August 21, 2012

10 Web Browser Applications to Improve Your Privacy Online

Privacy is one of your main concerns in your life to be more secure and safe. Security is a need of our lives and privacy comes under security. It may applies to many activities that you are depend on. As you are online, surfing web is a regular activity you almost do everyday. You click on an interesting link on the web and navigate to a page you may never been to. Most of sites are using one or more tracking mechanisms to track you and your behavior. It's not an unusual in the sense of tracking visitors. But what if the information stored could helps in abusing your privacy?

Online Privacy

Web analytic services collect basic web browser configuration to correctly measure web traffic and prevent click frauds. But with the help of client side scripting languages, they can collect further information not only about your web browser but also about your computer configuration. Grasping those information comprises a 'Device Fingerprint', which can define as the compact summary of your software and hardware settings collected from a remote computing device.

Collecting those information could help in identifying you uniquely and to prevent identity theft and credit card frauds. But the sites you are visiting may have 3rd party advertisements which build unique profiles about visitors to know more about their interests and used to detect those visitors again on elsewhere on the web to show advertisements according their stored interests whenever they surf web. This could be a simple mechanism used by advertisers but what if they sold your information to another party or potentially show up in unwanted places?

Not only advertisements, but also search engines tracks your keywords while implying privacy policies regarding the information being collected. But those information still can be requested legally by organizations to find you, they could be on unethical employees' hands who could misuse or the organizations which hold those information could be get hacked.

Prevent Collecting Information

If you care more about your privacy (or else you should aware of it) rather than giving away your information for other parties that you don't trust, it could be better if you can use some of below web browser applications to detect invisible site trackers and opt out from those tracking or targeted advertisements on the sites you don't trust to maximize your protection. You can use these extensions just to prevent tracking and  to be safe online. You can allow services you may wants to allow. For example, as Facebook like button tracks information, it will be blocked. So you can allow it if you need to. Remember, the settings only applies for you and you can't do permanent changes for tracking services or advertisements on external sites. All of below extensions or applications may not compatible with all of web browsers.

1. Ghostry - Detect invisible site trackers, helps you learn more about trackers and let you control visibility of your online behavior.

2. Abine - Helps you find and block site trackers, Opts-out from receiving targeted advertisements

3. AdBlock Plus - Address the problem of annoying and intrusive online advertisements

4. AdBlock - Let you block advertisements on web pages

5. NoScript - Script blocking add-on which allows JavaScript, Java, Flash and other plugins to be executed only by trusted web sites of your choice.

6. NotScript - Gives you greater control over JavaScript, Java, Flash and other plugins to increase security

7. Beef Taco - Let you Opt-out from targeted advertisements

8. Disconnect - Stop major search engines and 3rd party advertisements from tracking you on web pages

9. Tor - Prevent anyone from detecting your identity or online behavior

10. HTTPS Everywhere - Encrypts your communications with number of major websites. But this may prevent some elements on a web page which not optimized to work over HTTPS connections.

Enjoy :-)

Awesome! Thanks for coming by and taking your time to read this post :) I hope you have learnt something today. Now you can share it with your friends and I'd love to hear from you too.

Related Posts and Categories

Category, , ,


* If you got any questions not related to this post, please ask it at our Support section.

* Make sure your comment is genuine and comply with our commenting guidelines.

* Review your email and reply notification settings to receive replies via email.

* Experiencing problems when commenting? Please report them at our Support section.

Lisa Buben said...

Great info Mayura, thanks for sharing. Do you think advertisers will find ways around these?

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Lisa,

Good question :) It does prevent executing web scripts and leaving cookies on our devices. Still advertisers and tracking services use such methodologies to gain information. Tracking would not cause much harm, but selling or handing over information to others is. May be advertisers find another way out, but I don't think another solution won't be pop up after then ;)

However it will affect ethical advertisers and also on users generate money through advertising. People aware of security :) If advertisers come clean, that would be great. Don't you think? :) Well, you have got me thinking more of it. Wanna search if there's more secret ways. Let me know if you find too ;)

Thanks for your compliments and you made me find more info :)


Brenda said...

Great post! I'm a HUGE fan of Adblock! 

Mayura De Silva said...

Hey Brenda,

Ohw you were using AdBlock ;) It's cool, isn't it? You may wanna give a shot to others and see if they can help ya.

Thanks for your comment and compliments dear :)


Jeevan Jacob John said...

