Web browsers come in all sorts. Each one isn’t created equally, as some are vastly more secure than others. Anyone that values their online privacy and security should use a browser that keeps them safeguarded, doesn’t flood them with unwanted ads and is fast.
Unfortunately, mainstream browsers frequently don’t make the cut. How come? They often track and then collect your private data without permission. It’s then sold to companies that send targeted advertisements. Sometimes, it also gets shared with ISPs and the authorities.
What Are The Most Secure Browsers In 2021?
Finding the right web browser to utilize is easier said than done. The market is heavily saturated and full of options that all seem identical. I’ve compiled a list of the five most secure web browsers available.
It wouldn’t be right to simply download and use whatever is on my list. After all, each browser has its strengths and weaknesses. To determine what’s best for you, it is necessary to take a closer look at all of them.
For starters, the Tor Network is an open-source network that allows you to communicate anonymously. How does it work? By routing web traffic via a volunteer overlay network to hide data from any third-party who’s watching.
To put it simply, the Tor Browser is a modified version of Firefox that’s made to function using the Tor Network. It’s beyond secure because it is designed to safeguard you from browser fingerprinting. Needless to say, the browser has a particular set of weaknesses.
For starters, it’s slow, especially when compared to its competitors. With it, you won’t be able to download, browse, and stream content seamlessly. Moreover, the browser also tends to cause many websites to crash due to script blocking. Hence, you must tweak its settings.
Brave Browser is a Chromium-based browser that’s optimized for security, privacy, and speed. It was developed primarily by Brandon Eich to be a safer alternative to Google Chrome.
What’s great about the web browser is that it has an ad blocker and fingerprinting protection system. Thanks to that, it excels at blocking ads, trackers, and scripts. Therefore, it’s a wonderful tool to have if you frequently visit sites that serve popup ads.
One major disadvantage of Brave Browser is that it likes to bolster itself in the same fashion as the ads it blocks. When using it, it’s not uncommon to be greeted with promotional materials, which can really be annoying at times. Nevertheless, the browser is still an absolute joy to use.
Mozilla Firefox has long been a favored alternative to Google, Microsoft, and Apple’s proprietary web browsers. Like most of its major competitors, it has an extensive library of extensions. Also, it lets you personalize how it looks to your heart’s desire.
A great thing about Firefox is that it’s owned and operated by a non-profit organization. Due to that, it doesn’t need to sell your data to gain income. In addition, the browser is also regularly updated since a large team strives to maintain it.
You can take advantage of several features when using Firefox. A private browsing mode helps keep you safe from malware, popup ads, trackers, phishing scams, and fingerprinting. Besides that, there’s also Firefox Lockwise, which is a password manager. You may also use a VPN alongside this browser.
Epic Browser was made with security in mind. Right out of the box, all of its privacy settings are active by default. Hence, it automatically sends “no tracking” requests, blocks cookies, data-trafficking systems, and intrusive advertisements. The web browser’s main search engine is DuckDuckGo, which is one of the safest available.
As you might’ve expected, Epic does not keep tabs on your databases, login information, and search history. That means it also refrains from auto spell-checking, syncing, filling-in. Apart from that, the browser also has no plugins available.
Epic is based on Chromium, which isn’t open-source. It’s heavily reliant on Google, meaning it isn’t fully independent. Still, I think that the browser is perfect for Windows and macOS users that emphasize privacy and security over anything else.
Vivaldi is another Chromium-based web browser that’s known for being highly configurable. It allows you to modify everything from its overall aesthetic to its privacy settings. Profiles with different presets may even be created to suit your needs depending on the situation.
Since it’s based on Chromium, nearly all of Chrome’s browser extensions can be installed and used on Vivaldi. From a security perspective, this is a double-edged sword. These extensions can both enhance your level of protection and introduce malware.
You can get Vivaldi on Windows 10, Linux, Android, and macOS. However, you should note that the browser’s mobile version doesn’t allow for end-to-end encryption when syncing between two devices. Because of that, it’s arguably best that you use it exclusively on desktops.
