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Best Chrome Security Extensions

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Whenever you open a web browser and connect to the Internet, you take a security risk. The web is full of malicious cybercriminals. To protect your privacy and safeguard your device against attacks, you need a secure web browser. Google Chrome is the most popular web browser on the market—as of 2019, 2.6 billion Internet users accessed the web with a Chrome browser.

Several extensions can keep you safe by preventing your activity from being tracked or warning you about malicious websites. Below are the eight best security extensions for Chrome.

HTTPS Everywhere

The difference between websites with HTTP and HTTPS is data security. Websites with the HTTPS protocol protect sensitive data like login information. Ideally, you want every website you visit to have HTTPS. There are still many sites that use HTTP. To protect your sensitive information no matter which website you visit, install the HTTPS Everywhere extension on Chrome. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tor Project developed HTTPS Everywhere so users could convert every website to HTTPS, securing any info that you submit on a website, such as usernames, email addresses, or passwords. 

Windows Defender

Microsoft makes a Windows Defender Browser Protection extension for Chrome. It scans websites for potential malware. When you click on a link, Windows Defender will compare the URL to existing malicious websites and flash a warning message if there’s a match. You can leave before even entering the site, preventing any malware from downloading onto your computer or device. Microsoft might not be your first thought when looking for Chrome extensions, but Windows Defender has a solid reputation and the extension provides an extra layer of security online.

Ghostery

Advertisers are constantly gathering and selling user information to third parties. But we hardly notice when it’s happening. Taking your information without your consent is an invasion of your privacy. You need a browser extension that can prevent your info from being stolen. Ghostery lives up to its name. It’s not going to stop calling you after a bad date. But it is going  to make you invisible to trackers. Websites use these trackers to collect your information and sell it to third parties. Ghostery also blocks ads to make your browsing experience smoother. If you don’t need the extension on a particular website, you can always disable it.

Avast Online Security

The Avast Chrome extension is an all-around web browsing security tool. Avast gives websites a score based on how secure they are. The score comes from users’ feedback. If you navigate to a website that has been tagged as malicious, Avast will warn you. The extension will even show how safe a website is in Google or Bing search results. You can block cookies, ad trackers, analytic sites, and social networks with the Avast Chrome extension.

AdBlock Plus

Ad Blocking is so widespread that many people consider it a must for their web browser. Over 615 million devices – or 11 percent of all Internet traffic – uses ad blocking. AdBlock Plus is the original ad blocker for Chrome. It’s widely trusted and used. AdBlock Plus stops intrusive pop-up ads from disrupting your web browsing. By default, the extension will show some ads that it considers “acceptable.” After all, many websites do rely on ads to pay their bills. AdBlock Plus lets you control which ads you see, making your browsing experience safer and less annoying.

Privacy Badger

Privacy Badger is like Ghostery. It’s an anti-tracking browser extension. But Privacy Badger shows you your data, and which websites are tracking you. The extension doesn’t automatically block all tracking content. It will just stop scripts that attempt to follow you between websites. Privacy Badger shows you how safe websites are with a green/yellow/red system. With the info the extension gives you, you can decide how to block ad trackers and take charge of your own web browsing security.

Disconnect

Stopping web trackers is one thing, finding out who is tracking you is another. With the Disconnect browser extension for Chrome, you can see specific names of trackers on each website you visit. You can also filter for what type of tracking they’re doing: analytics, advertising, social networks, or content. Disconnect lets you view and block certain trackers, so you choose how your information is viewed online.

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin blocks ad trackers and cookies to keep malvertisers away. Unlike other extensions of this kind, uBlock Origin blocks more ads and uses less memory. It also allows more customization, letting you create lists saying which ads to block and which to follow.

…And a Few Extensions NOT to Add to Chrome

Branded Surveys

In 2019, the “DataSpii” project revealed that several Chrome and Firefox browser extensions were giving private user information to companies like Walmart, Apple, Amazon, and Skype. Branded Surveys was one of several extensions that were implicated.

UpVoice and Ads Feed Chrome

In early October, Facebook filed a lawsuit against two companies, alleging that their browser extensions, UpVoice and Ads Feed Chrome, scraped data from user profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, LinkedIn, and other websites.

Use Discretion with Chrome Browser Extensions

As these examples show, not every extension available on the Chrome web store is safe to use. Anyone can add an extension, and Google must verify them before they are available. But the verification process doesn’t account for every potential threat.

Before installing an extension on your web browser, always research it. Check how many downloads it has, read reviews, and look for potential problems. Well-known extensions, like the ones on this list, are a safer bet than lesser-known ones. Just because you’ve heard of it doesn’t mean it’s safe. Knowing what you’re installing before adding it to Chrome is one of the best ways to guarantee your online safety while web browsing. 

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