Moving around on the internet through a web browser isn’t the simple carefree process it may have been in the earliest days of the World Wide Web. The net is full of spyware, hackers, viruses, information thieves, bad bots, worms and other security threats; it’s basically like a huge jungle full of diseases and parasites, many of them hiding in things disguised as pretty flowers and colorful frogs. You need protection on your daily trips or you are very likely to see your computer infected and your pockets emptied by repair or replacement costs.
The amusing thing is that, although almost everyone knows that it’s a bad idea to surf the web without security, very few people bother doing it. They don’t like the hassle of informing themselves, downloading plugins and browser apps and later updating the whole security mess every so often. That’s too bad, because these things aren’t so hard to do and you can rest a lot more easily while surfing your favorite porn pages once you’ve got your browser secured. It’s better than counting on luck.
Let’s go over 6 of the best browser plugins for keeping your surfing secure -two for each of the three major browsers, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome– many of the plugins listed below are also cross-browser compatible.
The Browser Itself
This one’s a special bonus point; before we get down to plugins, we should take a moment to talk about the safest of the major browsers. Among the big three of Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome from Google, Chrome has been shown to win out over the others in numerous security tests. The Chrome browser has the most securely designed built-in sandboxing features, plugin security and JIT hardening protocols. All of these are crucial elements in making it hard for malicious code to squeeze its way into your machine through your web surfing activities.
As a starting point for safe browsing, you should begin with the safest browser. Go with Chrome; it’s also going be a lot lighter on your RAM than the clogged mess that Firefox has turned into since several versions ago.
Chrome Security Plugins
The Adblocker plugin was so popular with Firefox users that its developers pulled out a Chrome version. This useful little app will block off most of the advertising that gets displayed on many websites. This may not seems like such a big security related issue until you realize just how many web ads are designed to fool you into clicking on them so that they can spread malware around like poison candy.
Firefox Security Plugins
A truly incredible plugin that also happens to be available for both Chrome and Internet Explorer; Lastpass will allow you to create a single master password which you then use to activate the app itself. From there the plugin will manage all of your other internet login passwords automatically, creating much stronger versions of them than a typical human would bother to try memorizing. The only password you’d need to remember is the original for Lastpass itself.
Similar to Chrome’s Notscript but more versatile, The Noscript plugin blocks off all script functions on the websites you visit and prevents script based attacks on your computer. Just as with the Chrome version, you can disable the plugins blocking functions for web pages you consider trustworthy.
Internet Explorer Plugins
Web of Trust
This plugin is also available for both Firefox and Chrome and it provides a comprehensive trustworthiness rating system of all known websites based on data collected from the major search engines. With Web of Trust you won’t have any of your browsing blocked off, but you will be told how well trusted a site is before you submit any personal information or fill out any online forms.
This is an excellent plugin for the particularly paranoid among us -Keyscrambler Personal takes every single thing you type in while browsing on the net through Internet Explorer and scrambles it into an encrypted mess in your keyboard driver. The mess then appears to you on the screen as the clear text you intended to type. This odd feature is designed to prevent any keystroke loggers that may be secretly monitoring your typing from seeing what you write when you type in passwords, email addresses, credit card numbers and any other sensitive data. Keyscrambler is very useful if you’re really wary about your browsing security, and it’s also available for all three major browsers.
About the Author
John Dayton writes for LWG Consulting. He works closely with cyber security experts in his daily work.