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You are being watched on the Internet You're Being Watched Online You're Being Watched Online Yes, everything you do online is being tracked. Read More  – but if you use Mozilla Firefox, some of its great add-ons can help protect your privacy and security on the Web.

Now, be warned that none of these are going to be completely foolproof. In fact, there’s is no completely safe way to use the Internet. But for most regular users, the protection that these extensions and tools offer will be enough as safeguards.

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS-Everywher-For-Firefox

One of the first extensions you should install in Firefox is HTTPS Everywhere, which encrypts much of your web browsing Encrypt Your Web Browsing With HTTPS Everywhere [Firefox] Encrypt Your Web Browsing With HTTPS Everywhere [Firefox] HTTPS Everywhere is one of those extensions that only Firefox makes possible. Developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, HTTPS Everywhere automatically redirects you to the encrypted version of websites. It works on Google, Wikipedia and... Read More .

What’s HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure? What Is HTTPS & How To Enable Secure Connections Per Default What Is HTTPS & How To Enable Secure Connections Per Default Security concerns are spreading far and wide and have reached the forefront of most everybody's mind. Terms like antivirus or firewall are no longer strange vocabulary and are not only understood, but also used by... Read More HTTPS is a standard that adds security by encrypting all data to and from some websites. You basically know it’s turned on when you see “https://” in the address bar,instead of “http://”.Many websites, including Gmail and Facebook, enable this by default – but some leave it off by default. Be safe: get HTTPS Everywhere, a collaboration between the TOR Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The only purpose of this extension is to turn any HTTP link into an HTTPS link, f a website supports it.

Adblock Plus

You may be surprised to hear that popular extension Adblock Plus can do a lot more than just stop annoying ads Use Adblock To Block Online Ads and Malware Use Adblock To Block Online Ads and Malware Read More . In fact, it’s one of the best and easiest ways to stop worms, trojans and other types of malware. To do this, Adblock Plus relies upon the good folks at MalwareDomains.com, who constantly keep updating a list of all the domains on the internet which contain an attempt by someone to cause harm to your computer. This updated list can be subscribed to if you use Adblock Plus. To do that, head to the Adblock Plus subscriptions page and scroll down to “Malware Domains” under the Miscellaneous section. Hit the “Subscribe: Malware Domains” link and after a brief pop-up window, you’ll be protected. Any time you visit a malicious link, Adblock Plus will now simply block you from visiting it.

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Adblock-Plus-Miscellaneous-Malware-Domains

We do have one request if you use Adblock Plus. Please whitelist MakeUseOf, and here’s a good reason why Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter Developer Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter Developer It’s no secret that we’re not huge fans of Adblock here at MakeUseOf. But we know that some of you won’t let go of Adblock until it’s pried out of your cold, dead hands. If... Read More .

DoNotTrackMe

It’s common knowledge now that websites track you to sell ads How Exactly Websites Track and Stalk You With Their Ads How Exactly Websites Track and Stalk You With Their Ads Privacy, privacy, privacy. The Internet is known for its anonymity. Without personal privacy, it would be a very dangerous place. But are these companies infringing on privacy rights? How exactly does a website track its... Read More , including giants like Google and Facebook. DoNotTrackMe (DNTM) is the best way to stop these guys in their tracks. Formerly known as Do Not Track Plus, this extension by Abine will notify you of all the data any web page is trying to track when you visit it. Once you have it installed and you go to any website, it will automatically stop various trackers on the site, like Google Adsense, Demandbase, Doubleclick, Facebook Connect, Twitter, Google +1, LinkedIn and more. Of course, you need to have “Don’t track my browsing here” activated, and you can switch it off at any time.

DoNotTrackMe-Trackers-Blocked-Popup

One cool feature in DNTM is the email mask. You know how you visit a website and are compelled to put in your email address for whatever reason, and then are subjected to spam? Well, there are some great services for disposable emails Need a Disposable Email Address? Try These Great Services Need a Disposable Email Address? Try These Great Services Disposable emails are not a new idea. In fact they’ve been around almost as long as email has (well, almost). In case you’ve never used one, disposable emails are fake email addresses you can give... Read More , but DNTM makes it easier because it’s integrated in your browser and comes with a handy dashboard. When you type out our email in the provided box, the extension will ask if you want to mask it. Select yes and Abine will throw in a random email address, which auto-forwards all mails to that email you just typed out. So if you want to stop that website from sending you emails at any point, all you need to do is head to your DNTM dashboard and disable that masked disposable email. It’s super simple and it helps protect you.

