A secure browser that safeguards your privacy is a must-have for staying safe online and keeping your data private from prying eyes. In this article, we’ll look at the most secure browsers that also protect your privacy.
WARNING: Today’s browsers are mostly used to harvest data for advertising companies. This is the situation with Google Chrome, the most popular and widely used browser. These companies can generate money through their advertising partners with customized ads by gathering data through your browser. Search engines, email services, and even free mobile apps all follow the same privacy-abusing business model.
Most browsers, unless correctly configured, include a wealth of private data that can be exploited – or simply acquired – by a variety of third parties:
Login credentials: all the websites you visit in the past Login history: all the websites you visit in the past Login history: all the websites you visit in the past passwords and usernames
Cookies and trackers: the sites you visit place these on your browser. Autofill information: names, addresses, phone numbers, and so on.
Using “private” or “incognito” surfing will not protect you, as we will explain further below. Your IP address will remain public, and third parties will be able to track your every move. You don’t have to take my word for it, though. Google is snooping on “Incognito” browsing, according to a recent headline.
Even if you use a secure and hardened browser, there may still be attacks that expose your data and identity. Google Chrome, for example, recently disclosed a serious zero-day vulnerability that might allow hackers to remotely execute code on affected PCs. Other privacy risks (and remedies) are discussed in our tutorials on browser fingerprinting and WebRTC leakage.
But don’t get too worked up over it. We’ll go over some of the most effective methods and technologies in more depth below. We’ll cover the following issues in this browser security and privacy guide:
- Browsers with the highest level of security and privacy protection
- Troubleshooting issues with other browsers
- Privacy compartmentalization in the browser
- Browser add-ons that are safe
- The “Private Browsing” setting isn’t exactly private (and why you need a VPN)
Your real IP address and location are still disclosed to every website, ad, and tracker that loads in your browser when you use “private” or “incognito” browsing mode. Using a VPN service in conjunction with a decent browser is the best method to obtain full privacy while disguising your real IP address and location. From our list of the best VPNs, here are our top two picks.
NordVPN is a Panama-based fast, secure, and audited VPN with superior privacy features and a strict no-logs policy.
Surfshark VPN is a no-logs VPN service situated in the British Virgin Islands with a long list of privacy and security features.
Let’s look at the safest browsers that you may use in conjunction with a VPN to ensure optimum privacy.
Secure browsers that keep your information private
We’ll look at the best browsers in this part based on two primary criteria:
- Security: How well does the browser protect you from online exploits, hackers, and vulnerabilities?
- Privacy: How much information does the browser collect about you, and with whom is it shared? What safeguards does the browser provide for your privacy?
This article isn’t intended to persuade everyone to use a single browser that outperforms all others. Rather, it’s a collection of facts on various web browsers that excel at both privacy and security. Choose the best browser for you depending on your specific requirements and risk profile.
The following are the safest and most private browsers for 2021
- Brave is perhaps the best secure browser, offering basic privacy right out of the box. It’s a Chromium-based browser that prioritizes speed, security, and privacy by default. It includes an ad blocker and anti-browser fingerprinting protection, as well as access to a variety of add-ons and extensions. Brandon Eich, a former Mozilla employee, is the principal developer behind Brave.
To conclude, Brave is a browser built on open-source Chromium that has been tweaked for increased privacy. With its basic privacy settings and other capabilities, it performs admirably. Here’s a quick rundown:
- By default, it blocks advertisements and trackers.
- Protects against browser fingerprinting and even allows you to randomize your fingerprints.
- Script blocker built-in
- All third-party storage is disabled.
- Upgrades to HTTPS automatically (HTTPS Everywhere)
- Access to the Tor network is simple.
One of the reasons we appreciate Brave is that it comes with basic, out-of-the-box privacy. This makes it excellent for folks who don’t have the time, patience, or know-how to customize and tamper with their browsers. Brave also works with Chrome extensions, making it a great Chrome alternative. You only need to download it and you’re ready to start.
- Firefox for privacy and security, is a fantastic all-around browser. It has strong privacy protection features, a lot of customization possibilities, good security, and regular updates from a dedicated development team. Firefox’s latest version is quick and light, with plenty of privacy settings to choose from. Firefox isn’t the most secure browser out of the box, but it can be altered and hardened, and we’ll show you how in our guide on Firefox privacy changes. Make sure telemetry is turned off in Firefox, as it collects “technical and interaction data” as well as “installing and running studies” within your browser.
