Internet search engine, DuckDuckGo, wrote an article on how to protect yourself when using a Linux distribution. While they covered some excellent points, one glaring exception they didn’t mention was web security. Particularly security within the web browser.
The blog offered advice such as switching from an administrator account to standard, scanning for rootkits, and keeping your system up-to-date. More can be read here.
Being a search engine, the web should be their number one priority.
Here are some extensions one should consider to be protected from threats.
For Chrome and Firefox:
Made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, this extension encrypts all websites that support the HTTPS protocol, ensuring your information is kept secure and not transferred in plain text.
Also by the EFF: Privacy Badger.
When you visit your favorite social media sites and leave for another page, these sites often leave trackers to spy on your browsing habits. These trackers are used for advertisements that are served to you.
If you shop for shoes and see an ad on your Facebook news feed, a tracker has analyzed your browsing habits.
You can stop these trackers by installing Privacy Badger.
The lighter, less CPU intensive, version of Adblock Plus. uBlock Origin is a fork of the original uBlock adblocker. The goal of this extension is to be lightweight on resources while also blocking those pesky ads.
On top of installing Privacy Badger, you will never see ads again. If you encounter websites that won’t let you continue browsing their website unless you disable uBlock, you can enable extra third party filters to block those warning pages.
To do that, you must click the uBlock shield to the right of your address bar, click the gear icon to the left, go to third party filters and enable “Adblock Warning Removal List” and “Anti-Adblock Killer.” Instructions for Firefox should largely be the same.
Script Safe blocks certain scripts from running that aren’t in your white list. Only want scripts from Amazon to run? No problem. Script Safe settings sync and will remember the scripts you allow.
NoScript for Firefox operates in the same matter as Script Safe for Chrome.
Keep in mind disabling all scripts will cause most websites to become unusable.
Special mention – Chrome only: Private Internet Access.
PIA is a no-log VPN that protects your browsing data. The VPN includes a service called PIA MACE which blocks ads and trackers. The proxy extension can also block WebRTC and Flash content as well as access to your webcam, mic, and location if you choose to enable it.
Plans start from $6.95/month for monthly plans or $3.33/month for the yearly plan.
Windows/Mac/Linux VPN clients are also available.
Special mention – Firefox only: Tor Browser.
The Tor browser relays your traffic across a distributed network that’s run by volunteers.
Upon first launch, you can customize the security level of the Firefox-based browser. I highly recommend choosing the max settings.
You can install the add-ons mentioned above to better protect your browsing habits.
These extensions protect your browsing habits, but they’re not a perfect solution. They do the job and that’s it. The best security is common sense. Use DuckDuckGo instead of Google. Be careful about your browsing habits and don’t do anything illegal.
If you’re still extremely paranoid about security, the best method is not browsing the Internet at all and unhook from the digital life. Sounds like a challenge.
If you’re up to it (and are a madman), then feel free to disconnect. The choice is yours.