The 5 Best Browser Security Extensions

Safe security lock

Photo: Lifehacker

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.Unlike most Hive Fives, you can simultaneously use every one of the extensions below if you prefer—but that still won’t stop us from voting for our favourite.

This post originally appeared on Lifehacker.

AdBlock Plus for removes all ads

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.

Works with Firefox and Chrome.

HTTPS Everywhere

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.

Works with Firefox.

LastPass works with every browser

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.

Works with all browsers.

NoScript blocks JavaScript and Flash

NoScript is a Firefox-only plugin that does one thing and does one thing well--it blocks scripts such as JavaScript, Flash, Quicktime, and more from loading in your browser window. (Chrome users may want to check out the similar Chrome extension, NotScripts.) The reason it works so well for security purposes is that malicious web sites can use these scripts as attack vectors in order to cause a browser crash and to gain access to your computer. By blocking these scripts you can make yourself significantly safer on the web.

Keep in mind that for most of us, blocking all scripts would result in a fairly broken internet, given that many websites, such as Google, Gmail, Twitter, Lifehacker and others rely on JavaScript to load their pages. NoScript allows you to block 3rd-party scripts or even just from unsafe domains. You can manage these settings in detail, giving you the maximum security with minimum inconvenience.

Works with Firefox.

Web of Trust warns you of malicious websites

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.

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