Why Browser Security?
Are you ever alone when browsing the internet? Most people wouldn’t know. In fact, the average person doesn’t realize the magnitude of dangers lying in wait on the internet.
You should be responsible for your safety and privacy on the internet, and so should your browser. Browsers are at the center of the ongoing debate regarding privacy and safety on the web. They are the portals to the internet, so they should be at the forefront of ensuring your safety and privacy.
A secure browser is one of the ultimate essentials these days.
Very few of us know that most browsers hold very important bits of information about us in vast amounts. There are always intruders looking for week spots.
The information contained by browsers includes but is not limited to:
- Your browsing history
- Usernames and passwords for online accounts
- Cookies and trackers that hold your behavioral information.
- Names, addresses, phone numbers, etc used by autofill feature
- Your financial information like credit cards etc
Browsers do take measures to ensure your safety and privacy, but some perform better than others.
Here is a review of the top five most secure and private browsers in 2019.
Iridium Browser is an extension of the Chromium project. Both, Google Chrome and Iridium are based on Chromium. The key difference between the extensions is that Iridium is modified particularly to help you with privacy. Iridium is also backed by the open source business alliance OSBA, which has 190 members.
Automatic transmission, partial queries, keywords and metrics to the core services are prevented by default. User approval is required for these to work.
Iridium Security Features
- Iridium uses increased RSA keysize to 2048 bits for self-signed certificates
- Instead of relying on existing identities, Iridium instead, with every new connection, generates a new Real-Time Communications identity (WebRTC).
- And for each WebRTC connection, Iridium generates a new ECDHE keypair instead
- System-provided plugins like Java and Flash are disabled.
Deliverables, builds, updates and logs of all changes are available to view as a git repository. This provides transparency about all changes and updates made in the code.
As compared to the standard chromium project, Iridium has multiple enhancements that provide security at the maximum level possible while maintaining compatibility.
In terms of compatibility, a user can add any type and number of plugins available at the Chrome web store as iridium is based on chromium core project as well, just like CHROME. Along with, Iridium is compatible with nearly all operating systems like Windows, macOS, Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Feodora, Red Hat Linux
In terms of speed, Iridium is very good. The reason being, many of the core functions which are disabled by default, such as personal queries and keywords, etc.
Though Opera makes up to 2.5 % of the browser market, it is not one of the popular ones, unfortunately. Opera is definately fast and reliable. It has a great user interface and is able to do pretty much everything the other browsers can do for you.
Opera Turbo feature
One of the unknown features of opera is called the Opera Turbo feature. Opera Turbo feature, compresses your online traffic, and routes your traffic through opera's own servers which can highly improve your browsing speeds. In terms of speed, it definitely stands out. Try using opera if you are in a slow connectivity area and see the difference yourself.
And as we talk about compression, compression reduces the amount of data that is needed to transfer between your browser and servers. A great feature while browsing on your mobile phone. You might consider monitoring the opera browser on your children's devices because of its rerouting feature as it can avoid any content restrictions enforced by you or your ISP.
Free Ad-Blocker and VPN
It comes with an integrated ad blocker, very handy for undistracted browsing.
Also has a unique battery saving mode which can help you to run your device for much longer, plus a free built-in Free VPN
Works with Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
- Integrated Ad-Blocker by default
- Strong security features
- Comes with Built-in VPN
- Turbo feature
- Very few plugins
You can learn more and download Opera browser with VPN here
Safari is Apple’s default web browser. Unfortunately, it has been exclusive to Apple and Mac devices since 2012; hence many people may not be familiar with it. Safari is the reason why Mac users are less susceptible to internet vulnerabilities. The browser is always scanning the internet for suspicious sites and blacklisting them. It also sends users alerts about potential dangers.
The browser has also recently unveiled a password generator and manager that helps prevent users from using old and weak passwords that are easy targets for hackers.
Most importantly, however, Safari runs web pages in a sandbox so that malicious code cannot affect the browser or access any data. This is what primarily sets it apart from other major browsers that are less secure.
One major shortcoming of Safari is that updates are far in-between. Unfortunately, Safari has suffered the same fate as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as most Mac users prefer secondary web browsers.
GNU IceCat is an extension of firefox from the GNU free software project. It includes many privacy features that are added by default.
HTTPS Everywhere is a collaboration between "The Tor Project" and the "Electronic Frontier Foundation". It helps with providing support for encryption over https. Many websites these days, do provide at least some limited support for encryption over https but it is not something easy to use. The https everywhere extension solves the problem by rewriting an HTTP request using HTTPS
Spyblock is a defense used against transaction generator or botnet Malware. TG waits for a user to log in at targeted sites and issue transactions on behalf of the user. A user has no idea that these transactions are taking place in their name
You can further learn and download GNU IceCat here
Chromium is a product of Google Chrome. Both browsers are open-source, but there is a major difference in that Google Chrome comes with code written by Google for access to the company’s services. As such, Chromium is for those people looking for more privacy and independence from the Google Corporation.
Chromium is more private than Google Chrome as users’ data is not sent to the tech giant. It is also more secure as users can check for vulnerabilities and patch them themselves. It is also easier to integrate third-party apps that can help boost your security and privacy.
The only shortcoming of Chromium is that it does not update automatically. This is concerning as updates come out regularly and, in all fairness, Chromium is still a project in progress. As such, you should check for updates every 2-3 weeks and install them manually.
