IT Security

Secure Web Browsers

What are the Features of Secure Web Browsers?

As is the case with many tools and utilities that we use in our daily lives, we often continue to use what is comfortable and familiar, without giving much thought to what other innovations may have arrived on the scene over the years. If this is the case with the web browsers in your life, this might be a good time to check in and consider if the web browser you are using is competitive and is offering you and/or your organization the highest levels of security and the best user experience. A good browser will be secure, easy to use, speedy, have handy features, and will need to protect you from the following specific threats:

Web trackers/cookies. Web trackers/cookies are internet scripts that follow your browsing habits as you travel from site to site, sharing your browsing data with advertisers, or possibly with hackers.

Spyware/adware. Spyware/adware is malware that imbeds in your browser and captures your data and forcefully redirects your web searches to other websites.

Malicious ads. Malicious ads are pop-ups that can direct you to websites that could be insecure.

Screenloggers/keyloggers. Screenloggers/keyloggers are malware that take screenshots of your computer or steal your keystrokes.

Phishing sites. Phishing sites are deceptive websites that simulate legitimate sites in order to trick you into divulging sensitive information.

The following are five secure web browsers for Windows and macOS, for your consideration:

Firefox. A secure open-source web browser that is highly customizable. Firefox is user-friendly and offers the following security features: anti-phishing protection, malware protection, automatic tracker blocking, opting-out of data collection, opting-in for data breach alerts, DNS over HTTPS (DoH) encrypted browsing, and blocking of dangerous downloads.

Brave. A newer Chromium-based web browser that launched in 2019. Brave is a very fast browser with aggressive security features such as automatic blocking of ads and trackers, forces connections through HTTPS, private browsing, ability to block cookies and scripts, and has a built-in password manager.

Tor. Tor, which stands for “The Onion Routing”, is among the most private web browsers, using “onion routing” to hide your IP address by routing all web traffic through multiple encrypted servers. It is not the most user-friendly web browser due to the onion routing, but it offers excellent protection by making it difficult to trace you, disabling tracking and scripts by default, not tracking browser history, enforcing HTTPS use, and deleting all cookies after each session.

Chrome. Chrome is the most popular web browser and offers many features such as blocking pop-ups and scripts, blocking cookies, requesting websites to not track your browsing, controlling permissions from websites, notifications of compromised passwords, warnings for potentially dangerous websites or downloads, and quick patching.

Edge. Edge is a Chromium-based browser that is partially open-source and comes with good security tools such as multiple levels of tracking prevention options, tracker reports, tracking configuration in private mode, automatic protection from potentially dangerous websites or downloads, and blocking websites from seeing if you have saved payment preferences.