4 secure browsers for your privacy
Privacy and security are top concerns for consumers today. These four secure browsers can help keep your data safe.
As issues of privacy and security online become bigger headlines, you may be wondering how you can best protect your devices and data when you're online. Here we'll give our recommendations for secure browsers, but first we need to talk about the difference between privacy and security:
Security is how your browser protects you from external bad actors—from viruses, worms and other forms of malware.
Privacy is how your browser stores and uses your data, which includes information like passwords, credit card numbers, and location and behavioral data.
A browser can be secure against outside threats like malware but still allow for the collection of a lot of your personal data (i.e. location, search history, passwords), which can then be used by the company that makes the browser, or sold to third parties (usually advertisers).
The best browser should protect your device from outside attacks and keep your private data locked down tight, but all browsers have to balance these needs with keeping certain data available for usability—for instance, by storing passwords. Here are our picks for the four best secure web browsers for casual users.
Firefox is currently the gold standard, with the right mix of privacy/security features and usability. While some of the other browsers on this list are a bit outside the mainstream, Firefox is used by about 7% of Americans.
Firefox is great for users who are privacy-minded, as it comes with lots of anti-tracking features, limiting the activity websites can see once you leave their site and preventing them from "fingerprinting" you. For example, if you don't want Facebook to track your activity all around the web, you can install a plug-in that stops Facebook from doing so. Its private browsing option makes sure no one has access to the data you generate while you're in private mode, and you can select a search engine like DuckDuckGo as your default search engine for maximum data protection, as search engines like Google are notoriously weak on privacy.
Firefox is updated frequently to protect against the latest malware threats. Because Firefox is an open-source browser made by the independent Mozilla community, whole teams of software engineers pore over the code to ensure no one is inserting malicious code into the browser.
For people who are really serious about data privacy, Epic might be the best choice. Epic comes with anti-tracking options turned on by default. It also comes with autofill turned off for fields like usernames, passwords, credit cards, addresses, etc. That means your information is safer against attacks by outside forces, and it also won't be sold to data brokers or used to track your activity on the web.
These strong privacy settings do have a trade-off, though, in that they increase the friction you experience when you're shopping online or even just logging in to websites. You'll have to enter all of that information again every time you open a new window or tab.
Every Apple product comes with Safari as the default browser, and it's a pretty solid one. One of its security features is that each tab loads separately from other tabs, so if you do access a compromised website that's running malware, that malware can't spread to your whole browser and see your information in other tabs.
On the privacy front, though, Apple, the developer behind Safari, does collect some data, even while you're using a private browsing window.
Opera has been around since 1995, so it's likely that you've used this browser at some point in your life. It has its own special set of malware detection and blocking features that make for a secure experience. These features are updated regularly (about once a month), so you'll be well protected from the latest threats.
Whichever of these secure browsers you choose, you'll also need a secure internet connection, and for that, Ting's fiber internet has you covered.