Looking for the most secure web browser right now? We can help you decide!
Have you ever been concerned with your PC’s online security? Well, I for one have. The internet is filled with potential dangers and pretty much any site can be hacked and become a security hazard.
Having a good anti-virus software will only get you so far and staying away from shady sites and illegal webpages can’t hurt either. However, there’s one aspect to online security that people often tend to overlook – your browser. At first it might seem like a minor concern – what does it matter what browser you’re using, aren’t they all the same? Well, it is true that most browsers are quite similar to one another. Still, there are quite a few differences between them, especially where security is concerned.
How can you tell if a browser is secure?
Before we begin…
- Know that no browser is 100% invincible against hacker attacks. Whatever one man creates, another can break. But in the end the best way to keep your PC protected while surfing the internet is using your common sense and keep away from dangerous websites. If you don’t remember this, even the most secure browser won’t be able to help you.
Now, before we get to actually listing our top suggestions for high-security browsers, we need to take a moment and tell you about one particularly important factor when making your pick. You need to know that there’s something of a balance between popularity and security. We all know that Chrome, Firefox and IE are the most commonly used browsers. This is exactly the reason why cyber-criminals would have much greater profit from hacking any of those three instead of going after some of the less known and less used browsers. However, such popular browsers tend to be updated much more frequently and have larger and more experienced development teams. Therefore, in theory, they should be the most secure. Still, hackers won’t stop their attempts at finding and exploiting any security flaws and, as we all know, even the best systems have their weak spots. That is why our list of high-security browsers will be split into two parts – popular and obscure browsers.
Most Secure Web Browser
The popular four
Most (if not all) statistics list Chrome as the most widely used browser today. StarCounter have estimated that Chrome is being used by more than half ( 59.07 % for the last six months) of all internet users worldwide. The number is so high for a reason – several independent sources have rated Chrome as either the first or the second most secure browser available.
But, as we already said, its popularity actually often works against it. It is the main target of many hackers and despite its high levels of protection, it’s always possible that a newly discovered security flaw may get exploited and then millions of users may get affected by it.
Many users have been avoiding using IE throughout the years for various reasons and yet many more used it despite its flaws. However, in the past few years Microsoft have made tremendous improvements to their browser, especially with its latest versions. Internet explorer currently stands as the third most used browser worldwide with a market share of around 14%.
When it comes to how secure the browser is – it is considered one of the safest browsers out there. In fact, IE has the highest rating for malware detection. The days when IE 6 was riddled with vulnerabilities like a lump of swiss cheese are a thing of the past, yet some issues still crop up from time to time.
As far as privacy is concerned, you’d probably get more privacy freedom with IE compared to Chrome, but not by a very large margin. Ever since Microsoft handed a bunch of encrypted messages to the NSA back in 2013 the company has been in close collaboration with the authorities, providing access to every loophole needed for you to be spied on.
Many researches regard Firefox as either the second or the third most secure among popular browsers and Firefox hovers around a 15% market share – enough to compete Internet Explorer as the second most popular browser worldwide
While its levels of security may not be in the same class as Chrome, it still provides considerable online protection. Another important feature of Firefox is that it outright disables the most vulnerable applications and plug-ins, making it safer for absolute beginners.
When talking about privacy, Firefox has one of the best policies – or at least that’s how we see it. This browser is 100% open source, which, at least in theory, means that no one can hide any kind of spying software in its code. Apart from that, Firefox’s developer (Mozilla) is a non-profit organization, which can always be considered a good thing for users who are concerned about their privacy. Unfortunately Firefox has been fighting a losing battle vs Chrome and it was not that long ago that it abandoned its own API structure to be more compatible with add-ons developed for Chrome.
Compared to the previous three entries, Opera is lacking in market share (below 2%). Still, it can be considered among the better known browsers. It’s a nice little program with several unique merits to its name.
Its security is actually quite formidable. In fact, opera developers usually patch newly discovered weak points faster compared to most bigger browsers. This makes it a pretty reliable choice that is often a step ahead of other, more popular alternatives. Another advantage that Opera has is that it is known to introduce new and more advanced features before other browsers do. Unfortunately it does lack the development crowd that creates so many useful plug-ins for Chrome and Firefox.
As far as privacy is concerned, we should note that Opera is a closed source, thus you can never know what is integrated within its code. Being small, however, has its advantages of staying under the radar, so that’s one reason to consider.
And some lesser known alternatives
Tor is basically a heavily customized Mozilla rebuild with one single purpose – privacy. In fact it was originally developed so to be used by dissidents around the world that lived under oppressive regimes. If privacy and security is what you’re into, then look no further. However, its privacy comes at a cost – there are a couple of downsides to this browser.
First of all, it is much slower than any other entry on the entire list due to its sophisticated methods of keeping you under the radar.
Another important thing is that it actually requires a learning curve to use properly. In fact, if you’re about to use Tor, we advise you to first get a very good look at the FAQ and usage manual, because certain actions you can take can severely limit the effectiveness of the browser to protect you.
Comodo Dragon/Ice Dragon
Comodo Dragon based on Chromium and Comodo Ice Dragon is the Firefox alternative. These are two browsers that have been optimized to heavily enhance your online security. Both of them are promoted to contain several neat features that make your browsing more safe. Comodo developers have specifically removed several of Chrome’s and Firefox’s regular features, that might potentially compromise your PC’s security.
Still, everyone can make mistakes. In February a rather nasty vulnerability was discovered and where there is one more could follow.
This one has been around for some time but it was not until lately, that this browser has started to gain popularity. It offers high levels of security and online protection. Its low profile coupled with enhanced privacy and security options make it a great pick when using unprotected networks and unsecure PC’s. It also provides several neat features for limiting privacy invasions. It has one downside, however. Some of its features are paid and the development team is nowhere near the size of bigger competitors.
Epic privacy browser
The name says it all. Similarly to Tor, Epic privacy browser is all about maximum privacy. It is a modified and simplified Chromium-based browser that tends to run much faster than Tor. Both cookies and trackers have been taken out of the picture for increased privacy (the same is true for most browsers in our second list). The browser has fully encrypted connection and there’s also an integrated ad-blocker. One huge downside, however, is the lack of plug-ins and password managers. But if privacy is your ultimate goal this should be a price you are willing to pay.
Browsers developed by anti-virus companies
Many anti-virus companies have developed browser extensions or even separate browsers in an attempt to keep users’ online experience “in the house” and also provide safety. This is certainly a commendable initiative… when it works. This has not always been the case.
Recently, a Chromium-based browser developed by Avast that has been promoted as a safer alternative to Google Chrome was discovered to contain severe security flaw. This came just shortly after the Comodo vulnerability we mentioned above. It seems that some kinks still have to be ironed out, but if you are using the anti-virus in question already, then chances are you’ll get your money’s worth out of using the secure browser.
Also, virtually most anti-virus developers offer browser extensions, claiming that those would help you enhance your online security. Since there’s just so many of them, we cannot tell you how useful all of those are. If you’re currently considering installing such an extension to your browser, our advice for you is to do your own research on the specific piece you are about to install