A lot of things happen online today, from digital transactions to private communications. These have brought convenience into how we do things, but on the other hand, your personal information may always not be secure when you browse the net.
For instance, it is now easier than ever for government agencies to track our activities over the net. While there are some legitimate reasons why the government might need to collect data on its citizens, there is also a risk of this data being abused. Worse still, cyber threats and data breaches are on the rise.
This makes online privacy and security a necessity and not a luxury like a few decades ago. Thankfully, the best browser extensions for online privacy and security offer a practical and efficient way to enhance your online defenses.
What Are Browser Extensions?
Browser extensions for online privacy and security are additional software components that you can install on your web browser to enhance protection against various online threats and bolster your privacy.
These extensions typically offer features that go beyond the native capabilities of the browser, providing you with tools to safeguard your digital activities.
They can block ads, track cookies, encrypt data, and block third-party trackers. They can also encrypt your traffic, bypass censorship, and protect you from malware and phishing attacks.
Ultimately, they come in handy when you need to customize your browsing experience and customize your browser to your needs.
The following are vital statistics,
- In 2022 alone, data breach incidents hit about $4.35m
- 43% of all online and security data breaches are insider threats
- 56% of browser extensions in use within cloud software development environments are high-security risks
What are the Benefits of Using Browser Extensions?
Browser extensions for online privacy and security offer many benefits which include:
- Improved Privacy: By blocking trackers, browser extensions can help prevent third parties from tracking your browsing activity across the web.
- Increased Security: By blocking malware and phishing attempts, browser extensions can help protect you from online threats.
- Faster Browsing: You stand to enjoy higher speeds and a better browsing experience.
- Better control over your online experience: Browser extensions give you control over which ads, trackers, and other content are allowed to run on your browser.
Best Browser Extensions for Online Privacy and Security
This article cuts the clutter to bring you the best browser extensions for online privacy and security.
1. HTTPS Everywhere
Nearly all websites online use either HTTPS or HTTP. As you probably know, HTTPS connections are pretty much more secure than HTTP website configurations.
This is where HTTPS Everywhere comes into the picture which enhances online security and privacy by ensuring that web connections use the secure HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) protocol whenever possible.
It encrypts communications with many major websites, making browsing more secure. When you visit a website, the extension automatically rewrites HTTP URLs to HTTPS whenever a secure connection is available.
Here are some of the features of HTTPS Everywhere:
- Automatically rewrites HTTP URLs to HTTPS whenever possible
- Capable of reducing the risk of session hijacking
- Guarantees Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) protection
HTTPS Everywhere goes beyond basic online protection to deliver data breaches from third parties, including hackers, governments, and internet service providers (ISPs).
Besides, it prevents websites from tracking your browsing history and targeting you with personalized advertising.
2. Privacy Badger
The internet is awash with invisible trackers. This explains why your browsing sessions are full of personalized adverts and suggestions based on your browsing history. Interestingly, Privacy Badger can help you block these trackers and adverts.
Privacy Badger works by observing the behavior of websites and blocking any third-party trackers that are following you across multiple websites without your permission.
Privacy Badger also blocks trackers that are used to collect your personal information, such as your browsing history, cookies, and device ID.
Here are some of the features of Privacy Badger:
- Automatically blocks invisible trackers that are following you across multiple websites.
- Safeguards your personal information.
- Improves your browsing performance by blocking unnecessary scripts and images.
- Makes it more difficult for websites to target you with personalized advertising.
Privacy Badger is designed to empower users with control over their online privacy while still allowing non-intrusive content to load. The extension blocks unwanted tracking elements thereby preventing the collection of data without the user’s consent, fostering a more private and secure online experience.
3. uBlock Origin
Another browser extension that brings together superior ad-blocking and reliable filtering capabilities is uBlock Origin. This free and open-source extension stands out as one of the most popular ad blockers available and is known for its effectiveness and efficiency.
This powerful ad blocker offers a wide variety of features, including ad blocking, cookie blocking, third-party tracker blocking, malware blocking, and customizability. It is undoubtedly the kind of extension you need for top-notch online privacy and security.
