These days, everyone’s worried about online security, whether it’s websites that track your browsing habits, hackers phishing for your passwords, or insecure public wifi hotspots.
Fortunately there are ways to protect yourself during your Internet travels by using online tools such as browser extensions. Browser extensions are simply apps that you add on to your browser to alter your online browsing experience. And, some of these extensions can be quite useful, including those that help to ensure that you have a safer, more secure online web experience.
There are 5 web extensions that regularly use and would highly recommend. It just takes a second to add them to your browser and the time spent is well worth since they will make your online experience both enjoyable and more secure.
First, use the Adblock extension, which ensures that all ads will automatically be blocked from all websites that you visit, including Gmail, YouTube, Facebook and more. Take my word for it–this will become one of your favorite online tools. Once you’ve browsed the web in the absence of ads, you’ll wonder why you ever put up with annoying web ads to begin with.
Another extension that will help to secure your online travels is WOT (Web of Trust). This extension provides you with information regarding the trustworthiness of websites that you visit based on user feedback. WOT will warn you if there have been reports of malware or other technical threats at a particular website and if so, will give you the option not continuing on to the website.
Next, consider a password manager app. I use LastPass, a free multi-platform browser add-on that stores your passwords via encrypted files, automatically populates sites with the correct passwords when you visit them, pre-populates web forms for you, and generates secure passwords for you, which can be accessed from any computer. Another similar program to consider that is very popular with many lawyers but isn’t free is 1Password.
Another tool to take advantage of if you travel frequently or often use free public hotsposts, HotspotShield is a must-have app. Although not a browser add-on, this multi-platform app encrypts your web connection so that when you use public Wi-Fi connections, you are protected from prying eyes.
And, last but not least, there’s Disconnect, a web extension available for Chrome and Safari. This extension prevents third parties and search engines from tracking your web travels and searches. The developers of this extension recently added another useful security feature: wifi security. This feature prevents session hijacking, which are attacks that can occur if you visit a website that uses an insecure connection to link to outside web services provided by, for example, Google or Pinterest.
If you aren’t already using these web tools, you should definitely consider adding them to your browser. Once you’ve done so, you’ll find that your online travels will be simultaneously more secure and more enjoyable. So give them a try. And, safe travels!
(photo: padlock with code from Shutterstock)