Keeping yourself secure and anonymous on the internet is one of the hardest things to do right now, however, there are quite a few browsers that offer their users protection. Additionally, there are privacy extensions that could add an extra layer of protection to your browser.
In this article I will share my personal recommendations for most secure browsers to use and extensions that would add an extra layer of protection. I will not be discussing the most popular ones like Safari or Chrome, this article concentrates on less known, but more privacy concerned ones. Let’s jump in.
Let’s start with a more popular one — Opera. Opera is known as a security oriented browser, they release updates every 5 weeks to ensure the best and most secure experience for their users. Opera protects you from suspicious sites by alerting you that specific site is blacklisted and might steal your passwords or install viruses. Opera has a built-in ad blocker, private windows and a built-in VPN. Of course, I would always recommend using a paid VPN for your security, but it is still a nice feature to have.
Brave is an open-source browser known for its privacy based approach. Brave browser blocks third party ads by default and it tracks the time you saved by blocking these ads, which is pretty cool. However, since ads are the main income source for some websites, Brave browser offers a “Brave Payments” system, through which you can donate cryptocurrency to content producers that you like. In addition, you can customize your preferences for security needs. Also, the browser has built in anti-fingerprint functionality and script blocker. Brave browser allows you to create private tabs and set the number of tabs to be shown per session. Keep in mind that they do not allow a lot of third-party extensions since they are still a new player in the market, which could be a headache for some users.
Tor browser is one of the most secure ways to surf the internet. The browser uses the Tor network (The Onion Router) that encrypts your data several times, never revealing your original IP address. This feature prevents websites from knowing the real location you are based at and also provides access to many geo-blocked services and websites. Tor does a good job at anonymizing your surfing experience and in addition protects your privacy by routing your internet traffic through DuckDuckGo search engine, which doesn’t track you like many search engines do. The downside of Tor browser is that you cannot use it all the time, since their onion method which makes you anonymous slows down your speeds by an annoying amount, so most likely you will want to use another browser next to the Tor browser.
Epic Privacy Browser
This browser markets themselves as being an incognito mode browser by default. Epic blocks trackers and third-party cookies, and says to be the only browser that blocks that many trackers. This browser also protects your traffic from being saved and tracked by loading search engines via built-in proxy. Also a neat feature is that it will use an HTTPS version of the website if it is possible. In addition to privacy protection, browser offers built-in encrypted proxy which both hides your IP address and encrypts your data. Have in mind that it will not work with some websites like Netflix or Hulu, and some websites like Facebook or Gmail might require additional authentication steps when you are using the built-in proxy.
Extra methods for an extra layer of protection
These are the few extensions I would recommend having that will add an extra layer of protection to the secure browsers discussed above or to the not that secure browsers that you are using and don’t want to change. Let’s continue.
Virtual Private Network
I already mentioned a VPN before, since few browsers have a built-in VPN. But my recommendations are to use a commercial one (yes, a paid one) in order to ensure best security that you can get out of a VPN. A VPN will keep you secure and anonymous online, it will encrypt your traffic so nobody will know what you are up to online and won’t get your personal, sensitive information. In addition, it hides and changes your IP address so you can appear to be anywhere in the world. This is a cool feature if you want to bypass any geo-restrictions on the web, maybe watch American Netflix while being in Europe or somewhere else. Built-in VPNs in the browsers won’t let you get the most you can from a VPN, a commercial one will. I know that it costs money, but all good high quality services do. And don’t worry, there are cheap but good ones out there. My personal preference is Surfshark. It is easy-to use, family friendly, high security and high speed VPN that supports unlimited number of devices and you can get it right now with an 83% discount here.
HTTPS Everywhere is a free extension which encrypts your communication with websites, making your session more secure. Many websites offer support for HTTPS but not all, HTTPS everywhere extension rewrites HTTP requests to HTTPS to make your connection as secure as possible. This extension was inspired by Google’s increased usage of HTTPS and is designed to allow a safer browsing sessions for its users. For more info about it visit HTTPS everywhere website.
DuckDuckGo is know to be privacy based search engine that prevents your search activity to be tracked, like when you use the big boys like Google. The private search engine offers tracker network blocking and smart encryption. In addition, DuckDuckGo extension also shows your privacy Grade from A to F when you visit a specific website, which is a pretty neat feature. This helps user see how well are their privacy protected on a specific website. You can read more about and get the extension on DuckDuckGo website here.
In this article, I’ve covered the most secure browsers based on my experience. There are a few more browsers but these are the ones I recommend and hope it makes at least some of you think about your privacy online and take some actions to protect it. The extensions that I recommended are also the ones I use for privacy reasons, but there are also hundreds more and you can find a lot of lists online. Hope it helped, be safe and anonymous!