10 Best Ad Blocker, Security & Privacy Extensions For Firefox

Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox

Advertisements are lifeblood for many websites. Many bloggers and website owners depend on the revenue generated by these ads.

Unfortunately, many websites bombard you with too many ads that slow down the site and are incredibly annoying. This forces many users to use ad blockers. Besides removing ads, the ad blockers help speedup browsing websites by cutting down the amount of content a page loads. Some ad blockers also comes with privacy protection tools that block scripts, which track your browsing habits.

Although we do not condone the use of Ad blockers, we admit that it is a necessary evil. Also, we request users who use ad blockers to disable the extension on sites they regularly visits to support them.

Here is our list 10 ad block, security and privacy extensions for Firefox that could help you.

Ad Blockers

1. Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus is an open source ad blocking extension and is also a famous one. The extension is available for all major browsers including Mozilla Firefox, Firefox for mobile, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge (beta version), Opera, Safari, Yandex Browser and Android.

Although quite famous, the extension is also one of the most controversial one. The Adblock Plus is the first extension to introduce acceptable ad white-lists. This allows websites to show “certain non-intrusive ads” under the extension’s default settings.

Since, white-listing was enabled by default, other developers have launched competing ad-blockers, which do not have “Acceptable Ads” programs.

Pros
  • Supports white-listing
  • Support for blocking background images
  • Subscription to filters with a fixed address and automatic updates
  • The ability to hide HTML elements, allowing a greater range of images to be blocked
  • The ability to hide ads on a per-site basis, instead of globally
  • Users can write their filter rules
  • Cross platform support (Windows, Linux, Android)
  • Supports all major browsers
Cons
  • Memory Hog – Uses lot of memory compared to other extensions.
Neutral
  • Controversial “Acceptable Ads” program
Adblock Plus
Adblock Plus
Developer: Adblock Plus
Price: Free

2. uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin is another open source ad blocking extension. It has received praises from technology websites and is considered to less memory intensive and less CPU footprint than other extensions with similar functionality.

uBlock Origin supports majority of Adblock Plus’s filter syntax, and include Adblock Plus list subscriptions. The popular filter lists EasyList and EasyPrivacy are enabled as default subscriptions. It also has a number of community maintained filter lists that are available at installation.

The extension is also capable of importing hosts files. Among the host files available, Peter Lowe’s Ad servers list and Malware Domains are enabled as default. Some additional features include dynamic filtering of scripts and iframes, and a tool for webpage element hiding.

Pros
  • Uses very little RAM and CPU compared to other extensions with similar functionality
  • Support For Adblock Plus filter syntax and subscriptions list
  • dynamic filtering of scripts and iframes
  • Tool for webpage element hiding
  • A new mode to assist those with color vision deficiency,
  • Disable pre-fetching to prevent any connection for blocked network requests
  • Disable hyperlink auditing/beacon
  • Prevent WebRTC from leaking local IP addresses
  • Site-specific switches to toggle the blocking of pop-ups
  • Strict domain blocking, cosmetic filters and fonts
  • Cloud storage support for easy backup and restore settings across devices
Cons
  • None
uBlock Origin
uBlock Origin
Developer: Raymond Hill
Price: Free

3. Bluhell Firewall

Despite its name, Bluhell Firewall is a lightweight ad blocker made for those who do not care about all that stuff but does about just getting rid of all the nasty resources being loaded by websites.

This is a very lightweight extension with a size of only 30KB. However, due to the size, it does not have many advanced features of other main-stream ad blockers. It do not have configurable options, subscriptions, additional features, etc.

Bluhell core code is just as straightforward. It uses just seven hard-coded blocking rules. These seven rules were auto-generated from EasyList. This does not make Bluhell under-powered. In fact these 7 rules covers about 8400 .com and .net domains.

That means, every time a certain resource wants to be loaded the extension will iterate through a list of seven compiled patterns, rather than for each entry from a common EasyList, which contains hundreds of different items to check.

