What is the Most Secure Browser?
Browsing the web can be fun, educating or both, but it’s gradually turning into a more and more dangerous activity. You have to navigate countless services that want to obtain your data, block the annoying ads, and stay alert no to catch a virus in a phishing meal. Does that sound like a handful?
Not to mention that nearly everything online is trying to track your actions and preferences, even your browser! This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to give away all your data. The battle with sneaky marketers isn’t lost. To start boosting your security, you can try to change your browser to a more secure one.
But first, let’s figure out which popular browsers are actually bad for your privacy.
Browsers You Should Avoid
There are only two main browsers we believe should be a no-no for every Internet user. We honestly thought it should be more, but upon closer examination, we found out that the rest performed quite decently, so we decided not to put them on the list of bad examples.
So, as you probably guessed, our Oscar nominees for “collecting the most data about their users” are Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer, Edge.
Chrome and Privacy
Google Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world, with a whopping 63.3% of all users exploring the web with its help. And it’s great! We mean, it’s secure and protected against most of the popular exploits. But let’s be honest here – when it comes to privacy, Google Chrome is terrible.
As someone has elegantly put it, Google is the biggest advertising company in the world, and it’s true! The corporation works hard to collect every bit of information about you, which allows them to turn into a monopoly in web advertising.
This is one of the many reasons why you should stay away from Google Chrome if you truly care about your privacy.
Microsoft Explorer and Edge
It’s even hard to count how many Internet Explorer-related jokes are there. Still, some people use it as their default browser. Plus, Microsoft has introduced the new version – Microsoft Edge in 2015. Still, this company isn’t very good with user data either. If you want to keep your private matters, well, private, then you should stay away from the products of this company as much as possible.
Also, the browser uses a closed-source code, so there’s no way to know what is happening behind the closed doors.
So, you willingly allow Opera to meddle with all your data and even disclose it to third parties. Considering the fact that a Chinese conglomerate recently acquired the company, it may be risky to entrust your data to this browser.
Which browser to use, then? Don’t worry, there are actually a few to choose from. We bet you’ll see some familiar one, as well as new suggestions (we hope).
List of the Most Secure Browsers
First of all, we should clarify this right away – there is no “one size fits all.” Different browsers work better for different people, so the foolproof strategy is to try a couple of them and find the one that fits you.
We will be examining the most secure browsers based on the two main features:
Privacy – How much data the browser is collecting about your activities? How does it protect your privacy?
Security – How well does a browser protect you from hackers? How many vulnerabilities are there?
We are finally done with the preface. Now let’s finally take a look at the browsers that still manage to honor your privacy in 2019.
We’ve decided to start with the famous one, but it will get more interesting as you move down the list.
Firefox may not be the best in terms of privacy right after its installation. However, after minor tailoring and customization, you will get an all-around great browser with both awesome security and privacy features. Firefox is regularly updated to patch exploits and improve overall performance.
Be sure to disable in-built telemetry, a feature that tracks your “technical and interaction data” and “conducts studies,” and you should be fine. Another great thing about Firefox is that you can use numerous extensions to further customize the browser and reach the highest level of anonymity and security online.
If you need a privacy-focused version of Firefox for Android, then try Firefox focus.
If you want Firefox functionality, but without actually using Mozilla Firefox, then Waterfox may be a great idea. Waterfox is a variation created based on Firefox open source code. For example, if you want all the useful functions and add-ons that come with this browser, but don’t want to meddle with the telemetry and other default settings, this might be a good choice.
The only issue with this fork (version) of the popular browser is that it’s not very good with security, as the updates and patches are usually a little late. Waterfox is based on Firefox 56, which means that security updates can take a while. However, when it comes to user privacy, Waterfox is great with it, so it may be a good idea to use it for ensuring your data safety.
You have to be brave enough to use Brave. Okay, just kidding, in fact, it’s a great browser with opulent privacy features. It’s an awesome out-of-the-box privacy solution with little to no tailoring needed. You just download it and enjoy the efficiency, speed, privacy, and zero ads, as the browser has a built-in adblock.
The only drawback of this all-around awesome app is that it is susceptible to WebRTC leaks. However, this can be easily fixed under five minutes. All you have to do is go to Settings – Brave shield defaults and find the “Fingerprinting protection.” From the drop-down menu, choose “Block all fingerprinting” and you are all set!
