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5 Browser Extensions to Protect Your Privacy

5 Browser Extensions to Protect Your Privacy

Your browser is your gateway to the World Wide Web but it’s also how hackers, drive-by downloaders, and other malicious actors can get into your computer.

Installing security-focused browser extensions that block pop-up advertisements and completely encrypt website traffic from being monitored or tracked will definitely increase your privacy—and may even speed up your browser.

Below are five privacy add-ons that give your browser extra muscles to keep you safe online: It starts with adblocker extensions that allow users to block irritating and malicious ads, save bandwidth and opt out of intrusive marketing systems.

uBlock Origin is one of the most popular ad blocker extensions compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. It prevents pesky popups and widgets from sending your data to advertisers. uBlock Origin lets you create personalized lists which gives you more control over what ads to block and what ads to allow. It has also been found to effectively block more ads than others while using less memory, so it doesn’t slow down your browsing experience.

Unlike ad blockers, anti-tracking extensions block cookies and protect your online anonymity by preventing tracking and malvertising of third-party advertisers.

Privacy Badger is arguably the best anti-tracking web browser extension. Launched by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), it’s a lightweight add-on with a user-friendly toolbar button that keeps a record of your data. The “green/yellow/red” block-list system shows which webpages are tracking you and gives you the ability to block any or all of it at any point. The one feature that sets Privacy Badger apart is that it doesn’t block all content, just the tracking scripts that follow you from one site to another. If the content tracking you is essential to a page’s functionality, Privacy Badger will allow it to load with the tracking capabilities blocked.

Ghostery is similar to Privacy Badger, but with a slightly better interface. It detects cookies on websites you visit and blocks the tracking to speedup page-load times—essentially eliminating clutter while protecting your data. However, Ghostery doesn’t block trackers by default. You’ll need to inspect them from the interface and decide what to do with them. There’s also an option to share your data with Ghostery to improve your experience.

Disconnect is an extension that de-personalizes your browsing without cutting off necessary functionality. Available for mobile and desktops, Disconnect works by blocking various bits of third-party tracking code that poses harm to your computer or privacy. When a site makes a network request to connect to anything besides the site you’re visiting, it won’t be able to load that extra content. Once installed, you’ll notice Disconnect building up a tally in its taskbar icon. As with the other extensions, you can customize the control for different sites and even experience faster browsing.

Making unsecured websites secure.

Secure websites use the HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) protocol, which encrypts your credit card details, personal information, and other sensitive data. However, not all websites are HTTPS-enabled, so the next step and piece-de-resistance in your privacy setup should be a good site-securing extension.

HTTPS Everywhere add-on is a joint venture project of Tor browser and EFF. When you install the extension, it automatically rewrites the requests, establishes a connection to SSL, then locates and directs you to the most secure versions of the websites you visit. In case your browser connects you to unsecured websites, HTTPS Everywhere will keep your data private and secure from leaking by redirecting it to an encrypted HTTPS.

Better to learn now than lost later.

Yes, there’s a lot to think about and learning about these privacy and security programs may take some time—but remember that each minute spent will be worth it. As you learn to secure your data and boost your privacy, you’ll realize you don’t have to let the world peer into your life.

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