Many of us default to the browser already installed on our laptop or to what everyone else seems to be using. For example, if you buy a new Windows laptop and are not happy with Internet Explorer you probably switch to Google Chrome based on the fact that most other people are also using it. However, with cybersecurity becoming more of a concern as activities shift to the digital sphere there is an urgent need to pay attention to the browsers we install and use for our online activities.
Many browsers could be tracking your information, search history, etc. without you knowing. They can then sell these large data sets based on millions and billions of users to companies to use for their advertising/marketing purposes. This is why you see ads pop up related to your recent search history. It seems that many big companies argue that takes users’ permission when we check the tick mark accepting the terms and conditions, but matters are not that simple, and many people do not even understand how browsers work so they sell their privacy without realizing it.
To maintain your privacy you have got to be tech-savvy and keep up with the times. Sounds like too much work? Don’t have the time? Don’t worry because we have taken the liberty of helping you out with a list of the top internet browsers to use if you are concerned about your privacy:
1. Mozilla Firefox
The Mozilla team has worked very hard to bring to you a continually new and improved web browser. Firefox was extremely popular until Google Chrome came along but while Google Chrome allows for a fair bit of tracking, Mozilla Firefox has upped its security game significantly. It has added many new features that help prevent companies from tracking you. For example, the HTTPS-only mode means your web connections are always secure thanks to being HTTPS encrypted. It is also an open-source browser which allows for greater transparency as anyone can view its code.
Mozilla Firefox also works hard to prevent digital fingerprinting. What is fingerprinting you ask? Fingerprinting here does not refer to a literal fingerprint but to the profile, companies are able to make of you based on the kind of devices you use, the software and hardware you employ, the websites your visit, your search history and much more. These profiles can be both invasive and scarily accurate.
Usually, web browsers have their privacy settings hidden somewhere, but with Firefox the anti-fingerprinting feature that blocks third-party requests is the default setting on the latest browser. Surely, that is a breath of fresh air where you as a user are given importance.
Brave is a fairly new web browser as it was created in 2016 whereas the world’s top browser was made in 2008. Brave is actually built upon an open source browser called Chromium which means the interface is fairly easy to use if you are a Chrome user looking to use Brave. In addition to this Brave is also an open source browser allowing for anyone to inspect its code to decide for themselves if it is worth it.
Whatever you think know this Brave has some serious advantages over the world’s number 1 in terms of speed, ad-blocking, and privacy. Brave, like Mozilla Firefox, helps protect you against fingerprinting. It blocks all third-party ads and cookies that track you and the websites you visit. Also, the built-in HTTPS helps guarantee that your connection is always secure.
The most convenient thing about Brave is that it does not require you to install any ad-on or browser extensions to block ads; instead, it automatically blocks ads by default. Crazy right? I know. Things get even better as Brave is committed to not storing any of your data on its servers and does not itself track any of your online activities.
Brave has also tried to reconfigure the traditional system of websites allowing for ads that track users by blocking ads and instead introducing the Brave Rewards system. Also thanks to Brave blocking advertisements it can load pages about 33% faster than Google Chrome and maybe less of a burden on your device’s memory and battery.
3. The Tor Browser
If you are looking for extreme top-notch security, then you should look no further than the Tor browser which is specifically designed to work on the Tor network. This browser, based on Mozilla Firefox, is more effective than any VPN out there.
Why? Well, VPNs encrypt your data once but when you use Tor your data is encrypted 3 times along with your data going back and forth between another 3 to 4 servers which ultimately serves to foolproof your online activities and IP address. This is especially handy for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and activists whose lives are often at risk for the kind of content they want to share.
The Tor browser also automatically deletes your entire browsing history and cookie cache thereby again ensuring you are un-trackable and un-traceable.
The only real disadvantage with Tor though is that the safety measures can slow down the internet. However, if your internet is unusually slow, despite accounting for the slower speed due to Tor, then you may want to do a speed test or call CenturyLink Customer service to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.
We all remember the famous game Duck Duck Goose. This web browser has an interesting twist on the name of the game by calling itself DuckDuckGo. However, do not let this name make you think any less of this web browser because it has some serious privacy protection.
Before you get excited though I would like to inform you that DuckDuckGo is only available for phone browsers. It is available on both the App Store and the Play Store, that is, it supports both Android and iOS. While this might be a slight bummer most of us do so much browsing on our smartphones that installing this browser is sure to come in handy.
DuckDuckGo uses HTTPS encryption for secure web connections and by default blocks ads and third parties that try to track your online activities. Unique to DuckDuckGo and an excellent motivator to keep an eye on your privacy is setting is the Privacy Grade assigned to each website. What is a Privacy Grade? A Privacy Grade shows you how much data a website would have collected from you both with or without DuckDuckGo being installed.
There are plenty of cybersecurity threats out there due to hackers, but you also need to be wary of companies that track your data and create a digital fingerprint of you. Hence, we highly recommend that you choose a browser with strict privacy settings rather than going for a browser simply because it is popular.