We’ve written about security and privacy add-ons for Mozilla Firefox in the past, but Chrome’s add-on ecosystem has taken longer to mature. If you swore off Chrome because NoScript, Adblock and other add-ons were only available on Firefox, it’s time to take another look. Mozilla Firefox isn’t the only web browser with a strong ecosystem of add-ons anymore.
NotScripts has some limitations because of Google Chrome’s plug-in architecture, but it functions similarly to NoScript on Firefox. One of the limitations is that you’ll have to set up a custom password in a text file after installing it. This password encrypts your NotScript whitelist, preventing websites from snooping on it. NotScript provides you with instructions to add the password after you install it.
NotScripts also blocks plug-ins such as Adobe Flash. Try FlashBlock if you only want to block Flash content.
Adblock Plus for Google Chrome, developed by the same people that developed Adblock Plus for Firefox, can also block tracking scripts. Its default set of filters blocks tracking scripts in addition to ads, which is a is a more targeted approach than NotScripts. The advantage is that you can just set it and forget it, but the disadvantage is that it only blocks known threats.
Ghostery can also block all of these networks. The blocking is customizable, so you could also just block a single network.
KB SSL Enforcer is similar to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s HTTPS Everywhere addon for Firefox, which we’ve covered in the directory. Many websites, including Wikipedia and Twitter, support HTTPS encryption but don’t send you to the HTTPS site by default. KB SSL Enforcer contains a list of websites that support HTTPS and automatically redirects you to the HTTPS version when you access them, protecting your browsing activity from prying eyes.
Web of Trust adds an icon to Chrome’s toolbar that displays a trust rating for the website you’re visiting. It also adds these icons to search result pages. Other users provide the ratings WOT shows, so you’ll know if other users have had bad experiences before providing your credit card number or any other personal information to a website. You can rate websites so other users will know if they’re trustworthy.
If you’re not comfortable with Web of Trust’s crowdsourced system, McAfee’s SiteAdvisor is another good extension that rates websites for trustworthiness.
SaferChrome alerts you when websites transmit your passwords or credit card numbers in plain text. Websites should encrypt this private information when sending it over the Internet; the encryption prevents other people from snooping on the information in transit.
SaferChrome can also automatically redirect you to HTTPS websites, but it only does this on Facebook and Twitter by default. KB SSL Enforcer’s longer list of supported websites makes it more useful for this purpose.
Chrome’s answer to Firefox’s FoxyProxy add-on, Proxy Switchy lets you quickly switch between proxies from within Chrome. Even better, you can use Proxy Switchy to automatically switch between proxies on a per-website basis. Want to access one site through an anonymous proxy, another site through a work proxy and bypass the proxies for everything else? No problem.
Many of these extensions have limitations compared to the ones you’d find in Firefox, but Chrome’s extensions have come a long way. Firefox fans who wrote off Chrome because of its poor extension ecosystem might want to give it another try. Check out our list of the best Chrome extensions for more great extensions.
So, what awesome Chrome extensions did we miss here? With so many available Chrome extensions, I’m sure we missed some great ones. Let us know in the comments.
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