’s. This extension was developed by the Electronic Freedom Foundation in collaboration with the Tor Project, and is available for Firefox, Firefox Android, Chrome and Opera.

Block Ads, Scripts, and Popups

The name almost says it all. Adblock Plus blocks annoying banner ads, pop-up ads, rollover ads, video ads and other uninvited offers on websites and social media platforms. More importantly, with regard to the protection of your online privacy, it blocks cookies, scripts, beacons and other tracking technologies that ad companies and other organizations use to track your every move online. In addition, Adblock Plus will prevent you from visiting known malware-hosting domains and removes social media buttons and scripts, which too, present a major threat to your online privacy. Adblock Plus is an open source project created by Eyeo GmbH and is supported by a wide and active community of developers and contributors.


Block Java, Javascript, Flash and Other Scripts

NoScript (Firefox) and ScriptSafe (Chrome, formerly ScriptNo): Both allow you to disable all scripts from running on pages or to allow specific scripts to run while blocking others. Javascript, Flash and Java applets are used to extract information from your browser and device that can be used to identify you, to violate your privacy or degrade your security. They’re powerful, but they’re also really aggressive, and will break an awful lot of sites. If you use them, you have to be up to the task of digging through scripts on every new site you visit to figure out which ones will make the site even work properly. Plus, AdBlock Plus already does this (and is less aggressive), you just have to add the right filters.

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Additional Online Privacy Protection

Disconnect is an open-source extension for Chrome and Firefox that can be used to speed up your Web browsing, make it safer, and improve your online privacy and anonymity. It allows you not only to monitor and visualize which websites are tracking you, using your personal information or sharing that information — it also allows you to control which scripts, elements, pages or sites you wish to shield yourself from. Disconnect also offers a range of other protections. It shields you from malware, malware injected ads and malvertising, sidejacking, widgetjacking and cookie exploitations. It offers secure Wi-Fi and bandwidth optimization features that are simply not available from other apps of its kind. It protects you from tracking by social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google, which actively collect data about you wherever you are on the Internet.

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Web of Trust 

https://www.mywot.com/

Web of Trust or WOT is a crowd-sourced trust barometer that lets you make informed decisions about the websites you choose to visit. It ranks websites by reputation and trustworthiness, and will alert you to known online dangers, such as malware hosts, sites that use scripts and other technologies that could be used to deploy malware or adware onto your system, scam websites, phishing sites, websites that are not suitable for children, and more. If you’re interested in knowing what other people think about a site then this is the extension for you. Here’s an example of the WOT rating of the Intertel website (intertel.co.za).

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