Online security is of utmost importance when most of our life matters are handled online, whether it’s entertainment, shopping, or financial matters.
This is especially true in the current time when many of us are working from home due to the pandemic and using more and more online services. This means protecting more account passwords, our personal information shared with more companies and being more vulnerable as we look for online solutions to our problems.
Your browser is the gateway to the online world, so if you want to stay secure online; you need to make sure your browser is secure.
Particularly talking about the most popular browser Chrome, although it has many built-in security features, you can further improve Chrome’s security with the help of extensions.
Just like how there are Chrome extensions to help you be productive, manage websites, and write beautiful content, there are also extensions for online security. In this post, I am going to introduce some of the best security extensions for Chrome to help you stay safe online.
An Adblocker is a must-have tool for everyone. Not because it can speed up your browsing and save some page real estate that an ad may reserve. It’s to save you from those scammy ads that cleverly trick you into clicking on them and downloading viruses or showing other illicit content.
Adblock Plus is a completely free adblocker that blocks ads on all websites, whether it’s pop-ups, images, audio, or video ads. By default, it allows ads that don’t interfere with the content or annoy you in any other way, but you can block them too from the settings.
Furthermore, it can block annoying website notifications, cookie warnings, and other annoying pop-ups. You can also whitelist websites that you want to support so they could show ads and keep offering free service.
Avast Online Security
Avast Online Security offers a bunch of security features in a single extension to keep you safe online. Its more prominent feature is the website reputation feature powered by users like you and me who upvote/downvote websites based on their experience so others may know whether a website is secure or not.
You can also view and block trackers on websites and even opt out of targeted ads so they don’t collect personal data. It also looks for potentially dangerous websites using Avast’s own algorithm and warns you as soon as you land. This includes phishing attacks and websites that download viruses.
Using unique and strong passwords for every website is necessary to keep your online accounts secure. However, it becomes impossible to keep track of dozens of unique login details as you use more and more online services. This is where LastPass will help you by securing all your login details and making them accessible with a single password that you have to remember.
As long as you are logged in to the LastPass account, it will automatically log you into all your online accounts and you can even share the passwords over multiple devices. Other than passwords, it can also secure sensitive information like credit card numbers, addresses, and even notes.
Alternatively, you can also give Keeper a try which has similar features but its paid version is much cheaper than LastPass. Although LastPass has a more robust free version.
If more than one person has access to your PC or you use your PC in a public place, then having an easier way to clear browsing data is important. Click&Clean will give you multiple options to clear browser data with a single button. You can either clear specific types of data — such as browser history — or delete all the data with one click.
It also has a button to delete specified data and immediately close the browser as nothing happened. Cleaning browser data like cookies also prevents third-party tracking services from tracking your activity, great for protecting your privacy online.
HTTPS is a secure protocol used to send data between your browser and the website you connect with. Unlike HTTP, HTTPS creates an encrypted connection so no third person could interfere and see the data being shared. HTTPS Everywhere extension forces eligible websites to use HTTPS connection over HTTP.
Over HTTP connection, a third person who can snoop on your network can also see the exact data you are sharing, including passwords and usernames. With this extension, most of your connections will happen over HTTPS, so there will be no risk of data getting stolen.
Privacy Badger automatically blocks all invisible trackers so third-party companies may not use or sell your data. First, it sends a Do Not Track request to the trackers to stop them. If they don’t comply, then it forcefully blocks the trackers based on their behavior and known trackers list.
Not only it blocks trackers, but it also shows lists of trackers on a page that you can even allow individually if you want. There is a chance it might break some of the features of a website, you can individually enable blocked trackers to make the website stable again.
A VPN encrypts your connection so no one can hijack your connection to find out what data you are sharing (not even your ISP). It also routes your connection through its own servers, so the websites you connect with can’t identify you. Basically, you are completely anonymous when you are using a VPN, ensuring complete privacy and security.
Hotspot Shield is one of the best VPNs in the market offering fast speed and 1800+ global servers. It even lets you use unlimited VPN for free but with access to a limited number of servers. It also comes with additional security features like a website blocker and tracker blocker.
You can also give Ivacy VPN a try that not only offers a powerful VPN but also a cloud storage service with 2TB data for free.
Similar to the Click&Clean extension, Panic Button also protects your online activity from people around you in real life. However, it lets you temporarily hide all your current activity and restore it whenever the coast is clear.
All you need to do is click on the extension button and it will close all your currently opened tabs and save them. A green number on the extension button will show the currently closed/saved tabs. You can click on the extension button again to immediately restore all the tabs.
The extension remembers the closed tabs even if you close Chrome or shutdown the PC, so you can restore even at a later date.
This extension is good for advanced users who are interested in taking complete control over how cookies are managed in their browser. With EditThisCookie, you can see all the cookies associated with a page and easily edit and block them. You can change cookie value, expiration date, import/export cookies, and more.
If you go into the extension’s options, you can configure it to delete cookies after a specific time, block and delete cookies on command, and create filters to block specific cookies. You can also create new cookies using the dedicated editor.
OPSWAT File Security
If you want to make sure you don’t download any malicious software, then OPSWAT File Security can help. It’s a cloud-based malware detection extension that uses over 30 different malware scanners to scan every file you download in Chrome. You can both automatically and manually scan files you download.
Just right-click a file online and select Scan with OPSWAT to scan it. If you want to make the process automatic, go to the extension’s settings and enable the option Scan downloads. Now whenever you will download a file, it will be automatically scanned and you’ll be notified of the results.
You can install all of the above extensions and all will further improve security without overlapping any features. However, if you don’t want to go overboard with security, then I think a combination of Adblock Plus, Avast Online Security, and Privacy Badger should offer enough security for day-to-day browsing.