Your Internet Service Provider (ISP), websites you visit, advertisers, government agencies, everyone keeps lurking continuously to track you online. Can we prevent them? Yes, using secure browsers is the solution you need.
Anyone who manages to get unauthorized access to your PC will be able to see your browsing history and can learn about your online activities.
What makes matters worse is the willingness of web browsers to avail and report a lot of your personal information to websites you frequently visit.
Subsequently, it is not only your internet service provider that knows your online history; it is also your government and the governments of other nations.
In the wake of growing interest in privacy on the part of internet users, leading web browsers are always releasing logs, notes, and sending emails reassuring their users of their commitment to privacy.
However, when you take a good look at their terms and conditions or their privacy statements, you will realize user privacy is the last thing they intend to achieve.
For this reason, it is essential for you to as an avid of web browser and internet user to arm yourself with information and knowledge.
In this article, I will show you how your web browser may be compromising your security and privacy, the best web browsers in 2020, as well as practices you can adopt to enhance your privacy.
How a Browser Becomes Unsafe
One of the major mistakes we do as internet users is trusting our web browsers blindly.
We use web browsers to view all sorts of information on the internet, be it private, financial, or potentially embarrassing.
We do this knowing very well that some facets of our character are being recorded.
Most people consent to this logging of information by websites as they believe it will allow them to browse the internet easily with minimum disruptions.
However, you must keep in mind that not all web browsers available are good for our online life.
Settling on a wrong web browser can be disastrous to you as it can compromise your privacy, identity, and security in many ways than you can imagine.
While the internet has revolutionized the way we live and interact, it is the web browser that allows us to interact with the internet.
By transforming the way we trade, bank, learn, enjoy entertainment among many other everyday tasks, web browsers are an integral part of our online experience.
So, What Risks an Insecure Browser Carries?
It is becoming increasingly common for cybercriminals to attack computers through insecure browsers.
If you are not taking care of the browser security threats, or even do not have any idea about them in the first place, you can get into serious trouble.
- An insecure browser is easy to infiltrate, allowing malware and spyware to be installed on user computers without their knowledge.
- A web browser that is not safe can allow hackers to take control of your computer, accessing and stealing your information, and even using your computer to commit other crimes.
- If you store your bank and financial details on your PC, an insecure web browser can be used as a gateway in which attackers can gain access to this vital information.
- Also, most insecure web browsers are used by advertisement companies to gather your online history to create targeted ads. Although this might look harmless, it is gross misconduct on the part of the browser company to breach user privacy.
What a Secure Browser Boasts
While your web browser is the gate pass to the internet, your web browser also assumes the role of the first line of defense against any external threat.
Some people might be having an insecure online browsing experience on safe web browsers due to the lack of knowledge.
Small tweaks and changes to your web browser security settings might be all you need to make your online experience much safer.
Most mainstream web browsers available in the market are generally excellent and secure for the user.
Whether you are using Chrome or Tor, the developers behind those web browsers will always prioritize on security and privacy.
However, standard practices are being done in the market that disrupts the capabilities of mainstream browsers to be fully-encrypted so that some data is available to governments and third-party monitoring.
Therefore, for you to be secure and invisible online, you need to ensure your web browser has all the following privacy protection and security features present in it:
- Has a Built-in VPN or a VPN Extension: – The built-in VPN feature will allow you to browse the internet hassle-free from any third-party monitoring without subscribing to a dedicated VPN service provider.
- Has a Built-in or Malware Checker Extension: – A malware checker is an essential feature as it allows you to surf the internet comfortably without the worry of malware. Some websites and webpages on the internet contain malware that has the potential to steal your data and destroy your device.
- Boasts an Auto-Update Function: – A web browser that does not have an auto-update function is an insecure web browser. That is mainly because of the security risks and vulnerabilities attached to a web browser that does not have such features.
- An outdated browser is a bad idea due to its vulnerability to being hacked and attacked.
- Should Have Many Privacy Options: – A credible web browser should present its users with a wide array of privacy features and options that they want to use. For example, a good web browser should allow its users to disable data monitoring activity whenever they want.
Also, a quality secure browser should have basic privacy settings such as ad blocker and incognito mode.
Since the online ecosystem is continuously changing, patches and updates are some of the most critical features of browser security.
When attackers find new ways of poking holes on web browsers, their respective developers should counter them as quickly as possible to prevent compromise.
11 Best Web Browsers for Security and Privacy in 2020
Now you know picking a wrong web browser can compromise your privacy and security in many ways online.