There are numerous handy customization choices for different levels of privacy within the Privacy & Security settings area: Standard, Strict, or Custom.
Another fantastic feature of Firefox is the ability to utilize a variety of browser extensions to improve your privacy and security. We’ll go through a few of these enhancements in more detail later on.
- Open-source code that has been audited by a third party
- Development is ongoing, with frequent updates.
- Privacy features and customization choices are excellent.
- There are numerous browser extensions that are supported.
- Telemetry and tracking must be turned off manually.
- Other changes are required for increased privacy and security.
You can use the Firefox Extended Support Release if you wish to maintain utilizing older add-ons that aren’t supported by the latest Firefox release (ESR). Try Firefox concentrate for Android if you want a privacy-focused version of Firefox.
- Tor browser is a Tor-compatible version of Firefox that has been hardened and configured to run on the Tor network. The Tor Browser is a safe browser that shields you from browser fingerprinting by default, but it has significant drawbacks. The Tor browser’s download speeds can be slow since it uses the Tor network, which distributes traffic through three separate hops. Due to script blocking, the default version may also damage some sites.
Finally, the Tor network has flaws, including malicious/dangerous exit nodes, high latency, reliance on US government funding, and some consider it to be fundamentally tainted. Many websites now restrict IP addresses that originate from the Tor network.
Another approach is to disable the Tor network in the Tor browser. In this regard, the Tor browser will function similarly to the other browsers we’ve discussed so far. You can also simply leave a VPN running in the background. A VPN, like the Tor network, encrypts your communication and hides your IP address, but it is significantly faster.
Adjusting the Tor browser’s settings should be done with caution, as doing so may compromise the browser’s built-in anonymity and security protections.
- Ungoogled Chromium browser is an open-source project that aims to create a Chromium browser that is free of Google’s privacy concerns: ungoogled-chromium is Google Chromium without the Google web services dependency. There are also some changes to improve privacy, control, and openness (almost all of which require manual activation or enabling).
ungoogled-chromium tries to replicate the normal Chromium experience as much as possible. Ungoogled-chromium is effectively a drop-in replacement for Chromium, unlike other Chromium forks that have their own views of a web browser. Chromium security updates are applied to ungoogled Chromium on a regular basis.
- Bromite (Android) Only for Android, a Chromium-based browser (no desktop support). It comes with a number of useful features out of the box, such as ad blocking and different privacy enhancements. From the official Bromite website, here are some of the browser’s highlights:
- With the installation of a fast ad-blocking engine, the major goal is to provide a clutter-free browsing experience without privacy-invading features.
- To assist combat the perception of “browser as an advertisement platform,” some UI adjustments are made.
- All fixes are released under the GNU/GPL v3 license, allowing them to be used by other open source projects.
- Only Android Lollipop (v5.0, API level 21) and higher support Bromite.
Another unique feature of Bromite that I appreciate is the ability to create custom ad block filters – find out more here. Bromite is still being developed and is a fantastic browser for Android users.
- DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused browser (iOS and Android)
Our privacy browser, DuckDuckGo, is a new addition to our range. This browser is available for iOS and Android devices and includes a number of privacy-focused features by default. DuckDuckGo’s browser, according to this blog post, provides:
- Built-in anti-tracking features
- Smarter Encryption technology upgrades encryption.
- Options for simple data management and deletion
- High-speed operations
- This browser is now available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Conclusion On Private Browsing and Safe Browsers
A well-configured secure browser is essential for keeping your data safe while browsing the web.
Finding the safest browser boils down to determining which one is the greatest fit for your specific requirements. I try to avoid proposing only one choice for all use situations because this is a personal decision with subjective criteria.
You should use a good ad blocker in addition to utilizing a safe browser that is configured to protect your privacy. Adverts act as tracking devices, collecting information about your surfing habits and displaying ads that are relevant to you. Your activity can be recorded by third-party advertising networks and any site displaying ads if you aren’t disabling ads.
Have you made up your mind on which browser you’ll use after reading this article? Please leave your thoughts in the box below.