A web browser is something everyone uses but no one really thinks about. Sure, some people prefer Chrome or FireFox (myself being in the latter), or some even stick with the MS choice of Edge or IE. But what a lot of people don’t know, is there is a myriad of add ons, themes and plugins that make them so much more than just a browser. Some of these addons also provide extra layers of security. That’s where today’s discussion will be: The addons I run for security and privacy and what they do.
To start: Most of the addons I’ve looked into work on both Chrome AND FireFox. I recently switched back to FireFox after about a decade of chrome. Between the slowness, the RAM consumption and the amount of privacy issues, I’m glad I made this choice.
The first addon I’ll always run on ANY web browser is Adblock Plus. This should be a staple for everyone and anyone using the web and provides the first layer of security and privacy. This will knock out about 95% of ads in my experience with it and will greatly help your browsing experience. This also has a bonus perk: A lot of malware seen in the wild comes from bad or unsecure ads on websites so this will be a nice line of defense against these.
The second one I run is Privacy Badger. This prevents websites from tracking your progress site to site and will prevent such things as Facebook from monitoring your browsing after you leave a web page and continue on. The biggest surprise for this plugin was the sheer amount of trackers on news sites (localsyr.com is a great example). It’s a pleasant feeling seeing the numbers pop up and seeing how many trackers are stopped.
Next up is uBlock Origin which takes the role as a duplicate ad blocker as a second line of defense against ads. Per their website from the link above: ” An efficient blocker: easy on memory and CPU footprint, and yet can load and enforce thousands more filters than other popular blockers out there. ” I run this as a redundant blocker and it does seem to catch some of the items that Adblock plus might not hit.
Last, but not least: LastPass. I used a Google sync account for years to sync all my saved passwords and forms. In hindsight, it’s incredibly insecure and a terrible idea; Stealing someone’s unencrypted computer would allow extremely simple access to all of this information including passwords, logins and site history. With lastpass, this is all stored in an encrypted space which prevents someone with local access getting into it. I’m still testing it but so far it’s been a bumpy but improving ride. I look forward to being able to continue testing it.
Bonus add on: Disable HTML5 Autoplay. Almost ALL news sites (looking at you again localsyr…) have videos automatically play and scare the crap out of anyone not ready for a loud blast of audio. This is a huge pet peeve of mine and this app has been an absolute godsend for browsing.
What addons do you run? Have you tried these before? Thanks for reading and cheers!