Stay Safe & Private With These 5 Encryption Add-Ons [Firefox]

Firefox Encryption Addons Intro   Stay Safe & Private With These 5 Encryption Add Ons [Firefox]Ciphers have been used throughout history to maintain secrecy and security for sensitive pieces of data. Instead of leaving important information out in the open and available to anyone for reading, these ciphers kept knowledge and messages locked away behind puzzles. At one time, those ciphers may have been simple, but now we have extremely powerful forms of encryption.

Think about all of the sensitive data you transmit on a day-to-day basis through your browser – emails, instant messages, credit card purchases, usernames and passwords, personal information, etc. If this data isn’t encrypted, then anyone can snoop around on your Internet (especially if you use WiFi) and intercept that data.

Fortunately, there are a lot of Firefox encryption add-ons that aim to encrypt your most sensitive information. Check these out.

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS is a special protocol that layers SSL/TLS on top of the ordinary HTTP protocol, thus resulting in a more secure connection when browsing websites. If that made no sense to you, don’t worry. All you need to know is that HTTPS stands for HTTP Secure and it’s always preferable when you have the option because of the added security.

HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox addon (not an official one) that forces your browser to connect using HTTPS whenever the option is available. The convenience cannot be overstated because some websites, even when they offer HTTPS, make it difficult to use.

The sad thing is that not every website offers HTTPS. Even sites that do offer HTTPS will often have third-party content that isn’t available through HTTPS. When HTTPS is missing, the possibility of “man in the middle” attacks becomes more prevalent. This can have terrible consequences in some situations.

Note: HTTPS Everywhere is not available in the official Firefox addons library. Downloading and using this program is entirely your responsibility should something go wrong.

LastPass

firefox lastpass   Stay Safe & Private With These 5 Encryption Add Ons [Firefox]LastPass is often lauded as one of the best password manager programs in existence. Not only is it free to use, it’s easy to use. It’s available on many platforms and it just works. For the uninitiated, LastPass is a program that stores all of your username/password combinations for various sites, allowing you to access all of them by using a single master password.

LastPass stores all of your passwords in an encrypted database, so you can rest assured that all of your passwords are hidden behind a secure layer. The only danger is that if you forget your LastPass master password, it may be difficult (or even impossible) to recover – a terrible experience if you end up using the addon for so long that you forget your real passwords!

Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic addon that truly deserves your attention. Give it a try at least once.

Encrypted Communication

firefox encrypt communication   Stay Safe & Private With These 5 Encryption Add Ons [Firefox]

Although there are protocols that will encrypt your connection (e.g., HTTPS), maybe you want to specifically encrypt a certain message. This is particularly useful when dealing with sensitive emails and documents as you may not want prying eyes to accidentally open a file and glean your deepest, darkest secrets.

That’s where the Encrypted Communication addon comes in. With it, you can highlight blocks of text anywhere within a text input field in your browser and “encrypt” them into a jumble of unintelligible gibberish. This encryption is locked with a password, so when you send that encrypted email, the recipient can unlock the message (i.e., return it to comprehensible text) by using the same password.

Of course, the downside to this addon is that both sender and recipient need to have the Encrypted Communication addon installed. It’s not that much of a hassle, though, and it can be very useful in fields that necessitate higher levels of confidentiality.

Link Password

firefox link password   Stay Safe & Private With These 5 Encryption Add Ons [Firefox]

Now let’s talk about bookmarks. Suppose you have a number of fishy bookmarks that you want to keep on your browser but don’t want anyone peeking into. One solution would be to use an online bookmarking service, but they’re never 100% reliable and can sometimes be a pain in the butt.

The other option? Link Password, which encrypts individual bookmarks behind passwords so that only you can access them. With it, you can hide certain links and even rename them so that nobody can view them – unless they figure out the password, of course. Perfect for hiding those gifts that you want to buy for your significant other.

Cryptocat

firefox cryptocat   Stay Safe & Private With These 5 Encryption Add Ons [Firefox]

Cryptocat is the firefox encryption add-on for users who love user-to-user instant messaging or general group chatting. It’s an open-source addon that allows Cryptocat users to congregate and discuss things over an encrypted network using the OTR messaging protocol.