Pros
  • Very lightweight with only 30KB.
  • Low memory footprint and less CPU hog.
  • Easy to use. Just install and activate.
Cons
  • No advanced options.
  • No configurable options.
  • Some ads escape its rules.
Bluhell Firewall
Bluhell Firewall
Developer: Diego Casorran
Price: Free

4. Flashblock

Flashblock is a content-filtering extension for Firefox. It prevents page elements, such as HTML object tag browser plug-ins and advertisements, from being displayed. The extension uses XBL and CSS to prevent elements of Silverlight, Macromedia Authorware, Adobe Director and Adobe Flash from being displayed.

However, this extension does not prevent the download of Flash content nor does it prevent its execution completely.

Pros
  • Blocks Flash and other HTML object tag browser plug-ins from being displayed
Cons
  • Does not prevent the elements from downloading.
Flashblock
Flashblock
Developer: Philip Chee
Price: Free

Security

5. Ghostery

Ghostery is free proprietary closed-source privacy and security browser extension. This extension detects and controls javascript codes in webpages that collects user’s browsing habits via placing of HTTP cookies and other types of tracking such as canvas fingerprinting.

Ghostery also reports all tracking packages detected, irrespective of whether Ghostery has blocked them or not. When configured, Ghostery also displays the list of trackers present on the page.

However, Ghostery also have a controversial feature. While it blocks sites from gathering personal information, it does have an opt-in “Ghost rank” reporting feature to “support” them.

This feature is enabled by default and sends full HTML code of the page visited to Ghostery, Inc. It also sends statistics on which advertising distribution systems the user encounters and the speed at which these load on the page. GhostRank takes note of ads encountered and blocked, and sends that information, back to advertisers so they can better formulate their ads to avoid being blocked. Though Ghostery claims that the data are anonymized, patterns of web page visits cannot truly be anonymized.

Pros
  • Low memory footprint and less CPU hog.
  • Blocks third-party tracking scripts that collect data on user behavior for advertising, marketing and site optimization
  • Continuously updated “script library” that identifies when new tracking scripts are encountered on the Internet and automatically blocks them.
  • Blocks tracking using HTTP cookies
  • Blocks tracking using HTML5 Canvas fingerprinting.
  • Individual tracker control: block or trust each tracker by site, category, or across the web.
  • Instant on-page reporting of the trackers for each site you visit.
  • Largest tracker database, with over 2,200 trackers and 4,500 scripts.
  • Learn more about each tracker, its purpose, and data collection and retention practices.
Cons
  • Controversial “Ghost Rank” feature.
  • Collects data on ads encountered and blocked and sends that information back to advertisers.
  • Questionable business model.
Ghostery – Privacy Ad Blocker
Ghostery – Privacy Ad Blocker
Developer: Ghostery
Price: Free

6. NoScript

NoScript is free open-source security suite for Firefox. It allows active content to run only from sites you trust, and protect yourself against XSS and Clickjacking attacks. In addition, NoScript only allows execution of JavaScript, Java, Flash, Silverlight and other plugins, only if they originate from a site you trust or previously added to a whitelist. NoScript also offers specific countermeasures against security exploits.

Also, You can allow active content to execute on temporary or a more permanent basis. If “Temporarily allow” is selected, then scripts are enabled for that site until the browser session is closed.

NoScript is also “the only freely available product which offers a reasonable degree of protection” against Clickjacking attacks.

Since NoScript blocks all scripts by default, it reduces the chance of getting infected by malware. However, novice users might find it hard to configure the plugin. Without proper knowledge they might end up allowing every website.

Pros
  • Site matching and whitelisting – No scripts are executed if the address of the main page is untrusted.
  • Provides a number of defenses against certain web-based attacks, such as cross-site scripting, CSRF, clickjacking, man-in-the-middle attacks, and DNS rebinding.
  • Anti-XSS protection – provides client-side protection against Type 0 and Type 1 Cross-site scripting (XSS).
  • Untrusted blacklist.
  • Application Boundaries Enforcer (ABE) – module meant to harden the web application oriented protections.
  • ClearClick (anti-clickjacking) – prevents users from clicking on invisible or “redressed” page elements.
  • HTTPS enhancements – can force the browser to always use HTTPS when establishing connections to some sensitive sites, in order to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.
  • Surrogate scripts – NoScript is able to run user-provided scripts instead of, or in addition to, website-provided scripts.
  • Can reduce bandwidth consumption up to 42%.
Cons
  • Designed for advanced users.
  • Users may find “Default Deny” policy too restrictive.
NoScript Security Suite
NoScript Security Suite
Developer: Giorgio Maone
Price: Free

7. uMatrix

uMatrix is a point-and-click matrix-based firewall, with many privacy-enhancing tools. uMatrix gives you full control over the domains your browser is allowed to connect. You can also control what type of data your browser is allowed to download, and what it is allowed to execute.

