The Best Browsers for Security and Privacy

Imagine finding out that your browsing activity is being monitored by someone else. Scary, right? Well, unless this person is your parent, you will be shaken to your wits. A parent or not, you will be in constant worry about what they might do or have already done with the information they have gathered. A […]

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The Best Browsers for Security and Privacy

Posted on Nov, 28, 2020 I Elise

Imagine finding out that your browsing activity is being monitored by someone else. Scary, right? Well, unless this person is your parent, you will be shaken to your wits. A parent or not, you will be in constant worry about what they might do or have already done with the information they have gathered. A stranger who stands the benefit to breach your privacy and acquire your passwords and codes may steal from you, catfish other people impersonating you and tarnish your reputation. With that said, it is then imperative to have a secure browser for every internet-surfing venture.

In this decade, cybersecurity and having software tested is of great significance. And notably, the technologies related to security are far more advanced than what we had ten years ago. For instance, the firewalls are better, the PC repair guides and the restrictions are precise.

But what are these browsers all about? How sure are you that the one you are using has the best security features? Well, read on to find out more.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

1. Microsoft Edge

Ever wondered where Microsoft Explorer disappeared to? Most people thought that Microsoft decided to remove the browser, but the truth is, they did not. Now, there is the Microsoft Edge browser with improved security features that will knock the socks right off your feet.

First and foremost, the browser is a Chromium-based browser, which simply means that it has an operating code that is open-source. Open-source coded software is one that anyone using it can inspect, modify, and enhance. With this feature, an internet user can then quickly get any information he/she is looking for, copy it, and even change it if the owner allows.

Secondly, the browser has regular security updates at least once a week. Thirdly, Microsoft Edge has a rolled out automatic profile switching feature. With this, you can easily keep your data protected by the use of a password for each account. But the security features go beyond just that. The extra security features are as follows:

  • The Microsoft SmartScreen

Did you know that some apps and websites find their way into our browsers without consent? Not convinced? Well, ever used your phone to browse a particular site or play a specific game? After switching accounts or devices, you see similar ads to the game or the topic of search. It is not a miracle, and the device did not read your mind. The sites might have surpassed your browser security. Microsoft SmartScreen comes in to protect your browsing from phishing attacks. This is achieved as it runs reputation checks on the websites and the apps. If they have a history of getting flagged, they are restricted access.

  • Sandboxing in Edge

Borrowing the concept from gardening, sandboxing in Edge isolates applications from critical systems resources and other programs. This technology fences out and restricts the range of services to safeguard your browsing experience. If the site downloads data unapproved, it goes into the sandbox. And once it is closed, everything is erased.

  • Edge Chromium Extension Management

All browsers come with extensions that allow users to use them with ease. For instance, mail trackers are one of those that will enable you to see when your email was received and even when it was opened. On Microsoft Edge, you have full control through the editable ExtensionInstallAllowList. This here is one of the handy PC tips and tricks Microsoft uses.

  • Tracking Prevention

Another security feature Microsoft Edge has is tracking prevention where it restricts trackers from accessing your information. The levels are basic, balanced, and strict. The basic level keeps crypto mining and fingerprinting trackers at bay, but allows personalized history search trackers that help streamline your browser searches. The balanced level protects you against hackers of sites you have never visited. Lastly, the strict level is harder to breach as it can restrict some images from loading, videos from playing, and even the whole site from loading. An administrator of the operating system sets these levels.

  • Doesn’t Support ActiveX Controls and BHO’s

The data in these formats can be used to pose as Trojans. Hence, they are locked out completely.

2. Opera

The Opera browser has an inbuilt ad-blocker that restricts the appearance of unnecessary ads that can be potentially harmful. In addition to that, it has a tracker blocker that keeps all your information safe from prying eyes. The tracker blocker references its scrutiny from the EasyPrivacy Tracking Protection List, consequently protecting you from being tracked by advertisers and other sites.

Just like Microsoft Edge, Opera does not support ActiveX controls that help with spyware. The software also restricts visual basic script, which can be used in the writing of malicious codes used to harm your devices and breach your privacy.

Another security feature it has is impeccable encryption and security protocols that keep your data safe. This feature has the secure sockets layer commonly known as the SSL incorporated with TLS to secure inter-site communications. The encryption used is the 128-bit size, which is currently the highest level of security. However, as you browse, make sure that you see the padlock icon as that indicates you are surfing in the safe zone.

The next feature is the cookie and referrer logging one that allows customization for private data usage in communication between you and the frequent sites you use. With this, you can also define the cookie storage that is fit for you. Lastly, you are sure that you will not be interrupted by ads as there is also a pop-up blocker. Most users do use web application firewall in order to protect their data from online threats.

3. Google Chrome

Of all the browsers, Google Chrome is the most popular of the bunch. Undisputedly, its popularity is attributed to the number of interconnected apps that run the internet today. There is the popular Gmail for emails, Sheets, Docs, and Calendar, to mention a few, all of which integrate to make a web or precious resource for any internet user. But then again, how secure is browsing with Google Chrome? Let’s find out:

  • Automated updates

In every six to eight weeks, Google Chrome prompts updates that fix any security patch that may deem wanting.

  • Password protection

When you want to access Google Chrome, you have to provide a password. And whenever you use a new device, the same is asked of you. If your account is logged in without your knowledge, you are prompted via email or text.

  • Real-time phishing protection

Google Chrome offers you real-time phishing protection. This keeps all sensitive data on email, phone, or laptop safe. Once a malicious site is detected, an alert is issued promptly.

  • Encryption on data synching

With Google Chrome, you have a choice of syncing your data with any device you use the browser on. If you are using a device that is frequently accessed by you like a phone, it is best to sync, otherwise, do not. Chrome gives you this choice.

  • Sandboxing

As described above on Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome does the same as a security and privacy setting.

4. Apple Safari

Apple Safari is an exclusive Apple browser only available to iOS and Mac users. For security, this app has the following:

  • Pop-up blocks

This keeps those annoying adverts that pop-up while you work on something on the browser. Most times, these pop-ups are a channel some hackers may use to lure you into clicking them so that they can breach your browser security. On Safari, you will not encounter such.

  • Private session browsing

If you do not want your search to be traced or saved on your device, Safari offers you a chance to browse privately. No cookies will be stored, thus a safer browsing experience.

  • A switch on plug-ins

You have the choice to either turn on and off plug-ins such as Java and JavaScripts, among others. This freedom limits the occurrences of you encountering sinister links in those formats.

  • Seeks permission for all downloads

Ever been in a situation where your device is full of downloads, and you have no idea what they are? Well, with Apple Safari, you will not be a victim of this. Whenever a click or logins prompt a download, you are asked for permission. If you approve, then you allow it. Otherwise, the download is turned down.

  • Default cookie control

Cookies are beneficial as they help you load familiar pages on your browser faster. But if the size they occupy is too big, they can make the system lag. With that said, other security features may be robbed of that space, thus not function at their best, and this is a security risk. On Apple Safari, you will be able to control and delete cookies when they occupy too much space.

5. Mozilla Firefox

Trailing Google Chrome in popularity, Mozilla is also a pretty fantastic browser to use in 2020. First of all, it has in-built anti-malware, antivirus integration, and anti-phishing features that keep the majority of malicious hackers out. Most of the programs meant to cause harm are halted even before they affect you.

Just like Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox also offers its users private browsing sessions where data is kept safe and not saved after the session. When you log into any site, there is an instant website ID, and this makes sure that the site is legit lacking any malicious program.

Mozilla Firefox also has a do not track feature and lastly, a customizable security setting and parental controls. This browser is great for parents with minors at home as this keeps children from accessing harmful sites as well as being used as bait to infiltrate devices.

6. Tor browser

Perhaps not as popular as Google Chrome, but Tor has one of the most sophisticated security features. For starters, all the browsing data is encrypted. This means if you have no access to an account, there is little you can do. The browser also has adjustable security levels, namely, standard, safer, and safest.

  • Standard level – This level has all website features enabled. On this level, only the essential security function of anti-malware, anti-spyware, and a few others are upheld.
  • Safer level – On this level, any dangerous site is restricted. Additionally, JavaScript is disabled on all non- HTTPS addresses. This means that specific fonts and some math symbols cannot load. Furthermore, audio and videos are only playable when you click on them.
  • Safest level – This being the highest level of security on Tor, it only allows site features required for static and essential services such as texts. JavaScript is disabled, although some fonts and math symbols are also not seen.

Take Away

If you want your information to remain in the light, it is best to prevent an attack before it even presents itself. These are just primary PC tips and tricks to use every day. Know of the maxim prevention is better than cure? Well, even in the digital space, it applies. So, the next time you are using Tor or Mozilla Firefox, you now know how they both protect your information like passwords and sensitive data.

Nov 28 2020

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