How to Make Your Web Browser More Secure and Private

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This is just one step in a series created to help anyone improve their online safety, regardless of their technical knowledge. For more information, check out our full series on simple online security.

For most people, a web browser is their portal to the Internet. By default, however, a browser is not always configured securely. Although browser security has improved over the years, we still think it’s worth installing for most people two privacy-focused browser extensions (apps that add functionality to the standard browser) and Consider a few other navigation options:

  • privacy badger (Chrome, Firefox): Privacy Badger is an extension designed to block trackers, scripts that often log your visits and create profiles based on the websites you visit. It works in the background and doesn’t require any effort on your part, but it does help shut down one of the ways companies track you online.
  • uBlock Origin (Chrome, Firefox): Ad blockers are browser extensions that block intrusive pop-ups, invasive trackers, and malicious ads. (If you’ve ever seen one of those pop-ups that look like a warning from your computer, you’ve encountered this latter type of ad.) uBlock Origin blocks all ads by default, which can break some websites and make it seem strange. You can also disable it on any website you want to support that doesn’t do anything too annoying with its ads.
  • Remember to change browser: Chrome’s security is excellent, but Google’s thirst for data is a hindrance for anyone who cares about privacy. Alternatives such as Firefox, Safari, Brave and Vivaldi are all more respectful of your privacy.
  • Activate the HTTPS only mode of your browser: HTTPS is a more secure protocol for websites. The vast majority of sites use this mode by default these days, but occasionally you may come across one that does not. We recommend enable HTTPS-only mode of your web browser to prevent you from browsing to unsecured sites.

Finally, if you tend to leave your browser open for weeks (or months), be sure to quit the app once in a while, as this is when most browsers check for updates. These updates often include security fixes as well as new features.

Learn more about privacy and security browser extensions.

This article was edited by Arthur Gies and Mark Smirniotis.

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