Published on February 1st, 2016 📆 | 8610 Views ⚑0
Five Tools For Online Privacy And Security
Looking to protect yourself from sneaky third party trackers, or to disable ads on your laptop and phone? Here are five tools–all but one are free and open source–that’ll get you on your way.
The Privacy Badger extension for FireFox and Chrome doesn’t block all ads, just the sneaky ones that have load invisible third party trackers to track you across multiple sites without your consent. If you don’t mind non-spying ads, Privacy Badger is a good choice. But even if you already use ad-blocking tools, Privacy Badger will add an extra layer of protection, since many ad blockers do not block invisible trackers by default. Privacy Badger has three settings: green, yellow, and red. Red blocks the tracker, yellow makes sure cookies or referrers aren’t sent to the tracker, and green means the third party is probably not tracking you. You can override individual block settings on specific sites, or pause Privacy Badger altogether if needed.
The HTTPS Everywhere extension for Firefox and Chrome makes browsing many major websites more secure by encrypting your communications, provided that the sites themselves have these capabilities. If you’re on a site that offers some support for HTTPS, it’ll rewrite your requests to default to HTTPS rather than the unencrypted HTTP, so it’ll provide you some protection on encrypted portions of supported sites. The ultra-paranoid can block HTTP requests altogether.
Ublock Origin is a free, open-source ad blocker available as an extension on Firefox and Chrome. It’s popular because it has a low CPU footprint but is also highly efficient. In addition to the ad blocking capabilities, Ublock Origin also allows users to read and create additional filters from host files, and has a huge list to choose from. It’s also a great tool for the technically savvy, with a lot of additional capabilities for advanced users.
It’s not free, but the Purify ad blocker for iOS is well worth the cost (especially since it’s on sale for just 99 cents for a limited time). Use it to browse the web without ads and tracking, which will lower your data usage and improve your speed. If you want to whitelist your favorite websites, you can do that within the app. Purify also lets you block scripts, custom fonts, and images.
No gallery on online privacy would be complete without a nod to Tor, a service that encrypts web traffic and bounces it cross a series of relays to help you maintain anonymity as you browse the web. You can download the Tor browser on your laptop or desktop computer for Windows, Mac, or Linux, or use Orfox on your Android device.