Browsers - the software that we use the most frequently to access content on the Internet are the scariest ones. Most browsers send data without our consent and allow websites to store cookie files with unique identifiable information. How many times have you experienced Deja Vu after looking up a product and later finding ads for a product you were looking at only to find that product all over social networks and contextual ads everywhere?

Choosing a privacy-preserving browser and altering the settings accordingly is an essential part of our private journey through the Internet.

Today there are three browsers available that either offer good privacy features out-of-box or can be adjusted accordingly:

Tor

We will talk about Tor in a separate article in the advanced section. In short, apart from a browser itself, Tor is free software and an open network to help you defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic analysis.

Brave

Brave is a free and open-source web browser developed by Brave Software Inc. based on the Chromium web browser which blocks ads and website trackers by default.

Firefox

And as for Mozilla Firefox, which is a very popular one, you need to adjust privacy settings to make it more privacy-friendly app (but don’t forget to adjust the privacy settings!).

There are browsers with privacy add-ons available, like Privacy Badger for Chrome and Opera (also for Firefox). These add-ons enhance the privacy experience and make your favourite software to access the Internet less sneaky. You can read about these add-ons in PB4.3 - Ad Blocker article.

Unfortunately, most browsers pass “fingerprints” that enable websites to track them by the configuration and settings information. There is also a Do Not Track header available for browsers to broadcast to websites, signaling them not to track user but many websites do not honour that header.

Protecting against fingerprinting entirely is difficult and the only fully working solution is using Tor. With other browsers using an add-on, like Privacy Badger, can improve security. Another powerful mechanism to defend against fingerprinting is disabling JavaScript - it essentially cuts off the methods that websites use to detect things like fonts and plugins. Unfortunately, JavaScript is also needed to make most websites work correctly.

Summary

It is difficult to protect yourself from browser fingerprinting and tracking without using Tor browser but you can still achieve a lot. Use the browsers mentioned above, alter your privacy settings, and test here to determine if your browser is sending unique, identifiable information (“browser fingerprint”) to web pages you visit!