Cool tools ;)

I haven't heard of many of these tools (I guess that's because I don't do much things online - except for blogging and I am kinda careful there, so no worries).

As with Lisa question, I think people who want to hack our computer/internet, will find a way around these tools no matter what, right?

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Jeevan,

Hackers will come in if our security system including firewall can't trace incoming communications well and sometimes trying to mess with scripting too. However this tools will mostly targeted for advertising and tracking mate. They are using cookies and sort of methods to get personal data including IP address and track interests of users by saving information of what they surf.

It doesn't matter if they are just use to track advertising performance and review related analytics. But sometimes they sell 'em to bad adverisers online and then they start targeting some advertisements as we surf online. May be that information publish somewhere online too. We never know ;)

Hope you might wanna give it a try too Jeevan ;) Well, try and see mate.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting mate :)


Lynn Brown said...

Mayura: Such great information and I love that you included links to sites! These days, one can never be too diligent about security issues. It seems that hackers & sites that collect/share info without our knowledge or consent are everywhere. I, for one, want to control what information is released and to whom. Thanks for sharing such beneficial information!

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Lynn,

The best thing is it's just work with our web browsers and easy to install and configure :) I've been using some of them and I don't know exactly what has been blocking but I can see what services are on websites to collect our data. I can trust services like Google Analytics, but not all. As like you, I don't wanna see someone trading our personal data too.

I hope you will find best combination for you from above tools and enjoy surfing safely :)

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your views and preferences on it dear :)


Sylviane Nuccio said...

Great stuff Mayura! Your are such a Geek to to me :)

I've heard about those third party sites and all those tricks that online crooks can use to try to find more information about you.  I will have to check out some of the tools that you mention here.  Those are great tips and very valuable information.

Thanks Mayura :)

Donna Merrill said...


I cannot thank you enough for giving us such valuable information!  I have found myself once on someone's sales page.  They had taken a part of a video I had done, used my name and made it look like I was selling this microniche site.  
It was one of those days where I was Google ing   my name ad found it.  Of course I reported it and within a few minutes the site was down.

These things happen.  Why would people do it...I don't know, but there are many out there that hack, and worse "scrape" our blogs.  I've seen some of my content out there that some people have spun. 

These are great tools to avoid so many headaches.

Thank you my friend.

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Sylviane,

We care our security and privacy, right? :) There are privacy violations happen on third party websites but they are invisible. These tools are capable of identifying most of such trackers and let you disable if you don't need them to collect your personal data.

Some tools help prevent planting or executing harmful scripts on your computer or browser too :) Hope you would love to have them with you and yet all of them are free too.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for compliments dear :)


Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Donna,

I remember about the video you are talking about :) You told me once when I talk about content scrapping. I don't know why they just wanna stole and show 'em off. Is it because ease of access or money? Whatever it is, not recommended. But it happens knowingly or unknowingly.

I was using some tools from few months ago dear :) Before I've seen that some ads were appearing just for me but didn't know how it happened always. I noticed bunch of cookies I had on my computer later on and they were tracking what I'm surfing. That's what I got to know as I dig deeper. As I start use these tools, didn't come across such suspectable scenarios and now I feel safe.

They are free and easy to use, so I hope you would give 'em a try and be safe online dear :)

Thanks for your wonderful comment and for your compliments too dear :)


Chathu Perera said...

This is a very helpful article Mayura. And I didn't hear about this things before. :) This will help anyone who surf internet. :) Thanks a lot again dear.

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Chathu,

You can use them with your web browser and they are free of charge. Sometimes you may land on unknown web pages which does all of tracking and grasping personal data for their advantage. You can get rid of such using these extensions :)

Hope you will make use of 'em and see how it goes :)

Thanks for stopping by and commenting dear :)


JB said...

Awesome stuff. I Installed the plugin Ghostry for Chrome and it works like a charm! Thanks for pointing that out to us.
I ran it on my website and it's fun to see what it can pick up. Very cool tip & thanks, Mr. M. ;)

Mayura De Silva said...

Hey Jan,

Cool... You can see who have been tracking all the time there and be a ghost if you need to ;)

Currently I'm using Abine Do Not Track which is very similar and I find it easier to block any services instantly if I need to mate. Give it a try too and stick to what's best for ya ;)

Thanks for coming by and sharing your experience after using Ghostry Jan :)