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The Best Browsers for Privacy and Security


Joanna Yuen

Marketing & Content Specialist - 07 Mar, 2024


Browsers have become a true battleground for end-user privacy and security. In a constantly evolving landscape featuring everything from dangerous identity theft to annoying third-party ads, it’s never been more important to protect yourself and your online activity. While Chrome is currently the most used browser in the world, there are other options that can provide even more extensive protective features. In this post, we’re exploring the modern internet concerns plaguing users, along with browsers that can help and a few other tips. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about using your browser to maintain privacy, security, and online safety.

Modern Concerns Around Privacy and Security

Recent years have brought several changes that have had various impacts on the privacy and security of users. Technology is constantly changing, and some of the most important advances are:

  • An increased reliance on digital services - More people are using online platforms and services, leading to a larger attack surface for hackers. The more that you do online, the more usernames, passwords, and platforms there are floating around. People now use the internet for banking, real estate, health communications, and all sorts of personal things which mean sensitive information is out there.
  • More sophisticated cyber-criminals - Hackers and malicious actors have become more skilled and organized, developing advanced techniques to breach security measures. These individuals have an advanced skill set and spend time finding new ways to complete cyber attacks.
  • Data leaks and other breaches - There have been several high-profile data breaches, exposing vast amounts of personal information and raising concerns about data protection. Even if you haven’t been part of one of the more commonly known issues, any online platform is susceptible and they can happen at any time.
  • Different privacy regulations - Governments and organizations are implementing stricter privacy regulations, such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to protect individuals' personal data. These new regulations mean content creators and marketers have to find new ways of obtaining third-party data, so the online advertising landscape is constantly shifting.
  • Emerging technologies - The rise of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and cloud computing has introduced new security challenges and vulnerabilities. The entire online climate is very different than even ten years ago. These new advancements are making our lives easier in many ways, but with each new innovation comes a new set of concerns that must be addressed for safety.
  • Social media and increased online presence - The widespread use of social media has increased the risk of privacy invasion, identity theft, and cyberbullying. In fact, younger generations are being specifically educated on how to handle cyber interactions and manage mental health in the face of social media concerns. The more that people are online on social media, the more vulnerable they could be to cyber-attacks.
  • The rise of remote work - The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to remote work and virtual communication, leading to new security risks and challenges. New platforms were developed and ones that enable remote work became more popular. As companies invested in more remote employees, a lot more sensitive data was exchanged online rather than in person (HR forms, payroll, etc). As organizations continue to work with virtual employees, they will need extremely secure channels for sending and receiving information.

Related Post: How Do Your Cybersecurity Habits Stack Up?


As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why things might be less secure and why we all need to pay more attention to our activity online. To name just a few, here are ten of most pressing security and privacy concerns that come with the changing internet functions:

  • Data breaches - Unauthorized access to sensitive information by hackers.
  • Identity theft - Stealing personal information to commit fraud or other malicious activities.
  • Phishing attacks - Deceptive emails or websites designed to trick users into revealing sensitive information.
  • Malware - Malicious software that can damage or compromise devices and steal data, often used in ransom scenarios.
  • Ransomware - Malware that encrypts files and demands a ransom for their release.
  • Social engineering - Manipulating individuals into divulging sensitive information or performing actions they shouldn't (example: blackmailing a minor into providing an illicit photo).
  • Online scams - Fraudulent schemes aimed at deceiving users and stealing their money or other personal information.
  • Privacy invasion - The unauthorized collection and use of personal data by companies or individuals.
  • Cyberbullying - Harassment, threats, or intimidation online, often targeted at individuals or groups, with younger people often being more susceptible.
  • IoT vulnerabilities - Security weaknesses in Internet of Things devices, allowing unauthorized access or control.

As mentioned, those are the top concerns that we see most often when it comes to privacy and security online. However, that isn’t a comprehensive list and there is even more to be worried about. For example, with the rise of people sharing personal information on social media, many are increasingly vulnerable. If you consistently post pictures of yourself on vacation away from home, should anyone come across your social profiles, they will know your house is sitting empty which puts you at risk for robberies or package theft. However, we can’t control for all factors, so in this post we will focus on what we can control - browser functionality.

The Best Browsers for Increasing Privacy and Security

There is no browser that is perfect or able to ensure constant privacy and security. However, some are better known than others and have features and functionality designed to protect users. Here are our recommendations for those who want to add a few layers of security.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is an open-source browser that prioritizes user privacy. It offers features like Enhanced Tracking Protection, which blocks third-party tracking cookies, as well as strict privacy settings. Firefox also supports various privacy-focused add-ons.


