The majority of things that happen when you load a website in your browser of choice happen in the background. Unless you have installed security extensions in the browser or software on the system, you may be completely unaware of the connections that are initiated when a page is loaded in the browser.
While you can check that manually using the browser's developer tools (hit F12 and switch to network for that), it is only displaying information to you while the page is loading.
The Firefox web browser is probably the browser with the best selection of extensions that provide you with security information, often before you connect to a website.
This guide provides you with a list of extensions that you may want to consider for that.
The add-on brings back colored site indicators to distinguish visually on first glance between verified domains, identities and mixed content sites.
Site Identity Button Colors uses Mozilla's own pre-Firefox 15 color scheme by default. You may change that to stronger colors in the add-on options.
The Firefox add-on ranks SSL connections based on how strong they are. It provides you with a summary of important connection parameters such as the cipher suite, the SSL/TLS version or the certificate.
The rating itself is displayed in Firefox's address bar automatically. You may also use it to disable RC4 suites and non PFS / non RC4 suites globally in the browser which may improve the strength of the connection but may cause connection issues on some sites.
The add-on provides you with tools to look-up link or site information without visiting the site in question.
Just right-click on any link in Firefox and select a service or tool listed in the Passive Recon menu to run the query.
You may look up DNS, IP and Whois information for instance, run various Google searches, check mail servers or generate a site report on Netcraft.
While you can do so manually as well, Privacy Recon makes it a lot easier to perform these operations, especially if you run them regularly in the browser.
The extension ranks a website's trustworthiness and child safety both in Firefox's interface but also in search engine results.
The rankings are powered by the Web of Trust community and third-party sources. While that works fine most of the time, it may happen that sites that are not dangerous or untrustworthy get a bad reputation score due to the community focus of the service.
The options displays all sites that ratings are shown on. The list of sites includes the popular search engines Google Bing and Baidu, social sites like Facebook, and a bunch of other sites including Wikipedia, Yahoo and Reddit.
Safe Preview lists options to check links using several online services including Web of Trust, Google, Avast, DrWeb or Norton Safe Web.
To use it simply right-click on any link open in Firefox and select the "Is it safe" option from its context menu.
The extension draws borders around all links on a web page you run it on highlighting secure links in green and insecure links in red.
This is especially useful on sites with web forms as it may not always be clear immediately if what you enter is submitted using a secure connection.
Several Firefox add-ons list connections that are made to third-party servers when a page is loaded in the browser.
These "smaller" extensions may prove useful as well.
Now You: Did we miss an add-on? Feel free to post suggestions in the comment section below.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.