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A lot of things have happened over the last couple of years to get people feeling nervous about the digital world. People are becoming increasingly worried about their online privacy, particularly in today’s chaotic media landscape. We’re constantly seeing stories highlighting the unscrupulous individuals that have breached business data and used it to access personal information about individual customers. Even the companies we thought that we could trust, like Facebook, have turned out to be less reliable than they first seemed.
The good news? As consumers continue to demand more privacy online, developers and engineers have been forced to accommodate. We’ve seen the rise of endless new tools and services intended to make businesses and individuals alike safer online. Additionally, governments and groups have begun to invest more time and effort into regulations like PCI DSS and GDPR.
If you’ve been worrying about what you’re going to do to protect yourself in 2020, then could even consider upgrading your security on a browser level for each individual in your team that relies on Google Chrome. Extensions from the Google Chrome store make it easy to access things like online VPNs, ad-blockers, and more, all of which can help to deliver a greater level of privacy.
Here are just some of the best extensions that you can use to stay private in 2020.
- Click and Clean
- Privacy Badger
- DuckDuckGo Essentials
- Hotspot Shield
- Unshorten Link
- Surfshark VPN
Click&Clean, or “Click and Clean” is a pretty basic Google extension that can offer support for both privacy and security online. If you’re constantly searching for and downloading work material throughout the day – particularly on a personal device, it’s a tedious process to go through and clear your browser history. However, if you take your BYOD device out with you on the town after a long day of work and it ends up getting stolen, then anyone who can unlock your phone can see your company’s information. All they need to do is check out your history.
Since most of us don’t’ have the time to pull up history pages and clear caches and logs each day, the team at HotCleaner.com created the Click&Clean extension. This simple extension allows you to easily clear your searches, cookies, cache, and download history with a click of a button. You can also use the same service to scan your computer or device for viruses and unwanted Content. Over 2.5 million users can’t be wrong, right?
Ghostery is another friendly and easy-to-use service for Google Chrome users. Standing out as one of the top free extension on the Google app store, Ghostery works by blocking ads from your browser, so you have nothing to distract you while you work. At the same time however, the company also blocks various trackers that would otherwise attempt to gather information about you when you’re searching through the internet.
The great thing about this service is that you can customize it to suit your needs, with four different blocking levels depending on how strict you need to be. Although the Ghostery service provides a range of core functionality solutions for free, you can also subscribe to the Pro plan for as little as $2 per month. This will give you access to high levels of priority support, interface themes, and more. Additionally, the paid plan also offers the option for enhanced ad-blocking, which acts similarly to a standard ad blocker, by banishing unwanted ads from sites.
If you’ve looked at privacy and security solutions for the Chrome extension environment before, then you’ve probably heard of LastPass. Both a standalone tool and a Chrome extension, LastPass is a committed password manager that’s perfect for companies that want to secure their websites. This immersive password manager can operate entirely within your browser, which makes it a perfect choice for those who want more browser-level control.
One particularly useful feature of this extension for privacy purposes, is that you can use it to autofill content, such as payment cards, addresses, bank accounts and more. This will help you to navigate the autofill feature that Chrome offers, which may sometimes be used to collect personal information about individual users. To make LastPass even more appealing, the extension now has 10 million active users around the world!
Privacy Badger is very similar in style to Ghostery. It works fundamentally by blocking ads and trackers from accessing your browser. Anything that wants to watch what you’re doing online will be automatically sent packing. However, while most anti-tracking software solutions decide what to block by consulting a filter list, Privacy Badger takes a different approach. When you begin using this service for the first time, it won’t do much. However, over time, the extension will learn from your browsing habits.
Once the Badger detects the presence of the same tracker on 3 different websites, it will begin blocking it immediately. This service also comes with the benefit of not needing to rely on filter lists that have to be updated manually online. Additionally, because the extension doesn’t do a lot of cross referencing, it doesn’t need to consume as much of your resources. You can even set the Privacy Badger solution to stop your WebRTC technology from leaking your IP address too.
