Essential Browser Extensions For Security

Did you know there could be over 20 domains trying to collect information and serve ads on a website? Each of these domains could be hitting your network with over 10 scripts. Scripts are responsible for tracking you across many sites. So they can track your shopping habits, interests, and browsing behavior. Also, while browsing you may enter websites that do not encrypt your traffic. To remedy these issues, we will install two simple browser extensions.

uBlock origin:UBlock_Origin.svg

Raymond Hill created uBlock origin, it boasts over 15 million users and growing. The reason for its popularity is its ability to block and filter domains, scripts, and ads. UBlock leverages the use of major community maintained lists to achieve this.

uBlock is always adding new functionality and features like link auditing and IP leak protection.

First, you will need to install uBlock origin. Below are options for Firefox and Chrome.

Firefox

Google Chrome

Once installed you have basic protection in place from scripts and ads. But, we will dive into some more advanced features and show you around this extension.

Setup

Step 1:

  • Select the uBlock icon in your extension toolbar.
  • Under the big blue on/off button, select the far-right icon to open the dashboard.

1


Step 2:

  • Click on “I am an advanced user”
  • If you want to stop IP leaking, click on the “I” icon next to the option “prevent WebRTC from leaking local IP addresses” to make sure it is right for you

2


Step 3:

  • Click on “filter lists” tab
  • Expand the ads, privacy, and malware domains lists.
  • Select all unchecked options

3

This will add more resource lists for greater protection. Also, web pages will load faster because you won’t be loading extra content.


Thats all there is to the advanced setup process.

Usage:

  • Navigate to cnn.com

Once the page loads notice your uBlock icon has a number next to it. That number represents how many domains are being blocked.

  • Click on the uBlock icon.

4

You can see basic stats on the right side of the pane. While the left side is broken up into three columns

  • Far-left: shows what domains/scripts are being connected, blocked, or filtered.
  • Middle: any changes in this column will apply globally
  • Right: changes here only apply to the current site.

You may also notice the “+” and “-” symbols. They indicate how many scripts were blocked (-) or ran (+).

  • One: >=10 scripts
  • Two:  >=100 scripts
  • Three: <100 scripts

Example:

Make sure you are still on cnn.com

  • In the “all” row,  “site” column, select the red (right) option
  • Click the lock icon (save), then refresh cnn.com

5

Notice how almost all content has disappeared. This option blocks all scripts including pictures, videos, and more.


Now we will go to the opposite extreame

  • In the “all” row, “site” collumn, select the green (left) option.
  • Click the lock (save), and refresh the page

7

Notice how more content has appeared including some ads and popups. This option allows all scripts to run.


  • In the “all” row, “site” collumn, select the gray (middle) option
  • Save, and refresh

8

This brings the changes back to default.


Why did you need to know any of that? Well, that was an extreme example but you can apply what you learned to individual domains/scripts.

For example, if some content is being blocked and shouldn’t be. Or if the content is intrusive and you want it blocked.

The only global change I want you to make is to the 3rd- party frames.

  •  Block (red), as seen in the picture.

9

This option can block malicious code from doing harm. It is more beneficial to block 3rd-party scripts also, but, it may cause issues with some content.

HTTPS Everywhere:HTTPS_Everywhere_icon.svg

The final extension you should install is HTTPS everywhere. It was a created by the Electronic frontier foundation and the TOR project.

Websites may only use HTTP unencrypted transmission. This extension rewrites the requests to force an HTTPS encrypted connection. Some nefarious sites may try to link you to an unencrypted HTTP page, this addon remedies this as well.

There are no setting changes needed once installed. Links to the extension are below.

Firefox

Google Chrome

Thank you for reading

if you have any comments, questions, ideas, or concerns

comment below or contact me

-T

Further reading on uBlock origin

 

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