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Online privacy and security are two sides of the same coin. Cocoon is a free browser add-on and Web-based security solution that lets you surf securely and anonymously, even from public Wi-Fi access points. It insulates your computer from cookies, viruses, and prying eyes. The ad-supported version is free, but you have to register online to use it. We tried Cocoon for Firefox.
After installing Cocoon and restarting Firefox, you'll need to create an account, but it's fairly painless. You can sign in to your Cocoon account from any computer or location, provided your browser has the Cocoon software, but you can only log on to your account from one computer at a time. You can create multiple Cocoon accounts; one for each email account, for instance, or family members. We pressed the Power On button on Cocoon's toolbar and logged in to our account. Cocoon uses the time-tested method of routing traffic through proxy servers to hide users' addresses, and it takes a moment or two for Cocoon to find and log on to a server. As soon as we were logged on, Cocoon's home page opened, and the program activated the Settings, History, Mailslot, and other features on the Cocoon toolbar. Cocoon's home page offers a lot of help for new users, including a series of video tutorials. But you don't have to do anything to use Cocoon; just start browsing. We typed some searches into the Cocoon Search field, which searches securely via Google, though we could change it to Bing or Yahoo via Cocoon's online settings page. Next we clicked through some of our bookmarks. There's no doubt Cocoon slows down your browsing a bit, but we've never tried a proxy setup that didn't. Cocoon's slowdown is negligible, though, and certainly not enough to forgo its protection, especially when you go online from a public access point.
One interesting item in Cocoon's settings is a check box to prevent Facebook tracking. We could delete cookies, manage filled form data, and view and manage our browsing history. The Mailslot tool creates secure accounts. We think mobile users will especially like Cocoon for Firefox.