Google Chrome is a hugely popular web browser, but it’s not necessarily the safest app for browsing the web. Unless you optimize your Google Chrome installation with the right security extensions.
Chrome has been associated with vulnerabilities such as unauthorized code executions and malware that can track user activity. There are also plenty of dangers that apply to general web users, from email phishing to malicious websites.
The consequences of not optimizing your security can be severe – with computer hijackings, data loss, and surveillance all capable of causing financial loss or emotional stress. So why not fortify your browser with the best security applications around?
Now is a great time to start beefing up your Google Chrome security, so here is our quick guide to the best Google Chrome security extensions.
1. Windows Defender
Windows Defender is probably familiar to most readers already, being the standard virus checker that’s bundled with Windows installations. But fewer people realize that there is a specific Defender app for use with Google Chrome, or how valuable it can be as the first line of defense.
The Defender extension lets users screen traffic for suspicious malware and also provides continuous protection against malicious websites. If you click a dubious link in an email, Defender has your back, alerting you to any possible threats.
It uses a comprehensive database of dangerous URLs that’s constantly updated by Microsoft and tends to be recognized as the best in its class.
- Download Link: Windows Defender Chrome Extension
- Updated: 17 June 2019
- Developer: Microsoft
- Users: 638,000
2. j2team security
This is another excellent tool to use when defending against malicious websites and the ever-present danger of phishing. j2team Security is slightly less well-known than Microsoft Windows Defender, but it’s an equally good addition to your Google Chrome setup.
The extension provides ongoing protection against malicious sites, with the option of blocking any suspected phishing sites or malware. There are some neat features, such as detecting and blocking hidden “like” buttons (also known as click-jacking), specialist protection against Facebook Self-XSS exploits, and tools to protect against Blogspot vulnerabilities too.
Developed by the brains behind Facebook Protector, j2team Security is a great option for social media fans.
- Download Link: j2team Security
- Updated: 18 June 2019
- Developer: Juno Okyo
- Users: 192,000
If you want to minimize the risk of malware and generally maintain a smooth browsing experience, having a solid ad blocker is essential, and that’s precisely what Ghostery offers.
Designed to make the web “cleaner, faster, and smarter,” Ghostery uses a tech called “smart blocking” to maximize load speeds. It also allows users to customize what they see, and therefore is much more flexible than old-style blockers.
Additionally, Ghostery includes anti-tracking mechanisms to ensure that browsing remains as anonymous as possible. So it’s more than just an ad blocker. It’s an all-around privacy tool that is perfectly adapted to the needs of Chrome users.
In 2017, the company was purchased by German developer Cliqz, which has committed to retaining Ghostery as a standalone app. Users therefore don’t need to worry on that score.
- Download Link: Ghostery
- Updated: 8 June 2019
- Developer: Cliqz
- Users: 2.7M
4. Fair Adblocker
As usual, Ghostery isn’t the only choice in the Google Chrome security field. There are plenty of alternative ad blockers who perform similar tasks – sometimes just as effectively. Fair Adblocker is one of those competitors, and it has a few features that make it a genuine Ghostery alternative.
As you’d expect from a high-level ad blocker, Fair Adblocker is designed to intercept pop-ups and malicious websites before they intrude upon your browsing experience. It incorporates anti-tracking features as well, contributing to personal privacy, and works really well at stopping irritating autoplay videos. So if you’re worried about videos bursting into life at awkward moments, it’s a handy tool to use.
The difference is the word “fair.” Ad blockers are controversial among content creators, as they can obstruct advertising channels. Fair Adblocker encourages users to allow certain forms of ad content to go through, in order to support legitimate creators. But it’s incredibly strict when dealing with rogue ads and malicious websites.
- Download Link: Fair Adblocker
- Updated: 1 June 2019
- Developer: Stands
- Users: 2.7M
5. LastPass – Password Manager
Password security is a no-brainer, regardless of what browser users prefer. And it’s especially important when using Google Chrome with all of its auto-complete functions turned on. Even with excellent encryption and anti-malware protection, hackers can sniff out passwords or gain access to leaked data. Therefore, extensions to store and regularly change passwords makes a lot of sense.
LastPass is usually regarded as a market leader when it comes to managing passwords. Its Chrome extension is completely free and meets the company’s usual high standards. Users just need to keep a master password in their mind, and LastPass will do the rest.
Passwords aren’t the only things that can be secured and managed. LastPass also allows users to add credit or debit card details, making Amazon shopping much, much safer. You can also add documents behind the LastPass firewall, making it a handy alternative to storage services like DropBox.
Massively popular and acclaimed across the board, LastPass is a US creation, developed by LogMeIn. If you’re concerned about data loss or account integrity, it’s a must-have extension.
