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The 8 best privacy downloads for Firefox

These add-ons ensure your data is protected

Web users should be doing all they can to safeguard their personal information when surfing the net. We've rounded up 8 Mozilla Firefox add-ons (some of which work with other web browsers) that will protect your privacy when on the web.

NoScript

The NoScript extension by Giorgio Maone prevents JavaScript, Java and other executable content from running on any web page you haven't expressly allowed to run scripts. This is crucial protection against cross-site scripting (XSS), where hackers insert code into web pages using vulnerabilities in the various scripting languages the sites use to deliver content. Hackers use XSS to install arbitrary code on users' machines for keylogging, hijacking passwords or phishing; it's currently one of the most effective methods of delivering malware.

NoScript is also effective in blocking an emerging form of user tracking called browser fingerprinting. A recent study by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) showed that even without cookies or malware, websites can pull enough information about a user from the browser itself to build up a profile that can be used to track the user from site to site. The EFF singled out NoScript as an effective safeguard against this kind of tracking.

Since so much of the web relies for basic functionality on the scripting languages that NoScript blocks, an Options button at the bottom of the browser window pops up a menu with options that you can use to temporarily or permanently allow scripts on sites you trust.

Tor-Proxy.Net Toolbar

The Tor Project is an anonymising service that tunnels your web traffic through a network of random routers to make it virtually impossible for an outside observer to track any web activity back to your computer. You can install the Tor program on your computer and route all your web traffic through Tor, but because your packets are bounced off servers around the world, you will experience much slower Internet response.

Using the Tor-Proxy.Net Toolbar, though, you can choose to use Tor on a case-by-case basis, visiting chosen sites anonymously while maintaining non-anonymous connections in other Firefox tabs. Just enter the URL of the site you want to visit into the Tor-Proxy.Net Toolbar instead of Firefox's own address bar and click 'by Tor'.

The toolbar also offers two other options: You can click 'by JAP/JonDos' to use the less popular JonDonym service, which offers slightly better performance but slightly weaker anonymity, or you can click 'by Express-Service' to use Tor-Proxy.Net's own anonymising server. It's a little quicker than the others but isn't as secure, since it's not an established anonymity service.

NEXT PAGE: FireFound

  1. Ensure your data is protected
  2. Password Maker
  3. BetterPrivacy
  4. NoScript
  5. FireFound


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