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So you’ve finally found the best internet service provider for your needs and are happily binging shows on Netflix, working from home, and browsing the web. But how safe are you online? Cybercrimes are on the rise, and you should be mindful of cyber attacks and online traps.
A good starting point in your line of defense should be your web browser. With more personal data online than ever before, choosing a web browser that protects your information and maintains your privacy is key. To help keep you safe online, we put together a list of the best and worst web browsers for privacy. Let’s dive in.
Best Browsers for Privacy
Worst Browsers for Privacy
The Best Web Browsers for Privacy
Firefox is one of the more popular secure browsers with frequent feature releases and updates. Some notable features include third-party cookie blocking, fingerprinter blocking, private browsing mode, individual protections report, breached website alerts, and a built-in password manager. The Mozilla Foundation is also a non-profit, so they have no incentive to sell personal data.
- Open-source browser with frequent updates
- Firefox’s privacy mode wipes all your information after logging off
- Complex interface due to customization options
- Fewer browser extensions and slower speeds
Tor, also known as The Onion Router, is a top browser for protecting yourself online from tracking and surveillance. Tor uses the software extension NoScript to wipe any prior web traffic to ensure the tracks of your browsing history are covered. They also use an in-house connection called onion routing, which has users connect to each other to access Tor’s server.
- Hide your identity and access the dark web
- Deletes all cookies automatically
- Connection can be slow
- May run into malware issues
- Privacy-friendly ads that don’t sell user data
- Rewards system that allows you to earn tokens
- Fewer add-ons or plug-ins than other browsers
- Can be challenging to exchange reward tokens for real money
DuckDuckGo is a great browser for private mobile browsing. DuckDuckGo is predominantly a mobile browser, but it also has a desktop app and a Chrome extension. The Chrome extension is bundled with DuckDuckGo’s search engine, tracker blocker, and encryption enforcer. With its built-in ad-blocking and private search mode, DuckDuckGo ensures that your data is never compromised.
- Does not store your IP address or user information
- Easy-to-add extension
- Visible ads in your searches
- No protection against viruses, malware, ransomware, or unsafe sites
Epic is a private, secure web browser that blocks ads, trackers, fingerprinting, cryptomining, and more. Epic routes all web traffic through a proxy server that automatically blocks trackers and cookies. Using Epic ensures your data is encrypted and hidden from the government, Google, your employer, and hundreds of other data collectors.
- Blocking tracking scripts and ads loads webpages up to 25% faster than other browsers
- See who’s tracking you in other browsers and which trackers are blocked
- Based on the Chromium code and isn’t open-source to the public
- Not all features are easy to use
The Worst Web Browsers for Privacy
It’s really no surprise that Google Chrome collects more user data than any other web browser. Google Chrome collects user and device IDs and links harvested data like browsing history, usage data, and locations to devices and individuals. Because Google makes money from selling ads, your activity is tracked and used for targeted advertising. However, the browser does have security features to protect you from malware and dangerous sites that could try to steal your passwords or infect your device.
- Customizable settings and privacy control
- Safety checks notify you if saved passwords have been compromised and flag dangerous extensions
- User data used to sell targeted advertisements
Yandex Browser is a Russian-based web browser made by web search company Yandex. Some notable security features from the bowser include DNS spoofing protection, DNSCrypt, and auto HTTPS support on insecure networks. Yandex Browser is available on most operating systems and works with Chrome extensions. However, Yandex is known for collecting personal data including phone number, age, email, search history, and more.
- Protects you from malware and unsafe websites
- Customizable security features and settings
- Collects search queries and sends to main server for analysis
- Not open source so no way to check code for what Yandex does in the background
Microsoft Edge has a reputation of being one of the worst web browsers, probably due to being slow and unintuitive. According to a study done by researchers at Trinity College, Yandex and Edge are the two worst browsers for security. The study also found that Edge sends users’ hardware ID, IP address, and location to back-end servers which over time can reveal your identity.
- Uses Microsoft Defender SmartScreen to protect against malicious websites
- Option to choose from one of three tracking prevention levels
- Collects data that can compromise your identity
- Unintuitive user interface
Baidu is a Chromium-based internet browser (uses the same engine that powers Chrome). This web browser is no stranger to controversy, as the Baidu mobile app was kicked out of Google Play last year for leaking data that left users trackable. Privacy issues aside, Baidu does have some decent security features including a built-in virus scanner, ad blocker, and the ability to block third-party software from changing your existing security and privacy settings.
- Familiar and easy-to-use interface
- Built-in virus scanner prevents you from downloading harmful files or visiting malicious sites
- Previous data leaks that put users at risk
- Installs additional programs
Safari is Apple’s default web browser. Safari does collect browsing history, usage data, and locations, but unlike Chrome, they claim to not link data back to individuals and devices. If you’re able to overlook the data collection, Safari does a decent job at preventing viruses and malicious sites from infecting your entire system. If you click on a bad link, Safari will protect your data.
- Prevents you from loading suspicious sites
- Prevents trackers from using your information
- Infrequent updates
- Not an open-source browser
Stay Safe Online
Looking to take the extra step to protect yourself online? Consider purchasing a VPN for additional privacy and security. For more information on protecting your family, check out our Guide to Parental Controls & Online Safety.