Browsing the internet through one of the best private browsers has become the need of the hour. That is primarily because of the gross invasion of privacy popular web browser practice as soon as you fire them up on your device.
Google’s $5 billion lawsuits have been enough of an eye-opener on the level of online surveillance and monitoring we live under today. It is no news that popular web browsers are one of the most prominent means of mining every netizen’s personal information.
What is probably more infuriating is that these browsers hide this ugly truth behind the hoax: this data collection is a necessity, designed solely to provide a better browsing experience for users. But, all hope is not lost as privacy web browsers and several other online privacy tools exist to ensure a secure online browsing experience.
How to Cover Your Browsing Tracks?
Covering your browsing tracks might seem tricky as these browsers have several ways of invading your privacy and security. However, there are several reasonably easy methods that you can adopt which can help you ensure a secure and private online experience. Such as the follows:
- Using Incognito/Private Mode delete cookies once you close the tab. In this way, any logs of your online activity are not stored. However, this mode only ensures basic level privacy limited to your device. It doesn’t ensure online privacy.
- Using a VPN protects your data from privacy invaders. It encrypts the data, and your IP address and location are concealed. This way, it becomes harder for anyone to trace your online activity. Using a private web browser and a VPN is the most efficient way to ensure robust online anonymity.
- Privacy Search Engines are effective as they make your online searches anonymous. They delete cookies each time you refresh your browser and do not track your search history. They also block the websites you visit to have access to your information.
- Use Privacy Extensions such as HTTPS Everywhere, Disconnect, PrivacyBadger, or uBlock Origin. These can help you safeguard your online identity and privacy.
- Use a Private Browser as they don’t keep logs of your online activity. They further contribute to preventing third-party websites from gaining access to your information.
These are some of the best-known methods for ensuring online privacy and security. They allow users to browse the web privately and protect them from significant browser privacy issues.
Seven Best Browsers For Privacy
Private web browsers offer enhanced browser security, maintaining your anonymity.
These browsers protect your privacy by disabling malicious advertisements, spyware, and trackers. Moreover, they consist of anti-crypto-jacking and anti-browser fingerprinting features to ensure maximum security.
The majority of your activities on the web occur over your browser. Thus, it is wise to select one that offers the most significant features for maintaining privacy and security.
01. Tor Browser
The Onion Browser (TOR) is an exceptional private browser and an online anonymity tool.
Tor’s working relies on hopping user traffic through various nodes. It provides remarkable online privacy and prevents trackbacks, and allows user anonymity. It hides user IP addresses and prevents data snooping through layered encryption. Some of the features offered by Tor are as follows:
- Prevents Fingerprinting: All users appear the same to hackers and advertisers. This eliminates fingerprinting as your information isn’t compromised.
- HTTPS Everywhere: It comes built-in to Tor Browser that encrypts data sent to a website by third parties.
- Unrestricted Browsing: Tor browser allows you to view websites your local network may have banned.
But, despite the security it provides, Tor comes with several vulnerabilities. Most nodes are open-source; it is hard to determine which node is malicious. Also, careful monitoring of nodes can somewhat compromise user identity.
Apart from that, Tor hides user data through altered encryption, but it doesn’t encrypt user data. Layered encryption is vulnerable since it gets stripped off at the exit node. Thus, it is best to use a Tor browser with a compatible VPN which can help mitigate these privacy concerns.
02. Brave Browser
Brave is the modified version of Chromium, making it compatible with most websites. It necessitates HTTPS and presents two options to enhance your security settings. These settings are Standard and Aggressive tracker and ad blocker.
Brave browser incorporates a password manager, a script blocker, and anti-fingerprinting features. Some of its more advanced features include the following:
- IFPS Network: Brave browser provides you an option to access the web via the IPFS network. It uses P2P networking and allows data to be stored and exchanged in a distributed file system.
- Advanced Default Settings: The Shields feature disables unauthorized third-party access through cookies. Also, it prevents advertisers from monitoring your activity.
