What are security issues associated with using the most popular browsers? What should be understood as secure browsers, and what are their distinctive features? In which directions is the protected browser segment developing? This review will try to answer these important questions.
The browser is probably one of the most requested programs among all users, regardless of age, profession, social status. Since the advent of the first browser, many programs of this kind have been developed, and the number of the most famous ones is measured in dozens. Program developers go to all sorts of tricks to attract the attention of the public to his brainchild.
Experience shows that it is easiest to win the heart of the user, giving him the most comfortable working conditions. To do this, you need to support as many operating systems, web technologies, data formats, and protocols as possible, as well as implement as many various convenient functions as possible. The high speed of loading pages is also very popular with users.
Many experts argue that Google Corporation is involved in a secret activity and collects all users’ data. However, Google Chrome is one of the most successful and famous browsers nowadays. Despite all rumors and information, developers managed to fix all security issues, as they constantly provide their users with updates and helpful extensions. It is possible to customize Chrome settings and make it work properly if you feel insecure online.
You can install many helpful extensions that can protect your activity from various malware and online threats. Regardless of your current system, Chrome is working perfectly on both x32 and x64 systems. Many users around the globe are looking for the best applications in terms of security, and Chrome is one of them. If you want to be protected online, consider to download Google Chrome for Windows 7 64 bit, and enjoy your browsing activity daily.
It is unlikely that a full review of protected browsers can be written without mentioning the Tor solution. The development of the Tor browser has become a response to the avalanche-like increase in the number of security incidents while using the Internet.
The Tor browser is essentially just the tip of the iceberg. Behind it lies a secure distributed network of multiple proxy servers, created to ensure the anonymity and privacy of the user on the Internet.
The browser is based on the easy-to-understand principle of “onion routing” (Tor is an acronym from Onion Router). Above the data, the encryption procedure is performed many times as it is transferred from server to server (three randomly selected servers of the Tor network – those same “onion layers”) of the protected Tor network, and then transmitted over a virtual channel. And in the same way, the data is decoded by another “layer” upon receipt. Traffic between the Tor network and the target resource is not encrypted.
Therefore, if a user wants to transmit sensitive information over the Internet, you still need to take care of confidentiality by using https or another end-to-end encryption protocol, as well as authentication mechanisms. Also, when using the Tor network, the user can still visit blocked sites.
The Tor browser is particularly in demand when there are attempts to restrict freedom on the Internet. For example, there is no need to go far; they are well known. By default, Tor Browser does not save your browsing history, and cookies are stored and used only during the session.
When you first start the Tor Browser, the Tor network settings window is displayed. You can connect to it or pre-configure the settings for the connection.
Already from the name, Waterfox can be seen that it is based on Mozilla Firefox. Perhaps this is the most famous browser of this kind, for this reason, he got into this review. Also, it is possible to note alternative browsers based on the Firefox code – Pale Moon and Basilisk.
Waterfox is among the fairly uncomplicated open-source browsers. The developers saw one of their goals in creating the fastest browser for 64-bit computers. Waterfox earned its popularity precisely because it supported 64-bit operating systems while Mozilla Firefox was 32-bit. Waterfox is based on Firefox ESR and therefore supports traditional XUL-extensions Firefox and NPAPI-plugins. Compared to Firefox, several default security settings have been changed, in particular:
- integration with the Pocket web service is disabled;
- automatic telemetry sending to Mozilla is disabled;
- Encrypted Media Extensions, which are required for the operation of some sites, are disabled.
The developers of Waterfox claim the following main browser advantages over competitive solutions:
- Browsing the web without leaving a trace. Waterfox automatically removes user information from the computer (passwords, cookies, page history);
- Opposition to hidden trackers. Waterfox is equipped with protective mechanisms to automatically block hidden trackers that collect information about the pages viewed.
This feature allows you to maintain user privacy and speed up page loading.
SRWare Iron is a Chromium-based browser for secure Internet browsing. The creators of Iron oppose their offspring of Google Chrome as a tool that absorbed all the best qualities of the latter and devoid of security problems for the user.
The main security problem for Chrome, which was decided to get rid of in Iron, is to send information about user actions to Google and create an identifier that facilitates user identification. In light of this position, it should not be surprising that, on the whole, the Iron interface is practically no different from Chrome. The project is still supported by developers. New versions come out with short breaks monthly.
To solve security problems, the browser offers the appropriate set of privacy settings, extensions, and custom developer tools.
You can easily notice that all the parameters have been removed from Iron to some extent related to collecting and sending to Google information about the user’s work with the browser. The rest of the settings are identical.
Iron’s official website claimed that, unlike Chrome, “Iron has a built-in ad blocker that is easy to configure using a configuration file.” In practice, no obvious trace of the presence of this tool in Iron was found; by default, advertising is not blocked. And the approach to setting up the browser through the configuration file seems doubtful.
In Iron, the update service is disabled in the background and mechanisms that presumably allow the user to be identified in any way.
An absolutely secure browser does not exist, as there is no absolute security in principle. Each of the solutions presented has certain advantages and disadvantages and has its admirers and critics.
This is natural, since the goals, expectations, the lifestyle of people are different, and, accordingly, the level of necessary security is also not a constant value. The main conclusion is that the set of criteria for choosing a suitable browser should be expanded, taking into account the risks of breach of confidentiality.