Also, you by now are familiar with what a secure browser has that makes it a good choice.
It is time for us to jump right onto the list of most privacy-oriented browsers available today with excellent user-friendly features.
Please note I have ranked these browsers in my personal opinion, however, I am not implying that the web browser listed on number one is the only epic privacy browser.
Your individual needs can better tell you what’s the most privacy-oriented browser you should be using.
Released in 2002, the Tor web browser was developed for users who wish to access the internet anonymously, safeguarding their identity.
Considered safe for the average internet user, the Tor web browser has an added layer of protection that enables thorough anonymity, allowing users to browse the internet in locations where the internet is heavily censored.
For instance, in a country like Iraq, where there are hundreds of blocked websites, internet users have no other option but to look for an alternative to bypass the restrictions.
Journalists and activists alike use the Tor web browser to transmit their findings while keeping their sources safe.
The web browser manages to do this by hiding your identity via channeling your encrypted internet traffic through at least three Tor nodes that ensure total online anonymity.
Advantages of Tor
- The Tor web browser automatically clears user cookies after every session, which ensures it does not keep any browsing history record.
- This secure web browser is free to download and use, welcoming only donations to its organization.
- It is compatible with major operating systems like Unix, Android, Windows, and macOS.
- Many volunteers who are pro-privacy and security enthusiasts run the Tor network.
- Its network stands on the principle of resisting the government’s effort to meddle in people’s affairs.
- Allows access to geo-restricted websites and content.
If you have been accessing the internet for any reasonable length of time, you probably know Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome’s fierce competitor.
According to our research at 5Gist, Mozilla Firefox is one of the safest web browsers in the market today as it offers its users several privacy-enhanced attributes that are built-in the web browser.
Bursting with user-friendly features, Mozilla Firefox offers all the necessary security features that include data synchronization, ad blocking, anti-tracking, password management, among others.
According to market research, Mozilla Firefox is currently among the most transparent web browsers around that fiercely protects user data and information.
Back in 2015, Firefox released a private browsing feature. Thanks to that, the browser erases all your info like cookies, history, and passwords as soon as you closeout.
That is a very handy thing for a pro-privacy guy like me, as it helps me leave no trace online.
Another thing I like about Firefox is it boasts tracking protection. How is that helpful? I hear you ask.
As we know some advertisements and websites attach hidden trackers to collect our browsing info long after we have left, Firefox private browsing tracking protection blocks such trackers automatically.
Advantages of Mozilla Firefox
- Uses less memory as compared to Google Chrome
- Collects limited user data
- Users can customize their user experience by choosing from a wide array of themes
As a fork of Mozilla Firefox, I can recommend Waterfox to people who still want to have a feel of Firefox functionality without using the standard Mozilla Firefox web browser.
Users might want to consider Waterfox since Mozilla has a telemetry agreement with Quantum to collect user data, while also amassing user browsing activity through Cliqz.
Despite being a fork of Firefox, Waterfox happens to be more secure than Firefox offering users more privacy options.
Advantages of Waterfox
- Open Source
- Does not gather user information and browsing history
- Has older Firefox add-ons
- Safe and secure
Pale Moon Browser
Sharing a lot of similarities with Waterfox, the Pale Moon browser is yet another fork of Firefox that strives to offer superior customization and efficiency.
According to our 5Gist cybersecurity team’s research and tests, Pale Moon does indeed have great customization options for users to choose from, as well as support for Firefox extensions and add-ons.
The user interface is easy to understand and navigate, and it is also lightweight and fast.
At present, Pale Moon is available on Linux and Windows.
Advantages of Pale Moon
- It does not contain suspicious privacy-invading software and extensions
- Independent from Firefox
- Robust security
Brave is a free standalone privacy-focused web browser that is compatible with Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS.
As an open-source web browser, Brave is based on Chromium’s source code, offering robust privacy and security features to its users.
Apart from its superior security and privacy features, Brave happens to be three times faster than Google Chrome.
Advantages of Brave
- Browsing with Brave is like browsing in incognito mode
- Automatically deletes all user browsing data after every session
- Shows you who is tracking your activity
SeaMonkey web browser is a fast, stable, and more responsive web browser than Mozilla Firefox.
According to our research, SeaMonkey is more user-friendly as compared to other leading browsers, such as Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.
Unlike other web browsers, SeaMonkey allows its users to log in to eBay, social media sites, and other mail accounts without asking for permission.
If you wish to have old-school web experience, then SeaMonkey will surely be a treat for you.
