In today’s post I’d like to explain my choice of browser plug-ins which help me browse the web securely and with a degree of privacy. The following advice will not create an impenetrable bubble of security and privacy but rather aims to keep as much of your data and as under-your-control as possible.
The plug-ins I have selected are the ones I use for my day-to-day browsing. They are compatible with Google Chrome and/or Firefox (that should also include other browsers that can run Firefox/Chrome compatible add-ons such as Tor and/or Chromium). The final prerequisite is that all of these add-ons are free and open-source. This is not only because I wish to support developers who decide to make their code freely available, but also because the transparency of the open-source model allows for the most security.
My suggested add-ons are thus:
- HTTPS Everywhere, which encrypts your communications with many major websites.
- Privacy Badger, which stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking what pages you look at.
- NoScript/ScriptBlock, which allows you to control what scripts your browser can run.
HTTPS Everywhere is an extension which was developed as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This plug-in encrypts your communication with other websites whenever possible, this is by no means fool proof, but it does makes the best use of encryption without getting in the end-user’s way.
Privacy Badger, another extension from the EFF which, “stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at”. It’s important to understand that at the time of writing, Privacy Badger only protects users against third-party tracking. Your browser and the websites you visit can freely exchange information but the third party advertising and tracking agencies will be blocked using heuristic blocking. The heuristic blocking technique used by Privacy Badger has been hailed as a non-corporate answer to Disconnect which relies on a blacklist of bad actors to protect you.
ScriptBlock is Google Chrome’s answer to NoScript. It offers most of the features available in NoScript.
I hope my recommendations on how to browse the web more securely have been useful. If you’d like an impression on the kind of information you might be giving away, BrowserSpy.dk is a great website which tells you which information a website can access.