What is the most secure web browser?

by M.D. Creekmore on December 5, 2012 · 31 comments

What is the most secure web browser?

most secure browser

Image courtesy stock.xchng user
scottsnyde

After posting this post on how to secure the Firefox web browser, several pack members sent emails asking me which web browser was the most secure “out of the box” without their having to do all that technical stuff that was discussed in the previous article.

Good question…

After a lengthy back and forth discussion with my go to guy on such matters and a load of research on the web has led me to the conclusion the most secure web browser is… are you ready… google chrome (click the link download it for free).

I know a bunch of you “computer nerds” swear by Firefox, and it is a good web browser after you make a bunch of adjustments, but Firefox seems to have fallen behind in the past couple of years.

And I’m not alone in this several sources including PC World MagazineLifehacker and Top Ten Reviews have come to the same conclusion.

Here is what Top Ten Reviews had to say about the security features…

Chrome is designed to keep you safer and more secure on the web with built-in malware and phishing protection, auto-updates to make sure you have all the latest security fixes, and more. When you navigate to a website suspected of phishing or containing malware, the internet browser displays a warning.

The browser also has auto-updates, ensuring your security features stay current without any action on your part, and it employs the sandboxing method. Sandboxing helps block malware and isolates what happens in one tab from affecting the others, so once you close a tab, that process is completely terminated. Sandboxing is an effective method for preventing malware from installing itself on your computer and monitoring your online activities or stealing personal information.

Okay, another question asked was what do I personally use for security and web surfing - yep, they wanted a list, so here it goes.

My list for the most secure web browser and add-ons to make it even more secure. :yes:

Well folks there you have it my personal and most current list for browsing the web more securely and anonymously. Simple, easy and effective. :yes:

And now it’s time for the “this browser is better and more secure” comments to start below…

31 comments

Jason December 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Not that they are any better, but for the geek challenged there are a few customized versions of google chrome that are inteneded to be more secure that the basic chrome install.

1) Comodo – http://www.comodo.com/home/browsers-toolbars/browser.php
This is slanted toward safe browsing (viruses and maleware).

2) SRware Iron -http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron_download.php
This offshoot of chrome is probably the better bet of the two, as it targets users who are interested in privacy and security.

To make a tech savy system like you’re currently using even more secure you could run it inside a Virtualbox virtual machine and just boot it up fresh each time you use it.

JP in MT December 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Mine is similar. Will have to try Chrome though.

Suburban Housewife December 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Really M.D.? Google Chrome? I just finished making those changes you suggested yesterday!

M.D. Creekmore December 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Suburban Housewife,

Firefox is better or just as good after you have made the changes suggested in that article. But as is as downloaded Chrome is better that Firefox “out of the box”. So if you’ve made the changes to Firefox you are good to go with no need for Chrome.

Suburban Housewife December 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I forgot to add LOL – re-reading my comment sounds whiny and its not – I am laughing!

Santa Walt December 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Google is known for collecting info about its customers and selling it to third parties, particularly gmail. Makes me wonder about whether Google is not doing the same thing with Chrome. In other words it may be the safest and protect you from anyone outside Google, but Google may be gleaning info about you that someone could get, particularly if they have a warrant.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

M.D. Creekmore December 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Santa Walt,

That is why I suggest a “layered” approach…

Acey December 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Startpage the ONLY major search engine that does not retain your personal data.

STARTPAGE Hands down. Look it up. Listen to what Katherine Albrecht has to say.

jayjay December 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I use Ixquick..now same as Startpage.

illuminoughtu December 9, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Warrant!? We don need no steenkeen warrant!

Suburban Housewife December 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm

And another thing… and this is not meant to be sarcastic or anything – I really want to understand. Just exactly who or what are we “hiding” from? and why? I think I kind of get the “opsec” thing at times – but at other times I have to wonder…Doesn’t the government already have access to and/or already know everything they need or want to know – and I’m thinking they can unravel/hack/bypass any of these security measures available to us. And identity thieves and those with malicious intent probably can too. I understand making it harder for them so they go to an easier target – but it seems like a lot of work and effort and I’m not always sure for what exactly. I like my privacy – but I shop a lot on line – do I really mind being tracked and having ads tailored to me and my interests? I’m not sure…Can ya edjamacate me a tad bit?

Suburban Housewife December 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Have you seen this?
http://www.prisonplanet.com/cameras-inside-mannequins-spying-on-shoppers.html
what’s the difference between being spied on at home or out in the store?

