Replace Your Web Browser

January 2019

Most Americans use web browsers that continually track and record everything that they do online.  Every one of the major web browsers spies on you. Here are three browsers that are designed to not spy on you.

 

My View: Brave is the Best Alternative Web Browser.

 

Brave

The Brave browser does not identify or track its users. Brave blocks all website ads by default. Brave makes its money by allowing a small number of ads to be discretely placed on some of the websites that you visit, when that ad has relevance to that particular website. But Brave’s knowledge of your activities is confined to whatever website you are currently on. Brave keeps no record of your browsing history and does not track you.

Brave is also known for a unique, voluntary payments system, which allows you to financially support websites of their choice, if you choose to use this system. You can set up small, recurring payments to websites of your choice. But this is a completely voluntary program.

Brave not only blocks all ads and online trackers, but also protects against what is called “fingerprinting,” but only if you enable that option. It also provides its own HTTPS (secure internet connection) for those websites that do not have a secure connection.

 

Other Browser Alternatives

 

FireFox   

Firefox is also widely recommended as an alternative to mainstream browsers. But Firefox is not secure by default. It must be deliberately hardened by the user who must learn how to customize its settings and then add the right “browser extensions.” These are software programs that can be added to the browser to enhance security. FireFox does have the advantage of being an open source program, meaning that the underlying computer code is publicly available to the public for inspection.

WaterFox

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

 

A Note About Apple’s Safari Browser

 

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

The three browser alternatives that are listed above have Apple versions.

 

Password Managers

 

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

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