Replace Your Web Browser

January 2019

Most Americans use web browsers that continually track and record everything that they do.  All of the major web browsers spy on you. Here are three browsers that do not spy on you.

 

My View: Brave is the Best Alternative Web Browser.

 

Brave

The Brave browser does not identify or track its users and blocks most online ads and trackers by default. Brave also protects you against what is called “fingerprinting,” if you enable that option. Brave makes money by allowing a small number of ads to be discretely placed on some of the websites that you visit, when an ad has relevance to that website. But Brave’s knowledge of your activities is confined to the website that you are currently visiting. Brave keeps no record of your browsing history and does not track you.

Brave is also known for a unique, voluntary payments system. This allows you to financially support websites of your choice by setting up small, recurring payments to them. However, this is a voluntary program.

 

Other Browser Alternatives

 

FireFox   

Firefox is also widely recommended as an alternative to the mainstream browsers. However, Firefox is not secure by default. It must be deliberately hardened by customizing its settings and adding the right “browser extensions.” These are software programs that can be added to the browser. FireFox does have the advantage of being an open source program, meaning that the underlying computer code is publicly available for inspection.

 

WaterFox

Waterfox is a “fork” of the Firefox browser and is designed to be more secure than Firefox by default. A criticism of Waterfox is that, although it is an open source system run by volunteers, it is often not kept up to date. It lags in development and does not have timely security updates.

 

A Note About Apple’s Safari Browser

 

Safari is the default browser for Apple users and therefore is in widespread use. There is also a Windows version. The Safari browser is fairly secure and has privacy protections. But Apple as a company is part of the National Security Agency's Prism program, which means that everything that you do on Safari will be known by the NSA.  And in the past, Apple is known to have used Safari to spy on its users, even when the browser was supposedly in “private mode.” Although it is Apple’s stated policy that it does not use Safari to spy on its users, you have only their word for that.

The three browser alternatives listed above all have Apple versions.

 

Password Managers

 

Currently, most people use their browsers to access secure websites by keeping their user names and passwords for those sites in the bowser itself. Unfortunately, most browsers can be hacked and your user names and passwords can be discovered. This is why many people use password managers that are heavily encrypted and which load your user name and password only when needed.

Among the most recommended password managers are Dashlane, LastPass, and Keeper. All three have paid as well as free versions and you should check out the differences between the two. One major difference is that the free versions can generally be used only on a single device. If you own multiple devices, you will need the paid version.