You might have heard of DuckDuckGo in the past when looking into solutions for private browsing. This Privacy Essentials extension for Google Chrome is all about preventing other websites and tools from tracking your movements online. Aside from protecting you from tracking the extension also comes with technology that will automatically default your connections and make them HTTPS whenever possible. DuckDuckGo offers insights into the individual privacy practices of each website when they’re available
What’s more, every website you visit on this site is given its own privacy grade based on whether it offers HTTPS, and whether there are trackers currently active on the website. Once you see the privacy grade, you can decide for yourself whether you want to go ahead and continue browsing. You can also use the information that you collect as a business leader to add dangerous websites to the blacklist in your business, so that employees are less likely to use them. The default service for DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials will also block tweets that are embedded. However, you can turn this feature off in your settings, and you can also establish a whitelist for what to allow.
Hotspot Shield is a free-to-use VPN for Chrome that is designed to keep you safe and sound when you’re browsing online. Although there are some issues to work out with this solution, it is one of the easiest ways to make sure that your IP address remains defended against any sites that might be interested in tracking your details.
Your virtual private network will function very similar to the Tor browser, which a lot of companies use to stay private and secure these days. However, with Hotspot shield, there aren’t as many bounce points to think about. Rather than connecting directly to any web server you’re trying to reach; your VPN will connect you to a remote server first. At this point, your IP is replaced so you can be completely incognito online. There’s a free plan available to give you a taste of the VPN experience. Alternative, you can get a discounted plan on a yearly basis.
Did you know that shortened links can be one of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to lure people into infected and dangerous websites? Although many shortened links on the web will be fine, it’s impossible for you and your employees to know if a link is safe before clicking on it. Even if you consider yourself to be very cautious when you’re on the web, it’s easy to fall victim to the trap of clicking on a shortened link and being hit by a malware attack.
To eliminate the problem of shortened links once and for all, you can add the Unshorten.link extension into your Chrome browser. Once you have done that, whenever you click on a shortened link, you’ll be redirected to a page that allows you to see whether the page you want to access is safe or not. At this point, you can decide for yourself whether you want to progress forward. The extension is free to use, or you can select the option to upgrade to a premium account.
Although disabling trackers on website servers can be useful, there’s also another way that you can prevent tracking and security/privacy problems when you’re online with Chrome. Disabling the scripts that run on webpages and present privacy problems are an excellent solution. For instance, ScriptSafe allows you to block a range of scripts with ease. Additionally, the solution offers a safe browsing mode that can block sites that are infested with malware.
The ScriptSafe strategy includes a safe-to-use browsing mode that blocks sites with potential malware infestations. Additionally, there’s protection from fingerprinting, an anti-social mode that strips out social media elements, and more. You can also turn spoofing on for your chosen time zone, user agent tools, and more. The main panel accessible for this extension will give you an insight into everything that you block on your webpages. This will also give you the option to deny or allow any individual scripts that appear on the page.
The majority of leading messaging applications on the web today are owned by large corporations that have very few issues when it comes to collecting information on their users. This is certainly the case for Facebook Messenger. Today, many companies are switching to services like Google Hangouts Chat and Meet for a more secure experience. However, if your team members are comfortable using an external online service, it can be difficult to make sure that they never drift into a different chat app online. One option could be to offer your clients a wider range of messaging choices.
Telegram, for instance, is a chrome browser extension that your team members can use without skipping into a different app or page. The Telegram app allows employees to send messages quickly and easily, with all the benefits of end-to-end encryption.
Finally, Surfshark is a tool designed to encrypt and hide your traffic online. It changes your IP address from the moment that you begin browsing, which means that your privacy and anonymity is protected. The VPN both stops your data from being accessible to data thefts and ensures that you can keep your identity anonymous too. This is a very useful tool for team members to consider if they frequently use public Wi-Fi. However, it’s a good idea to ask your team members to avoid using public Wi-Fi whenever possible to reduce your risk of data breaches.
For extra convenience, the Surfshark VPN also comes with an ad-blocker built-in and protection from malware and trackers included too. There’s also a built-in kill switch that ensures your security if your VPN connection drops for any reason.
Make Your Browsing More Private
Keeping yourself and your team secure online these days isn’t as easy as it seems. You’ll often find that you need to conduct a lot of research into ensuring that you make the right choices for the benefits of your business. However, the more you explore the Google environment, from Google Workspace (G-Suite) to Google Chrome, the more you’ll discover that Google has focused carefully on making its tools as secure and private as possible.
The extensions above will help you to get more control over the way your information is shared and managed online. Just make sure that you download all the extensions at once, as this could seriously slow down your computer’s performance.
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