πŸ“¬ These 7 trustworthy browser extensions jumpstart our security and privacy
5 min read

πŸ“¬ These 7 trustworthy browser extensions jumpstart our security and privacy

Browser extensions can make your internet experience faster and safer, if done right. Get, and you're set.
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Photo by Aditya Wardhana / Unsplash

Happily, all these extensions are available through Firefox's Recommended Extensions program for verifying extensions as trustworthy. They're also available for Chrome and Brave, but with no verification.

Minimal selection

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Taking advantage of these extensions requires minimal effort.

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-CA)
Download uBlock Origin for Firefox. Finally, an efficient wide-spectrum content blocker. Easy on CPU and memory.

In my years of using uBlock Origin to keep ads away, I've encountered just one issue, ever. By the time I experienced the problem, users had already long since reported it, there was a fix handy, and the issue was resolved overnight.

One plus of a tool being around a long time is that lots of other people can help you solve any problems that could come up.

It works on YouTube too. Blocking ads doesn't just make your internet experience far less distracting. You also remove a potential attack vector.

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-CA)
Download HTTPS Everywhere for Firefox. Encrypt the web! HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox extension to protect your communications by enabling HTTPS encryption automatically on sites that are known to support it, even when you type URLs or follow links that omit the https: prefix.

Encrypt (glossary) everything. But if doing so seems a lot of work from where you stand now, start by ensuring that just your browser traffic is encrypted. Check out the code, if so inclined.

Even better selection

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Using these extensions requires slightly more effort, and is absolutely worthwhile, but if you're struggling with the ones mentioned already, save these for later.

Firefox Multi-Account Containers

Firefox Multi-Account Containers – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-CA)
Download Firefox Multi-Account Containers for Firefox. Firefox Multi-Account Containers lets you keep parts of your online life separated into color-coded tabs. Cookies are separated by container, allowing you to use the web with multiple accounts and integrate Mozilla VPN for an extra layer of priv…

Particularly useful for compartmentalizing Google, Meta (ahem, Facebook) and other services that relentlessly hoover up information about what you do online. You can make anything Facebook-related services open in a Container just for itself. Consequently, all the information it can then touch will be limited to facebook.com, or instagram.com, or whatever.

For example, you can sandbox your Google or Facebook activity using Firefox Containers. This would make it more difficult for your business competitors to run interference using ads that can track you and your team across the web.

Privacy Badger

Privacy Badger – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-CA)
Download Privacy Badger for Firefox. Automatically learns to block invisible trackers.

This extension learns on its own to block trackers. If a web app (glossary) breaks, try selectively allowing blocked trackers, but Privacy Badger typically doesn't need any tweaking. Yay!

You can dig into the code, but this extension, like every other one on this page has been vetted by Mozilla for Firefox.

Decentraleyes

Decentraleyes – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-CA)
Download Decentraleyes for Firefox. Protects you against tracking through β€œfree”, centralized, content delivery. It prevents a lot of requests from reaching networks like Google Hosted Libraries, and serves local files to keep sites from breaking. Complements regular content blockers.

When you use a web app (glossary), the app may pull code from certain servers. This code is often necessary for the app to work correctly. This extension protects you by providing that code to the app directly, and prevents the app from talking to those servers.

Cookie AutoDelete – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-CA)
Download Cookie AutoDelete for Firefox. Control your cookies! This WebExtension is inspired by Self Destructing Cookies. When a tab closes, any cookies not being used are automatically deleted. Keep the ones you trust (forever/until restart) while deleting the rest. Containers Supported

Also shortened to CAD, Cookie Auto Delete does exactly what it says on the packaging: it deletes your cookies (glossary).

Think of Cookie Auto Delete as a tool that cleans up after you. Typically, as you hop from page to page on the web, each one tries to leave between one and several cookies in your browser. Future pages you touch can see those traces left by previous pages and link up your activity, all behind the scenes.

Also useful if you want to automatically logout of some pages when you close the tab or quit your browser.

Advanced selection

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These extensions require effort to understand and use, and will be a bigger headache than is worth your time unless you specifically want it.

NoScript

NoScript Security Suite – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-CA)
Download NoScript Security Suite for Firefox. The best security you can get in a web browser! Allow potentially malicious web content to run only from sites you trust. Protect yourself against XSS other web security exploits.

This one has been around long time. I remember using it more than a decade ago in Firefox, before Google's Chrome took over.

Use NoScript to JavaScript on pages you don't trust. When applied, the page essentially becomes old-school static HTML. It's a fantastically useful app for the cautious.

But, NoScript has a learning curve. Start with the other extensions above, and come back to this when you want to make your life more difficult. By then, I imagine you'd have a good reason to do so.

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