Check out five free tools you can use to check if your browser is secure and protects your privacy.
Your browser is the one that is always connected to the internet. So it should be your first line of defense against hackers, malware, and trackers too.
But are you sure that it is doing its job correctly? Is it configured correctly? Are the plugins and extensions you installed safe?
Here are some free tools you can use to verify it. The tools below are listed alphabetically.
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As the name suggests, AmIUnique determines if your browser leaves a unique “digital footprint” on the Internet, making it easier for advertisers to target you. It is quite detailed and technical.
Browser fingerprinting is a powerful method that websites use to collect information about your browser type and version, as well as operating system, active plug-ins, time zone, language, screen resolution, etc. display and other active settings.
The tool also analyzes the extensions and plug-ins you have installed and checks if they interfere in any way with the security of your browser or violate your privacy.
AmIUnique has its own browser extension. It allows the user to view their fingerprint history and make adjustments based on it.
The timeline feature is particularly useful because it allows you to check how and if your fingerprint has changed over time.
Browsing experience safety check
Cloudflare’s Browsing Experience Security Check is the only tool on our list that revolves around Domain Name System (DNS).
After clicking the orange “Check My Browser” button, Cloudflare’s tool will check if you are using DNS resolver, analyze if it can be attacked through your browser, check if cybercriminals can see website certificates to which your browser connects and soon.
For more detailed explanations, you can click the “More Information” button under each result and find out if there are steps you can take to strengthen your security and privacy.
cover your tracks
Created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit group that advocates for digital privacy, free speech, and innovation, Cover Your Tracks is a highly capable tool that checks whether your browser is protecting you from tracking.
This is a similar tool to AmiUnique that we presented above, but in a simpler form and not as detailed as AmiUnique.
To start the analysis, press the “Test your browser” button having selected the test with a real tracking company function. In less than a minute, the tool will reveal if your browser is blocking ads that track you, stealth trackers, and fingerprinting.
After running the tests, Cover Your Tracks displays a table and a detailed report explaining how and why advertisers and data brokers track you. It also displays a brief guide on how to read and interpret the report.
Privacy Analyzer performs various tests to help you measure the security of your browser. To start it, press the START TEST button. In seconds, you’ll get five detailed reports that explain what the site you’re visiting knows about you.
Privacy Analyzer reveals whether the pages you view frequently collect information about your operating system, screen resolution, and even battery levels if you’re using a laptop.
If you have Brave, take the test with and without Brave Shields activated. You will see several differences.
The tool also checks if your browser has autofill enabled, shows whether it reveals information about the accounts you’re logged into, tests its features and settings, and participates in fingerprint analysis.
Qualys Browser Verification
Qualys is a household name in the cloud security space, having been in existence for over two decades. Checking Your Browser is free and easy to use, giving you great insight into how secure your software is.
Qualys BrowserCheck scans a browser for vulnerabilities and other security issues and notifies the user if they need to remove a plugin, install an update, etc.
For a more comprehensive analysis, you can install the BrowserCheck plugin, which is also free. Also, it runs automatic scans from time to time, which can definitely help catch any abnormalities if they occur.
If you do not want to install it, click Scan without installing the plugin and the test will start automatically.
What to do if your browser fails the tests
If your browser passes the tests above, it is as safe as such software can be.
However, if some or most of them fail, you should replace it with a safe alternative. Here are three safe and private browsers to consider if the one you’re using doesn’t meet these standards.
Brave was released in 2019, but it has already established itself as a safe alternative to Chrome and other mainstream browsers, mainly because it does everything on its own.
Brave automatically blocks ads and trackers, hides your online fingerprint, changes all websites to https, blocks scripts, and has built-in access to the Tor network.
Brave is based on Chromium, which means you can install almost any extension available on the Chrome web store. Plus, it’s very fast and intuitive, so you don’t have to compromise performance to increase your security.
The main thing is that it does not consume as much memory as Chrome.
Firefox was released more than 20 years ago, but it remains one of the most popular web browsers among technology enthusiasts, mainly for its security and privacy features.
Firefox is fast, open source, receives regular security updates, has a store full of useful extensions and add-ons, and can be synced across devices.
Unlike many other browsers, Firefox is highly customizable. This can make a real difference in terms of security and privacy, as it is possible to manage cookie tracking and permissions, disable or enable certain updates, control downloads, etc.
Tor (The Onion Router) is an open source technology that allows users to browse the Internet privately by directing traffic through a network that covers their footprints.
The best way to connect to this network is through the Tor Browser, which is possibly the safest and most private browser today because it was created to hide almost all information that could be used to identify you on the Internet.
This comes at a price, at least in terms of performance. Tor is much slower than other browsers. However, it is still an essential privacy tool that you should have installed on your devices.
Enhance your browser security to protect yourself
Brave, Firefox, and Tor may be the most secure of all browsers, but none of them are perfect. The good news is that you can strengthen the security of almost any browser by adjusting its settings, installing privacy-focused extensions, and updating it regularly.
But no matter how secure a browser is, you are at risk if you don’t follow basic security protocols. This includes installing reliable anti-malware software, staying away from malicious websites, using strong passwords, and checking all suspicious links before following them.