A VPN service is a great protection against attacks and surveillance, but it’s not enough to make you completely safe on the web. The majority of the time we use a computer, we are on the Internet, which makes it important to take take steps to secure our browing and protecting ourselves against the biggest threats.
There are different kind of attacks you can face. Some of them are caused by the webpage you are on while others can be blamed on the web browser you are using.
Regardless of where the loophole is, your web browser is the main tool to manipulate, and add the data we wish in order to protect ourselves from attacks, tracking and phising.
This article will go through and explain the functionality of the best plugins for Chrome and Firefox and how they can help you against threats.
Let’s start with perhaps the most famous one. You probably know that this plugin is widely used as a tool to remove advertising from website, but let me tell you what else it can do.
As a matter of fact, a commonly used way of sending harmful code is through advertising This is known as malvertising and in 2012, almost 10 billion adds where reported to be used for harmful purposes. It’s become a widely used tool for spreading harmful code, as it’s simple to have on many large websites without needing to hack them.
Adblock works great and can be installed in a heartbeat. It also has filter lists which are third party information to better keep up with the development of new advertising methods. There are different lists that focus on different things such as stopping malware, integrity, and popups.
HTTPS Everywhere is another famous must-have plugin! This great plugin keeps track of websites using HTTPS protocols. If it detects that the website you are on uses HTTPS, it will automatically use an encrypted connection to that website.
HTTPS Everywhere offers a lot of benefits. The perhaps greatest one being that the connection between you and a website using a HTTPS protocol is encrypted which makes information sent between you and the website unreadable. Thus, the plugin protects you from being monitored.
However, it’s important that you don’t accept bad certificates as this might mean that someone has written their own certificate and thus hold the encryption keys to it.
If you at any point should see something similar to the picture above, you should be aware. Unfortunately, few seem to understand how sever certificate errors are. The best way to avoid being exposed in this instance is to close the webpage and afterwards go back to the page to see if you get the same error message. This helps protect you from MITM-attacker with HTTPS Everywhere and regardless if you are using a VPN service there is no reason not to use an encrypted connection such as the one that HTTPS everywhere offers.
Download and install HTTPS Everywhere
Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Android: https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere
Another good plugin that helps protecting your integrity is Ghostery. Tracking is very common on the Internet these days, used to see what websites you’ve previously visited enabling to direct fitting advertising for you. Ghostery allows you to see who is tracking you and you can choose which trackers you want to allow.
This video does a great job explaining how tracking can work.
Download and install Ghostery
Chrome, Firefox and Opera: https://www.ghostery.com/
The Lastpass plug-in keeps track of your passwords. Many finds this plugin very useful, but in my opinion it’s only good if you have long and complicated passwords that are different for every website you have a login for. In the end it’s still up to each website to secure your password. If a website for example only hashes your password with MD5 (and without salt), it’s very easy to obtain your password and access your accounts. However, a long and complicated password the risk is substantially lower for anyone to get access to your password. The issue is then obviously that you need to remember long and complicated passwords. To get around this problem I recommend Lastpass as it helps you to securely remember long and complicated passwords that you are bound to otherwise forget after a while.
If you already use the plugins we’ve discussed so far – good for you! It means you are taking your online security seriously. If you haven’t tried any of them, make sure to check them out!
There are thousands of other useful plugins I haven’t mentioned so far. You’ll find a few of my favorites below: