Nowadays, pretty much everyone has a favorite browser (opens in new tab) for everyday use, but does this browser of choice belong among the most secure browsers out there? That’s the question we’ll like to answer in this article.
Whether you’re simply surfing the web, conducting business, or staying in touch with loved ones, the odds are you’re using some sort of browser as your gateway to the internet. Since you’ll be sharing some personal and perhaps even sensitive information (opens in new tab), you’ll want to protect your identity from cybercriminals and their traps. If the browser is not secure enough, malware can get into your systems, infect your devices, and seriously damage your important data.
While solid antivirus software will make your internet browsing adventure safe and secure, it’s smarter to stop malware (opens in new tab)from entering in the first place than to fix the damage that’s done. By choosing a secure browser you won’t only be safeguarding all your data but also make sure no one can go snooping around your online activities.
To help you decide which one to choose, we’ll share with you our top picks for the most secure browsers currently out there, so stick around. However, before we come to that, let’s clear up what makes a browser secure and how to pick out one.
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What is a secure browser?
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In simple terms, a secure browser is everything a browser should be but strengthened with an extra layer of security that’ll keep its users out of reach of cybercriminal activity while surfing the internet. It creates a white list, which is a list of sites, programs, and online activities classified as secure, and keeps its users safe by stopping all functions missing from this list when starting up.
Also, although browser security and privacy are not the same things, they preferably go hand-in-hand. While browser security deals with malware and keeps every layer of defense up to date, the privacy part is primarily concerned with protecting your data and concealing your identity. Nevertheless, a browser considered strong in security should possess both of these characteristics and in similar proportions.
How to choose the most secure browser?
Since there is no shortage of malware, hackers, and identity thieves on the internet, your browser of choice should be able to shield you from all sorts of cyber threats including phishing sites, web cookies, spyware, keyloggers, and malicious pop-ups.
In addition to this, a secure browser proficient in privacy will let its users delete all browser history whenever they want and safeguard their personal information from others. Plus, it should allow you to use passwords alongside a browser to further shield all your data.
Considering there are more than a few solid and secure browsers across multiple operating systems (OS’) and devices, choosing the right one for you can be a challenge. So, to cut the search short here are our top picks for the most secure browsers on the market.
When it comes to popularity, Google Chrome has been keeping the title of the world’s most popular browser for decades now – and for the right reasons. It’s strikingly secure, simple to use, and lightning-fast. Also, it’s pretty well-polished, kept up-to-date with a swift update cycle, and rich in security features such as automatic updates, automatic download scanning, automatic malware site warnings, privacy sandbox tabs, and incognito mode.
However, despite Chrome being deemed as “the unhackable browser” at multiple Pwn2Own computer hacking contests, when it comes to privacy scores it’s a completely different story.
It’s no secret that Chrome collects data from all of its users, tracks them, and doesn’t shy away from committing other privacy violations for the sake of profit.
Also, since it’s not an open-source software it’s hard to tell in which ways it’s tracking its users. As Chrome interacts with your Google account (through the sync feature), it automatically collects all your data (including your search history) and sends it back to Google. And if you’re using Chrome on your smartphone, all your location data will be sent as well.
So, while rock-solid on security, if you want a privacy-friendly browser stay away from Chrome.
As an open-source, secure, and highly customizable browser, Mozilla Firefox surpasses Chrome when it comes to privacy. Famously user-friendly yet flexible, Firefox is a top pick for non-techies and tech-savvy users alike.
If you wish to protect your privacy above everything else, download a couple of privacy plugins and cover up your online activities. Unlike Chrome, Firefox doesn’t track your browser history and its updates are fairly frequent (although less frequent than with Chrome), so you can feel at ease – if you don’t need hardcore security, that is.
Some of its security features include automatic tracking cookies blocking, anti-phishing and anti-malware, DNS over HTTPS (DoH) encrypted connection, and capability with third-party security extensions.
If you want to raise the level of security, you’ll want to manually customize your Firefox and perhaps add reports about suspicious sites, data breach alerts, stave off all data collection, block all pop-ups, force all connections to go through HTTPS, and so forth.
If you’re using Android or iOS, a privacy-focused Firefox Focus browser is also a great choice.
We can’t talk about privacy without mentioning the king of private browsing Tor Browser, an open-source, Firefox-based, privacy-centered browser that’s created with the Tor network in mind and packed with advanced security features sure to shield you from browser fingerprinting.
Staying strong on security, Tor blocks all scripts by default, hides your IP address, and runs in anonymous browsing mode. Each time you close your browser window, everything is lost, including your browsing history, passwords you’ve used, and cookies. Depending on your point of view, this can be either a blessing or a curse - you’ll be sacrificing convenience and simplicity for the sake of safer browsing.
Also, Flash and Quicktime are blocked, so no one can hack into your devices by exploiting Tor’s inborn security vulnerabilities. On the downside, this script blocking routine can result in inconsistent and somewhat slow speed. Plus, Tor isn’t a beginner-friendly browser that could leave less tech-savvy users at a loss and vulnerable to cyber threats.
Pick one of the most secure browsers and surf the web swimmingly
While there is a lot you can do to make surfing the internet safe and secure (such as minimizing the sensitive information you give out, coming up with strong passwords, and keeping your software up to date), the first step should be choosing one of the most secure browsers.
If you don’t mind sharing your personal information with Google, Google Chrome offers superior security and a straightforward user experience. If you do mind, then Mozilla Firefox is your best bet. And if you’re a tech-savvy wizard looking for a secure browser for Linux, Tor Browser is a clear choice.
- Make sure to also check out our list of the best VPN services around (opens in new tab)