This is just one step in a series created to help anyone improve their online security regardless of their technical knowledge. For more information, see our complete Simple Online Security series.
For most people, a web browser is their portal to the internet. By default, however, a browser isn’t always set up securely. Although browser security has improved over the years, we still think it’s worth the effort for most people to install two privacy-focused browser extensions (apps that add features to the standard browser) and to consider a couple of other browsing options:
- Privacy Badger (Chrome, Firefox): Privacy Badger is an extension designed to block tracking tools, scripts that often record your visits and build profiles based on the websites you view. It runs in the background and doesn’t require any effort from you, but it does help put a stop to one of the ways companies track you online.
- uBlock Origin (Chrome, Firefox): Ad blockers are browser extensions that stop intrusive pop-ups, invasive trackers, and malicious ads. (If you’ve ever seen one of those pop-ups that resemble a warning from your computer, you’ve come across that last type of ad.) uBlock Origin blocks all ads by default, which can break some websites and cause them to look strange. You may also disable it on any website you want to support that’s not doing anything too annoying with its ads.
- Consider changing your browser: Chrome’s security is excellent, but Google’s data hunger is a turnoff for anyone who cares about privacy. Alternatives such as Firefox, Safari, Brave, and Vivaldi are all more considerate of your privacy.
- Enable your browser’s HTTPS-only mode: HTTPS is a more secure protocol for websites. The vast majority of sites default to this mode these days, but on occasion you may run into one that doesn’t. We recommend enabling your web browser’s HTTPS-only mode to prevent yourself from navigating to unsecured sites.
Finally, if you tend to leave your browser open for weeks (or months), be sure to quit the application now and again, as that’s the time most browsers check for updates. These updates often include security fixes, as well as new features.
Read more about privacy and security browser extensions.
This article was edited by Arthur Gies and Mark Smirniotis.