Here are some of the features of uBlock Origin:
- Blocks nearly all types of ads, including banner ads, video ads, pop-up ads, and pop-under ads.
- Eliminates cookies on your browser.
- Effectively blocks third-party trackers.
- Highly customizable.
uBlock Origin has garnered widespread acclaim for its reliability, efficiency, and commitment to user privacy. With its comprehensive ad and tracker blocking capabilities, compatibility across major browsers, and user-controlled whitelisting features, uBlock Origin stands out as a top choice for individuals seeking to enhance their online browsing experience while prioritizing privacy and security.
Unlike most tools included in this article, DuckDuckGo is not an extension. Instead, is a privacy-focused search engine and browser that prioritizes user anonymity and safety while browsing the internet.
Notably, it is designed to provide a secure and private search experience, free from tracking and data collection.
With additional features like instant answers and bangs for quick searches on other platforms, DuckDuckGo offers a comprehensive and private alternative to mainstream search engines.
Here are some of the features of DuckDuckGo:
- Accepts anonymous browsing.
- Provides instant answers to search queries in the form of “zero-click info.
- Enforces encrypted connections (HTTPS) for all searches.
- Features a built-in tracker-blocking mechanism.
Launched in 2008, DuckDuckGo distinguishes itself from other search engines by emphasizing user privacy, avoiding personalized search results, and not tracking users across the web.
It offers a variety of features that make it a viable alternative to Google Search, including privacy-focused search results, instant answers, Bangs, and customizable settings.
Managing passwords is one of the most challenging undertakings for internet users. You risk losing them to fraudsters or forgetting them. But this nightmare can be a thing of the past if you leverage LastPass. This password manager helps you create, store, and manage passwords.
Here are some of the features of LastPass:
- Stores and encrypts passwords in a vault.
- Helps users create strong, randomized passwords.
- Simplifies the login process by automatically filling in usernames and passwords on websites.
- Allows users to store and secure sensitive notes like credit card information.
- Supports two-factor authentication.
- Conducts security audits, highlighting weak, reused, or compromised passwords.
With features like password generation, cross-platform syncing, and security audits, LastPass addresses the complexities of maintaining strong, unique passwords across various online accounts.
Besides, it offers a variety of other features to help you protect your online security, such as two-factor authentication, secure password sharing, and dark web monitoring.
Disconnect is a browser extension and mobile app that helps you protect your privacy online by blocking third-party trackers, which are invisible trackers that websites use to track your online sessions.
Developed by Disconnect, Inc., this extension is designed to block unwanted tracking elements, enhance page loading speeds, and protect users from various online threats.
Here are some of the features of Disconnect:
- Blocks a wide range of tracking elements, including cookies, scripts, etc.
- Offers an enhanced privacy mode.
- Protects you from malicious malware websites.
- Improve page loading speeds.
- Includes Wi-Fi security features that protect you from potential threats on public Wi-Fi networks.
- Can whitelist specific websites or elements.
Disconnect will help you block third-party trackers, prevent websites from sharing your data without your permission, and enforce HTTPS encryption whenever possible.
Finally, Disconnect offers a privacy dashboard where you can see how it has protected your data.
Interestingly, this tool is available on Firefox, Seamonkey, and other Mozilla-based browsers. It stands out as a powerful tool if you want a robust defense against malicious scripts, cross-site scripting attacks, and other web-based security threats.
Here are some of the features of NoScript:
- Protect against XSS attacks by blocking potentially harmful scripts.
- Includes features to defend against clickjacking.
- Enforces Content Security Policy (CSP) on websites.
- Prevents click fraud by blocking scripts that might engage in fraudulent activities.
- Allows users to block frames and iframes.
NoScript’s whitelist-based approach, anti-XSS security, anti-clickjacking protection, and customizable settings offer a high degree of control and security to users.
While it requires a degree of user involvement to manage the whitelist effectively, NoScript provides a valuable layer of defense against potential security vulnerabilities present on various websites.
NordVPN offers an array of features to help you protect your privacy and security online. It encrypts your traffic to ensure that your ISP, government agencies or anyone else does not collect your data or track your activities.
