8 Secure and Private Browsers you can use for free
As people upload more and more of their personal data online, the need for both privacy and security is more important than ever. Malicious and fraudulent individuals can take advantage of your data by selling to data mining companies, purchase online with your credit card information, or even create fake identities.
While it would be best to stay off the grid and not use the internet at all, you can’t deny the fact that it makes our lives so much easier that we’re willing to take the risk. However, it’s a good thing there are lots of preventive measures, such as secure web browsers, that we can take to minimize the risk further, and allow users to browse the web privately and securely.
So what exactly can browsers do to secure its users? According to Best VPN, these are the features that help keep a browser secure and private:
Sandboxing – Sandboxing is essentially running the application in isolation, adding another layer to break through when trying to access your device.
HTTPS Upgrading – Secure web browsers can turn and use the HTTPS protocol, making your connection private and encrypted.
Active Content Protection – Active Content is audio and video embedded in web pages. While these are typically harmless, some may be a security threat. Secure browsers block these content by default.
Phishing protection – There are malicious websites that try and trick users into entering sensitive information. To counteract this, browsers use domain spoofing, which prevents users from visiting malicious sites.
Tracking Protection – Websites can collect your data by tracking your online activity, IP address, history, and bookmarks. Secure browsers can block ads, cookies, and your device’s unique fingerprint.
What’s the difference between security and privacy? Simply put, a secure browser helps keep bad stuff from the outside from going inside, while a private browser keeps personal stuff from the inside from going out.
The first one on our list is the world’s third most popular browser, Mozilla Firefox. It has security and privacy features, such as sandboxing, fingerprinting, tracking protection, content blocking, and phishing protection.
Download: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux
Like Google Chrome, Brave is a Chromium-based browser that focuses on security and privacy. It features fingerprinting protection, HTTPS upgrading, and turns off plugins by default. Additionally, it also has Brave Shield built-in, which blocks ads, trackers, and cookies. As a result, Brave can load sites faster than Google Chrome.
Download: Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS
The Tor browser was created by a nonprofit organization based in the US. It allows users to browse the internet privately. It’s a modified version of Firefox that runs on the Tor network that routes your traffic at least three layers, effectively masking your activity. However, by doing so, it increases your latency and slows download speeds. The Tor Browser also has all the usual security features, including tracker blocking, fingerprinting protection, multi-layered encryption, forced HTTPS, and active content blocking.
Download: Windows, OS X, Linux, and Android
Epic Privacy Browser
Epic Browser is another Chromium-based browser that reduces its users’ online footprint by using an encrypted proxy, hiding the user’s IP address. Additionally, every session is like a souped-up Incognito Mode, with no browsing history, web and DNS cache, third party cookies, rogue extensions, and DNS pre-fetching. It takes it a step further by removing several features that users may have gotten used to, like autofill, password saving, auto-suggest, and most visited websites. As a result, Epic isn’t as user friendly as other browsers in this list.
Download: Windows, Android, iOS
Based on Mozilla Firefox, Waterfox is another open-source browser that was initially created for 64-bit computers. Its main differentiator is its default security settings, which disable integration with Pocket Web Service, Encrypted Media Extensions Moreover, it automatically deletes the user’s passwords, cookies, and history – all of which help keep their information from hidden trackers.
Download: Windows, macOS, Linux
Vivaldi, like Brave, also has a built-in ad and tracker blocker. Its Incognito or Private Window feature also deletes cookies and temporary files in addition to the user’s browsing history. Syncing data between devices are also made more secure with end-to-end encryption, and there’s a built-in private search engine to further limit the data that websites can track.
Since its move to the Chromium project, the new Edge browser now comes with several new security and privacy features such as tracking prevention, phishing protection, active content blocking, HTTPS notifications, and data collection.
Download: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Google’s own Chromium-based browser has taken the number 1 spot for a reason, and that’s because it offers the most features along with its constant security updates. It has effective sandboxing, active content blocking, and HTTPS forcing. It is, however, not private. Chrome allows websites to place trackers and cookies on your device to collect non-sensitive data for targeted advertising.
And there’s our list of secure and private browsers! Which browsers would you like us to compare? Let us know in the comments below!