Chrome extensions are detrimental to my privacy

Browser settings: how to protect yourself!

Michael Rupp

Whether Chrome, Firefox, or Edge - these basic settings for more security should be activated for everyone.

EnlargeThese basic settings increase the security in each of the three browsers with little effort.

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Surf safely with the Google Chrome browser

Reliable, fast, simple - Chrome is enjoying growing popularity. The nimble browser from Google impresses with its functional user guidance, good expansion options and extensive security presettings.

1. Only the latest version of Chrome guarantees a high level of security. Google regularly releases updates that fix security gaps and protect against new online malware. Chrome updates itself automatically as soon as an update is available and you restart the browser. You can check whether the program is up-to-date by clicking on the three points in the top right corner and “Help -› About Google Chrome ”. If it says "Google Chrome is up to date", everything is fine.

2. Click on the three dots in the upper right corner and on "Settings". Scroll all the way down and click on the "Advanced" link. Now you can scroll further down to the security settings.

EnlargeDeactivate automatic transmission of data.

3. You should deactivate the switch behind the option "I would like to automatically send some page information and page content to Google to help with the detection of harmful apps and websites" to improve your Internet privacy. This prevents the regular transmission of surfing data and information about your PC system to Google.

Surf safely:These tools keep you safe on the web

4. The important option “Protect me and my device from harmful websites” should be activated. In the past, this setting was technically more clearly called “Activate phishing and malware protection”. It ensures that Chrome blocks access to dangerous sites and warns of suspicious downloads. The browser takes phishing, malware, unwanted software and harmful advertisements into account. You can then decide for yourself whether it is ultimately a harmless file that the Google security database just does not know.

5. Another data transfer function in Google Chrome that you should turn off to improve privacy is "Automatically send usage statistics and crash reports to Google". The reports that Chrome sends otherwise not only include your personal browser settings, but sometimes also precise personal information.

6. The setting "Correct spelling errors with the help of a web service" is practical, but a bit problematic in terms of data protection law. If this option is active, the browser sends the texts you have entered to the Google server. There they are presumably stored and evaluated.

7. A click on "Content Settings" brings you to a dialog with security-relevant options. Chrome enables websites to use cookies to adapt their offers to your surfing and purchasing behavior by leaving data in small text files (cookies) on your computer. On the one hand, this has the advantage that your settings are recognized immediately and you do not have to log in again every time. On the other hand, it has the major disadvantage that websites and advertising providers can spy on your surfing behavior using cookies. Most websites, however, will not work entirely without cookies. You should therefore activate “Block third-party cookies” so that in future only the website you are visiting can read or save cookie data on your PC, not third-party providers.

EnlargeDelete cookies between browser sessions.

8. Chrome can automatically delete the cookies cached on your PC while surfing after each surfing session. Google has integrated the corresponding function directly into the cookie settings. Simply activate the switch behind "Delete local data after closing the browser". Chrome removes all cookies when you exit.

EnlargeClear history and other browsing data.

9. Cookies and other web information already saved in Chrome can be removed from the browser in a flash with the key combination Ctrl-Shift-Del. Set the option "Total time" in the drop-down box next to "Period". Put a tick in front of "Cookies and other website data". Chrome shows further setting options after a click on "Advanced", for example to delete "Hosted app data" and "Autofill form data". Click on “Clear data” to confirm. The hotkey Ctrl-Shift-Del is also helpful if you want to remove all cookies in one go while surfing, for example to reset the settings of an online shop.

Search anonymously with DuckDuckGo

Chrome's built-in Google search saves all of the search terms you entered and hits you clicked. With the free Duckduckgo for Chrome Chrome extension, you can prevent Google from collecting your search terms. According to its own information, the independent search service Duckduckgo does not store any personal data and does not log your hit clicks. You install the free extension in Chrome by clicking on the three dots in the top right corner and on “More tools -› Extensions ”. Then search for "Duckduckgo for Chrome". After the setup, an additional icon appears behind the address line in Chrome. Clicking on it opens the Duckduckgo search window. Type in the search term and press Enter.

Surf safely with the Firefox browser

The free browser Firefox is still very popular. However, the developers missed the connection with Google Chrome in terms of surfing speed, memory usage and ease of use. There is the largest selection of expansion modules for Firefox. However, they are not always free from security issues.

1. Infected websites and malicious programs on the Internet often try to sneak in through security holes in the browser or in browser extensions. It is therefore important to always have the latest version of Firefox and the add-ons installed. Check whether this is the case on your PC by clicking on the three bars at the top right, on the question mark and on "About Firefox". If Firefox finds an update available, it will be downloaded and installed the next time the browser is started.

2. Firefox has an automatic update that you should turn on. So you always surf with the latest browser version. Click on the three bars and on "Settings -› General ". Activate the options “Install updates automatically (recommended)” and “Use a background service to install updates” under “Allow Firefox” in the “Firefox Updates” area.