Google Chrome is the world’s most popular web browser. But it isn’t the world’s most private browser—not by a long shot. Chrome receives consistently poor reviews regarding its approach to privacy. As the world’s largest advertising company, Google is a prime position to exploit the millions of Chrome users around the globe.
Thankfully, you can take steps to increase your Google Chrome privacy using extensions. Here are the 8 best privacy extensions for Google Chrome.
Ads are everywhere online. They keep the internet ticking over in many ways, keeping many of the major sites and services you use every day completely free. With ads comes tracking. Tracking scripts follow you around the internet, logging your activity and using that data to streamline the ads you see.
uBlock Origin lets you block many of those intrusive third-party tracking scripts. The extension features several handy pre-built third-party tracking lists you can toggle on and off. You can also easily whitelist other sites and services (as many websites rely on advertising income to stay afloat and do not display offensive ads!) as you browse the web.
The bonus to uBlock Origin is its malware and malvertising blocking. uBlock Origin can block known malicious domains, as well as domains known to display malicious advertising and other nasties.
Download: uBlock Origin (Free)
Blur is a handy app that offers two important functions.
First up, Blur is a password management extension. It creates a strong, unique password for each online account you open, boosting your security and privacy. The extension saves your password, encrypting the password data using super-strong AES-256.
Second, Blur creates a layer of protection between you and the services you sign-up for. It works like this: any time you need an email address to sign up for a service, Blur provides a one-off masked email address and you use this as your login. Any emails or alerts sent to you from the service still come through to your regular email inbox. But if there is a data breach, and a hacker gets your one-off address, your real address is protected. The hacker only gets your Blur address.
Blur also comes in two flavors. The Premium version also offers credit card masking, which is like email masking, but offers protection for your credit and debit cards. Furthermore, you can also use Blur masked phone numbers to add another layer of privacy to your Chrome experience.
Download: Blur (Free)
Also, check out our article on the best password managers !
The HTTPS Everywhere extension makes sure that every website you visit uses the much stronger HTTPS protocol instead of regular HTTP. HTTPS encrypts your internet connection to a website, making sure your browsing session is secure and private. The regular HTTP connection does not offer the same protection.
In 2018, Google announced that Chrome would begin using the stronger HTTPS protocol to give users more privacy and security. Many sites are now configured to use HTTPS. However, there are still millions of websites that are not and will default to HTTP. Google Chrome will display a warning when you attempt to access a site using HTTP rather than HTTPS and ask if you want to proceed. And that is exactly where the HTTPS Everywhere extension is useful—for those millions of sites still using HTTP.
Download: HTTPS Everywhere (Free)
The Unshorten.link Chrome extension provides a simple but useful service. It unshortens any shortened link. When a link is shortened, it is easier to hide a malicious URL, and therefore easier to trick someone into clicking something they shouldn’t.
Once installed, Unshorten.link reroutes you to its secure page when you click a shortened link. There you can see the actual target URL and decide whether the link is safe or not.
Download: Unshorten.link (Free)
DuckDuckGo is the privacy-focused alternative to Google Search . Where Google uses your data to serve you targeted adverts, DuckDuckGo does the opposite. If you want an instant privacy boost, switching to DuckDuckGo for your internet searches is a great easy option.
You can take it one step further, however, and install the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials Chrome extension. The Privacy Essentials extension features options for script and tracker blocking, makes sure you always visit the HTTPS version of a site and introduces a handy privacy grading for each site you visit. The privacy grading ranges from A-F and it helps you understand the level of privacy to expect on a website at a glance.
Download: DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials (Free)
Facebook is well known for its privacy issues. Like Google, Facebook monetizes your data and sells it to advertisers. But it isn’t just on the Facebook site that the social media giant hoovers up your data. Any site that features a social login option is also selling your data. Similarly, sites with social media plugins that allow you to Like or Tweet create the same issue.
Disconnect Facebook blocks Facebook from tracking you around the internet and increases your privacy when you’re not using the social media site.
Download: Facebook Disconnect (Free)
Privacy Badger is a script and tracker-blocking Chrome extension developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Privacy Badger is not specifically to block ads, but it may well block some advertisements from displaying.
The EFF has a very strong focus on protecting privacy, and Privacy Badger receives frequent updates to make sure it is blocking as many trackers as possible. Once installed, you can click the Privacy Badger icon and see what level of tracking is taking place on each site you visit. Trackers are color-coded depending on their status, such as being an intrusive third-party tracker and so on.
Download: Privacy Badger (Free)
Click & Clean is a great privacy tool to keep your browser free of personal and private data. You can clear any existing browser data with a single click, immediately cleaning your browser.
Click & Clean’s drop-down menu features loads of options. You can select the data you want to clean manually or have it clean everything. Another handy Click & Clean feature is that it lets you access the data other Chrome extensions are using and storing. You might find that an extension is hiding private data without informing you.
Finally, you can also use Click & Clean to wipe any data Google Chrome holds after you use Incognito Mode. A common misconception is that Incognito Mode stops any data storing in your browser. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
Download: Click&Clean (Free)
Or Try a Privacy-Focused Alternative Browser
Chrome has some great features. But it is also a bit of a privacy issue and can be a system resource hog at times, too. If you want to boost your privacy truly, VPN Proof suggests switching to an alternative browser, such as Mozilla Firefox. Firefox has several excellent privacy features built into the browser, and many of the same Chrome privacy extensions are also available for Firefox.
In addition to better security, Firefox is superior when it comes to its important privacy tweaks and settings .