10 Firefox Plugins For A Safer Browsing Experience

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Mozilla’s Firefox browser is a user-friendly and feature-rich browser, with around 35% of all web users using it to browse the Web. Today’s internet is no longer the only source of information and entertainment, but also a place of treachery and theft. Hackers, trojans, spam, and phishing scams, are just some problems and dangers that exist in the World Wide Web.



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But there is no need for this to stop us from fully utilizing the web. This is especially true for Firefox users who have an arsenal of great Firefox add-ons that will help ensure that your browsing experience can continue protected.

Here are 10 such Firefox add-ons (or plugins if you will) that can help give you a better browsing experience while on the Web.

1. HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere is a project started by Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that fights for your digital rights. This tool will help secure your browsing experience by making the browser load the https version of any site you visit. Under https mode, the data sent from your computer is SSL-encrypted, safe from prying eyes and man-in-the-middle attacks.

2. WOT

WOT stands for Web of Trust. WOT is an online community which tries to identify untrusted or spam websites and maintains a list of trusted websites. The WOT plugin safeguards your online activity by informing you if the website you are about to access is safe to visit or not. The plugin will show you a trust meter for websites and search results as well as warn you when you are at the verge of accessing an untrusted or spam website.

You can contribute to the WOT community by giving your rating about websites you have visited, and help others browse safely.

3. Adblock Plus

As the name suggests, Adblock Plus blocks all types of advertisements shown on websites. Apart from being annoying and detrimental to user experience, ads, when misplaced or misused, can also track your online activities by way of locking down the links you click or visit. If however you stop these ads from showing on all the websites you visit, your favorite sites will stop getting ad revenue and lose their financial backing to keep the site running.

The solution provided is that you can allow non-intrusive ads that you don’t find annoying to continue showing with Adblock Plus, while avoiding ads from, for example, malware-spreading websites.

4. NoScript

NoScript is a powerful add-on for Firefox, which allows you to block JavaScript, Java, Flash and other executable content present on the web pages you visit. You can create a whitelist and allow some trusted websites (like your home-banking website) to run executable content on the browser.

By blocking executable content on unknown websites, this plugin protects you against cross-site scripting attacks (XSS), cross-zone DNS rebinding or CSRF attacks (router hacking) and Clickjacking attempts. Websites in the whitelist are allowed to run content, which will allow you browse your favorite websites without any problem.

5. BetterPrivacy

BetterPrivacy serves to protect you against unlimited-time stored Super-Cookies. Cookies are files stored on your computer, which carry information like your username, password, login date, etc. Super-Cookies known as LSOs are flash cookies which are centrally-stored and can contain many information about you and your online activity.

Many websites like Facebook, Google and advertising companies use LSOs to get information about you. LSOs are almost unmanageable from browsers and also cumbersome to be managed on centrally-stored servers. With BetterPrivacy, you can opt to delete LSOs when launching a browser or shutting down one, or even at a pre-set time interval. You can even opt to keep LSOs that you don’t want deleted.

6. Ghostery

Ghostery is a useful add-on to protect your privacy and online activities from being tracked, particularly by advertising companies who are interested in getting information about you for marketing purposes. Ghostery sees the web page and detect trackers, web bugs, pixels and beacons.

After identifying who’s tracking you, Ghostery will give you options to know more about these companies. It will provide links to their Privacy Policy and opt-out options. With Ghostery you can also block scripts from companies you don’t trust, delete LSOs and block images & iFrames.

7. RequestPolicy

RequestPolicy is a plugin which give you control of your browsing activities by showing you when cross-site requests are made by the web pages you visit. When your browser is told by a web page to access a completely different website, this is called a cross-suite request. You would have unknowingly allowed another website to obtain information from you by allowing this request.

Cross-site requests can also be used to make Cross-Site request forgery attacks where one webpage tells the browser to make a request to another website, thus making it look as if you actually made the request to access this second website.With RequestPolicy, all cross-site requests are blocked automatically and you’re notified about it so that you can allow the requests that you want. You can also whitelist requests by origin site, destination site or origin-to-destination specifically.

8. Close’n forget

You must be using Private Browsing to access certain websites without leaving a trace, or cleaning up your tracks after completing the browsing exercise. But what if you unintentionally got onto a web page that you aren’t supposed to in a public computer and you can’t remove the complete history because it’s against the usage policy there?

Then, Close’n forget will come to your rescue. With Close’n forget, you can close a single tab and Firefox will even forget that it was ever opened in the first place. You can close the tab using contextual menu, a toolbar icon or even with shortcuts like with Alt+W.

9. QuickJava

QuickJava is a simple, yet useful plugin for Firefox. It allows you to turn on (or off) Java, JavaScript, Flash, Silverlight, Proxy and automatic loading of Images from the status bar icons or the toolbar, without having to open options or dialogs. You can use it to easily turn off Flash/Java or Images on websites you visit.

10. BrowserProtect

BrowserProtect is the ideal protection your browser needs from hijacking – homepage and search engine hijacking, that is. You must have noticed sometime after installing some software, your browser homepage or search engine gets changed automatically and you have to reset your options again to suit your needs.

It can be frustating especially when you have installed and customized your software preferences and browser settings. BrowserProtect will protect your browser auto-changes by disallowing any software or app from changing your browser settings without you knowing about it.

Conclusion

The add-ons/plugins described in this article is optimized for FF12 and above, thus they may not work on older versions. I’d suggest you use Firefox’s latest browser version for added security. What security plugins do you use while surfing online? Share your favorite plugins with us.

Author:

Ashutosh is a tech enthusiast who is interested in software technologies. He is a supporter of open source software. Apart from tech he loves the movies and reading novels.

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