Most secure browser has never been as important as it is in 2019
Internet security and privacy were one of the hottest topics in 2018. The never-ending growth of cybercrime, data breaches, and inappropriate data tracking cases have already made netizens concerned about online security. Taking into account that a browser is a tool that you have to use to surf the web daily, we decided to find the most secure browser of the year.
Nowadays, users can choose between numerous popular and less popular web browsers. They promise a better browsing experience, increased privacy, personalized search results and other features that seem useful. However, in 2-spyware, we believe that security must be everyone's priority, especially after seeing Facebook, Mariott or Quora suffering from the biggest data breaches in 2018.
No matter that 2019 predictions include claims that 90 % of the world's HTTP traffic will be secured over SSL/TLS, you should still avoid careless browsing. If you are looking for a new tool to explore the Internet or want to make your browsing more secure, check the list given below to help you find the most secure browser of 2019.
Google Chrome provides high-security level but struggles with user’s privacy
After celebrating ten years birthday, Google Chrome is still considered the leader among web browsers. According to the latest statistical data, it covered 62.4% of the browser market share in 2018 December, while in 2017 Chrome had 55% of the browser market. There’s no doubt that convenient functionality and high-rate security gained the success for this browser which, in 2018, presented several updates, including new color palette, unseen icons, and rounded shapes.
Chrome ensures that it can be considered the most secure browser, thanks for these three features:
- Safe Browsing that alerts about possible threats when opening phishing or malicious website;
- Sandboxing that adds an extra layer of protection and prevents from automatic malware installation;
- Auto-updates that allow installing all updates automatically and eliminate security flaws;
- An easy way to manage shortcuts and an ability to receive answers straight to the bar;
- Unique passwords are generated and saved within the web browser automatically.
The browser has Incognito mode and offers customizing privacy preferences manually. However, Google’s ability to track each user’s step and click still seems concerning. Therefore, even if Chrome is considered as one of the most secure web browsers, its data tracking, and usage capabilities are the biggest disadvantages.
Firefox keeps presenting security improvements with Quantum version
Mozilla Firefox is one of the biggest competitors to Chrome. However, the company released several versions of the browser in November 2017 and kept the same pace in 2018. The latest version, known as Firefox Quantum, offers better security and privacy features, such as:
- Linux Sandboxing that prevents hacking attempts;
- Tracking protection  that blocks tracking components on visited websites;
- Improved Control Center that allows accessing and customizing numerous settings to ensure the most secure and private browsing sessions the browser can offer;
- Contextual Feature Recommender (CFR) – system that recommends add-ons and features based on people's browsing experience;
- Enhanced Tracking Protection that disables tracking which is identified as “Trackers”;
- Firefox Monitor that warns the victim if his or her email was involved into the breach.
While trying to become the most secure browser, developers have also been providing frequent security updates and fixes. With the latest upgrade, they fixed numerous security vulnerabilities, including flaws that allow spoofing attacks or exploitation of arbitrary code.
Another advantage of Firefox is that users can maximise their privacy by running on the Tor network. However, to do so, you have to enable Tor add-on on the browser.
Opera includes built-in VPN
Opera is another search tool that has been included to “most secure browser” list. Since 2016, the desktop version of this Chromium-based browser includes a built-in ad blocker. However, the ad-blocking feature is disabled by default and users have to enable it manually via Opera’s settings.
In 2015, Opera was acquired by North American online privacy company SurfEasy. Thus, they were able to offer better privacy for the users by adding a built-in virtual private network (VPN). However, it only provides five VPN locations in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and Singapore. That’s almost nothing when comparing to commercial VPN services. However, Opera offers free services, and it's one of the biggest advantages.
Other security features provided by the developer:
- Security badges – offers valuable information about the page;
- Fraud and malware protection – warns about sites that pose a potential danger;
- Ad-blocker – operates like any other third-party application that allows blocking ads and cryptominers.
To sum up, the browser offers some serious advantages: you can avoid third-party ads that might contain malicious processes and access particular sites anonymously. However, the browser itself collects some information about users and might share it with trusted partners.
Internet Explorer keeps dealing with bugs that decrease its security
In 2016, Internet Explorer was the most popular world's browser. However, it has always been known for its terrible security-related issues. A few years ago Internet Explorer was reported to have the highest detection rate of malware, so we do NOT recommend using it as the most secure browser of 2019. Unfortunately, there are 3.05 % of users who are still relying on IE and using it as their primary search engine.
Those who are still in this browser should know that in 2016 Microsoft stopped sending updates and patches to all versions of their browser (except IE 11). However, recently the company rushed a CVE-2018-8653 update which is alternatively known as Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability update. With its help, attackers could have set up malicious websites used to initiate targeted attacks. Having in mind that there are numerous vulnerabilities that haven't been detected yet, the browser is not the best choice to protect your browsing sessions from criminals and cyber threats.
An interesting fact is that Microsoft is still offering an update at least every 30 days. It gives the option to add extensions to the blacklist and has Do Not Track feature to block sites from collecting information about you. Just like Google Chrome, IE has been criticized for user data tracking. It seems that Microsoft wants to know about their customers more than they might share.
Microsoft Edge is the winner of 2018 in blocking phishing sites
Microsoft Edge was presented to the Internet community together with Windows 10 as the default browser. It has been positioned as the safer version of Chrome offering numerous features. Recently, its developers have announced about a Chromium-based code which they are expecting to use to rebuild the browser and provide more web compatibility for its customers. However, there have been numerous discussions on the Internet asking if Edge is not going to become yet another Chrome which is based on the same code.
