Best Web Browsers for Private or Anonymous Browsing part 2

In our last post we kicked off a review of web browsers and other services that provide improved security, privacy protection, and anonymity when traveling on the web.  Today we wrap up our report.  The last three items in our list are not technically a browser, but provide unique solutions to privacy and anonymity that we thought were worthy of inclusion..

Comodo Dragon (Chromium) – Comodo is first and foremost a security company, and offers a well-regarded anti-malware product, so you would expect their security browser to be top-of-the-line. Comodo Dragon is based  on Google Chrome, and blocks third party tracking cookies, and other web spy artifacts. It uses Domain Validation technology that identifies and segregates superior SSL certificates from inferior ones.  Optionally, Comodo can route all of your browsing through its secure, encrypted DNS, so you leave fewer traces of your movements around the web.  If you are a Chrome user, this would be the Comodo product for you.

Comodo Ice Dragon (Firefox) – Ice Dragon is a Firefox-based alternative, and includes SiteInspector malware scanning technology to protect you from accidently downloading malware from a phishing page or off a legitimate but hijacked website. Their Secure DNS service uses blacklisting to keep you away from known problem sites and pages automatically.  If you are a Firefox user this Comodo product is for you.

Yandex – Yandex is Russia’s biggest technology company, and runs one of the most popular search engines in Russia.  The Yandex browser is a Chromium based product that uses Kaspersky anti-malware technologies for security.  It uses DNSCrypt to encrypt DNS transactions to keep them private and hides your true IP address.  My problems with this product are that this is a closed source product, so only Yandex knows what’s under the hood.  Given the current political climate between Russia and the US, I would not be comfortable using this browser.  And since DHS has banned Kaspersky Security from federal networks, I cannot recommend this solution.

Freenet – Freenet is “a peer-to-peer platform for censorship-resistant communication and publishing” provided by the Freenet Project.  Freenet is a self-contained network, and is structured to be an Internet alternative. Once you download and install the software, you can anonymously share files, browse and publish “freesites” (web sites accessible only on Freenet) and chat on forums, without fear of censorship or discovery. Freenet is decentralised to make it less vulnerable to attack, and when used in “darknet” mode, where users only connect to peers they know, is very difficult to detect.  Your identity is secret an known only to you.  Communications by Freenet nodes are encrypted and are routed through other nodes instead of a central server.  This makes it extremely difficult to determine who you are and what you are viewing or sharing.

I2P – I2P is a concept similar to Freenet.  According to I2P, it is an “anonymous overlay network – a network within a network.” It protects online communications from intrusive surveillance and monitoring by ISPs, governments, and other parties.  I2P is used by people for whom privacy is critically important, such political activists, politically oppressed people, journalists, whistleblowers, or people like you and me.  ISP can be used to secure email, web browsing, blogging and forums, website hosting, chat, file sharing, and file storage.

VPN – Virtual private networking creates a secure encrypted channel through the insecure Internet by encrypting the original data packets and wrapping them in a new packet header for routing to the destination.  VPNs can be established between devices such as firewalls that act as a VPN endpoints or VPN pass-through devices.   VPN services abound, and you also establish a connection with a VPN proxy provided by the service of your choice.  Common VPN encryption protocols include IPsec and SSL/TLS.

That rounds up our report about alternatives for safe, secure, private, and anonymous web browsing and Internet use.  My recommendation is to learn how to use TOR and a VPN.  One of these other alternatives may make sense for you.  It will cost you nothing to give it a try, it might be fun, and you will certainly learn something new in the process.

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity guru to business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area. Computer security and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. In 2013 I completed a course of study and certification exam to become a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). In 2016 I was certified as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of computer security, network security, and web site security. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. The views expressed on this Web site are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.

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