Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cocoon: Web Proxy Firefox Privacy Add-on Goes Free

Cocoon is a privacy add-on for Firefox that adds an extra layer of security to Internet browsing by securely routing all traffic through a proxy server. The benefit of using a proxy server, as any privacy conscious individual will tell you, is that it offers anonymity to the user. But Cocoon does not connect to any available public web proxy like most other proxy add-ons do. Cocoon’s proxy servers are guarded by the Security-Enhanced Linux, which we are told was developed by the United States' National Security Agency (but it’s open source), and the connection takes place over SSL.


After a quick signup and download, you will get a toolbar just below the location bar in Firefox. There is a power button on the toolbar that lets you quickly enter and leave the protected mode. When running Cocoon, the browser will automatically switch to Private Browsing mode, although you can go back to normal mode while still using Cocoon. Remember to save your session before you turn on the Cocoon, because the add-on closes your current session without warning.

Cocoon stores your browsing history in the cloud and not on your computer. You can access this info from any computer by logging into your account. Cocoon also blocks advertisement and prevents advertisers and websites from tracking you. It also prevents automatic download of any executable files.

An interesting feature of Cocoon is that it allows you to create disposable emails or ‘mailslots’ using Cocoon’s own disposable email service. When you need to register a new account on any website, simply right click on the email field and generate a temporary email address or mailslot. All mails to your mailslots can be accessed from the toolbar button. You can also forward the mails to your regular email account. Whenever a mailslot account becomes too spammy, you can simply delete it.

Another benefit of using Cocoon is that the user is able to access all US based services, since Cocoon’s proxy servers are located in the US. No need for US VPN servers.

When Cocoon launched early this year, it costs $6.95 per month, or $55.00 for a one-year subscription. But the company waived that fee in an announcement it made last week. Cocoon is now available completely free of charge.

[via Cnet]


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