Notably, however, being a fork it uses Firefox Gecko rendering engine and code, but concerning security and updates, it lags behind Mozilla Firefox.
Advantages of SeaMonkey
- Supports most of Firefox’s security features
- Most SeaMonkey extensions and add-ons are compatible with Mozilla Firefox
- Easy to install and has easy to access features
- Safeguards users against online threats such as phishing websites, viruses, malware, spyware, and rootkits
- Updates are available regularly and can be downloaded directly from the SeaMonkey website
Joining the long list of top web browsers for privacy, IceCat is yet another fork of Mozilla Firefox, offering superior privacy-protection features to its users.
Advantages of IceCat
- Includes additional privacy-protection features such as third party and third-part cookies blocking
- Offer warning for URL redirection
With Chromium, you get rid of all the tracking features that Google Chrome boasts.
But, bear in mind, at the same time, it doesn’t have some of the features like accessing streaming sites such as Hulu or Netflix or watching MP4 videos.
As the parent company of Google Chrome, Chromium supplies the majority of Google Chrome’s source code.
Advantages of Chromium
- Updates more frequently hence its the advanced security
- Does not track your Web browsing
- Does not support Adobe Flash, which is an excellent thing to keep users secure online (if you ask me)
The Puffin web browser is unique as it employs radical and practical methods for optimum browser security.
The Puffin web browser runs everything server-side ensuring users are safe and secure as compared to normal browsers available in the market.
Advantages of Puffin
- Fairly easy to use
- Offers high security and privacy
- Provides excellent performance
Tenta is a security and confidentiality packed web browser built with features that are meant to keep users safe and protected while they surf the internet.
Tenta opens only HTTPS URLs, allowing users to visit HTTP URLs only after getting clearance from them.
Advantages of Tenta
- Automatically blocks both ads and pop-ups
- Blocks screenshots while Tenta is open
- Closes all tabs on exit
As a Microsoft creation, Edge is a web browser that was made with security in the mind.
According to some industry researches, Microsoft Edge Edge outperformed Firefox and Google Chrome when it came down to spotting (and blocking) phishing sites quickly.
While it offers good security, Microsoft Edge (the standard web browser for Windows devices now), on the other side, has convoluted privacy settings. Also, it boasts a slow speed compared to Chrome.
Advantages of Edge
- Blocks malicious websites
- Supports Google safe browsing
Pop-up Blockers for Browsers
Undoubtedly, pop-ups and ads are some of the most annoying things over the internet.
Apart from interrupting your online experience, they tend to be one of the most common carriers of malware and spyware.
While almost all web browsers have a built-in pop-up blocker, downloading and installing one is highly recommended for avid internet users.
Depending on your operating system and browser, you can get your hands on the best free adblockers.
Some of such add-ons that I can recommend right now include AdBlock Plus, Poper Blocker, Adblocker Ultimate, Trustnav Adblocker, and NoScript.
Regular Web Browsers’ Security Concerns
Almost all web browsers pose privacy and security concerns. For instance, going by the relationship between Google Chrome and Google, many experts see Chrome as spyware for Google.
When you look at the mother companies associated with web browsers, they one way or another have an interest in user browsing data and activity. This is the reason why all major web browsers are seen to be a security concern.
Browsers are an essential element in our online experience as they allow us to access the internet safely and securely.
On the other hand, privacy and security are also critical considerations when accessing the internet.
There are several web browsers in the market, each speaking of its strengths while remaining mum on their weakness.
Users are encouraged to research more before settling on a web browser as they are the windows to the internet.
And of course, security issues and privacy concerns should be at the forefront before deciding on a web browser.
I put all such issues forefront and picked the 11 best secure browsers covered above in this article for you, hope it all helps you choose your new most-secure web browser.
Alongside using a private browser that ensures optimum privacy, you may also consider using additional privacy and security tools such as ad-blockers (I use Adblocker Ultimate).
Another essential security tool to strengthen your browser security at the very best possible is VPN
A quality VPN like ExpressVPN encrypts and hides your browser traffic from ISPs, hackers, governments, and everyone else lurking to access your personal information online.
Using VPN in combination with one of the most secure browsers listed above will ensure you have optimal online browsing privacy alongside protecting you from numerous cyberattacks.
Finally, as you do not want to keep any hole open concerning your internet security, consider using quality antivirus software (I use Bitdefender Plus), too.
Taking control of your online privacy is like completing a puzzle, if you want an entirely secure browsing experience, you need to place all the pieces together.
Featured Image Courtesy of Pixabay.