Some users also cite the lack of add-ons due to browser’s short time on the market (the first unofficial release happened in 2016). We believe this will be fixed soon thanks to very active developers’ team and high public interest in zero-ads and no tracking products.
You have probably heard of this one, and mostly in association with either crimes or grand data leak. In fact, everything is not as dramatic and as safe with Tor. It is also may not be the best browser for the casual user, and here’s why.
Tor, which is another variation of Firefox, reroutes your traffic over three different hops, also decreases your connection speed drastically. Moreover, it can even break some traditional websites due to script blocking, so you’ll see a total mess on the page instead of a beautiful landing page. Finally, Tor has loopholes for snoopers and hackers to spy upon you, such as malicious exit nodes.
Using it with a VPN and carefully adjusting the settings can grant you the protection level you need, but a professional in cybersecurity should do this.
As you have probably already guessed, this is Chromium browser minus the integration with Google, hence the name. It’s 100% open-source project, meaning no big corporations can interfere with it and sneakily plant their surveillance tools, as the community is always on the watch.
This browser also features some additional privacy, transparency and control enhancement tools. However, all of them require manual configuration, meaning you are always in charge of what is happening in your browser.
This variation is also the closest one to the original Chromium version. Unlike other forks, that offer you their vision of comfortable and efficient browser, this one is just Chromium minus the Google part. It also receives regular security updates, so don’t worry, you won’t fall behind in terms of safety.
Why do developers like to call the browsers they create by words denoting metals? Probably it’s to demonstrate how secure and impenetrable their creation is. Nevertheless, welcome the second last browser on our list – Iridium. And it’s another Chromium fork, but with more privacy, as claimed on their official website.
The browser is modified to integrate the best cybersecurity practices and ensure 100% safety. Keywords and metrics are transferred to central analytical services only if you explicitly agree to provide them for review. All the modifications are adjustable, which makes the project one of the most variable ones in the industry. The developers aspire to create builds for all the popular operating systems out there, including Windows, MacOS, Fedora, Debian, and Ubuntu. They also strive to launch new versions only a few weeks apart from a Chromium release.
Let’s play a game – guess on which browser this one is based. Did you guess Firefox? Bingo! It seems like everything here was created either on the basis of Chromium or Firefox. This browser is built around a rather old Firefox version – 38. While it does support some of the older add-ons, most of the new ones won’t work.
Just like Waterfox we’ve mentioned earlier, Pale Moon cuts all the surveillance parts off the original Firefox and allows you to customize its interface to a great extent. It does feel a little bit old-school, though. Moreover, this browser has sparked controversy due to the old code it is based on. Some cyber specialists believe it makes the browser less secure than its’ newer counterparts.
This browser is at the end of the list because we were at loss on where to put it. We can’t say it’s the securest one for the reasons we will discuss a little further, however, there’s no proven record that it is not secure. Maybe do more research and decide for yourself whether it suits your definition of security or not.
The main reason many cyber specialists believe that this is a good security option that it’s an open source Google project. And while it is technically independent and all, there’s no way to tell the code is 100% clean, and that it doesn’t report to the corporation that created it. It is also susceptible to WebRTC leaks, so make sure to get an add-on that fixes that if you are planning on using Chromium.
On the bright side, it gave birth to many other secure browsers based on its code, but devoid of any of the Google sneaky practices. Moreover, the release speed is unmatched, with a new update appearing every single day. This means no vulnerability can threaten your data if you take the time to renew it daily, as the updates have to be installed manually.
Finding the right browser for you can take time, but in the end, it will be worth the effort. Our browser is like our best friend – it knows a lot about our interests and preferences, hence becoming a ripe target for exploitation and spying.
If you are looking for methods to boost your online security, you need three basic tools:
- A secure browser. Well, this whole article is about secure browsers. Any of them will do, except the section “Browsers you should avoid,” of course. And be careful with pure Chromium.
- A good VPN service. This is simple – subscribe to VeePN now and amplify your security and privacy levels with ease.
- Ad-blocker. If it’s not built into your browser, definitely consider getting one of your own. They are great privacy tools and help you avoid all that ad buzz that is thrown at you by marketers.
Do you know great browsers that vigorously defend your privacy and security online? Share them in the comments section, and let’s build a safe Internet community together!