Private and Secure Browsers to Keep Your Data Safe
JUNE 7, 2019 By SVEN TAYLOR149 COMMENTS
5. Safari browser
This is an indented paragraph.
Safari is the default browser for Mac OS and iOS devices. Overall, Safari is not a horrible choice in terms of privacy and tracking protection – but it also cannot be recommended for a few reasons:
- Apple is a partner in the NSA PRISM program
- Apple was caught “hoarding” Safari browsing history – even after it was deleted
- Apple was found to be collecting Safari history even when used in private mode
On a positive note, however, Apple does somewhat better with privacy than other large companies. The Safari browser blocks third-party cookies by default and also implements cross-site tracking protection.
Browser privacy and compartmentalization
One problem that often comes with browser privacy and security is that people want to remain logged in to various accounts, while also browsing the web. This is problematic because it allows these sites to track your browsing activity and link that up to your identity.
One potential solution to this problem is browser compartmentalization. This is when you use different web browsers for different online activities. For example:
- Browser #1 will only be used for accessing your online accounts that require a password.
- Browser #2 will only be used for web browsing, with various privacy configurations (private mode) and no cookies or history being stored on the browser.
- Browser #3 could be completely locked down for maximum privacy and security.
You can also utilize different browsers, configured exactly the way you want, for various purposes, depending on your needs and threat model. The key is to keep the compartmentalization strict and not break the rules/uses for each browser.
Virtual machines – On the topic of compartmentalization, using virtual machines is also a good idea for both privacy and security. You can easily run Linux VMs through VirtualBox (FOSS) on your host computer.
Password managers – It should also be noted that storing your passwords in the browser may be risky depending on the browser you are using, especially since browsers typically store passwords in cleartext. A better alternative would be to utilize a secure password manager, such as Bitwarden, KeePass or LessPass.
Browser add-ons for security and privacy
In addition to adjusting the settings within your browser, there are also a number of different add-ons or extensions you can install to improve your browser’s privacy and security.
Here are a few different options, but they may not all be supported by the browser you are using:
- uBlock Origin – This is one of the best browser-based ad blockers available that will also protect you against tracking.
- HTTPS Everywhere – An add-on from the folks at Electronic Frontier Foundation, this will force websites to use a secure HTTPS encrypted connection (when available).
- Privacy Badger – Privacy Badger is also from EFF that blocks spying ads and trackers.
- Cookie Autodelete – This will automatically delete cookies that are no longer needed from your browser.
- Decentraleyes – This protects you against tracking via content delivery networks.
- uMatrix – This gives you control over all the requests that may be tracking you as you visit different websites (extensive configuration necessary).
- NoScript – NoScript allows you to customize exactly which scripts run on the websites you visit. Like uMatrix, this is for advanced users and requires lots of customization.
Warning: Be cautious about using third-party add-ons and browser extensions. Do your research first, since add-ons could function as spyware and data collection tools for third parties. This is especially true with free VPN services or browser proxy add-ons, even if they are highly rated in the Google Play or Apple stores.
5 Most Secure Browsers – Secure & Private Browsing
Written by Douglas Crawford
This is the same for all other commercial browsers. Microsoft also collects user data, and it has been reported they also have worked with the NSA, so it’s Edge and Internet Explorer browsers cannot be trusted.
What does private mode not do?
Basically, private mode does not make you private on the internet:
- Websites can see your unique internet (IP) address
- Websites cannot track you using cookies but can track you using browser fingerprinting canvas fingerprinting, and various other methods
- Your internet provider (ISP) can see every website you visit on the internet
- Downloaded files and bookmarks made in private mode are saved as normal
- Keyloggers and malware installed on your system can track everything you do online
If you want to hide birthday present shopping from your spouse on a family computer or hide your adult viewing habits on a shared laptop, private mode is great. It is, after all, often referred to as porn mode for a reason!
What it does not do is provide any meaningful privacy (let alone anonymity) from your ISP or anyone watching on the internet. For this, you need to use a VPN to hide your IP address, and various browser add-ons to prevent web tracking (which may or may not be bundled with the privacy browsers discussed above).
All the browsers in this list are open source and provide much more privacy than Chrome, Edge/Internet Explorer or Safari.
Why Does Anyone Still Trust Tor?
Never mind the fact that the Tor network is a popular hangout for pedophiles and drug dealers – along with the law enforcement these types attract. Now, Tor is being marketed as some kind of grass-roots privacy tool that will protect you against government surveillance and various bad actors.
According to Roger Dingledine (Tor co-founder) and other key Tor developers, getting people (outside the US government) to widely adopt Tor is very important for the US government’s ability to use Tor for its own purposes. In this goal, they have largely succeeded with Tor being widely promoted in various privacy circles.
Browser Fingerprinting – Explanation & Solutions
MAY 27, 2019 By SVEN TAYLO
Why is this being done?
Browser fingerprinting is just another tool to identify and track people as they browse the web. There are many different entities – both corporate and government – that are monitoring internet activity, and they all have different reasons for doing so. Advertisers and marketers find this technique useful to acquire more data on users, which in turn leads to more advertising revenue.
Some websites use browser fingerprinting to detect potential fraud, such as banks or dating websites, so it’s not always nefarious.
Surveillance agencies could also use this to identify people who are employing other privacy measures to cloak their IP address and location, such as with VPN services or the Tor (onion) network.