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The Best Web Browser for Security and Privacy

Publish date October 31, 2019 Views: 547 Comments: 0

If you’re looking for a secure browser for your online activity, you’re not the only one. An increasing amount of people are becoming more security conscious of their privacy and uncovering how their data is being used. Using a safe browser is one of the best ways to avoid any of your data being collected by various companies such as Facebook or Google.

In today’s society, whenever your device is connected to a network, you are potentially exposing yourself to various possible threats. Hackers are able to get ahold of your credit card information, hardware, as well as logins and passwords and can make a profit out of that information.

To protect yourself when online, you should choose the safest web browser available and use that in conjunction with antivirus software and a VPN.

The Best Safe Browser for Security and Privacy

1. Firefox

This is one of the best choices for secure browsing as Firefox is reliable, easy to use and lightweight on your OS. There are many add-ons that are available with the browser including Stop Fingerprinting, HTTPS Everywhere, uBlock Origin, No Script and Windscribe amongst others.

Users also have built-in privacy features to fall back on like tracking protection. In terms of the user interface, it is very user-friendly, there are regular updates and Mozilla also boasts that Firefox uses 30% less memory than Chrome does.

The great thing about Firefox s that it is built by a non-profit which means it is able to build new products and features without any hidden agendas. If you do decide to go for Firefox, the first thing you should do when you install the browser is to disable telemetry. Although this data is pretty harmless and is there mostly to improve performance there are some privacy implications as well.

One of the great features of this browser is that it offers a Do Not Track option. This means that Firefox will request any websites that you visit to not track your movements. You should know that websites are not obligated to comply with do not track requests, but turning the option on won’t cost you anything, and it might even work sometimes.

This browser also comes with a Privacy Badger which will keep track of the scripts that are embedded in web pages that you visit. If at any point the Privacy Badger detects that a source is tracking you it will notify your browser not to load further content from the source.

Other important privacy add-ons that are recommended include:

  • uBlock Origin
  • HTTPS Everywhere
  • No Script
  • uMatrix
  • Cookie AutoDelete
  • Better Privacy
  • Random Agent Spoofer
  • Canvas Defender
  • Decentraleyes
  • Bloody Vikings!
  • Mailvelope
  • Keepasshttp-connector

Although Firefox is already an excellent browser when it comes to privacy and security, there are a lot of other features that can make it even more secure.

2. Chrome

This simple to navigate web browser is by far the most popular choice of browsers with almost 60% of the market share worldwide. As one of the most secure browsers available, it will not allow for ransomware, Trojans or malware to download automatically to your computer like other browsers might. There is the issue that you cannot clear the browser cache automatically, as it has to be done manually each time, but this is a slight inconvenience.

Chrome will block pop-ups and also includes a password manager. The minimalistic user interface is a favorite for many, as it is very easy to navigate. In addition to taking up minimum amounts of screen space, Chrome is also very stable and cross-platform. There are a large number of extensions you can install to make your browsing experience the best it can be.

Google Chrome does use up a lot of resources, but unless your computer is over ten years old, you should feel the impact of Chrome on your computer.

3. Opera

Opera was established in Norway, however back in 2016, it was sold to a Chinese consortium for as much as $600 million. Opera was once one of the most popular browsers before Google Chrome took over.

Opera has a straightforward interface that both launches and loads pages very quickly. There is also a built-in Opera Turbo function which accelerated your connection speed by compressing traffic. If you have problems with speed from the get-go, Opera might be the right browser for you.

Whilst Opera is a hugely popular choice when it comes to browsers, there are some worrying elements to Opera’s privacy policy, which reads,

“To collect information automatically, we may use cookies, web beacons, our own data-collection tools or various third-party services.

Some of our products and services include third-party technology or code that may use the collected data. We may share anonymized and/or aggregated sets of data with our partners and other trusted third parties.

Because we are an international company with data-centers around the world, your data may be transferred to countries which do not have the same level of data protection laws as those in the country where you are located. We will ensure that your data is protected to a strict standard.”

This doesn’t inspire much confidence to those worried about privacy and security online. With that said, however, there is a built-in VPN service which makes your traffic a lot harder to track. It should be noted that the VPN provided by this web browser is not as reliable as some of the paid VPN services, but it’s always handy to have some additional protection to fall back on.

Opera works on keeping threats at bay by checking every page you visit against a large database of blacklisted sites. This means you will be protected from fraud and malware, and if you do attempt to enter a malicious site, you will get a warning notifying you of the potential threats ahead. There is an integrated ad-block feature as well as a battery-saving mode, which is fantastic when you’re using a laptop.

4. Tor Browser

Whilst there are many different options as to this browser, one thing is for sure, there is no other browser that can compare with Tor Browser and the anonymity that it provides. Tor is built on hidden relay servers, which means it bounces your connection throughout numerous distributed nodes and should hide the public IP address that you use to connect to the internet with.