Not Very Secure Browsers
Let’s now talk about the browsers on the market that aren’t very secure.
While they’ve got many awesome things going for them, it’s probably better to refrain from using each whenever possible. After all, they can serve as loopholes that troublemakers and other third-parties can use to compromise your online privacy and security.
Hakon Wium created Opera way back in 1995. Initially, it was based on the CSS web standard, which he also developed.
Since then, the browser has transitioned to using a source code that is based on Chromium’s. Be that as it may, lots of Chrome’s extensions are not available on it.
By default, Opera doesn’t cache your data. Its settings need to be tweaked for it to do this. This is unfortunate for anyone that would like to have a secure out-of-the-box experience.
Opera maintains a built-in blocker that protects you from intrusive ads as well as trackers. As such, you’ll not have to worry about targeted advertisements when using it. Needless to say, you can still expect some popups, especially when you’re browsing through torrent sites.
Google Chrome is the world’s most popular internet browser. It’s extremely convenient, easy to use, and functional. It constantly gets updated with the latest and greatest security features to ensure that you remain protected no matter what.
Sadly, the browser is notorious for breaching the privacy of its users. When using it, you can expect your data to be tracked, collected, then sold to various parties. However, this should come as no surprise since it makes most of its revenue from these practices.
Unbeknownst to many, the incognito mode of Chrome isn’t truly safe. Contrary to popular belief, your IP address will still remain unmasked when you’re utilizing it. Besides that, private data shall continue to be tracked in one way or another.
The best way to stay protected when using Chrome is to use a VPN browser extension. Aside from that, you should also adjust its security and privacy settings. Finally, it would also be nice to have an ad and malware blocker running.
3. Microsoft Edge
MS Edge is Microsoft’s replacement for Internet Explorer. However, it fails to match its predecessor when it comes to popularity. A large reason why is because it lacks the many features and extensions that Google Chrome has. Moreover, it only gets updated twice a year.
A significant flaw of Edge is that it lacks advanced security features. While the browser does send out “no tracking” requests and blocks intrusive ads, it doesn’t safeguard you from trackers. In addition, it also collects your private data for profit, much like Chrome.
The source code used by Microsoft Edge is proprietary, not open-source, and owned solely by Microsoft. Because of that, there’s no way to fully know what goes on behind the scenes.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be right to assume that you’re fully safe even if you’ve configured the browser’s settings and use a VPN alongside it.
Safari comes preloaded on all Apple devices since it’s the company’s proprietary browser.
Quite interestingly, it boasts many neat security features like a password generator, AI-based digital protection, and anti-fingerprinting tools. Furthermore, it has a private browsing mode, which uses DuckDuckGo as a default search engine.
The rendering engine of Safari employs the Webkit framework, which is open-source. The rest of it is closed-source, and therefore, a mystery to anyone outside of Apple.
Apple is a known participant of the NSA’s PRISM program. Due to that, anything that comes from the company can’t be trusted to keep you secure. Consequently, you should be very cautious when using Safari. In fact, it’s better to replace it with an alternative.
5. Internet Explorer
Despite being defunct for a few years already, many continue to use Internet Explorer as their daily browser. That’s because it was, for many years, the most popular web browser in the world. Hence, it’s not uncommon to still find users, especially in rural areas.
It’s a terrible idea to utilize Internet Explorer. Apart from being slow and having no extensions, it also doesn’t receive updates. As such, breaching the security of users is incredibly easy for hackers and other types of cybercriminals.
While it does have some security features, all of them are outdated. You can even go as far as to call them useless.
As a matter of fact, there’s currently no way to use the browser without running the risk of getting compromised. And yes, this remains true even if you’ve got a VPN and a malware blocker running alongside it.
Putting It All Together
By using the five secure browsers mentioned above, you’ll get to drastically increase the level of online security you have. While each of them a particular set of downsides, it’s certain that the benefits you’ll get will outweigh them.
Remember that utilizing a secure browser is only the first step in becoming 100% safe when browsing the web. There are many other steps needed to achieve this. For a more thorough understanding of the matter, I highly recommend that you read our Online Privacy Guide.