DoNotTrackMe-Masked-Email

Additionally, for a price of $5 per month, DNTM will also provide a disposable mask for your phone number and your credit card.

Ghostery

An alternative to DoNotTrackMe, Ghostery does the same job but without the email mask. So why mention it? Well, opinion is split regarding which of the two is better at stopping trackers and protecting you.

I tested both the extensions by visiting the 20 different websites I go to most often, and a further 10 random websites from my History. In all cases, the difference between what the two detected was negligible. In a couple of instances, Ghostery detected one extra tracker; in one instance, DNTM was better.

Ghostery-Stop-Trackers

When you want to block social networks from tracking you How To Block Facebook And Other Social Networks From Tracking You Online How To Block Facebook And Other Social Networks From Tracking You Online Whenever you visit a site with a Like, Tweet or +1 button, you're actually sharing data with Facebook, Twitter or Google. And that's not all. There are hundreds of advertising and data collection companies that... Read More , Ghostery’s advantage lies in the fact that you can click on any of the blocked trackers to find out more about them. This kind of information might help those who can understand such data, but for the layman, it’s not a big enough feature to make a difference.

I’d recommend sticking with DNTM, but there’s nothing wrong with picking Ghostery if you like that more. To each his own.

Private Tab

The incognito mode or “Private Window” feature of is pretty handy for things like signing into multiple accounts, or checking for price discrimination Not Just for Porn: Other Uses For Private Browsing Not Just for Porn: Other Uses For Private Browsing Private-browsing mode has many other names, including "incognito mode" in Chrome and "InPrivate Browsing" in Internet Explorer. Some people refer to private-browsing mode as "porn mode", but it isn't just for porn addicts. It can... Read More . Plus, private mode disables cookies. Now, there’s no reason to start a whole new window for that, there’s a Firefox extension that lets you create a new private tab; and it’s aptly named.

Private-Tab

Install Private Tab and you can quickly turn any page into a private tab by right-clicking the title or hitting the Ctrl+Alt+T keyboard shortcut. Then, just use it as you would any tab in a private window. And the rest of your Firefox session is working as usual. Simple and easy.

Disconnect Search

Say what you want about Google, but in my experience, it still gives the best search results—better than DuckDuckGo or any other competitor. But that doesn’t mean I need to give over all my data to Google. All that’s needed is a simple little extension called Disconnect Search to use search engines without being tracked Disconnect Search Lets You Use Google, Bing and Yahoo Without Being Tracked Disconnect Search Lets You Use Google, Bing and Yahoo Without Being Tracked A new browser extension called Disconnect Search stops Google, Bing and Yahoo in their tracks, stopping these search engines from snooping on you. Read More .

Disconnect-Search

This tool lets you search privately using your favourite search engine. In fact, the VPN technique Disconnect Search uses also thwarts your ISP from seeing your search terms. It currently supports Google, Bing, Yahoo, Blekko and DuckDuckGo—but only one at a time. The best part is that it can be configured to work with your search bar and omnibar, as well as with the websites of these search engines.

Protect Yourself On Chrome

Most of the extensions listed here also work with Google Chrome, except for Private Tab. An alternative for that is MultiLogin. But if you want to stick with Firefox, then apart from securing yourself with these add-ons, grab the unofficial manual for Mozilla Firefox and really maximize your internet browsing.

Padlock image credit: tpsdave

  1. iron
    May 8, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    https protocol on a webserver does indeed allow the client to cache all cache dns included. It is up to the user/client to adjust the settings he wants or doesn't want in regards to cacheing. Firefox allows you to turn it off or on and also other content from being stored on disk when in https mode can be turned on or off. There are several settings to control this by default in firefox plus about:config tweaks and 3rd party extensions.

    Any website that requires a username and password login should indeed have https at least for the login period. I will not use a site that has no https upon registering or logins.

  2. Ryantech
    April 11, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Use Tor browser and be secure.

  3. Kris M
    April 8, 2014 at 3:54 am

    Thanks for all the useful tips you can never be too safe!

