I got a few new ideas and got some support for my old ones on web browser security. I have been using and recommending Ad-Block Plus for a few years now. This plug-in works to stop certain forms of advertising on the web pages you visit: video ads, ads that launch sound. It doesn’t block all ads, knowing that ads drive revenue to websites, but by wielding the power of a large install base, the owners negotiate with the big advertising companies to tone back ads and make them more palatable.
Another plug-in I think is indispensable these days is a script blocker – No-Script for Firefox, or ScriptSafe for Chrome – which will prevent Flash, Java, Silverlight, and other scripting software from running by default except on the pages you manually choose to trust. Learning which pages to trust is a process. And once you start down the process, the huge number of intrusive applications that horn in on every page through scripting can overwhelm the mind. Really, I think that blocking scripting on your websites is the best thing you can do to protect yourself from viruses and hacking.
At our September meeting, I heard some new suggestions from OCCA members: Ublock Origin, which replaces Ad Block Plus and allows you to pull from a wide variety of blacklists for advertising and malware, and Privacy Patcher from EFF which heuristically detects tracking.
Another member touted the TripLog app, which enters your mileage for you based on when you plug your phone into your car to charge it. Then it uses GPS to track your mileage and destinations, and makes an entry in your QuickBooks. Slick, for those who need help tracking mileage.
We discussed some wireless toys as well, with Jesse and Matthew strongly endorsing the TP-Link nanorouters. Matthew says the MR3020 are phenomenal. They are small (cell-phone sized), but powerful.