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Use these browser extensions for your privacy

Feb 09, 2017 · 5 min read

Use these browser extensions for your privacy

If you want to keep your privacy and feel more secure online, you’ll need some reliable browsing extensions. There are thousands of extensions to choose from, but which ones are worth it?

We gathered 8 of the best browser plug-ins that will improve your online privacy and security. Most of them are free (or have free versions) and are recommended by NordVPN’s developers and system admins.

Web proxy extension

A proxy extension, much like a VPN, sends your traffic through another server. This provides you with a different IP address, which will help mask your location and your identity. They don't have to provide encryption, but many web proxies do – especially the leading ones.

The main difference between a proxy extension and a VPN is that the extension only secures your browser traffic while a VPN secures all of your traffic. Extensions are generally more lightweight and use lighter encryption protocols that are web-compatible, so the traffic that does travel over your browser will often be secured end-to-end.

NordVPN browser extension

NordVPN extension

(Chrome, Firefox)

Alongside NordVPN's software, this extension will encrypt your browser connection and will protect you from third-party snooping. This multi-tasking extension will protect you when browsing non-HTTPS websites, stop IP address leaks, and use its CyberSec feature to block ads, malicious websites and other threats. Our extension is provided when you order a NordVPN subscription!

Ad blockers and script blockers

Adblockers block annoying ads and disable third-party scripts and widgets that can extract your data and send it anywhere (even, for example, hackers).

Ads can also be used to direct you to malicious sites. Once you click on the wrong ad, the hacker can launch a number of different malicious attacks (find out about different types of attacks here).

Script blockers are slightly different and will only disable JavaScript, a so-called ‘backbone’ of almost every website and app you will ever use. Unfortunately, these scripts can sometimes be abused by hackers to prey on unsuspecting users.

AdBlock Plus

AdBlock Plus

(Android, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Maxthon, Opera, Safari and Yandex)

AdBlock Plus is by far the most popular extension on this list. The benefit of ABP, of course, is that it’s easy to use and it’s reasonably powerful. It blocks pop-ups, rollover ads, banner ads, and known malware-hosting domains. In addition to this, Adblock stops third-party cookies and scripts that can expose your data and result in ‘cookie theft.’

Unfortunately, ad blockers do tend to interfere with the way some websites work. They can break your favorite sites, and they can impact businesses that depend on online advertising. This is why ad blockers will often ask you whether you wish to see ‘Acceptable ads’ or whether you want to block them.

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin

(Safari, Chrome, Chromium, Edge, Firefox, and Opera)

Another popular adblocker is the open-source uBlock Origin, which has become the new go-to for many online surfers. It’s understandable why users are turning to uBlock Origin – it takes up less space and therefore runs faster than other plug-ins, and it automatically blocks all ads. With uBlock, you will have more control over the ads you want to see and will be able to create personalized lists of exceptions.

No Script (Firefox) or Script Safe (Chrome)

No Script browser extension

No Script and Script Safe are two plugins that do the same job – disable Java, JavaScript, and Flash. As almost all websites run some form of JavaScript, these extensions will definitely disrupt them. That includes extremely popular sites such as Facebook, Youtube, and Netflix.

These are powerful extensions, but they require a lot more manual configuration, so they might not be perfect for beginners. They block scripts on all websites by default and only then allow you to add your trusted sites to their whitelist.

Anti-trackers

Anti-trackers are great browser extensions that protect you from malvertising (malicious advertising) and, as the name suggests, tracking. They block cookies, prevent sites from loading infected content, and detect trackers and their sources.

Disconnect

Disconnect

(Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, Opera)

One of the most popular anti-tracking browser extensions is Disconnect, which aims to protect you from malware, tracking, malvertising, and even offers you secure Wi-Fi and bandwidth optimization.

Tracking by the big players like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter is also blocked, especially when they try to collect your browsing data off-site. The plugin is easy to use and lets you control all site scripts from the toolbar menu.

Privacy Badger

Privacy Badger

(Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Firefox for Android)

On the other hand, there is Privacy Badger. It’s made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization well-known for fighting for online privacy and other digital freedoms.

Privacy Badger is a little different from other privacy browsing plugins. It doesn’t come out of the box with a list of cookies and trackers to disable. Instead, it has a heuristic algorithm that learns the more you use it, letting your browsing behavior decide what it should be blocking. This alone makes it the preferred extension for a lot of users (besides the fact that it’s an EFF program). The ability to block third-party trackers is just the cherry on top.

Other useful extensions

These five browsing extensions will help your privacy and will improve your security measures; however, you should also consider other plugins, which are as helpful as the ones we’ve already covered.

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere

(Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Brave, and Firefox for Android)

HTTPS Everywhere will keep you safe by directing you to more secure SSL versions of your favorite sites. It’s an effortless and simple way to protect your browsing and keep it more secure. It’s a must-have that will do a world of good and you won’t need to lift a finger.

LastPass

LastPass password extension

(Available on Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer)

One of the easiest ways for hackers to access our private information is to crack our passwords. The problem is that most people make the mistake of using the same password for all their accounts. This makes the hacker’s job very easy. LastPass, however, lets you store all of your passwords and digital records (such as insurance numbers and Wi-Fi passwords) in one encrypted place. If you want to, it’ll even generate long randomized passwords.

DuckDuckGo browser extension

DuckDuckGo browser extension

(Available on Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari)

DuckDuckGo's most notable product is their search engine, which is an anonymized and privacy-oriented alternative to Google. However, they also produce a great privacy browser extension that rolls a number of valuable tools into one plugin. This toolbox includes a tracker blocker that tracks which advertising and data networks you've blocked, a tool that forces sites to use HTTPS (where possible), and grades participating sites' privacy policies. Without a doubt, it also helps integrate DuckDuckGo's flagship search engine into your browser.

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Emily Green
Emily Green successVerified author

Emily Green is a content writer who loves to investigate the latest internet privacy and security news. She thrives on looking for solutions to problems and sharing her knowledge with NordVPN readers and customers.


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