Ranked: 7 Most Secure Browsers in 2018

SECURITY Updated on: 11 October 2018

You might have used Google Chrome ever since its inception, and seeing how it skyrocketed in popularity over time, it’s no surprise.

The question is – “Does it offer the best security and privacy to its users?”

The answer would be “no, it doesn’t”. This is because Google Chrome is run by… drumrolls… Google.

A shock, I know! However, Google is notorious for keeping track of its users’ behavior and traffic on the internet, all in order to suffocate them with ads. Did you ever wonder why, after searching for, let’s say, tips on how to create the perfect dinner, you would then see ads everywhere related to that?

That’s what I’m talking about.

Security in and of itself is not a problem per se. It’s not that Chrome is easily hackable or manipulated by third party individuals. It’s that they will leak your information to their developers.

To stop this from happening, you should use a VPN when going online. It’s basically a no-brainer in this day and age.

However, you should also change your browser to a more secure one. In this sense, take a look at the following list of the 7 most secure browsers out there!

1. Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is, hands down, the most secure web browser out there. There’s no question about that. However, this is only true when you install the additional add-ons and fixes.

Pros:

  • It sports a wide range of privacy add-ons to choose from
  • It’s constantly revised and developed, checked for security issues to be fixed
  • It’s an open source browser which has been fully analyzed and deemed to be extremely secure and privacy-oriented
  • It comes with its standalone Tracking Protection interface
  • It comes with a lot of features, the little things that make it pleasing and more enjoying to work with
  • No web browsing tracking, and thus no ads

Cons:

  • The different add-ons that you have to install in order to make Firefox truly secure and private
  • Telemetry

In terms of security, the Firefox browser stands up to par with Chrome, especially their last version, the Firefox 57 “Quantum”, more commonly known as Firefox Quantum.

When compared to Chrome, the newly-created browser coming from Mozilla really steps on another level with its browsing speed. It’s a genuine quantum leap from the old Firefox in this regard.

Important!

Generally speaking, Mozilla has always been very responsive and committed to the users’ reactions, and it usually comes with increasingly innovative and imaginative add-ons and functionalities.

However, as I’ve said before, if you want to truly make Firefox the ultimate shield against any information leaks and potential attacks, there are a couple of extra add-ons that you must install.

A very interesting utility is the Containers one, which basically treats every individual tab as a singular space separated from all others. This increases privacy a lot.

2. Tor Browser

The Tor Browser is basically a Firefox variant on steroids, primarily focused on security and privacy. It gives one access to the Tor network, the highly acclaimed anonymous network that allows you to go on the Dark Web.

Pros:

  • It’s being regularly renewed and analyzed for potential security problems
  • It completely eliminates the issue of browser fingerprinting
  • It’s an open source browser, based on the Firefox concept, but with added layers of protection and privacy-oriented instruments
  • Compatibility on Windows, macOS, and Linux
  • The possibility of running the Tor Browser without connecting to the Tor Network, avoiding the latter’s notorious browsing slowness

Cons:

  • Fewer features as compared to Firefox
  • Lacking in the superluminal speed of Firefox Quantum

Now, to talk about the actual features and traits of Tor and how it differs from the standard Firefox.

First off, all the browsing is done in Private Mode from the get-go. You don’t have to activate it manually.

No saved passwords, no history, no cookies, and a solid tracking protection.

Then, it naturally uses the Disconnect.me search engine, known for its complex encryption algorithms and anonymous searching capabilities.

It enforces secure connections on all websites, and it comes with a special version for Linux. This one is exponentially more complex with its encryption algorithms, with additional security measures.

Most importantly, the team behind Tor is constantly looking for new things to add, for revisions and updates, bringing the browser up to speed with the new advances in technology.

It’s definitely worth a check!

3. Waterfox

The Waterfox browser is yet another of Firefox’s cousins. It seems that Mozilla is quite prolific and diverse, with a solid foothold in this domain.

The main difference is that Waterfox eliminates all the potentially risky stuff that Firefox had, the ones that threatened privacy. We’ll talk about that in a second.

For now, let’s focus on the main traits.

Pros:

  • Open source browser
  • Offers a reliable tracking protection
  • Gives you the chance to synchronize with the standard Firefox
  • Takes away all the things you were concerned about with Firefox and throws them out the window
  • Available on Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android
  • Kept on a strict updating policy, following Firefox’s latest security patches

Cons:

  • It lacks the speed of Firefox Quantum
  • It’s based on the old Firefox 56, so there might be problems with the overall security. There is no intention to move on to a newer platform for some time.

Now, for all the worrying security dangers that Firefox had that this browser eliminates, they are:

  • Telemetry
  • Web Runtime
  • Data collection
  • The Pocket add-on
  • The Encrypted Media Extensions

The main problem, actually, is still the fact that Waterfox is based on Mozilla’s 56 version of Firefox. That one is outdated, and beside the lack in speed, there could be serious security issues around the corner.

There are no more updates or security fixes being made for Firefox 56. So, any problems that it had back then are going to remain there now.

4. Brave

The Brave browser is based on Chromium, the engine that Chrome uses. We’re finally out of the Firefox loop. So, if you’re familiar with Google’s browser, this will be quite a good advantage.

