10 Best Free Browser Extensions for Security

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The internet can be a hostile place at times, with a variety of online threats in every corner of the web. Worms, Trojans, spyware, adware, ransomware, browser cookies, and email trackers – to name a few – affect millions of users’ privacy and security every day. While there are many steps that can be taken to protect yourself online, like using a VPN, most modern web browsers have free extensions that provide an additional layer of protection.

Take a look through our guide below for a breakdown of the best free Chrome and Firefox extensions.

Check out the best VPNs for browsing on Firefox.

Ad & Tracker Blocking

The web is stuffed full of activity trackers, pesky pop-up ads, and auto-play videos that do nothing but make your browsing experience worse. Lots of free ad-blocking extensions exist today, but most just aren’t worthwhile. This is because their software and blocklists aren’t updated regularly enough to keep pace with the ads they’re supposed to block. From our testing, these are the best ad block Chrome and Firefox extensions: 

uBlock Origin 

Available On: Chrome and Firefox

uBlock Origin is our top recommendation for the best ad blocker extension. It is sure to block any and every ad you come across in your browsing experience. Coming preset with a massive list of rules and filters that allows for extensive customization, uBlock Origin may be one of the most configurable extensions available today. 

Originally built as a great ad-blocking tool, uBlock Origin now does much more than that. uBlock Origin also blocks scripts, media elements, and remotely loaded fonts. While it may be more involved than some of the other extensions on this list, if you spend the time learning to tweak the settings to your needs, you’ll end up with an incredibly effective security solution for your browser.

Adblock Plus

Available On: Chrome and Firefox

While ads help most sites pay the bills, intrusive pop-up ads or anchored banner ads can become quite annoying. This is where AdBlock Plus comes in, and it is a close second to uBlock as the best free ad blocker. This handy ad blocking extension aims to prevent ads that disrupt your browsing experience from loading, while allowing less harmful ads, keeping a balance between site revenue and a good user experience. 

However, if you want an entirely ad-free experience, you can disable the “Acceptable Ads” setting to remove all ads. You can also configure Adblock Plus by blocking certain types of tracking, adding or removing whitelisted sites, and editing existing filter lists. Adblock can forcefully whitelist sites. The service takes payments from site owners to perform this function.

Privacy Badger

Available On: Chrome and Firefox

Built by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Privacy Badger takes a unique approach to tracker blocking. Instead of keeping a filter or tracker list, this extension identifies trackers through site behavior. 

Through the sending of a “Do Not Track” request upon a website loading, Privacy Badger learns whether or not the site ignores that request. If ignored (most sites will ignore it), the extension then learns to block trackers within that site. Like other extensions on this list, Privacy Badger’s blocklists can be modified to your liking. This extension works best when used in conjunction with uBlock Origin or Adblock Plus. 

Anti-Virus & Malware Protection

Various types of malicious code, malware, and more litter the web. Modern-day browsers and operating systems have built-in security protocols to protect against most threats, but attackers are constantly looking for new system vulnerabilities. To add additional protection when browsing, consider using these anti-virus and anti-malware extensions:

NoScript

Available On: Chrome and Firefox

As an extension that works exclusively to block harmful Javascript on untrusted or unknown websites, NoScript is a unique tool. As a more advanced extension, NoScript is not for every user, but when configured correctly it can be a powerful addition to your browser’s security. 

Users of this tool must work to build their own whitelist, along with tweaking specific settings.

It should be noted that NoScript is actually built into the Tor Browser, lending additional credibility to this extension.

Avast Online Security

Available On: Chrome and Firefox

To infect your device with malware, one wrong search is all that it takes. To help prevent this mistake, the Avast Online Security extension will warn users if they’re visiting an illegitimate website. 

This Chrome extension does this largely through the rich community of users that supports it, using a rating system to highlight potentially malicious sites. Avast Online Security also will scan for malware and will prevent the site from fully loading if it deems a site is unsafe (although this can be overridden). Avast also includes tracker blocking, but there are more effective extensions for this (i.e. Privacy Badger). Overall, Avast Online Security is one of the best antivirus browser extensions. 

Click&Clean

Available On: Chrome

While most users will have no trouble clearing browser cookies and data, Click&Clean makes it slightly more simple through a single click while also allowing for additional customization. The extension will also erase download history and temporary files, along with Flash cookies.

Click&Clean can also scan your computer for malware, run a privacy check, and offers the ability to clean hard drives as well (you will have to install Click&Clean Host for this feature). However, there are many standalone malware scanners available that are likely more effective than this extension.

Encryption

Most sites today use the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) to secure communication over the Internet. It is a crucial piece of security, in so much as Google now flags sites that don’t use it. Every website you visit should be encrypted using this protocol. To ensure every site you visit obeys this rule, use this encryption tool:

HTTPS Everywhere

Available On: Chrome and Firefox

HTTPS Everywhere forces the browser to connect to a site using HTTPS instead of HTTP. If the site will not cooperate with the HTTPS request the extension will block access (this can be overridden).

Forcing HTTPS will protect personal information like login credentials while it’s traveling between your computer and a website. The EFF built HTTPS Everywhere.

Password Management 

With passwords required for just about every website account, it can become quite burdensome to keep a tab on every single login. Because of this, many users opt to reuse or duplicate their passwords, but this is extremely poor security hygiene. Opting for a secure password manager is a much better solution. Along with the free options listed below, check this list of premium password managers.

Our preferred free password manager extensions are:

Blur

Available On: Chrome and Firefox

Blur is our favorite option for a password manager. The extension will automatically create a strong (and unique) password for each account the user has. In addition, Blur will save the password and then encrypt the password data using AES-256 encryption. 

On top of this, Blur will provide a one-off masked email address for each login the user has. In the event of an attack or breach, only the masked email address will be exposed. All emails will still be routed to your usual inbox.

Dashlane

Available On: Chrome

Dashlane offers a great password management extension and is one of the more popular password managers available today. Along with standard security features (256-bit encryption, 2FA, password auditing, etc.), this extension allows for the sorting of passwords by category. Dashlane also saves payment information, personal information, and more. 

Dashlane offers a paid version that includes some premium features. However, the core functionality remains the same across both free and premium versions. 

Bitwarden

Available On: Chrome and Firefox

Bitwarden is another excellent option for a free password manager, including quality encryption, 2FA, password auditing, breach monitoring, and more. This extension also allows for unlimited passwords on as many devices, something that neither Blur nor Dashlane offer. While some functionalities may lack and the interface is a bit clunky, it’s a great option for tech-oriented users.

Final Thoughts

Extra security is never a bad option, especially when it’s free of charge. Using security-minded browser extensions is an easy way to create additional layers of protection while browsing. With that said, we recommend using uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, NoScript, and Blur together for the highest possible protection. For a simpler option, uBlock Origin (configured in one of the advanced modes), and Blur will suffice for most users.

When used alongside a reliable VPN, your browsing experience is sure to be extremely secure and privacy-focused.