Out of the box, uMatrix works in relax block-all/allow-exceptionally mode, meaning web sites which require 3rd-party scripts are likely to be “broken”. With two clicks, uMatrix can be set to work in allow-all/block-exceptionally mode, which generally will not break web sites.

Pros
  • See ALL the remote connections, failed or attempted, depending on whether they were blocked or allowed.
  • A single-click to whitelist/blacklist one or multiple classes of requests according to the destination and type of data.
  • Efficient blacklisting: cookies won’t leave your browser, JavaScript won’t execute, plugins won’t play, tracking pixels won’t download, etc.
  • You can blacklist/whitelist a single cell, an entire row, a group of rows, an entire column, or the whole matrix with just one click.
Cons
  • Designed for advanced users.
  • Users may find the default “Blacklist all” mode too restrictive.
  • Novice users may inadvertently enable trackers and other malicious scripts or plugins.
uMatrix
uMatrix
Developer: Raymond Hill
Price: Free

8. HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere is a free and open source web browser extension by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). This plugin is designed to make HTTPS automatically used whenever possible.

The EFF provides information for users on how to add HTTPS rule sets to HTTPS Everywhere, and information on which websites support HTTPS. Also, it has a feature called SSL Observatory, which analyzes public key certificates to determine if certificate authorities have been compromised. It also informs if the user is vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

Pros
  • Enforces HTTPS whenever possible.
  • SSL Observatory – Informs users if certificate authorities have been compromised or if user is vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.
Cons
  • None
HTTPS Everywhere
HTTPS Everywhere
Developer: EFF Technologists
Price: Free

Privacy

9. Privacy Badger

Privacy Badger is another free open-source extension from Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). This extension automatically blocks spying ads and invisible trackers that do not respect the “Do Not Track setting” in your web browser.

Please remember that it is not an ad blocker. Its purpose is to find advertisers who tracks you across multiple websites without your permission. It then blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser.

Pros
  • Designed by EFF to make advertisers and others to respect your privacy.
Cons
  • Sometimes breaks websites that do not respect the “Do Not Track” setting in a user’s web browser.
The app was not found in the store. 🙁

10. Self-Destructing Cookies

HTTP Cookies are small piece of data stored in your browser by various internet sites and services. These cookies are used by website to save stateful information such as items added in the shopping cart in an online store, session details and more. However, these cookies can also be used to track your browsing activity including clicking particular buttons, or recording which pages were visited in the past.

Self-Destructing Cookies is a Firefox extension that tries to address this. This extension automatically removes cookies when they are no longer used by open browser tabs. In other words, websites are only permitted to identify you while you actually use them. Once you are finished with the website and close the tab, all cookies set by the website are expunged. This means websites can not stalk you across the entire web.

When the extension detects tracking cookies, it will remove them immediately. Since it identifies tracking cookies purely by their behavior, there is no need for a blacklist.

Pros
  • Deletes a site’s cookies and clears the LocalStorage as soon as you close its tabs.
  • Protects you from Zombie-/Evercookies.
  • Protects you from ETag tracking and other cache-based black-hat techniques.
  • Protects you against CSRF attacks by ending your sessions as soon as possible.
Cons
  • None
Self-Destructing Cookies
Self-Destructing Cookies
Developer: Ove
Price: Free

Bonus

Terms of Service; Didn’t Read

Most people never read the “Terms of Service”, because it takes too long to read. But, it is important to understand what is in them. Terms of Service; Didn’t Read (ToS;DR) is a community extension that aims to analyze and grade the website terms & privacy policies.

Each aspect of a TOS or privacy policy is assessed by the community and rated as positive, negative, or neutral. Also, Services are graded from A (best) to E (worst).

Pros
  • Shows important points in the terms of service
Cons
  • None

 

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1 Response

  1. Amy says:

    very good articles. good to hear those plugins for blocking adds.