With so much of your information online, your privacy is always at risk. Using a is an important first step to keeping confidential information safe. For example, your browser may house your browsing history and login credentials, can have cookies and other trackers, and contain autofill information like your credit card numbers. The most secure browsers have customizable security features and regular updates, but they also must be user friendly. Which are the best? Let’s look at ten browsers including some of the safest, and most popular.
Brave is ranked as the most secure browser by BestVPN.org, a VPN review site. A relatively recent Chromium-based browser, Brave offers a bunch of features, including a password manager, a script blocker and one-click anti-fingerprinting functionality. It particularly excels at blocking ads and tracking cookies. Brave is open-sourced, which means the code can be thoroughly researched and scrutinized by the Internet community to ensure there is no hidden tracking or anti-privacy spyware. Brave also supports most Chrome extensions, which (as we’ll explain in a moment) is both a blessing and a curse.
Brave is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS.
Google Chrome controls nearly 65% of all web browsing, followed by Safari (at around 16%), and then Firefox at around 4%.
Chrome gets high marks for security, and offers continual security updates, which is excellent. But Google is also notorious for data collection, tracking and other privacy violations. One blogger found more than 11,000 cookies that would have been placed on his Chrome browser after just a week of surfing (all of which were automatically blocked by Firefox, which we’ll discuss below). Since Chrome is not an open-source browser—Google is somewhat notorious for their tech secrecy—it’s impossible to know everything they are tracking. They offer many security and privacy preferences, but it takes a great deal of time and effort to research them. There are many user-friendly Chrome extensions, but these are also a constant target for hackers and malware, and can introduce viruses and spyware, making it far from the most secure browser.
Chrome is available for Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS and Android.
Chromium is a 100% open source project created to provide a Google Chromium browser, without Google’s privacy issues: settings require manual activation rather than Chrome’s default settings. It receives security updates nearly every day—an unmatched frequency—but since each have to be manually installed, users need to be vigilant. Because Chromium is so tightly affiliated with Chrome, and uses basic Chrome functionality, it is highly user-friendly. But that also means it is still susceptible to many of the same malware infections as Chrome, including being flooded by pop-ups and unwanted re-directs.
The full name of this browser is the “Epic Privacy Browser,” and according to its website it “blocks ads, trackers, fingerprinting, crypto mining, ultrasound signaling and more.” Every privacy setting is turned on by default and they send “Do Not Track” requests, block cookies, ads and data-tracking web analytics systems.
Epic doesn’t offer auto-syncing, spell-check, auto-fill, any plug-ins, and does not store your history, login data or databases. While this all makes Epic extremely secure, it also makes it impractical for most daily use. One additional concern: Epic has been claiming they would open source the code since 2014, but they still haven’t. Why? Some experts are suspicious.
Epic is available for macOS and Windows.
Online privacy and security website Restoreprivacy.com rated Firefox as the best browser for privacy and security. It is also rated as the most secure browser by bestantiviruspro.com and nordvpn.com. Firefox is the only mainstream open-source browser. Like most other major players, it offers a private browsing mode that includes malware and phishing protection, pop-up blocking and anti-fingerprinting protection. It doesn’t gather data, doesn’t show targeted ads, is frequently updated and has many easily-customizable privacy settings. On the negative side, it is not quite as fast as the more popular Chrome.
Firefox is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS.
Microsoft Edge replaced Internet Explorer, a infamously poor browser for security, as Microsoft’s Windows optimized web browser. Edge is only updated twice a year, which means it’s vulnerable to the latest malware and viruses.
Edge does have some nice security and privacy features, but mostly the ones everyone else provides such as the ability to block pop-ups. It has limited extension support which means there is less of a chance of installing malware, but limits its user friendliness.
Edge is available for Windows, Windows Mobile, Xbox One, Android and iOS.
Opera is a popular browser that boasts a variety of security features such as fraud and malware protection as well as script blocking. It offers updates every four or five weeks, which is excellent. But it is not close to being the most secure browser, mainly because it is owned by a China-based company who collects and monitors user data and regularly share that data with third-parties. While users can add some additional layers of privacy and protection by customizing settings, it can be complicated to set up.
Opera is available for Windows, macOS and Linux.
As the default web browser for all Mac and OS systems, Safari is the second most popular web browser in the world, although it is only a fraction of the size of Chrome.
Safari has plenty of small but useful features like a password generator, machine learning based protection and anti-fingerprinting tools. It also runs your tabs in separate sandboxes (keeping different programs separate from one another), which helps prevent malicious code from accessing your data.
Safari offers a private browsing mode, as do many other browsers, but Apple has been caught collecting browsing history even with private browsing on, which is worrisome. Safari is partly open-sourced, but not all of it.
Safari is available for macOS and iOS.
The Tor browser Is endorsed by Edward Snowden, and is often associated with the dark web. The browser blocks Flash, RealPlayer, QuickTime and other plug-ins that can be manipulated into revealing your IP address. Tor also protects you from tracking and automatically clears your cookies and history.
With Tor, all your traffic is encrypted three times and is decentralized and operated by volunteers. This makes it possibly the most secure browser available. But while all its elaborate decentralization means you get unmatched privacy protection, it also slows things down substantially. In fact, the slow connection speed makes Tor impractical for everyday use.
Tor is available for Windows, macOS and Linux.
Vivaldi calls itself “The Browser that Puts You in Control” due to its highly customizable interface and functionality. Its extensive customization options also extend to its privacy settings, which are numerous. You can, for example, set different default search engines for when you’re using regular and private browsing modes, and create different security settings for both.
Vivaldi is compatible with most Chrome browser extensions, which is good for user friendliness, but also means it can be infiltrated with malware. Vivaldi also offers end-to-end encryption for syncing between devices, but it does not yet have mobile device support which is a major problem. Also questionable: Vivaldi collects IP addresses and stores them on their database in Iceland. They claim this is done merely to determine their total number of users, but some experts are wary.
Vivaldi is available for Windows, macOS, Linux and Android.
Single Path can help you find the most secure browser for your needs.
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