6 Browser Extensions to Help You Surf the Internet Privately





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Browser extensions can help protect your data when you’re online.

Angela Lang/CBS

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has many countries on high alert for potential cyber warfare. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said cyberattacks can affect businesses large and small, as well as home offices, although it doesn’t see any US-specific cyberthreats at this time.

US officials have accused Russia of having cyberattacks against Ukrainian websites in February. Meanwhile, Russian ransomware group Conti has warned that the group will “retaliate” with “retaliatory measures” if nations use cyberattacks against Russia in retaliation for the invasion. And the Ukrainian government asked the hackers to help defend the country’s infrastructure once the invasion begins.

According to CISA, updating your web browser, as well as your devices and apps, is a good step to protect your data and privacy. We regularly recommend that you improve your overall privacy by trying a security-focused browser like Brave, or by updating your current browser’s security settings to increase your control over the amount of data collected. You can further protect yourself online by using a security-focused browser add-on. Here are six browser extensions to help you stay safe online.

HTTPS Everywhere

The first three browser extensions on this list – HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, and uBlock Origin – have long-standing recommendations from CNET reviewers.

The HTTPS Everywhere extension is available through a partnership between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the TOR Project. Many websites already use secure connections, but some don’t, leaving their visitors vulnerable to threats, such as the delivery of malware to their device. If you visit an unprotected website, HTTPS Everywhere checks if it offers a secure connection. If one is available, the add-on forces the site to use that connection.

HTTPS Everywhere is available for most browsers except Safari.

privacy badger

This is another EFF extension. Privacy Badger blocks advertisers and third-party trackers from monitoring your tracking where you go on the Internet, and if it suspects an advertiser is tracking you without your permission, it blocks that advertiser from loading content into your browser. The extension also has a color-coded guide so you know which sites are and aren’t safe.

Privacy Badger is available for most web browsers except Safari.

uBlock Origin

At first glance, uBlock Origin looks like another ad blocker, but it also blocks third-party trackers and domains known to belong to malware sources based on a community-generated list. If you’re using a VPN – and you really should – this extension also has a WebRTC blocking feature, ensuring your IP address is well hidden.

uBlock Origin is available for Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Opera and Safari.

Malwarebytes Browser Protection

Malwarebytes Browser Guard blocks trackers and other threats to protect your data from web pages containing malware. It also protects against tech support scams, where a Microsoft “specialist” calls or texts you to tell you they’ve identified a virus on your computer and can remove it for a fee, and card skimmers. virtual credit cards, where your credit card information is stolen. when you buy something online. The add-on also blocks pop-ups, which has the added benefit of loading web pages faster.

We haven’t tested Malwarebytes Browser Guard, but it has at least a 4 out of 5 star rating and over 9 million users. Many people found it useful, but some people found the extension broke some websites or missed some trackers. We recommend that you carefully evaluate Malwarebyte Browser Guard before choosing to use it.

Malwarebytes Browser Guard is available for Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, and Safari.

Avira Browser Security

Security software maker Avira offers the Avira Browser Safety extension which can help protect against infected ads, unwanted apps hidden in downloads, as well as malicious websites that might appear in your search results. The company also said the extension can help prevent browser hijacking, which is when unwanted software changes a web browser’s settings without permission, making it easier to inject unwanted ads. in a browser.

We haven’t tested Avira Browser Guard, but it has at least 4 out of 5 stars with over six million users. Although many users have found it useful, some have encountered issues while using the extension and accessing Google Docs. We recommend that you carefully evaluate Avira Browser Guard before choosing to use it.

Avira Browser Safety is available free of charge for Google Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

ClearURLs

Have you looked at a long URL and wondered what those random letters, numbers, and symbols mean? Some of this gibberish is probably a web tracker. Web trackers are a range of techniques – like setting cookies on your browser and monitoring sites that use share buttons attached to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter – that companies use to collect data about you based on the sites you have visited. ClearURLs gets rid of the web tracker and cleans up the URL. Then, if a site like Google tries to insert that tracking element back into the URL, ClearURLs stops it. You can access an extension report that shows you how many items have been blocked. This extension also makes it easy to share URLs with your friends and family, which is a plus.

We haven’t tested ClearURLs, and although the extension has at least a 4 out of 5 star rating with at least 200,000 users, some users have complained that they can’t whitelist sites and don’t unable to define custom rules. We recommend that you evaluate ClearURL carefully before choosing to use it.

ClearURLs is available for free for Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Firefox.

For more information on privacy and security, read how VPNs can help protect your home office, these cybersecurity tips for small businesses, and this checklist to help boost your overall privacy.


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