It comes as a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge and is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Android TV.
Here are some of the features of NordVPN:
- Encrypts your internet traffic with AES-256 encryption.
- Features a server network of over 5,500 servers in over 60 countries.
- Its kill switch component automatically initiates disconnection if your VPN is not connected.
- Its DNS leak protection feature prevents your DNS requests from leaking outside of the VPN tunnel.
- The split tunneling component ensures that you can choose which apps to use the VPN on.
NordVPN offers a fast and encrypted internet connection, hiding user data from cybercriminals and providing secure and private access to the internet. Even more, the service includes malware protection, remote file access, and a dark web monitor.
One of the most common online threats that you will encounter is the chance of content delivery networks (CDNs) tracking your online activities. But you do not have to fret about it as the Decentraleyes browser extension can enhance your online privacy by blocking content delivery networks (CDNs) from tracking your online activities.
This extension works by replacing CDN requests with local files, reducing the need for external requests and enhancing privacy. More interestingly, it will remarkably improve your website loading times and reduce bandwidth usage while protecting user privacy
Here are some of the features of Decentraleyes:
- Enhances user privacy by preventing third-party CDNs from tracking users.
- Eliminates latency and speeds up page loading.
- You can whitelist specific domains or resources.
- Automatically updates its locally stored resources.
Decentraleyes is open-source and does not collect any user data, making it a reliable and secure option for individuals seeking to enhance their online privacy.
If you are new to Decentraleyes, I recommend starting by enabling it on a few trusted websites. You can then gradually enable it on other websites as needed.
Anyone looking for a browser extension that focuses on malware protection should consider Malwarebytes. This software is dedicated to finding and removing malware, including rogue security software, adware, and spyware.
While a free version of this software exists, you stand to enjoy additional features such as scheduled scans, real-time protection, and a flash-memory scanner with its paid version.
Here are some of the features of Malwarebytes:
- Features advanced malware detection and removal capabilities.
- Its real-time protection feature actively monitors the system for potential threats.
- Can easily block malicious domains and websites.
- Offers protection against software vulnerabilities.
Malwarebytes is a well-established cybersecurity solution that has gained recognition for its effectiveness in detecting and removing malware. It is often used alongside traditional antivirus software for additional online security.
Also worth noting is that the mobile version of Malwarebytes offers powerful virus protection, an anti-virus cleaner, spam blocker, and VPN features for secure browsing.
11. Microsoft Defender Antivirus
Microsoft Defender Antivirus comes pre-installed on all Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices. It is a comprehensive antivirus program that protects you from various malware threats.
Notably, this software uses cloud-based intelligence to identify and block the latest malware threats.
Here are some of the features of Microsoft Defender Antivirus:
- Provides real-time protection against malware
- Can schedule regular scans of your computer
- Protects against ransomware attacks
- Its SmartScreen filter blocks malicious websites and phishing attacks
Microsoft Defender Antivirus is a reliable security solution for Windows users, offering essential protection against most threats. While it may serve as a baseline security tool, you may choose to complement it with additional cybersecurity solutions for more advanced features and protection.
Everyone needs control over what they do online, and these controlling tracking technologies when you browse the net. Luckily, several browser extensions that can help you achieve this effortlessly exist and Ghostery is a perfect example.
The privacy-focused browser extension aims to give users more control over their online experience by blocking tracking technologies commonly used by advertisers and other third parties.
Here are some of the features of Ghostery:
- Actively blocks a variety of trackers, including cookies and scripts.
- Provides a report about all the trackers present on each website you visit.
- Includes a privacy dashboard that gives you an overview of the tracking activity.
- You can customize your privacy settings.
- Compatible with all popular web browsers.
Ghostery is a powerful tool for users who prioritize online privacy and want to block tracking technologies commonly used by advertisers.
Its features, such as tracker blocking, detailed insights, and customizable settings, make it a popular choice for those seeking greater transparency and control over their digital footprint.
13. Adblock Plus
As the name suggests, Adblock Plus specializes in content filtering and ad blocking. It works by filtering out all annoying and intrusive ad content, including pop-ups, and pre- and mid-roll video ads.