Nevertheless, there have been numerous opinions supporting Microsoft Edge and taking it as one of the most secure ways to surf the web. For example, the Security Council of Certificate Authorities has recently named Edge the fastest and more secure browser on the market. According to them, the main problem in 2019 will be encrypted phishing sites that can be mixed with the real ones. During their test, Microsoft Edge was the one that blocked the biggest number of phishing sites. These results were reached by using the following features:
- Windows Defender SmartScreen technology – helps to detect phishing and malicious sites better than Chrome or Firefox;
- Sandboxing technique – used to separate running programs to prevent software vulnerabilities;
- Password management feature – works together with Windows 10 Passport security system.
Microsoft Edge also receives automatic updates through Windows Update service. However, users who disabled automatic Windows 10 updates cannot get the latest security patches and vulnerability fixes for the browser. Talking about privacy protection, Edge includes Do Not Track feature. However, the majority of websites ignore these requests. The browser also allows InPrivate browsing mode which does not track browsing history, cookies, and temporary files.
Microsoft’s browser also has another advantage related to the privacy where it beats Google Chrome and could help it become the most secure web browser. The company does not generate revenue from selling targeted ads.
Safari offers customizing safe browsing options
For more than a decade, macOS users have been finding Safari pre-installed on their MacOS and iOS devices. Could it be the most secure browser for 2019? When compared to previously mentioned web browsers, Safari has more security flaws and bugs that can be exploited by cybercriminals. However, Safari keeps working on its browser – recently, the company released Safari Technology Preview 73 version which fixed bugs and improvements for its functionality.
The browser includes useful privacy and security measures to protect users from cyber threats:
- Intelligent tracking prevention – allows identifying advertisers and preventing cross-site tracking;
- Built-in sandboxing for the website – helps to detect malicious codes and avoid infiltration of malware;
- Harmful sites alert – shows up before you visit a potentially dangerous or infected website;
- Private browsing feature – prevents from collecting and storing your browsing-related information.
Additionally, Safari offers a wide range of security and privacy settings helping you to disable location, enable “Ask websites not to track me” feature, and many more. However, for its max security, you should also don't forget to choose the required settings, e.g. disable Java, block cookies, etc.
Epic Privacy Browser disables Google services
Epic Privacy Browser by Hidden Reflex is based on Chromium open source project – just like Google Chrome. However, the main difference is that Epic disabled and removed all Google services. Therefore, the search giant cannot track user’s steps (unless you log in to Gmail and continue browsing the web.)
The main reason to include Epic to the most secure browser list is that browser operates in private browsing mode only and has Do Not Track feature enabled by default. After each browsing session, cookies, trackers and search-related data are deleted. Additionally, the browser allows turning on the encrypted proxy that can protect you from revealing the IP address and other information from anyone online.
If it’s possible, Epic uses SSL connections, protects public Wi-Fi connections and includes built-in ad-blocker. Additionally, the program does not collect any information about users. The only information they are interested in is IP address “in order to get search results that are geographically relevant.”
However, one of the main disadvantages is that this browser does not allow you to install add-ons. The company claims that extensions are one of the most dangerous components that put user’s privacy at risk. Therefore, they support only a few add-ons that can be trusted. It has also been reported for website loading time or skipping standard search modifiers.
Comodo Dragon Internet Browser is similar to Chrome, but Windows users can feel safer
Just like the Epic Privacy Browser, Comodo Dragon is based on the Chromium project. The browser includes all Chrome’s features but provides better security and privacy when browsing the web. So, if you are not a huge fan of Chrome and prefer Mozilla instead, you can choose Comodo Ice Dragon version as your most secure browser.
The main advantage of the browser are:
- Domain Validation technology that identifies secure SSL certificates;
- Blocks cookies and other tracking technologies;
- Stops Browser download tracking.
Additionally, the browser supports plug-ins and add-ons that make it more user-friendly and convenient to use. However, the browser has one major disadvantage. It is only compatible with old versions of Windows OS, including Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
Tor browser offers anonymity
Tor web browser has been widely used by hackers. However, it does not mean that there’s something shady or dangerous with this tool. It’s the safest search engine that is currently available for free, so we have to present it as one of the most secure browsers.
The whole Tor project is managed by volunteers and is dedicated to letting netizens browsing the web anonymously. The program hides IP address, location, browsing-related information and uses multiple layers of encryption to prevent anyone from seeing your online activities. However, it is not a VPN service.
The browser is a cleaner and safer version of Firefox. It uses HTTPS connection, allows accessing locked websites and even visiting the dark web. However, you should not take advantage of this feature.
However, among Tor disadvantages are sluggish performance, inconvenient and slightly complicated usability. Additionally, governmental institutions can still see that you are using Tor. Even though they cannot see what sites you access and what activities you perform, you still seem suspicious to them.
The verdict: choosing the most secure browser
“The most secure browser” review reveals the main fact – none of the aforementioned browsers is perfect. While some of these search tools offer maximum safety from malware, others ensure the best privacy settings and can easily help you become anonymous online. However, they may not be very user-friendly and convenient.
In our opinion, the top 5 most secure browser of 2019 are:
- Google Chrome;
- Microsoft Edge;
- Epic Privacy Browser;
However, if you are looking for the safest web browser, you should choose the browser based on your preferences. Think about how much personal information you want to reveal to developers, Google or third-parties, do you like seeing ads while browsing, etc. All mentioned browsers can ensure the protection from cybercriminals. Thus, make sure you choose the one that seems the most convenient for you.