- Private Window: An incognito surfing tab uses Tor to obscure your geolocation and identity.
- Fingerprinting Randomization: Brave prevents you from being tracked by using a randomization mechanism. It allows you to appear different whenever you refresh the browser, creating a new identity for you among other websites.
Though Brave Browser is an effective tool that ensures privacy, it is not without drawbacks. It is still under development, and several features are currently in a beta mode not upgraded. Ad replacement and private browsing tabs are the features that might work more effectively in other browsers.
03. Epic Browser
While utilizing Epic browser, online security is not optional; instead, it is the default setting. The browser provides built-in VPN-like features like the encrypted bypass that conceal your IP address from the public. It prevents advertisers, trackers, crypto-jacking, as well as ultrasonic signaling. It also disables WebRTC leaks and fingerprinting. Some of its features are as follows:
- One-Click Encryption Proxy: The encrypted proxy service conceals and encrypts your IP address while you surf the web. It routes DNS queries via the encrypted proxy to avoid online monitoring.
- Protection Against Fingerprinting: It disables tracking programs that attempt to identify you and prevents fingerprinting techniques.
- Secure Searches: Epic browser claims that it does not provide any information to search engines. After clicking on a link, it does not predict what you’re typing or send referral data to the websites you view.
- Do Not Track: The Do Not Track option is always enabled in the Epic browser to maintain consistent protection. It ensures that the HTTP referer header information is kept private throughout all circumstances.
Epic Browser is predominantly safe for browsing over the internet. But, it is based on another open-sourced project, Chromium, which leaves room for privacy concerns. It does contain a few VPN-like characteristics, but it cannot compete with VPN security and privacy.
DuckDuckGo is also a private browser promising the most security. It disables third-party trackers and uses an encrypted HTTPS connection to prevent surveillance. When you use the DuckDuckGo browser, your online activity remains untraceable.
- Privacy Grade: Its main distinguishing feature is the Privacy Grade. It indicates the amount of your data collected by a website to check the browser’s security protection capabilities.
- Smarter Encryption: It makes websites secure by using HTTPS encryption. Moreover, it prevents others from gaining unauthorized access to your activity on the internet.
- Untracked Search: It does not store cookies, IP addresses, or other information like the browser or device you are using.
- Burn Bar: This feature is only available in the browser’s mobile application. Using the Burn Bar, you may dismiss all your tabs and erase all your browser data at the ending of every session. As a result, the browser won’t keep your data on its servers and maintain total privacy.
DuckDuckGo provides privacy and security, but it doesn’t protect users from malware and viruses. But you can mitigate those risks by using secure antivirus/malware protection.
Vivaldi is another reputable private browser that allows users to browse privately. It consists of built-in features that block ads and block tracking websites. When you surf the internet in a Private Window, Vivaldi doesn’t keep any information about the websites you visit.
It has added a dedicated default search engine for Private Windows, allowing you to enjoy the kind of privacy you expect.
Some of its privacy features include:
- Phishing and Malware Protection: It can identify fake websites and prevent you from browsing them. It even checks your download files to ensure that it doesn’t contain malware.
- Encrypted Syncing: Vivaldi incorporates end-to-end encryption while syncing browsing data across devices. Their servers cannot see or hear your password, which is used to encrypt data on your device.
- Tracking Blocker stops web trackers from monitoring your activity and collecting your information.
- Advertisement Blocker: Those advertisements that are deemed dangerous by Vivaldi get blocked. For example, the ones that seek to deceive users, carry malware, generate misleading system alerts, or try to get your information,
Vivaldi seems more inclined towards user interface and improved accessibility features than serving as a privacy browser. It presents content in an organized manner, and one would be inclined towards using it.
06. Mozilla Firefox
It is an open-source privacy browser that has provided exceptional privacy and security to users for the past 13 years. The most impressive thing about the Mozilla Firefox browser is its excellent customization features, regular updates, and verified security audit reports.
