100 Days to Privacy Online: Day 8 – Chrome vs. Firefox and Decentraleyes

It is important to note that the various plugins recommended in this series may be available for Chrome, but are most certainly available for Firefox.

Why don’t you like Chrome?

Since this series is about privacy it in some ways disqualifies Chrome as being considered. It has a spotty (at best) history of decoupling itself from Google as a whole. Even recently it has made questionable choices. You may have better luck with the Open Source version of Chrome, called Chromium.

Decentraleyes Plugin

Decentraleyes is a plugin that works with your current ad-blocker to stop 3rd party content delivery networks. This helps protect you privacy since many developers use these often free services to save time and money. But in exchange for having these services interwoven into their own sites. Decentraleyes has local versions of many of the files these sites use to load them instead of allowing them access. Insuring that it will not break the site you are trying to load.

From site:

Websites have increasingly begun to rely much more on large third-parties for content delivery. Canceling requests for ads or trackers is usually without issue, however blocking actual content, not unexpectedly, breaks pages. The aim of this add-on is to cut-out the middleman by providing lightning speed delivery of local (bundled) files to improve online privacy.

Add Decentraleyes to Your Browser

100 Days to Privacy Online: Day 7 – Self-Destructing Cookies Plugin

Cookies are small pieces of data a website sends to your browser to store information. It is typically used to save preferences or show you are logged into your account for example. But many cookies persist on your system and can reveal information about you and your browsing habits.

Self-Destructing Cookies can automate the removal of these cookies to help protect your privacy.

Self-Destructing Cookies automatically removes cookies when they are no longer used by open browser tabs. With the cookies, lingering sessions, as well as information used to spy on you, will be expunged. Websites will only be permitted to identify you while you actually use them and can not stalk you across the entire web. This is the closest you will get to cookieless browsing without breaking every second site or tedious micromanaging.

Tracking cookies will be detected and removed immediately. They are identified purely by their behaviour – no need for a blacklist that needs to be kept up to-date. Self-Destructing Cookies also has LocalStorage support and will treat it just like your cookie jar. Defend yourself against ETag tracking and other cache-based black-hat techniques by configuring Self-Destructing Cookies to automatically clean your cache every time you are not actively using the browser. For the first time ever, this provides a realistic chance of beating zombie-/evercookies without sacrificing usability.

Add Self-Destructing Cookies to Your Browser

100 Days to Privacy Online: Day 6 – Privacy Badger

Privacy Badger is a browser plugin that blocks ads and trackers. Keep in mind that it is not a ad blocker explicitly. It does help protect your privacy from known sources that tend to be invasive. Privacy Badger also helps block various 3rd party means of fingerprinting your browser to track you as well as blocking scripts attempting to do the same.

From project site:

Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web.  If an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser.  To the advertiser, it’s like you suddenly disappeared.

Add Privacy Badger to Your Browser

Note: Some users have reported that the plugin can degrade web browsing experience. If you encounter this be sure to look at future 100DPO posts with other options we’ll cover.

100 Days to Privacy Online: Day 5 – HTTPS Everywhere

We’ll be covering numerous browser plugins in this series but perhaps the most basic need is HTTPS Everywhere. This is a plugin that will load the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) version of a site if available. By using SSL (HTTPS) you can help prevent many attacks be it man in the middle or just someone sniffing traffic to see what you are doing.

SSL provides an encrypted channel of communication between you and the server.

Add HTTPS Everywhere to Your Browser

100 Days to Privacy Online: Day 4 – Protecting Your DNS Usage

A lot of even partially tech savvy people know the IP address for Google’s DNS (Domain Name System) servers, 8.8.8.8 which is easy to remember. But you have to also consider what your usage of DNS says about you. It is a treasure trove of data about your likes and opinions. Every time you click a link or type in an address in your browser you query a DNS server. This is usually the ones provided by your ISP when you connect to the Internet. It is also how you get served those custom search result error pages when a site does not exist. So your ISP or whomever you use for DNS can tell A LOT about you from the sites and links you click on. Even your hobbies, interest, sexual propensities and more.

Seems like something you should want to keep private and protect from marketers and advertisers, right?

There is hope! You can manually change the DNS servers your computer or whole home network use.

There are two good ways to help protect your DNS queries. The first would be to use OpenNIC DNS and choose servers with no logging.

Even better is to use DNSCrypt which encrypts your queries to DNS servers for added security. If using with OpenNIC can see from servers list which supports it.