We’ve shared quite a few tools that keep your information private and secure while browsing, but free Firefox extension Cocoon wraps up all those privacy features into one simple add-on.
Simple extensions like previously mentioned HTTPS everywhere are great for protecting yourself, but if you want to add some serious security to your browser (with a small side of productivity), Cocoon’s got you covered. It acts as a proxy, hiding your IP address from companies that would want to track your browsing behaviour, and connects to even unsecured sites using a secure connection, so you can’t get attacked by things like Firesheep.
Whenever you’re logged into Cocoon, it turns on Private Browsing mode and stores your browsing history on its servers instead of on your computer. That way, you can view your history as normal, but only if you’re logged in, thus keeping your history safe from prying eyes using your machine. Cocoon also provides an on-the-fly disposable email address creator, keeping the spam out of your mail email inbox. And, while it isn’t a security feature, Cocoon adds a handy “notes” feature that lets you jot down notes on any web page and view them from your history.
Cocoon adds itself as a toolbar to Firefox, from which you can turn it on and off as you please, access your history, and view your active disposable email addresses. If you’d rather hide the toolbar and keep that screen real estate, you can right click on it and just uncheck it. The only real downside of this is that you won’t be able to access your Cocoon History as easily. You can still access it by going to cocoon:my_history in the address bar, or you could just turn off Private Browsing and use Firefox’s history instead of Cocoon’s, if you don’t particularly care about that feature. We wish there were an easier way to manage it all without the toolbar (or at least stop Cocoon from automatically turning private browsing on when you start up Firefox), but overall Cocoon is still a pretty cool extension. It’s also still in development, so we expect that the developers will fix these small quirks as they get more feedback from users.
Although Cocoon is still in development, they’re offering Lifehacker readers a free 45-day trial and hefty discount on the service thereafter — $US3 a month, down from the regular price of $US6.95 a month. There are currently 3000 invites, so grab them before they’re gone. They’re also looking to get some feedback from Lifehacker readers on the extension, so if there’s something you like (or don’t like), tell them using the built-in feedback tool. They’re still working on new features all the time, so your voice is pretty likely to be heard.
To gain access, just hit the link below and use the promo code lifehacker.
Cocoon is a free download, works wherever Firefox does.