You can install Tor on your Windows, Linux or Mac device, but you can also keep it on a USB stick if you prefer. One thing that users need to remember with Tor is that it is a very advanced privacy browser, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it is completely secure. Tor is designed to keep you anonymous by using constraints such as only allowing HTTPS connections. However, it doesn’t include any anti-malware technology and will not block plug-ins by default.

The Tor Project does offer users a list of do’s and don’ts for using its program which includes being extremely careful when opening and downloading documents. There is a downside to Tor, which is that it can be slower than other browsers. It is a much more demanding browser than others, but its full privacy potential will come in handy in the long run.

How Do Browsers Collect Your Data?

Unless you properly secure your data by using a secure browser, there is information that can be collected by third parties, which include your browsing history of all the websites you have visited and your login credentials, which includes usernames and passwords. Additionally, there might be cookies and trackers placed on your browser by sites that you visit. On the other hand, sensitive autofill information such as your name, address, contact phone numbers, emails and your date of birth can be used as well. All of this information is then gathered and used to target you specifically in ad and marketing campaigns.

On top of all that, browsers are able to expose your identity even if you are using a secure browser by way of browser fingerprinting or WebRTC leaks.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though. By using a reliable VPN in addition to an AV and a secure browser, you can ensure your online anonymity.

A great VPN will be able to reroute your online data through to a completely different server location, making it appear as though you are surfing on the other side of the world. This can be done by using encryption technologies such as IP security, Secure Sockets Layer, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocols and military-grade encryption.

If you’re worried about your online privacy, you should know that not all VPNs work the same, especially when it comes to privacy. Some, like ExpressVPN, have jurisdiction in countries like the British Virgin Islands, where there are no obligations to hold records of users. Other VPNs keep records of where you go on the net and what you do. In the past few years, some have even been found to be selling their users’ bandwidth data.

You might be tempted to look for a free VPN service, as there are quite a few out there. When it comes to free VPNs, you should remember that even the free services need to pay for their overhead costs one way or another, and that is usually at the price of your privacy. These VPN services sell your online data in order to cover costs all while making you believe that your online movements will remain private.

Also, a CSIRO study has found that as many as 38% of free Android VPNs contain malware, with some of those VPNs having highly-rated apps and millions of downloads amongst themselves. This means that your odds of getting your device infected with malware are one in three.

This is why paying a small monthly fee for a reliable VPN service is much less than spending the money on recovering your sensitive information, or investing in a new device when it comes under threat. Mobile ransomware attacks are on the rise with Symantec reporting more than 18 million mobile malware attacks just last year.

When looking to invest in a reliable VPN service, you should always read the privacy policy as well as customer reviews to find out how that VPN might affect performance and what the security features entail. Making sure that there are no limitations on bandwidth or speed is also essential, so you can browse freely without fearing that your VPN cap might run out.

Does Private Browsing Really Make For A Secure Browser?

Many of us like to use the incognito or private browsing mode that is offered by all modern browsers in order to stay safe whilst online, but the name in itself is quite misleading. This results in people surfing the net thinking their privacy is completely intact, when in reality, this is far from true.

When you turn on private browsing mode, this will mean that people who have direct access to your computer, like your family members, do not see what you are getting up to online. When you use this mode, the websites that you visit will not be saved to your browser history and form data. Searches will not be saved locally, your browsing sessions will be isolated from other regular sessions, and your cookies will be deleted as soon as your session is over.

On the other hand, private browsing mode will keep you private to the outside world. This means websites will be able to see your IP address, and those websites will also be able to track you by using browser fingerprinting and canvas fingerprinting. Your ISP will then be able to track you and the websites that you visit.

The downloaded files and the bookmarks that you make will also be saved as normal, and any malware that comes into contact with your device and keyloggers that are installed on your system will be able to track your every online movement.

Conclusion

If you wish to remain private online, the best way to do so is to download one of the best private browsers that were mentioned above. Many of them are used by millions of users around the world and come with add-ons such as malware blockers, ad blockers, and even VPNs.

You should know that if your secure web browser does come with a VPN, it will never offer you the same protection that you receive with a paid and reliable VPN such as ExpressVPN. For complete security online, you should look for a VPN that has a no-logs policy, foolproof and easy to understand privacy policy, excellent security and encryption protocols, easily accessible customer service, multiple simultaneous connections as well as one with high speeds so that it doesn’t slow down your internet connection to a snail’s pace.

With reports of mobile malware attacks as well as Facebook and Google data breaches, keeping your data private is quite the challenge when you’re online, but using a safe browser, great VPN and antivirus software will do the trick in keeping you secure at all times.

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