As I was going about re-configuring my website and domains earlier this week I noticed something very interesting, while my SSL Certificate was in the process of being authenticated I was able to access my unsecured website on every web browser except for one; Mozilla Firefox – which would not allow me to connect to the web page in order to keep me protected.
Just so you understand what I am talking about here, browsers like Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Apple Safari will all freely allow you to access a web page which has the potential to compromise your security – including websites which do not have an authenticated or verified SSL Certificates. This is because these web browsers are configured to be “convenient” and easy to use, security is either nonexistent or an afterthought on these particular browsers. With that said, there are a number of web browsers out there specifically designed around security, which also happen to be equally as easy to use/operate. Here are some of those browsers, along with some other helpful information to help you make more informed security choices online in the future.
Mozilla Firefox is considered by some to be the world’s most secure web browser. I say “some” specifically because many people would argue that Tor is actually the most secure browser out there. However, without Mozilla Firefox the Tor browser wouldn’t even exist. This is because Tor uses the source code of Firefox as the foundation to build their browser. As for why I personally consider Firefox more secure than Tor, this is because the DarkNet is inherently a much more dangerous place than the ClearNet, and you can’t access the DarkNet or Deep Web on Mozilla Firefox alone. Browsing through and interacting with the Deep Web, even while using Tor, naturally puts you and your security at a much higher risk.
What makes Firefox particularly unique is that much like WordPress.com, the browser allows you to install various Add-Ons, extensions or plugins that can help you maximize your security. For the purposes of this article, if you are going to use Mozilla Firefox, I highly recommend that you install NoScript, HTTPS Everywhere, Ad Blocker Ultimate and Disable WebRTC connections. There are more plugins than I could possibly mention here, those are just some of the most important ones you can install specifically in terms of online security.
WebRTC is a little talked about “glitch” that allows third parties to circumvent your security and compromise your systems, even when you are using a VPN or Proxy service. As of today, Mozilla is the only web platform I am aware of that allows you to disable all WebRTC connections entirely. By comparison, other browsers like Google Chrome literally ban people from disabling WebRTC connections through their browser, as to allow US “authorities” like the NSA and FBI to more easily hack and track users online if need be. However, non-Government hackers exploit WebRTC all the same as Federal hackers, and for all the same reasons.
Download Firefox Here: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/download/
I understand that the Tor Browser has gone on to develop a slightly negative reputation in today’s society but, believe it or not, the Tor Project was first developed by and still receives a majority of its funding from the United States Department of Defense. It is important to understand that even though some people use Tor to do some pretty bad or illegal things, just like anything else in life, the browser is only what you make of it.
Tor was not developed for criminals, it was first developed by the US Government in order to keep agents, operatives and members of the Armed Forces safe and secure online. It just so happens that over time the browser and its systems were hijacked by criminals and terrorists alike, whom also need to remain hidden and secure online for many of the same reasons as Government employees.
The Tor browser works by bouncing your internet connection through thousands of individual “proxy servers” around the world on a perpetual randomized time loop. At any given moment in time your internet connection could be bouncing from Thailand to Venezuela to Canada and theoretically anywhere in between, concealing your computers identity and making your internet activity essentially impossible to trace. In addition to redirecting your internet traffic away from the eyes of your Internet Service Provider, it also conceals the IP Address of the computer you are using behind a proxy. This is particularly important/valuable for political activists and human rights defenders living in oppressive countries all around there world, where peoples online activity can get them arrested or killed. Since the browser directs all of you online activity to different countries around the world, this allows activists to remain hidden from their Governments while also granting them access to any sites banned or restricted by their respective Governments.
It is important to note that Tor is perhaps the best web browser at preventing or deflecting an active hacking attempt against your computer. However, I would never use Tor for things like credit card transactions or editing/customizing your personal website. This is because anytime you are using a proxy you are using someone else’s connection. While this may hide your internet activity from 3rd parties, it makes you internet activity available specifically to the owner of whatever proxy server you happen to be using at that time, and not every proxy server exists with honorable intentions – though “most” Tor exit node operators tend to be trusted activists.
Download Tor Here: https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html.en
Opera is a little known web browser that has traditionally had a minuscule following throughout the past. However, in 2016, Opera started to gain a more main stream following, particularly with the cyber security community, after the browser started to become standard with a built in VPN. This means that the Opera browser stands in front of your computers IP Address while you browse the internet and your activity will remain hidden from your Internet Service Provider and/or 3rd parties. While the VPN is far from the strongest of safest on the market, it is still a very unique feature that has helped the browser grow in popularity over the years.
Download Opera Here: http://www.opera.com/
Epic Privacy Browser
One of the newer browsers on the market, Epic is specifically designed around online security. Each time you close the browser all of your cookies and tracking information is automatically deleted, preventing any websites from remembering or recording your previous activity. Similar to Opera, the Epic Privacy Browser also connects your computer through the companies own servers, acting as a proxy service for your device. This prevents any hackers/websites from recording the IP Address of the device you are using to browse the internet. Additionally, much like Mozilla, the browser will not allow you to connect with or access any site that does not have a recognized SSL Certificate.
Download Epic Here: https://www.epicbrowser.com/
Browser History, Cache & Cookie Management
If someone gains access to your computer for malicious reasons one of the first things they are going to want to do is check your browser history to gain access to websites and accounts that you frequent the most. Just think for a moment about all the pages you visit online, that you do not need to log into every time you visit. While this may be convenient for your personal browsing habits, it is also very convenient for hackers.
For this reason, you should always delete your browser history and clear all browser cookies on a fairly regular basis. You would be surprised to know how much information your browser stores/remembers about you, until you delete it all. Please note that some browsers offer to delete cache and cookies through the settings menu and some anti-virus programs also offer to do the same. However, if you cannot find or do not own these programs, one of the best programs to clear history, cookies, cache and everything else is known as CCleaner and it is completely free and open source for anyone to own. The “C” in CCleaner literally stands for “Crap,” because the program deletes all of the useless crap your computer happens to store about you. The program itself is entirely free to own, but it is one of the most effective programs on the market. For example, even multi-billion dollar tech companies are known to use the program on a regular basis.
Download CCleaner Here: www.ccleaner.com/download