Best Firefox security add-ons 2016
How long is a piece of string? Not long enough to wrap itself around all of the add-ons available for Firefox, we'll warrant. Trying to choose the top five extensions is next to impossible if you don't set yourself some parameters, so for this roundup we've decided to focus on those plugins that will help boost your privacy and security in some way or other.
Whether it's blocking intrusive cookies, putting a cap on the number of intrusive ads that overwhelm your browser or making sure you have a secure place to store all your online passwords, we've got you covered.
Make sure you explore Firefox's built-in security and privacy tools too – visit 'Options > Privacy' to ask sites not to track you, then switch to 'Security' to verify that Firefox is set to alert you whenever a site attempts to install an add-on, and to block dodgy websites. Once done, your browsing experience will be that little bit safer.
Everyone needs a secure password manager, and that password manager needs to be portable and easily shifted from place to place. Despite last year's much-publicised hack, LastPass remains one of the safest cloud-based managers out there, and remains our favorite Firefox extension.
You can install it on either desktop or mobile for free. You then pay US$12 (about £8.20, AU$15.74) per year if you want access across all your devices - a small price for the added convenience. Let it generate strong, random passwords for all your sites, leaving you the simple task of setting up (and remembering) a strong master password. The stronger this is, the harder it is for hackers to get at your passwords, even if LastPass itself is compromised.
Switch on two-factor authentication and your passwords will be as safe as they can be. Throw in its form-filling tools and wide device and browser support, and you're onto a winner.
Read on to discover more of our favourite Firefox browser extensions for staying safe and secure online. Have we missed one of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
One way to secure your browsing is to encrypt your connection to the web, which is done through the HTTPS protocol. Although an increasing number of websites allow you to browse using this secure connection, they usually hide the feature away and links on each page default to the unencrypted HTTP connection.
HTTPS Everywhere is a plug-in that automatically re-routes any unencrypted links through the HTTPS protocol if the site in question is supported. During installation you'll be prompted to switch on the SSL Observatory; do so for additional protection.
Once done, keep an eye on the plugins icon in your browser toolbar to see which sites have been switched to a secure connection and browse the HTTPS Everywhere Atlas to see which domains are supported by the plug-in. You can then go back to browsing, secure in the knowledge that when possible you'll be using the safest route to your chosen website.
There's a fine line when it comes to web site advertising. On one hand, many sites (including TechRadar) rely on advertising to survive, but on the other there are some shocking examples of how not to implement advertising on a site, with ads falling over each other to block the site's own content, making the site itself all but unusable.
AdBlock Plus also provides switches to block known malware domains, social media buttons (often used to track users) and tracking cookies that keep tabs on your online activities.
It's imperative you keep an eye on your Firefox add-ons, staying abreast of any outdated, insecure or otherwise unwanted ones that might slow down your browser or compromise your safety. All-in-One Sidebar provides a handy summary of these, as well as other key parts of Firefox, including bookmarks, downloads, history and current site stats (including its security and permissions).
All of this is made accessible through a vertical, collapsible sidebar on the left of your browser window. In the grand tradition of all good browser add-ons, it can be tuned to suit your preferences.
One bonus feature we love is the Multi-Panel option, which allows you to browse a specific site in its own window alongside the main browser. It's a good way to view sites side-by-side without having to open separate browser windows. It also provides easy access to Firefox's various 'about' configuration pages.
All-in-One Sidebar is a great way to put key Firefox stats right at your fingertips.
Once upon a time, cookies were relatively harmless, interested only in helping you navigate a website more easily by storing your preferences for that site. Nowadays, they are more routinely used to track your behaviour – and not just by the site you visit either. Third-party cookies can be placed on your computer simply by visiting a site containing an ad from that third party.
Disconnect helps you see the cookies served by each website you visit. Its browser toolbar button provides a summary of blocked cookies, which you can click for more detail, split into major sites (Google, Facebook and Twitter) and four categories (advertising, analytics, social and content). Green entries are blocked and grey are allowed (content is grey by default, and refers to cookies that store your site preferences).
You retain control over the process (you can whitelist or blacklist entire sites with just one click) and the end result is a browsing experience that's not just quicker, but more private too.