Charlie (NC) December 6, 2012 at 8:21 am

On TVs in the last few days I saw a news article about remote drones. Apparently they now have drown humming birds. Yes, small drones that look like a humming bird that can hover in front
of your window and take pictures inside. Apparently police departments are already using such things.

Uncle Charlie December 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm

MD, let me ask a dumb question since this is all Greek to me. Would you have the same opinion if you were using a Mac?

M.D. Creekmore December 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Uncle Charlie,

Never used one… but I’ve heard that they are safer.

Jason December 6, 2012 at 8:35 am

Macs are based on a modified version of Freebsd (freebsd.org), so they are much more secure than windows. You are less likely to get hacked or get a virus.

BUT, as soon as you connect to the internet all bets are off from a privacy standpoint. The good news is that you can take the same basic steps to secure your browser regardless of the operating system you use.

michigan doug December 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm

skynet already knows so it doesnt matter.in a major crash (emp,oil, hyperinflation,whatever)those govt list aint gonna matter after the first few days.

Guva Dafe December 5, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Don’t care for their Terms of Service. They admit they will ‘tailor’ ads to you based upon your browsing which means they are tracking the web sites you visit. No thanks, I’ll stick with FireFox and NoScript.

M.D. Creekmore December 6, 2012 at 9:04 am

Guva Dafe,

Amazon.com does the same thing as do most retail sites it’s called a cookie and they are trying to sell you something, not send you off to Gitmo. It’s not a big deal and is easy to stop if you feel it threatens your freedom. SRWare Iron a beefed up version of Chrome has all of the benefits of Chrome (speed, plugins and safety against hackers, viruses and spyware) without sending any information to Google.

Also a layered approach is much better than relying on one thing such as a browser, for example SRWare Iron with DuckDuckGo for your search engine, and a proxy for those sites that you don’t want to be tracked to. The most important thing is to not do anything illegal (send threats, harassment or visit child porn sites) in the first place.

NANN! December 6, 2012 at 10:55 am

You’re right, M.D. The first time I saw an Amazon ad on a website with my FULL NAME on the ad, I just about sh*t. It drove me nuts, until I found there is a way to stop it.
You can go into your Amazon account…click ‘my account’, then scroll to the bottom of the page to the ‘Personalization’ settings. Under ‘Personalized Content’ will be ‘Your Advertising Preferences’. There, you can opt out of them personalizing your ads. You may still see Amazon ads on some websites, because they advertise on those sites, but they won’t have your name or pictures of your recent shopping items.

Whatever browser you choose, you’ll have to do some tweaking to get things just right. Maybe I haven’t tried Chrome long enough to learn all the benefits of it, but I’m still leery, mainly because it’s Google. One thing I really like about Chrome though, is printing something from the web. I love that it lets me know just how many pages I’ll be printing before I click ‘print’.

I’ll keep using Firefox until I can thoroughly check out Chrome. Thanks for the reviews, M.D., and sharing the tweaks & add-ons for them. It’s always good to have choices, and I think sooner or later, the hacks will turn one or the other into the next Internet Explorer.

Charlie (NC) December 6, 2012 at 8:19 am

Not to doubt what anyone is saying but it’s hard for me to trust
Google for anything considering the fact that they are the one’s building
the huge data farm that supposedly will be the electronic depository
for all of the data on the planet.

Underdegun December 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Sorry. I am not sold. Some folks really need to think very hard about this. They don’t use Google because of what Google does and what they are and represent. BUT, they use Chrome because it is more “secure”? This circular logic is making me dizzy. Why would you support a company by using one product but not using another because you feel compromised with one and not the other — from the same company? Its like having a pedophile watch your little girl because he has only been caught molesting little boys. As Mr Spock would say, “Curious.”

Acey December 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Startpage (known as Ixquick.com in Europe) is the only major search engine that does not retain your personal data.

Startpage’s privacy policy is widely considered the best in the industry:

- No recording of your IP address.
- No identifying cookies.
- No collecting of personal data.
- No sharing of personal data with third parties.
- Offering secure, encrypted connections (HTTPS/SSL)
- And a full proxy service to be launched next month.STARTPAGE Hands down. Look it up. Listen to what Katherine Albrecht has to say.