The company underwent the security audit process by Cure 53 and Open Security. The audit report results show that the browser was free from significant security flaws and vulnerabilities. Some of the features offered by Mozilla Firefox include:
- Content Blocking: By enabling this feature, you can block browser fingerprinting.
- Enhanced Tracking Protection: It allows users to block trackers following your web activity.
- Private Browsing Mode: It keeps all your browsing history and logins private.
- Ad-Blocker Extension blocks all intrusive pop-up ads that ruin your browsing experience.
The only drawback is that configuring the browser is a bit complicated. Therefore, a new user might have to take some time to understand it before using it.
07. Iridium Browser
Iridium Browser is another best private browser that you can use for anonymous browsing. It is a Chromium-based browser with a clean user interface and several plugins.
You use either Qwant or DDG as the default search engine with the Iridium browser. It won’t log your login details or browsing history, thus maintaining online security. The browser promises to maintain your privacy and security while browsing and therefore uses the following features:
- Blocks Cookies: It blocks cookies and trackers and prevents the browser from collecting and selling users’ data.
- Safe Browsing Option: If you access any unsafe site, the URL is directed to the Iridium developers to maintain a list of such URLs.
The browser is an excellent option to use multiple devices and OS. It releases frequent updates, but you need to update the browser manually.
How Browsers Track and Store Your Data
A web browser can track your online activity for various apparent reasons. It is to make your surfing experience quicker and more convenient. But, this information also helps them identify your browsing pattern and interests. However, the use of such data does not only stop there. Most browsers then further sell all users’ private information to marketers who use it for various monetary purposes.
Since a users’ data is of particular importance and worth, there are several ways that a web browser collects your data, such as:
– Device fingerprinting
Device fingerprinting implies that a website is examining all the features of your device. This includes your device model, the web browser you use, your browser extensions, and your timezone. Browsers track these features to collect enough relevant data to identify and find the link back to you.
Although this feature appears to operate for your convenience, it violates your privacy. The technique holds many of your data and, in a way, can predict your likes and dislikes.
Websites place tiny pieces of data called cookies in your web browser’s storage. They do so to maintain track of your login details and store your browser activity. Autofill information seems like a convenient feature that prevents you from re-entering your login details every time you visit a website.
But, by doing so, you’re providing direct access to your name, address, and phone number to the browser.
– Geolocation API
The majority of browsers include a built-in geolocation API. Browsers share your location to websites to decide which version of their site you should see. This feature also enables geo-restriction among a variety of content.
– WebRTC leaks
Exposure to your IP address can expose your geographical location and identity. Several browsers enable WebRTC leaks, allowing the website you visit to get your actual IP address.
Why You Should Avoid Popular Browsers such as Google Chrome
Google Chrome, without a doubt, is the most used web browser. But, it is also one of the most invasive browsers.
Google utilizes Chrome as a portal to see everything you do on the internet. Even it doesn’t prevent other marketers and trackers from analyzing your activities.
Your data is valuable, and although organizations claim to be “non-profit,” they are not. Popular browsers like Google Chrome also trade your privacy in exchange for profit. Hence, these browsers may not respect your privacy and sell your data to websites.
They also have several features that may be an issue for privacy-conscious users. These include features such as Pocket, Telemetry, and startup profile.
A study found that Chrome collects about 11,000 trackers weekly. Now, imagine 11,000 people following you while taking your morning stroll. Sounds creepy, right? What makes matters worse is that the browser collects a chunk of your personal information even within its private mode, or “incognito” mode.
If you’re worried about your online privacy, it may be time to bid farewell to mainstream web browsers. These browsers include Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and others. Make sure you use one of the safe web browsers discussed above.
A web browser is an essential tool that helps you access the internet. But it monitors your activity, like web pages you visit, the time you spend viewing them, and all the links you click. Hence, browsers are the leading portals through which you might compromise your anonymity.
Keep in mind that most browsers record your information if you do not take the necessary steps. Use a private browser that is properly configured to protect your data from tracking.