You share and access some of your most sensitive data through your web browser, so it doesn't hurt to add a little extra security to your browsing session. Here's a look at five of the best, most popular security extensions out there.Image courtesy pong.
Unlike most Hive Fives, you can simultaneously use every one of the extensions below if you prefer.
AdBlock, as its name would imply, blocks certain scripts serving advertisements on a website. But instead of more general script-blocking, like NoScript (below), ABP focuses on blocking just advertisements. As we've mentioned before, you can tweak ABP for added security benefit by using a "malicious ad" blocklist. You can, of course, whitelist sites you want to support (ahem), but ABP also provides the more obvious aesthetic benefit of a web less cluttered with ads.
HTTPS Everywhere (Firefox)
HTTPS Everywhere from the Electronic Freedom Foundation will help you to secure the connection between your browser and the servers it is connecting to. It helps to encrypt your connection when possible, even when the default setting on the web site does not offer the added security. A good example is Twitter. The username and password input boxes are encrypted, but after that all text coming to or from the server is sent in the clear. (Very recently, Facebook added an option to always turn on HTTPS. Here's how to do that.) HTTPS Everywhere even helps to protect against hacking tools such as Firesheep.
LastPass (All Platforms)
LastPass secures another vector that hackers can use to try to gain access to your personal information - your password. When you use the LastPass browser plugin, it stores your password, encrypted, for you and also allows you to easily generate a complicated and hard-to-crack password that is unique to a site. LastPass has plugins available for every browser under the sun. If you're just getting started with LastPass, here's our introduction to LastPass, our intermediate guide, and a guide to auditing and updating your passwords with LastPass.
Web of Trust (All Browsers)
Web of Trust is another plugin that does something different than the above. Instead of halting any attack vectors, it lets you know when the website you are visiting is trustworthy or not. That way if you happen across a website that you think is trustworthy and even looks it, you get a warning that you should not submit your personal information to the site.
They rely on user-ratings to rate their site and in my experience it has been very accurate and useful.
We recently highlighted a few easy steps for securing your online life, some of which employ a few extensions here. For an even more secure browsing experience, here's how to encrypt your entire browsing session.
Have another favourite extension that didn't make the cut? Let us know why you think it deserves to be installed in the comments below.