- Download Link: LastPass
- Updated: 7 June 2019
- Developer: LogMeIn
- Users: 8.9M
As usual, we like to offer at least two alternatives when rating Google extensions, and that’s no different regarding password managers. If you aren’t keen on LastPass, Blur is well worth checking out, and it may also offer a few features that the more established manager hasn’t thought to add.
Created by Abine.com, Blur is much less popular but is gaining a reputation among people who take security seriously. Designed to act as more than a simple password manager, Blur takes your passwords and converts them into encrypted formats. It can be synced across different devices with ease and works extremely quickly.
The key innovation here is the use of encryption. While other password managers store data securely and implement strong passwords, encryption offers another layer of reassurance. In theory, it even allows users to make credit card payments without handing over their actual number (although customers need to pay for this service).
Moreover, Blur has built-in anti-tracking features, helping to minimize the risk of data capture. So it really is more than a garden variety password manager – and it’s a truly innovative Chrome extension.
- Download Link: Blur
- Updated: 4 June 2019
- Developer: Abine.com
- Users: 192,000
7. HTTPS Everywhere
Encryption is a fool-proof cure for Chrome security anxiety, and tools like HTTPS Everywhere are the ideal way to apply it.
HTTPS is a secure form of HTTP (the language which underlies the vast majority of web pages). HTTPS pagesuse SSL security certificates to certify that they are secure. These sites also apply a form of encryption between website servers and browsers, which HTTP sites lack.
Created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), HTTPS Everywhere converts sites that haven’t obtained security certificates to HTTPS websites. This isn’t just a matter of adding an S. HTTP-only sites are notoriously vulnerable to malware attacks, and are far more likely to be malicious. With HTTPS Everywhere installed, users can browse them safely.
- Download Link: HTTPS Everywhere
- Updated: 4 June 2019
- Developer: EFF
- Users: 2.2M
8. Avast Online Security
Guarding against viruses should be a constant concern, whether users rely on Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge. And when it comes to all-round virus or malware protection, very few companies can claim to be as respected as Avast.
The Avast Online Security extension for Chrome applies the company’s cutting edge quarantine and virus neutralization techniques to the world’s most popular browser. Capable of analyzing sites in real-time to sift out hazardous online destinations, the extension draws on user feedback from an audience of more than 400 million people. So it’s pretty comprehensive.
- Download Link: Avast Online Security
- Updated: 13 June 2019
- Developer: Avast
- Users: Over 10M
9. NordVPN for Chrome
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) apply strong encryption to everything that passes through your internet connection, and NordVPN is right at the top of the VPN world. Its Chrome Extension is optimized for web usage, providing a fast extension that will hardly even be noticeable when browsing the web.
With one click, users can hide their IP and apply encryption, while its CyberSec tools act as a reliable barrier against malware. Even better, Nord’s WebRTC minimizes the risk of IP address leakage, something that plagues low-quality VPNs.
Users need to subscribe to benefit from the full app. When they do, they can install NordVPN’s extension on 6 devices, including laptops and smartphones. With high-level security guaranteed, it’s well worth the investment.
- Updated: 17 June 2019
- Developer: NordVPN
- Users: 320,000
If you really want to erect a barrier between your computer and the wider web, a firewall of some sort is essential. But finding a reliable Chrome firewall has been tricky, at least until umatrix appeared.
Optimized for Chrome users, umatrix puts users in control. With it installed, they can decide exactly what kind of content is displayed. Frames can be blocked, scripts can be jammed, and attachments can be totally screened to ensure that absolutely no rogue apps find their way onto your system.
There are tools for social media platforms as well, allowing you to lock down your Facebook usage. All in all, umatrix enhances Chrome significantly.
- Download Link: umatrix
- Updated: 9 May 2019
- Developer: Unknown
- Users: 130,000
Whatever sites you visit, others have been there before, and their feedback is an essential source of security intelligence. But how can Chrome users access this vast amount of information and avoid making the same mistakes others made in the past?
Thanks to Sitejabber, Chrome users can draw on the experiences of millions of others. This extension delivers ratings for almost every commercial site on the web, including virtually every online business you might encounter. If users have been cheated or found websites a chore to use, ratings and reviews will reflect this, allowing you to steer well clear.
- Download Link: Sitejabber
- Updated: 18 January 2019
- Developer: Sitejabber
- Users: 1,800
Sometimes, it makes sense to have a digital spring clean. Our browsing history can tell criminals a lot about who we are, and the data held by Chrome can include valuable password or financial data. So flushing out archives is essential. And when you do so, it pays to use tools that access every nook and cranny of the Chrome application.
Click&Clean does just that. It features a wide range of cleaning options, including web cache and history, along with downloads, temporary files, and cookies. It also has a feature to flush SQL databases, along with effective malware scanners, and it erases your typing history as well.
Basically, Click&Clean can be used on a regular basis to purge your Chrome build of data, making it leaner, faster, and safer.
- Download Link: Click&Clean
- Updated: 21 June 2019
- Developer: Mixesoft
- Users: 2.7M