Browsing online is fun, but isn’t always safe. There are loads of things lurking around that can compromise your security, like phishing sites, trackers, cookies, and malware. It’s hard not to fall victim to at least one of them. Thankfully, there are Chrome browser extensions that can help you enhance your security. Read this post to find out more.
8 best security extensions for Chrome
Windows defender is probably one of the best tools that will provide you with real-time protection from malware and phishing scams. How does it work?
Imagine you clicked on a link that looks legitimate but actually contains malicious content. Before your browser loads the page and the malware reaches your device, Windows defender scans the website and compares it to a pre-existing list of malicious websites If there’s a match, a red warning will pop up, prompting you to go back before you damage your device or account.
Most websites are full of trackers that send your information to website owners or third parties, enabling them to serve you with targeted ads. This breaches your privacy, can be annoying, and impedes loading speed.
Google Chrome extensions like Ghostery block all ads and trackers, helping you get your privacy back and improving your browsing experience. The good thing is, if the website has lost its functionality because you blocked tracking, or if for any reason you want a particular website to have trackers and ads, you can simply disable Ghostery for that website.
When browsing online, do you ever notice whether the URLs start with HTTPS or HTTP? The former is what you should aim for. The ‘S’ stands for ‘security’, which means that the connection is encrypted and browsing on that website is secure. HTTP, on the other hand, is much more vulnerable, so visiting such websites could put you in danger.
What the HTTPS Everywhere extension does is turn HTTP websites into HTTPS. In other words, it encrypts the connection and protects your information. However, the extension isn’t foolproof, as it may fail to encrypt some websites. In that case, you’ll be notified before the page loads, so you can choose to either go back or take the risk and visit the website.
Avast online security
Avast is a well-known antivirus software, so it’s no surprise that their extension will help you steer clear of malware and phishing scams. Specifically, it identifies fake or spoofed websites, preventing you from landing on them. It will also auto-correct you if you misspell the URL so that you don’t end up somewhere you didn’t intend to.
This extension checks for the authenticity and safety of the websites you visit. It can tell you what others think about a webpage and help you decide whether you want to visit it. You can make up your mind by reading comments or checking the website's rating. Just look for a small icon, which can be red, yellow, or green; it will let you know whether the website is considered safe or will rather flood you with malware.
Ads can be downright annoying, but some ads can also be malicious. They might look legitimate and offer you a deal you can’t resist, and this is done for a reason. The moment you click on this ad, you download malware on your device.
You can easily avoid such surprises by using an ad blocker. AdBlocker Ultimate doesn’t have any whitelists, meaning that when they say that all ads will be blocked, all ads will be blocked. Without ads, webpages will also load much faster. You can disable AdBlocker if you need or want to see ads on a particular website.
Click & Clean
When you browse online, you leave a data trail. This includes cookies and cache data, temporary files, download and browsing history, saved passwords and even some data collected in Incognito mode (it’s not as private as you may think!).
Click&Clean is a tool that can help you wipe all that data in one go. You may want to use it in an emergency when, for example, some bits of your data have appeared in a data breach and you don’t want any of your other information to leak. Or you may simply want a one-stop shop that allows you to delete all the unnecessary data in one shot.
We might be biased, but we cannot finish this list without mentioning the NordPass Chrome extension. The extension simplifies your password management by allowing you to find your passwords without leaving the browser. It autosaves login credentials when you create or log in to a new account, recognizes your favorite websites and offers to automatically fill your login details for you.
Using the NordPass extension is much safer than storing your passwords in a browser, and it helps you to keep your accounts secure by storing passwords in an encrypted vault.
How to choose secure Google Chrome extensions?
Not all extensions you’ll come across on the Chrome Web Store are secure. Many promise you to guard your privacy but in reality might be tracking you. For example, a developer who created an extension might have developed it for free, but then sold it to another company; or they might’ve filled it with ads the extension promised to block in the first place. Essentially, when you download Chrome extensions you have to be sure that you can trust them.
Here’s what to look for before installing Google Chrome security extensions:
Check who the developer is. You can see this under the name of the extension. The question is whether the developer is legitimate. Is it a big, well-known company or some guy? That’s not to say that individual developers cannot issue legitimate extensions, but do your research before you download such a product.
Read app descriptions. Not every app will have a description, but if it does, read it, and do so carefully. Look for any questionable details, like their policy on data sharing or tracking. If something sounds suspicious, don’t download it.
Be wary of extension permissions. When you download an extension, you’ll most likely be asked to give the extension certain permissions. Usually you can’t negotiate the terms — you have to give them everything or nothing. If the extension is asking permission to read and change the data of all the websites you visit, it’s a red flag.
Read the reviews. That doesn’t mean you should read every single review. However, it’s useful to skim through them and see whether anything looks or sounds odd. Anyone experienced any bugs, crashes, or realized they are being tracked? Pay attention to such comments.
Check the code. This advice requires some technical know-how, and not all extensions will be open-source. But if you do know how to read code and how to look for suspicious things, do it.
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