Santa Walt December 8, 2012 at 7:27 am

This is for everyone, but particularly for “Suburban Housewife.” Government facilities can run emails through a program which searches for key words. If it finds any of the key words, it brings them to an operator’s attention. The government is collecting data about you and can find some reason to come after you whenever they want. Even if you are an insignificant person in some out-of-the-way place, they may still decide that you are a possible threat and begin collecting everything about you. Then should they feel the need, for any reason, they can pull info from all those various sources, including your emails, and come after you. If someone takes much of what you say and compiles them, out of context, you are guilty and a danger and threat to the powers that be in the U.S. Your life is over when that happens. Even worse is the info in the following link. Check it out.

https://rt.com/usa/news/surveillance-spying-e-mail-citizens-178/

Ray December 27, 2012 at 4:17 am

Chrome has a better set of prison bars,but nobody askes who is watching the watchers.
Chrome is better for stopping some malware it’s still a a trojan for Google though.
Firefox is the best of a bunch that wants as much of your personal information as possible because it has a legion of open source addon creators that keep it that way.
No other browser has that.
That being said they all want to find some way to sell you stuff using your first name and current address

Anna Moyers January 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Thank you for writing this article! This is an important issue– for alot of users its extremely difficult to pick a browser when there are so many and none of them really seem ideal.

I see Chrome like I see Facebook – it is designed for ease of use and interactvitity. With this useability comes the storing of settings and information about users. I wouldn’t share all of my personal information on Facebook, nor would I share it with Chrome. The key to personal safety on the internet really means anonymity or sharing less. This is like an attitude of identity hygiene (just like personal hygiene). This lessens what exists about you outside of your computer. To prevent unwanted eyes reaching INTO your computer, you can add software like malware protection, etc. It’s difficult to sum it up because the issue is intricate. The idea of technological security has so many facets that you would need to really do research about IT.

I used to use Firefox religiously but decided to check out Chrome because it was touted as a simpler and less bloated browser. In the end I can’t customize or control it like I can Firefox. I use Chrome to cut down on system resources but I’m still looking for a software that better supports anonymity and is very simple. Chrome’s immediate pressure to have me set up login information was a huge turnoff. This expresses a paradigm – it wants information about you. It doesn’t matter what the intention of use is, only that the information about your habits and personal info exists and is “out there.” Some people are ok with that, some people are not.

charlie (NC) January 31, 2013 at 8:58 am

Chrome belongs to Google who is very busy cataloging and analysing
ever bit of data they can get ahold of from everyone in the world including where your house is. They take pictures of your house and
publish it online. They are working hard on building “artificial intellegence” and computers that can think and interact with you.
Computers that can anticipate what you are thinking and searching for and build profiles on you. Do as you will but I will never use Chrome and while I do use Google Earth and occassionally use Google to run searches, I am very careful what I use them for.

There is a free program called CCleaner that you can download. CCleaner deletes all of you temp. internet files, deleted files, and a lot of other clutter on your computer and will overwrite it up to 34 times to remove all traces of it. If you use an anonymous server program to browse the web and then run CCleaner or a similar program on a regular basis you can greatly reduce if not totally eliminate anything that a phishing program or other malware program is looking for.

m February 23, 2013 at 9:27 am

That’s what I’m talkin about!! Google has to be the most secure browser because they “own” you and all of data and actions. I would never use Chrome. It has to be secure or people could learn more about you than anywhere else. When Google gets hacked what is left of one’s privacy will be gone.

ashrc4 January 31, 2013 at 4:35 am

“Sandboxing helps block malware and isolates what happens in one tab from affecting the others, so once you close a tab, that process is completely terminated. Sandboxing is an effective method for preventing malware from installing itself on your computer and monitoring your online activities or stealing personal information.”

Sandboxing helps undo damage, therefore limiting it’s overall lasting effects on the OS etc. It won’t prevent malware nor stop sanboxed malware from siphoning info..be it temporary.

misleading.

John February 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I think a good point is made about how safe the browser is from a download or default status. Obviously browsers have added security that is not enabled by default or needs additional addons to improve it. Not to mention the plugins that may defeat all that great security with a zero day exploit. I guess maybe that’s why IE9 and IE10 do well in security “if” you actually use the Active X filter and enable tracking protection. Although I have my doubts tracking will save you from malware. Active X might. But their again it can break web sites and prevent you from viewing video and unless you care to spend time adding exceptions. Your probably not going to use these features.
Chrome in my opinion is Google’s tool for pushing ads. But if your like me and don’t concern yourself with privacy issues or are paranoid. Chrome has proven itself to be a very secure browser. But also I must mention Maxthon as also being good. A browser hardly mentioned. Also why not use Opera which only has a 2.5% user base and probably does not get a lot of malware targeted at it.

Choperro February 19, 2013 at 11:19 pm

I don’t know which is the most secure, but the MOST INSECURE IS:

WINDOWS + INTERNET EXPLOITED

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