It’s well known that online companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google collect vast amounts of data about us. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, however. Shopping sites and social networks keep tabs on all of your online activities while you’re using them every time you cruise the world wide web. They’ve gotten rather good at soaking up as much data as they can and your habits, and then sell it to the highest bidder.
This behavior can make it seem like protecting your privacy would be impossible. But don’t fear, help is at hand! There are several browser extensions that will let you know about web trackers, and stop them from snooping around your online activities, and will help you take control of your data. We have 5 of the best add-ons for defending yourself against those web trackers.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that will not track or record your search queries, sort of the antithesis of Google. The same company also offers a browser extension, named Privacy Essentials, that will prevent social networks and advertisers from spying on your web activities. This is probably the easiest to use of all the extensions on this list. You don’t need to spend a lot of time configuring the settings, because this extension will make the hard choices for you.
DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials is compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Safari web browsers.
According to Disconnect, it will help you to say no to mass collection of your online activity and trackers that destroy your device performance. Like some of the other items in this list, it will detect tracking technologies from the websites you visit and ensures that they won’t be able to keep tabs on what you’re doing.
This extension will give you a lot of control of what you block and unblock. You could block one site completely and allow another site to collect information. You can easily find out what’s being blocked by clicking on the Disconnect button in your browser, it’ll also let you know how it’s affecting the speed of the site you’re visiting. It will also allow you to whitelist sites and trackers that you deem safe.
Unfortunately, the interface for this extension leaves much to be desired, it is still rather effective. It’ll tackle social plug-ins, ad trackers and web analytics code like a football linebacker. They offer it for free on PCs, and $25 (one-time fee) for mobile browsers.
Disconnect is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Opera an Safari web browsers.
Ghostery is similar to Privacy Badger, but you have more control over what gets blocked, but with the caveat of making it more complex. If you don’t mind taking a little time to configure it, Ghostery will be an excellent privacy protection tool. However, if you don’t really want something that you’ll have to spend some time tinkering with, then you might choose one of the other friendlier options, like Privacy Badger.
Ghostery can handle the code that deals with social media plug-ins, audio & video players, site analytics, user interactions and more. Don’t like those thousands of annoying extra ads and popups that appear in or on top of websites? Ghostery will shut them down. It will also give you a clean and clear look at what’s block and what isn’t on whatever site you visit. You can also choose to either temporarily or permanently block something that seems suspicious, or even pause the blocking function altogether.
These features make Ghostery one of the most comprehensive options available. The best part is, like Privacy Badger, it’s free, and available for most web browsers.
Ghostery is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge and Safari web browsers.
The company that makes Privacy Badger, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a non-profit company that is dedicated to promoting user privacy. On way they accomplish that is by developing a browser extension called Privacy Badger. It’s designed to stop tracking technologies that work across multiple websites. This will hinder the ability of marketers to build up a comprehensive profile of your web surfing habits.
Most technologies employed by advertisers can recognize your surfing habits not only from their sponsored sites, but even from unaffiliated sites. For example, if you were to search for something on Amazon, that search term will not only show up in your Amazon recommendations, but will eventually make its way into Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Privacy Badger stops that by allowing you to set a limit on how many pages can track you. For each site you visit, Privacy Badger will identify whatever tracking tools are being employed and will sort them out in a traffic light style interface that will let you know how intrusive each one is. It will also automatically disable them or will limit them one at a time.
However, keep in mind that stopping some trackers can also make certain features of some websites stop working. For example, stopping all tracking abilities of a certain site may stop videos from playing because it relies on a tracker for that feature to operate. However, Privacy Badger will allow you to override its normal behavior and allow some trackers to run and restore the functionality of the site you’re in. Despite its power and advanced features, Privacy Badger remains easy to use. Even better is that it’s free, and compatible with many web browsers.
Privacy Badger is compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers.
Facebook Container Extension
You think Facebook is the only site of losing user data? Think again. It’s definitely not the only one guilty of that, but it is one of the biggest of the social networking sites, and it loves to monitor your every movement. Did you know that Facebook can even keep tabs on your activities even if you’re not in the Facebook site? Yes, whenever you hit that famous Facebook like button, Facebook stashes that information as well.
To help stop this problem, Mozilla (the developer of Firefox web browser) has created Facebook Container Extension. It’s designed to, just as the name denotes, contain Facebook’s enthusiastic data collection techniques. How it works is that your personal identity on Facebook, which keeps that “like button” information gets locked into a virtual container. It keeps that contained information separate from the rest of your web activities. This will keep it from seeing your activities on sites outside of Facebook.
One caveat to be aware of, however, is that this means that tools that you might use for Facebook that reside outside of its website such as embedded comments on an article or the ability to use your Facebook account to log into another site may not work properly or may not work at all. But don’t you think it’s a small price to pay for keeping Facebook from spying on your all your web activities? One more thing to keep in mind is that, since it’s made by Mozilla, it only works with the Firefox web browser. But if you favor Firefox, then that won’t be a problem.
Browser extensions can help increase your web browser's security, but they are only one piece of the puzzle. There are multiple ways to secure your computer to prevent identity theft and malware infections. For advice on fully protecting your computer, contact us at Call Posse Computers.
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