Although it is difficult to stay anonymous online, and even if you regularly clear your cookies, advertising agencies, criminals, or even nosy friends can still end up with your private information. While browsers can’t protect you from every trap, some are better at helping you maintain your anonymity and surf the web securely.
In case you’re concerned about your privacy online, it might be time to say goodbye to Google and check out these secure browsers that we have compiled.
Brave‘s laundry list of security and privacy features provide enough reasons for this browser to claim the top spot on our list of the best browsers for privacy. But there are a few features worth highlighting such as its automatic HTTPS connection upgrades, its ability to block ads and scripts, manage cookies, and it has a native password manager. You can even customize your shield (read: security) settings on a “per-site or browser-wide basis.” And if you’re curious to see exactly how well Brave blocks unwanted content and trackers, you can just view the blocking stats on the New Tab page.
And even if you’re not crazy about customizing your own settings, Brave’s defaults are still pretty solid since they automatically block things like phishing and malware.
For those who want to get specific about how they manage their browser’s privacy and security settings, Firefox is a great option. While Mozilla does heavily emphasize its default settings and the fact that it provides “strong privacy protection from the moment [users] install,” you can still customize a fairly detailed list of privacy and security settings which include features like the ability to block cookies and third-party trackers and the level of security that you want.
If you want total security you can opt for the Strict option that blocks every single tracker detected. You can also just use the Standard option that allows you to have the best of both worlds: better performance and tracker blocking. And Firefox’s tracking protections are turned on by default even when you use its Private Browsing Mode.
If you’re looking for a browser that’s thought of everything security-wise, Tor Browser might be the browser for you. The Tor Browser handles your security concerns down to the smallest detail. (Really. Even when you try to maximize your browser window, Tor Browser will warn you that doing so can leave you open to having your computer’s screen size tracked and it will recommend that you change it back to its smaller, default window size.)
Tor also offers other security measures such as the automatic deletion of your browser history and cookies when you’re finished browsing, the blocking of third-party trackers, and protection that includes three layers of encryption for your web traffic, “as it passes over the Tor network.”
Apple touts that its own browser, Safari, is the “best browser for your Mac,” and that may very well be the case, at least as far as its security and privacy features are concerned. According to Apple, Safari actually uses machine learning to prevent the tracking of your personal data, including your browsing history. Safari is able to do this by using machine learning to detect advertisers and other trackers and then removing their “cross-site tracking data.” Safari also offers a number of other helpful security features including: Sandboxing, warnings for unsafe websites, Private Browsing (which includes a DuckDuckGo default search engine), and the auto-generation of strong passwords that can be auto filled and stored for all of a user’s Apple devices.
Safari also works with iCloud Keychain, which is an optional feature which allows you to store and autofill sensitive data (like usernames, passwords, credit card information, and social media account logins) for any given device you’ve approved of. The best part of iCloud Keychain is that it uses end-to-end encryption to protect your sensitive data. Such encryption doesn’t even allow Apple to have access to it.
Despite its brand, you can actually download the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship browser on other platforms besides Windows, including MacOS, iOS, and Android. Which means that the new Microsoft Edge could be a great alternative to browsers like Firefox or MacOS’ default browser, Safari. Especially when you consider the fact that it seems to provide customizable privacy options that are similar to Firefox. Like Firefox, you can choose from three “tracking prevention” options to choose your level of privacy (Basic, Balanced, or Strict). You can also customize site permissions like cookies, location requests, and ads.
The latest version of Microsoft Edge also comes with a feature known as Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, which is turned on by default. According to Microsoft, this feature can protect your computer from phishing sites and from downloading malicious files. SmartScreen will warn you if a site you’re trying to visit may be unsafe, too.