  4. Technophoria
    April 5, 2014 at 6:51 am

    I'd also add the suggestion to use DuckDuckGo or Ixquick as your search default. I personally prefer DuckDuckGo for it's bang features and the ability to transfer directly to other searches as needed, but at least it gives you one more choice in how your searches are used.

  5. Disconnected
    April 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Disconnect search on Chrome was very intrusive. I would search on the Google home page and when clicking through the pages of results Disconnect hijacked the search terms and return their own results. Couple more back and forth clicks are required to return to the Google results page.

    It may be so that they provide a safe and secure service but it should be to my choosing!

  6. jose
    April 4, 2014 at 9:58 am

    @ BOB
    Thank you!

  7. Sunsetsword
    April 4, 2014 at 4:01 am

    Some of these are so amazing it's a wonder we don't all already use them. Spread the word!

    The only one I already knew of was ABP, and that in and of itself has made life so much freer of hassles.

  8. dee7kay
    April 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    I use the Add-On NoScript. Can someone tell me if it's having the same effect as DNTM if I don't allow certain websites (such as google-analytics)? And can facebook track me if I'm not logged in?

    • dragonmouth
      May 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      NoScript prevents sites from excuting scripts on your PC.
      DNTM stops sites from tracking you.
      So NoScript and DNTM do not have the same effect. They should both be used.

  9. UmbralDragon
    April 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Startpage.com is also a very good and private way to search. Might I suggest that MakeUseOf give that a look as well? They sanitize all search queries (of PID) before sending them to Google. I've used them for a while now and always get good results, without having to worry about whether I'm being tracked via that route.

    Just a thought.

    • Pete
      April 6, 2014 at 12:43 am

      Yes. I was going to make this point to. Why go to the trouble of using a VPN when DuckDuckGo search via SSL is essentially anonymous and StartPage allows you to search Google the same way.

    • Pete
      April 6, 2014 at 12:43 am

      Sorry, should be "too" rather than "to".

  10. jose slepian@msn
    April 3, 2014 at 10:46 am

    DoNotTrackMe will not let me register because it claims that I have a MaskMe account. Why? And I deleted everything from my PC that came up from a search, but it still won't work. Any suggestions?

    • Bob
      April 3, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      Sometimes deleting does not remove everything and there are entries in your registry that allow MaskMe to be found.

      Download Revo Uninstaller (free) and use it to delete programs. It deletes not only the program, but the registry entries as well.

      If Revo doesn't list MaskMe in the list of programs (because you deleted the program) then you can do a registry search using 'Regedit'. Type regedit into the run box on the start menu. Then do a search (Find)(F3 after the first find) and delete each entry found using your delete key. Be very careful using regedit. You can find a tutorial at itechtalk.com.

    • Bob
      April 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      Also, I forgot to say, you are searching for mask or maskme using regedit.

      Good luck!

  11. Darktomas
    April 2, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Thanks awesome!

  12. Jon Smith
    April 2, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    ghostery was discovered that they sell their data...I have switched to Disconnect 2

    • Pete
      April 6, 2014 at 12:42 am

      They only sell your data if you opt into the option of allowing them to sell their data.

      Otherwise, you data is safe. They are very clear about this in their privacy policy.

      IMO Ghostery features are better than disconnect 2.

  13. KT
    April 2, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Excellent article. I already use most of those, but learned a thing or two as well.

  14. AriesWarlock
    April 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Why isn't HTTPS enabled by default on Makeuseof?

    Firefox's got its own "tell sites do not track me" option, right?

    • Mike Merritt
      April 2, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      Come on guys - how much privacy do you need ? HTTPS slows things down, doesn't compress and may not cache in your browser. If I'm afraid that my wife will find out that I'm on MakeUseOf - I'll use "Private Browsing".

    • Bruce E
      April 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      @AriesWarlock: The "do not track" option in web browsers simply sends a signal to the website that you don't want to be tracked. It does not prevent anything from loading and websites do not have to abide by the request. Ghostery and DoNotTrackMe both stop the tracking elements from being downloaded from that trackers.

      @Mike Merritt: HTTPS does not have a noticable performance impact for most users, the content can still be compressed before being sent from the server just like HTTP as the 'S' in HTTPS is only for the connection between the server and client via TLS/SSL. Regarding the caching issue, I'll have to run a couple of tests to verify your claim.

    • Anon
      April 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      @Mike Merritt - That is a pretty bad way to look at it. Our information is currency in an unregulated market.

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