Online privacy and security are a hot topic these days and for a good reason. It seems like every year there is more news about data breaches, ransomware and phishing attacks, spyware and large companies using sophisticated tracking strategies to track your every online move.
Another bitter reality is that as a Windows user, you’re more likely to be targeted by malicious parties looking to jeopardize your online privacy and security. This is the case simply because by far the largest number of PC users have a Windows device.
Browser Extensions to Stay Anonymous & Secure
In this article, we will list and elaborate on four great browser extensions which will help you beef up your online privacy and security! And best of all, all of these are completely free!
Of course, the four extensions below are only a small part of the many useful browser extensions for privacy and online security. But they make for a great start! Now without further ado, here are the extensions!
1] Privacy Badger
Privacy Badger is a smart free browser extension that is great at blocking intrusive (third party) trackers that follow you around everywhere you go online. What’s so nice about Privacy Badger, is that it actually “learns” which cookies it should be blocking. This means it doesn’t simply block all cookies from the start, but rather educates itself, in a sense, as to what trackers should be blocked. It does this by observing all possible trackers on every website you visit and paying attention to which of these follow you around constantly and result in, for instance, intrusive marketing. This is actually great. After all, not all cookies are intrusive and malicious, a lot of them are useful too, for instance for faster safe authentication or storing personalized settings. Privacy Badger is available for Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Firefox on Android.
2] HTTPS Everywhere
As you might already know, the HTTPS protocol is a very important tool website should offer to ensure a safe connection for their visitors. Websites can also operate on a HTTP protocol, but this is much less secure. After all, the “s” in https:// (this is how you recognize the protocol in your address bar) indicates that your communication with the website in question is secured and encrypted.
HTTPS Everywhere ensures that any website which can run with the HTTPS protocol will do so. This greatly increases your online security, since it ensures cybercriminals and other malicious parties can’t just view your communication with websites or, possibly even worse, alter this information exchange. This is why installing HTTPS Everywhere should definitely be a part of your strategy to keep your Windows device and your sensitive information secure.
HTTPS Everywhere is a free and open-source browser extension, available for Firefox, Firefox for mobile, Chrome, Opera and Brave.
3] LastPass Free Version
LastPass is a popular password manager that offers its basic functions for free, although it also features a variety of premium (paid) tiers. Nevertheless, the free version offers you virtually everything you’d require from a password manager: it allows you to safely store long and complex passwords under one master passphrase for all of your accounts.
These days, if you want to properly secure the many accounts you’ll probably have online – your online banking account, social media accounts, email accounts, webshop accounts, etc. – you can hardly get around using a reliable password manager.
Cybercriminals these days often use sophisticated software, which can generate loads of passwords in a short amount of time, to illegitimately get access to people’s accounts. To avoid this, it’s crucial to secure your online accounts with different complex passwords. The best way to safely store these, without too much hassle, is usually with a password manager.
LastPass uses robust AES-256 bit local-only encryption, thus keeping your data safe and your passwords hidden from anyone but you. LastPass offers plugins and extensions for most popular browsers and works on desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone.
4] DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials
Many will know DuckDuckGo from their privacy-minded browser. However, DuckDuckGo offers another privacy-solution which is definitely worth using: DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials. This browser extension is essentially a package of useful privacy tools. It includes the following three features:
- It automatically blocks unwanted (third party) trackers.
- Makes sure websites use their more secure HTTPS version, if available. In short, installing this extension also means you don’t need to install HTTPS Everywhere.
- Shows you an overview of visited websites’ reliability and trustworthiness in a short and easy to comprehend way.
DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials is a free browser extension, available for Chrome, Firefox, Android, iPhone, Brave, and Opera.
As you’ve read above, it’s more important than ever to implement measures to surf in private and browse securely on your Windows PC. Using (some of) the browser extensions mentioned above is a great step towards accomplishing this.