Privacy Browsers: The Best Browsers for Maximum Security

Browsers are the portals to the World Wide Web. No one should be barred from entering the Net, which is why internet browsers focus on one thing: usability. Browsers need to be fast, easy to use, almost invisible, without drawing too much attention to themselves while surfing. So it's no surprise that many less tech-savvy people equate their browser with the internet itself.

But that functionality has its price. Simplicity and data protection can't always be combined so easily, and browsers inevitably need to skimp on of the two. In most cases, that's data protection.

The Most Common Browsers - Why Add More?

There's a million reasons why Google's Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox and Microsoft's Edge are three of the most-used browsers out there. Using them is as easy as pie, and they're full to the brim with features that make a user's surfing experience more convenient and easier. In terms of security and privacy, however, they're not quite as good.

That doesn't mean that surfing with Chrome is dangerous. The concerns privacy advocates have more to do with their principles. To provide users with a personalized surfing experience, Google, for example, uses tracking technology that tailors ads and search results to each user's individual needs and behavior. Some think this is convenient, others consider it a gross violation of their privacy. Plus, Microsoft and Mozilla take their time with their security updates.

If data protection and privacy is important to you and you're okay with giving up a bit of your convenience, there are many privacy browsers you can choose from.

Maximum Security: What Privacy Browsers Should I Ise?

So you've decided to protect your internet activities with a high security browser. But which one? We'll show you some of the most popular privacy browsers out there:

1.

Tor

The best known privacy browsers is probably the Tor Browser - short for "The Onion Router". The browser with its iconic onion logo is based on the popular Firefox browser by Mozilla and was initially developed for the US Navy as a way to communicate in secret. Today, the browser is oftentimes the number one choice for journalists, dissidents and data protection activists.

Tor encrypts user data before sending it out into to the internet. The data passes through multiple layers - like an onion - until it's been anonymized sufficiently. The user's privacy has top priority. With the Tor browser, you can surf anonymously without having to worry about browser fingerprinting and tracking.

For that, you'll have to sacrifice some usability and comfort. Due to browser's onion structure, transferring data is slower than with a regular browser; booting it up takes longer, too. And its interface isn't going to win any design awards.

2.

Brave

Wrapped in a more elegant design, the open-source browser Brave lets you determine which data is to be deleted after each browsing session. Protective measures like ad blocking and anti-browser fingerprinting are activated by default. Additionally, there are many options for you to individualize the browser, no matter your preferences.

Because the browser is still quite new, it doesn't yet support many extensions from third-party providers

3.

Comodo Dragon / Ice Dragon

Dragon and Ice Dragon are privacy browsers developed by Comodo. Both browsers are based on Google's open-source core software Chromium and Mozilla's Firefox. Comodo is especially known for its effective security mechanism and firewall protection. Therefore, Dragon and Ice Dragon provide users with extra protection for their sensitive online data.

4.

Opera

Opera might come as a surprise addition to this list for some. After all, the browser is not only known to data protection advocates. Like the Comodo browsers, Opera is based on Google's open-source software Chromium and its fundamentally secure architecture. Opera promises its users anonymity and comes with features like a built-in ad blocker and a VPN.

5.

Other Browsers

The list of privacy browsers is long and full of lesser-known alternatives such as SRWare Iron, Epic Browser, Torch, Waterfox, Yandex or Freenet, and they all have their fans and advocates. Every browser is unique and has many features, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Conclusion: Privacy Browsers - To Use or Not to Use?

Most commonly used internet browsers are secure and offer numerous options and extension to put even the most passionate of data protection advocates at ease. But there's a rule to online security: Every user is their own biggest risk. You can avoid dangerous malware like Trojans by being cautious and using one or two security applications, even if you're using Chrome, Firefox and Co.

For communicating sensitive information, or if your privacy is especially important to you, Tor is a great second option. Few people will use Tor as their primary browser just to ensure maximum security, but hybrids like Opera now combine usability with strong data protection.

It's difficult to find a universal answer, because every browser comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

If you to protect your data while using conventional browsers, there are various extensions you can use to mitigate your browser fingerprint or block ads.

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Author (German Version): Martin Gschwentner
Martin Gschwentner majored in American Studies and Media Studies in Germany, the USA and France and works as a freelance editor in Paris. He is a doctoral student at the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Paris Diderot, where he is researching the influence of money on US politics. On EXPERTE.com he writes about IT security, data protection and software for the self-employed and small businesses.
English Translator & Editor: Brendan Philipp