Pros:

  • Included Ad-blocker
  • Open source
  • A solid and secure tracking protection
  • Anti-fingerprinting methods that are very high-end
  • Just like Tor, it enforces HTTPS connections on all websites
  • It comes with a special protection against WebRTC leaks
  • Chrome-interface similarity
  • Available on iOS, macOS, Linux, Windows and Android. A very wide spread, in fact

Cons:

  • The major risk is the Chromium-based engine which could send information back to Google, being their brainchild
  • It features ads, albeit the type where the user can gain money from, the “user-friendly” type. However, ads are ads, regardless of their kind.

It sure is very similar to Chrome in many regards, fulfilling any Google fan’s desire to see Chrome 2.0 come to life. Well, this is it! However, it takes quite a lot of bravery to try on Brave because of its ties with Google.

There are plenty of reasons to distrust and be suspicious of anything that Google brings to the table.

We just can’t help but stick the same label on Brave.

5. Pale Moon

Coming from Mozilla’s backyard, Pale Moon is another Firefox-based browser that did, however, distance itself from it in a number of ways. It retains its roots however, and it supports most of Firefox’s add-ons.

Pros:

  • An open-source browser managed and maintained by member of the community
  • It’s constantly revised and kept in-line with the new security patches and updates
  • Customizable to the extreme
  • It’s like a lite version of a program, with all the advantages and none of the downsides
  • Compatible with nearly all the add-ons and tools that work on Firefox
  • Lacks in any privacy-invasive characteristics that Firefox has

Cons:

  • Its major flaw is that it’s not entirely compatible with the modern web standards
  • Only available on Windows and Linux

Even though Pale Moon does run away from the worrying ads and invasive traits of Firefox, by itself, it’s not a revolutionary browser.

This means that it doesn’t bring anything fresh to the table either.

It’s just another face of Firefox, one of many others out there. What’s worse is that Mozilla’s teams will delay the implementation of protocol updates and security measures to Pale Moon.

Moreover, it may have some problems in displaying some web pages out there. This is because the browser is fully focused on HTML5 and CSS3, these being the main protocols used.

6. Firefox Focus

Just like the name says, this browser is based on Mozilla’s renowned creation, taking the good things and leaving out the bad ones. It’s focused primarily on privacy and security, and just like the Tor browser, it uses a constant Private Mode system.

Pros:

  • In-built ad-blocker and an emphasis on tracking protection
  • Open-source
  • Eliminates all the bothersome and worrying invasive traits of Firefox
  • No login details are ever saved or stored away

Cons:

  • Available only in iOS and Android
  • The lack of complete support regarding its basic functions
  • Impossible to disable WebRTC, thus putting VPN users at risk of having information leaks

All in all, Firefox Focus stands miles away from the good browsers out there, but it is open source and privacy-oriented, so it’s worth a shot if you’re out of options or want to try anything new.

7. Epic

The Epic browser is based on Chromium, which throws the ball back to Google this time. It’s open-source and completely focused on giving its users an exclusive private experience.

Hold on, before taking it all out on Google for its untrustworthy nature, let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Maximal privacy, or such is the presentation. No cookies, no login details put away, no trackers, no ads, and no collected data.
  • Open-source
  • Fully encrypted connection
  • Priority on SSL connections
  • In-built ad-blocking feature

Cons:

  • The one-click proxy feature slows down the browsing speed, thought not by a large margin
  • The near-complete lack of plug-ins
  • High probability that it might not be up to date with the latest security patches

To get to the crux of the problem, Epic is still administered and based on Google’s browsing technologies, using their protocols and regulations.

Even thought they’ve said that Epic retains none of the tracking features that Chrome has, for example, we can’t be fully assured of this. After all, it’s based on Chromium, and there’s no changing that.

Just like Brave, it’s an open-source browser that’s worth checking out if you’re looking for novelty.

8. Issues with the standard web browsers

Now, to discuss about all the other browsers out there like Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Appel’s Safari.

What exactly is their problem?

The biggest no-no that should put you on guard from the start is that none of them is open source. This means that you can’t inspect the code to see if they’re hiding and invasive protocols or malicious aspects. This, in turn, means that you won’t know what or how to deal with any problem that appears.

Google has publicly admitted that Chrome does affect its users’ privacy, and it has even issued a clear analysis of how this happens exactly. Sure, you are given the option to increase privacy and deactivate some invasive features.

The problem? These options are so well-hidden and vague that, most likely, you still haven’t stumbled over them.

Moreover, all these companies participated in NSA’s PRISM program. This was an initiative spearheaded by the American agency. Its express purpose was that of collecting information, internet communications to be used in the court for incrimination.

Well, Google, for instance, offered its full collaboration. Apple did the same.
This speaks volumes about their reliability and principles. Their privacy policy is rather malleable and flexible, rather than unshakeable and solid.

9. Conclusion

In the end, although it does have its issues that are actually being worked on by the team, Firefox offers the best choice in terms of privacy and security.

Hands down, out of all the other competitors, Firefox detaches itself easily. After all, Mozilla was the first in this domain that incorporated the “Do not track” feature. This should be enough to judge their professional ethics and principles.

As for empirical evidence, it’s even clearer with the Tor browser, and now with Firefox Quantum that Mozilla primarily focuses on its user’s privacy and protection.