With the rise of the cloud and web-based business apps, it
has become even more crucial to have your browser as secure as possible. Not
all browsers are created equal. Some do a much better job at securing your
connectivity and data than others. The browsers you more actively trust are
those that allow the addition of extensions (or add-ons) to help enhance the
security of your time online.

But of the myriad of add-ons, which ones are the “must-haves”
among the crowd? I have tracked down the five top add-ons that I feel are most
necessary for a safe web-centric experience. Try these different extensions on
for size and see if they don’t make your browser secure enough to meet your
business needs.

More screenshots are available in the accompanying photo gallery.

Five Apps

1. NoScript Security Suite

NoScript Security Suite
(FireFox) is a must-have for anyone hoping to block unsafe scripts from running
on your browser. That should narrow the list of users down to – everyone! There
are so many sites out there waiting for you to land on them so they can run
their nefarious code and launch a bit o’ nasty on your PC. NoScript Security
Suite avoids that by allowing you to define what sites can launch their scripts
to protect you from XSS, Cross-zone DNS binding, router hacking, and other Clickjacking
attacks. With this add-on you can prevent Java, JavaScript, and other
executable content from running on all but those sites you have defined.
NoScript Security Suite uses a whitelist approach for sites. You can add a new
site to the whitelist by simply left-clicking the NoScript statusbar icon or
using the contextual-menu.

2. Webutation

Webutation
(Firefox, Chrome) is one of the quickest ways to find out how safe a web site
is. The Webutation site is an open source resource where a community of users
helps to collect data on web-sites to develop a reputation profile. From that,
the browser add-on quickly pops up a score (from 0-100, 100 being the best)
that helps you to gauge how safe a web site is. Webutation doesn’t just depend
upon user feedback; they also collect information from Google Safebrowsing,
Norton Antivirus, phishing and malware blacklists, Web of Trust, and much more.
The querying that goes on in the background happens in real time, so you can
trust the feedback to be timely and accurate.

3. Secure Sanitizer

Secure
Sanitizer
(Firefox) is for those users who tend to be a bit paranoid about
their browser cache. If you fall into that category, you need to add this
extension onto your browser right away. Secure Sanitizer implements three
different approaches to clearing the web browser cache: File system simple
deletion, random data overwriting, and the three steps “US DoD 5220”
method. Once installed, you can initiate sanitation of your cache by using the
standard Clear Private Data dialog box, or using a shortcut button in the
navigation bar. Either way, you will end up with a much more securely cleared
browser cache. The one caveat to this add-on is that it doesn’t clean HTML5
data. For that, you should use the additional Foundstone
HTML5 Local Storage Explorer
which will allow you to delete HTML5 data
stored on your machine.

4. WOT

WOT
(Chrome) is the one extension you should add to Chrome, if you only add
one. With this add on you will see three different icons in your search
results: Green for safe, Amber for questionable, and red to avoid at all costs.
The results also show up in an icon next to the address bar – so even bookmarks
will get ranked. With this extension, you can also choose to automatically
block suspicious content. The extension does require that you sign into an
account. If you’d rather not use an extension that requires the creation of an
account, you can always use the WOT Safe Search Chrome App (which is really
nothing more than a quick link to the WOT
Safe Search page
.

5. Disconnect

Disconnect
(Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari) is a very powerful way to prevent tracking
cookies. This handy extension allows you to see, in real time, tracking
requests sent by web sites; as those request come in, you can select to allow
them or not. You can disable social tracking, content tracking, and completely
depersonalize your search by blocking identifying cookies. When you install
Disconnect you sign up for an account and then pay what you want. Obviously you
can pay nothing (though that is frowned upon – literally) and still get the
full effect of the software. This particular add on, however, is well worth
dropping a few dollars on – especially for the overly-paranoid.

Bottom line

Everyone’s idea of security is different. There are those
that go through their web-life blind to the ramifications of browsing insecurely;
and there are those that fully understand what is going on underneath the hood.
If you fall into the latter category, take a look at one (or all) of these
extensions and see if they don’t make you feel better about staying on the
grid.