Brave is the most unusual kind of browser in the market right now.
The features that are unique to the brave browser are:
- If you want privacy, It’s the only web browser that honors that commitment to the full and can guarantee your privacy. Going a step further, you can block all the scripts and cookies.
- If you don't want ads, block them. No ifs no buts.
- If you are ok with ads (And there could be the reason why. Details later), the brave will allow them but in a non-traditional way.
The power is back to the user.
Now, why on earth would you like to look at ads?
Well, there is money to be made.
There are two types of ads:
Optional User Ads, which users can block or opt-in and be part of the target audience and receive 70% of ads revenue. The other 30% will go the Brave.
Publisher Integrated Ads(Non-Optional), where 70% of the revenue will go to the Verified Publishers. The remaining 30% will be equally divided between the users and the "Brave".
Brave is still relatively new compared to other browsers in the list. In fact, most people are yet to hear about it, let alone try it out.
Brave uses several techniques to keep your web activity private. For starters, it has a default ad blocker that not only blocks pesky ads but also keeps advertisers from monitoring and tracking your online behavior. The browser also has an in-built Tor tab that is not as effective as Tor but is, nevertheless, ideal for incognito browsing.
Brave also has extensive security settings. For instance, you get to delete whatever data you wish before closing the browser. There are also many settings to customize and secure your browsing experience. This includes keeping scripts from loading and blocking fingerprinting attempts.
As mentioned, Brave is relatively new and is still working on improving the initial version for desktop users. However, the browser is operational and freely available. The updates are also coming in fast so stay tuned.
Mozilla Firefox is one of the most popular browsers besides Google Chrome. One of the reasons why is because of its top-notch security and privacy levels.
Mozilla Firefox has one of the most comprehensive security suites of any web browser. It helps protect against malware and phishing attempts. It also detects web forgeries and blocks any websites reported for launching web attacks. It also warns users if sites try to install add-ons without the user’s permission. What’s more, users can customize security settings as they see fit to protect against more dangers.
Firefox’s privacy features are not quite as good, though. It does have a ‘Content Blocking’ feature that enables users to block all web trackers. However, privacy is guaranteed in the fact that this browser is completely open-source – this means that anyone can inspect the source code for threats and make the necessary corrections, so criminal elements tend to keep away.
Mozilla Firefox issues new updates every 6-10 weeks. Updates are designed by volunteer coders, but they feature the latest security, privacy, and performance protocols. Firefox’s latest update and version, Quantum, is one of the most private and secure ones yet.
Tor Browser has always been the go-to browser for those seeking an extra level of security and privacy. It is, in fact, the browser of choice for those browsing the Dark Web.
Tor encrypts your traffic in three layers by bouncing your data around a vast network of relays on thousands of computers. As such, it is incredibly difficult for anyone to trace your data or your identity unless they deploy extensive resources. This is what primarily makes Tor the best browser for privacy.
Tor also packs a range of formidable security features. For starters, it does not track your browsing history. Additionally, it automatically deletes all your cookies at the end of each session. It is also ranked as the best browser against browser fingerprinting. What’s more, users can make extensive configurations to boost their security and privacy.
Tor may be the best browser in terms of privacy, but that does not mean that you are completely anonymous. As such, avoid engaging in unlawful online activities based on your confidence in this browser – the FBI’s bust of the Silk Road market, which dealt in drugs, assassins, and other products and services, is a good reason why.
Google Chrome is the most popular browser with a market share of about 80%. It is especially popular for its inclusion of proprietary Google code that grants easier and quicker access to Google services compared to other browsers.
Google Chrome has one of the easiest and clean interface. It provided connectivity across devices and a huge amount of extensions that make life much more easier online.
It is also faster and more efficient than most other browsers.
Google chrome compatible with everything
Windows: 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 MacOS: OS X 10.10 and later Linux: Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, and Fedora Mobile: IOS and Android
To start with, chrome has always followed the rules to provide a clean and simple user interface. For that very reason, Chrome has always refrained from overload with features and options. the very very basic version consists of a search and address bar, AKA Omnibar, a few navigation controls and a basic space for you to choose your extensions. Like the App Store for Apple, Google pairs with a rich resource of extensions. This helps chrome stand out from other browsers in terms of providing extended third-party features.
You can convert your copy of chrome into a full and mighty software tool for the kind of usage you have in mind: some of the most common useful categories you can add to your copy of Chrome browser:
- Web Development Extension
- Blogging Tools
- News And Weather
- Productivity Tools
- Social And Communication
You would like built-in notes, bookmark bars helpers, web page analysis, stats, VPN, grammar check, link shortener, Google translate, Ad-Blocker or any other feature, you would find an extension provided by an industry leader in that domain, to integrate with Chrome.
Google Chrome Synchrinization (sync)
Another Feature which sets Chrome apart is cross-connectivity between devices. All you need is sync with your copy of the Chrome browser with your Google account and all your preferences, bookmarks and search history are seamlessly available across all the devices you use.
Google Chrome Security
Chrome ranks well in terms of security. It packs all the security features that you can think of – to put it into perspective, Chrome beats Mozilla Firefox in terms of the number and strength of security protocols. Its updates contain the latest security protocols, and it ranks the highest in Browserscope security test scores.
Google Chrome Strengths
- Simple, easy-to-use design
- Deep integration across devices
- A vast library of extensions
Google Chrome weaknesses
- Privacy concerns