Besides, you can use Adblock Plus to whitelist websites and domains of your choice, allowing ads from those websites to be displayed.
Here are some of the features of Adblock Plus:
- Offers improved privacy when it comes to blocking trackers.
- Speeds up page load times.
- Features an “Acceptable Ads” program, which allows non-intrusive advertisements.
- You can customize your ad-blocking experience desirably.
Adblock Plus is a popular choice for users who want to reduce the presence of intrusive ads during their online activities. Its customizable features, including filters and whitelisting options, provide users with control over their ad-blocking preferences.
AdBlock identifies and highlights third-party trackers on websites. Once installed, AdBlock will automatically start identifying and highlighting third-party trackers on websites.
You can then click on any of the highlighted trackers to learn more about it, including who owns it and what data it collects. You can also opt to block the tracker or allow it to run.
Here are some of the features of Adblock:
- Enhances a comprehensive understanding and control of third-party trackers.
- Protects from malicious websites and malware.
- Enhances better control over your online experience.
In summary, AdBlock is a valuable tool for understanding and controlling which third-party trackers are following you online. It is easy to use and can help you to improve your privacy, security, and browsing experience online.
We end our review with AdGuard, a browser extension that blocks nearly everything that you would not want to come across online. It reliably blocks a wide variety of ads. It also blocks trackers, which are invisible scripts that websites use to track your browsing activity across the web.
Here are some of the features of AdGuard:
- Promotes privacy by blocking tracking scripts.
- Features customizable filters to meet various needs.
- Includes parental control features
You will find AdGuard useful for eliminating annoying ads, protecting against online tracking, and safeguarding computers from malware. This feature enables a faster, safer, and ad-free web surfing experience.
It operates as both a browser extension and a standalone application, hence pretty versatile and compatible with many operating systems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
The following are the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the best browser extensions for online privacy and security.
1. Are these browser extensions safe to use?
Most browser extensions for online privacy and security are safe to use. However, it is important to download extensions from trustworthy sources to ensure that you are using a reliable version. You should also read the reviews of extensions before downloading them.
2. How can I choose the best browser extensions?
The best answer to this question will depend on what you need the extension for.
- Do you need protection from ads, trackers, malware, phishing, or all of the above?
- Do you need extensions with specific features, such as custom filters or parental controls?
- Choose a tool that is compatible with the browser you use.
3. How do browser extensions work?
Browser extensions for online privacy and security work by intercepting and modifying or encrypting the online traffic between your browser and the websites you visit. They can do this by injecting code into web pages, blocking requests to certain resources, or redirecting requests to different resources.
Here are some specific examples of how browser extensions for online privacy and security work:
- Ad Blocking: Ad blocking extensions block ads on web pages. They do this by blocking requests to ad servers or by filtering out ad content from web pages.
- Tracker Blocking: Tracker blocking extensions block trackers from tracking your browsing activity across the web. They do this by blocking requests to third-party domains or by modifying the content of web pages to remove tracking scripts.
- Malware Blocking: Malware blocking extensions block malware from loading on your computer. They do this by scanning web pages for malware or by blocking requests to known malware domains.
- Phishing Protection: Phishing protection extensions protect you from phishing attacks by blocking phishing websites and warning you about suspicious links. They do this by checking the URLs of websites you visit against a database of known phishing websites or by analyzing the content of web pages for phishing indicators.
- HTTPS Enforcement: HTTPS enforcement extensions force websites to transform HTTPS configuration whenever possible. They do this by redirecting requests to HTTP websites to HTTPS websites or by blocking requests to HTTP websites altogether.
Online privacy and security are essential in today’s digital age, and browser extensions can play a significant role in enhancing them. With the increasing number of cyber threats and online tracking from government agencies and other third parties, it is crucial to have the right tools to protect your data and privacy.
The best browser extensions for online privacy and security, as discussed in this article, offer a range of features, including ad-blocking, anti-tracking, password management, and VPN services. These extensions are available across various platforms, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Android, catering to a wide range of users.