The great thing about Cryptocat is that it’s so easy to use. You go to the website, type in the name of the chatroom and your desired chat name, and that’s it. No registration required. Obviously, users who want a more persistent way to chat with more features (like user profiles) will need to look elsewhere, but if you only want a quick way to chat with encryption, Cryptocat is awesome.

Conclusion

There are plenty of ways that you can keep yourself safer and more secure through Firefox encryption add-ons. As you can see, a lot of your day-to-day Internet data should be encrypted if you don’t want anyone else looking at it: emails, chat, passwords, and even your bookmarks. Use these addons and you can worry just a little less about someone sniffing around where they shouldn’t be.

Know of any other Firefox addons that tack on some great encryption-based features to the browser? Please share them with us in the comments!

Image Credit: Digital Lock Via Shutterstock

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17 Comments -

5 votes

Garris Rago

Always good to see posts informing people about security measures they could be taking online :)

5 votes

Drago

Those ad-ons are a big step forward in increasing your security, but a number of websites don’t offer https, thus rendering the plugin useless.

If you frequently use wifi hotspots, or are concerned about privacy regarding internet technologies you use such as p2p or bittorrent, you absolutely must have a VPN.

Here are a few good options:
IBVPN.COM

http://www.privateinternetaccess.com

also please check out this website for Torrent VPN Reviews

0 votes

Joel Lee

Yeah, the lack of HTTPS support on a website can be a big bummer. VPN is a great tool, though it can seem complicated for newbies and the tech-illiterate. They’re worth learning about, though, so thanks for sharing those resources. :D

5 votes

HildyJ

One lesser known addon is QuickFox Notes. It stores notes as bookmarks so they get synced to other systems and it allows you to encrypt a note. You can bring up your notes (which are tabbed) in a tab or window and drag text to or from your other tabs. Very handy for collecting and collating information, filling out forms, storing password related information (what did I say my favorite color was?), and keeping credit card information (the last two using encryption, of course).

0 votes

Joel Lee

That sounds pretty nifty, though I’d actually have to try it out to see how it feels in practice. Thanks!

0 votes

Duane Adam

The bookmark encryption add-on is certainly useful but too bad I’m on Chrome.

0 votes

Hani Zureikat

Lastpass was hacked once and then did not bother to inform users, since then I keep my important passwords on my hard disk or on paper, my pc is not that interesting to hackers compared to LastPass (the place for ALL passwords of ALL users in the world), big mistake!

0 votes

dragonmouth

“my pc is not that interesting to hackers”
The contents of your PC may not be interesting but the actual hardware is. It can be taken over, turned into a “zombie PC” and used to attack other PCs.

0 votes

GreyMatatabi

nice, nothing that pleased me the most than some extra security for my online activity. esp when i’m connected through wifi/hot-spot :)

5 votes

Kuriakopoulos Marios

i recently started using keepass for password management..it is an open source program..but its not a browser addon

1 votes

Joel Lee

KeePass is a wonderful program and we’ve reviewed it a few times in the past. Worth checking out indeed. Thanks.

0 votes

HNaj

Firefox already has a master password feature – Last Pass is built into Firefox.

The passwords stored are encrypted and if you loose the master password … you are out of luck!!

0 votes

Tom Six

Thanks, I actually started using Lastpass. It works great, this is just what I was looking for.

0 votes

Keith S

Have tried these since reading your article earlier & I must say: RIGHTEOUS! These are some AWESOME addons & I highly reccommend them! Thank you Joel & muo.com. Ya’ or youice guys hit a homerun!

0 votes

Keith S

P.S.– Forgot to say “They are ALL keepers!” or at least that is what I INTEND TO DO WITH THEM!!

1 votes

Matthew

Self Destructing Cookies is one of my fave Firefox add-ons for privacy. As soon as you close a tab or navigate away from a site, cookies and other local storage gets wiped. You can whitelist sites you need or choose to accept cookies from. After using my phone for three months I installed this and it deleted 1,180 tracking cookies. When you close a page a little pop up appears saying cookies, local storage from xyzetc.com destroyed … Top marks.

0 votes

Joel Lee

Hey, that sounds like a pretty nifty addon. Thanks! I’ll have to check it out.