The Best Private Browsers
Even if you’re using the correct VPN but using the wrong browser, you could put your privacy, data and security at risk.
In this guide I will recommend the three best private browsers to use with your VPN to ensure no records get logged anywhere. You will learn about risks to your security from the common browsers you use every day and how to secure your information permanently.
Choosing and using the correct VPN is the most important factor in maintaining and protecting your online privacy. However, there are vulnerabilities in certain browsers and even when using a VPN your browser could build a digital fingerprint and track your activity. Choosing the correct browser and choosing the correct VPN can protect your data, passwords and private information from being leaked or stolen. Find out more about VPNs here.
I will show you in this guide how to avoid these common pitfalls and help shore up your browser security. I will also show you how to limit your digital footprint using the browser’s settings.
Whats a Private Browser?
In the ever developing cyber world, your information privacy is about your right to control how your personal information is collected and used. This personal information has great value to you, but it also of value to many others for many reasons. This information is valuable to marketeers, cybercriminals and identity thieves and can often be sold on the dark web.
Many websites gather statistics and information about you when you connect, this can be as simple as your IP address, name and location or a much larger more complicated profile of you used to track and advertise to you.
When you connect to the internet, your web browsers will store info about your online activity and searches so it’s easier for you to revisit websites. Browsers also store online content like your username and password to hasten the log-in process. This may be helpful short term, but you wouldn’t want this information shared with any other users.
Some private browsing features of your chosen browser can help with this. Turning private browsing on can help keep your online private from other users of the same device. But here’s the question: Do private-browsing features offer the anonymity you might associate with privacy?
The answer is No! Private browsing and incognito modes don’t completely protect your online privacy. They don’t offer total anonymity or data security.
When you click to open a website, that website sends you cookies and these cookies work to identify you and your preferences. This all happens in a matter of seconds.
There are many types of cookies, some good, some bad, some only recording basic information and others recording enormous amounts of your private information. They want to track your every movement, and to build a profile of you so they know what you want before you do.
This is where private browsers come into use, for all intents and purposes a private browser is a browser that’s not tracked or advertised to online.
You can opt into the ethical online advertising option or opt out, it’s up to you.. this means you can browse online privately, and by combining a private browser with a VPN gives an absolute anonymity online.
Using popular normal browsers is bad
Third parties like the government, enormous tech companies, or cybercriminals will gather a variety of sensitive and even non-sensitive data like text exchanges from the regular unprotected browsers.
They can gather text you have saved in your form autofill like bank details to pay online, lists of online purchases you made sites visited, etc..
I’m not saying don’t share your info with any companies, I’m just saying be careful which companies you share it with. Some less reputable companies are profiling you and selling your data online. They sell this data in enormous quantities for insignificant sums of money. The data can be bought by anyone and sometimes used for automated attacks on you.
Other people who might want your data are political influencers looking to alter voting patterns or government agencies, from the taxman to intelligence agencies.
This all comes about from browser cookies, normally safe to receive from websites who just want to save your preferences, but not all cookies are good. Turning on your VPN will instantly stop you accepting cookies. The cookies would instead get sent to the VPN providers server you connected to.
A Private Browser or a Secure Browser?
1. Secure Browser
A secure browser can and will protect you from a lot of attacks, malware, spyware, etc. It will stop a committed attacker from stealing your account details or cookies, which is important but, a secure browser leaves a trail of information with each action you take online.
Chrome as an example, a secure browser, yes! But not a private browser..
2. Private Browser
Private browsers are designed to regulate the data you leave behind. A private browser does not send your info to any third party or Government organisations. These browsers also use special methods to make you less trackable. Open-source software is absolutely necessary, so you can see for yourself how the browser operates.
3. VPN Browser
These “VPN browsers” are proxies which offer a much lower level of protection and features. One such browser you might know is Opera.
Best Private Browser 2020
Using the right browser and the right VPN together is the safest level of protection against cybercriminals and all the diverse dangers online. People’s individual preferences in a browser are different. However, these are the top 3 browsers that scored highest in our unbiased tests. All of these browsers are also open source.
As soon as you configure Firefox to the appropriate privacy settings, it becomes the first choice overall in private browsers. Firefox is hugely customisable and allows your custom privacy settings, which prevents data getting sent back.
The first change you need to make for better privacy is to deactivate telemetry, a setting which allocates permission for your browser to send data back to Mozilla (Firefox).
deactivate telemetry in Firefox:
- Select the preferences menu in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
- Navigate to Preferences >Privacy & Security > Firefox Data Collection and Use.
- Uncheck every box in this section.
They stack Firefox with features, one of which, Enhanced Tracking Protection blocks trackers, cookies, crypto miners, etc..
To enable Enhanced Tracking Protection in Firefox:
- Select the settings menu in the top right-hand corner of your screen.
- Navigate to Preferences > Privacy & Security > Enhanced Tracking Protection.
- Choose your protection mode: strict, standard, or custom.
2) Brave: An Unconventional Attitude to Advertising
Built by a former Mozilla developer, Brave is a privacy-focused browser with unconventional advertising rules it’s an excellent for private browsing.
Brave blocks ads and instead replaces them by displaying its own ads which get customized and created from your browsing history, having been stored locally by the browser and not transmitted anywhere else. Brave is both free and open-source.
Even when configured properly, during testing Brave is still not as effective as Firefox based browsers.
Chromium: a Private version of Chrome?
Nicknamed Ungoogled Chromium its basically Chrome with all the Google privacy problems switched off. Its open source while also being made by Google, it might be a signal of a change of attitude from Google about privacy.
My digital fingerprint
Browser data accumulated into a digital fingerprint used to identify anybody anywhere from their online activity and is frighteningly precise.
After the first time they capture your data, it starts a slow erosion of your privacy. These new techniques also give 90% accurate identifications within minutes. The data they can capture is:
- Browser version
- IP address
- Internet Service Provider
- Microphone info
- Webcams info
- CPU build
- Battery Status
- Browser extensions
This info gets pieced together by computer programs to generate possible passwords and a weakness reports.
Check this yourself
Chrome > preferences> advanced >privacy & security >Content settings >Cookies
Explorer >tools >internet options >General >browsing history >settings
Firefox >Tools >options >privacy tab >show cookies
Opera >Tools >Preferences >Advanced tab >cookie section
Safari >Preferences >Privacy tab.
Is Private Browsing enough?
Private Browsing known as ‘Incognito’ mode will change your browsers behavior, whichever browser you use. But it won’t affect how networks operate.
Browsing in a normal window will store data concerning your browsing history locally. Anyone could stumble across this material later, even just using the search bar.
Enabling Incognito Mode your browser no longer stores this info. The history, data and cookies get deleted after the session is finished by closing the browser. This can help hide some digital trail you leave behind but you know what im going to say.. a VPN gives total anonymity.