One of the best options for overall security, Brave is a privacy-centric browser that blocks ads and trackers by default. It provides a built-in ad-blocker and features like HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger. Brave also allows users to earn cryptocurrency rewards by opting into privacy-respecting ads. If one of your priorities is keeping your activity private from companies, Brave is a valuable tool.


An innovative browser focused on productivity, this platform has private browsing mode and secure data syncing. Shift also performs regular updates and security patches so that users can automatically take advantage of the features that are most helpful. Keep reading for details on all of the ways that Shift keeps users protected.

Tor Browser

The Tor Browser is designed to protect user privacy and anonymity. It routes internet traffic through a network of volunteer-operated servers, making it difficult to track user activity. Tor Browser also blocks third-party trackers and prevents fingerprinting. It’s worth noting that Tor is one of the only browsers which might be used to access the “dark web”, which comes with its own set of issues. That being said, it’s so difficult to track activity on it that it’s commonly used in illegal transactions.

Google Chrome (with privacy enhancements)

While Chrome is not inherently privacy-focused, it can be customized with privacy-enhancing extensions like uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, and HTTPS Everywhere. Additionally, Chrome's sandboxing technology helps isolate web pages and prevent malicious activities.

Microsoft Edge

The newer version of Microsoft Edge, based on the Chromium open-source project, offers enhanced privacy features. It includes options for blocking trackers, customizing cookie settings, and using Microsoft Defender SmartScreen for protection against phishing and malware.

It's important to note that even with privacy-focused browsers, user behavior and additional security measures play a significant role in maintaining privacy and security. Regularly updating browsers, using strong, unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and keeping software up to date are essential practices for online security, regardless of the browser chosen - more on that below.

Related Post: 10 Most Secure Messaging Apps


Beyond-the-Browser Privacy and Security Tips

Don’t leave it up to your browser alone. It’s important that all of us are informed on the various ways that our data is at risk and how to protect it. When doing anything online, make sure to follow these best practices.

  • Use strong and original passwords - Create complex passwords that include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. When you create new passwords, don’t just create a variation of your old one. You also might want to try unique password creators that generate and keep track of specific passwords for you.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) - Many people opt out of this, and it can be an annoying extra step, but an important one. When you have the opportunity, add an extra layer of security to your accounts by enabling 2FA, which requires a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password. This is one of the strongest mechanisms for protecting yourself online.
  • Keep software updated -  Regularly update your operating system, web browsers, and other software to ensure you have the latest security patches and bug fixes. Many technology platforms make consistent updates and improvements but you can only experience these features if you make the updates when they are suggested. When you get a prompt to update to the latest version, don’t ignore it.
  • Be cautious of phishing attempts - It’s important to be skeptical of suspicious emails, messages, or websites that ask for personal information. Avoid clicking on suspicious links and verify the legitimacy of any requests before providing sensitive data. Truthfully, in recent years, phishing attempts have gotten much more sophisticated and content can look and perform just like real websites or emails. Before visiting a website you’re not familiar with, trying typing in the site directly or performing a search of the brand and clicking one of the ads that pops up.
  • Use a virtual private network (VPN) -  As an extra precaution, consider using a VPN to encrypt your internet connection and protect your online activities, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks. This isn’t always necessary, but it’s a good practice when dealing with particularly sensitive information. Additionally, some companies who deal with vulnerable data may require remote employees to use a VPN.
  • Be mindful of sharing personal information - Limit the amount of personal information you share online, such as your full name, address, phone number, or birthdate. Only provide necessary information on trusted and secure websites.
  • Utilize privacy settings - Adjust the privacy settings on your social media accounts, web browsers, and other online platforms to control what information is shared and who can access it. Each platform has different settings, so it’s worth getting familiar with all the ones you use and making sure you have them adequately applied.
  • Regularly back up your data - Create backups of important files and data to protect against data loss from hardware failure, malware, or other security incidents. You can use an external hard drive or USB, or you might want to use Cloud storage or another online backup service. Some people also choose to invest in a Network Attached Storage (NAS) Device.
  • Choose reputable antivirus software - Install and regularly update antivirus and anti-malware software to protect your devices from malicious software and potential threats. Do some research on the best option for your technology stack.
  • Get educated on online privacy - Stay informed about the latest privacy and security threats, trends, and best practices. Be proactive in learning how to protect your privacy and regularly review and update your security measures. Keeping up with the Shift blog is a great way to access the latest information and understand the resources available!

Remember, internet privacy and security should be never-ending efforts. By implementing these tips and staying vigilant, you can enhance your online safety and protect your personal information. The most crucial thing you can do is to remember how valuable your private information is and understand the options available to keep you safe.

Related Post: The Web Browser Built for Power Users


Shift: For Privacy and Peace of Mind

We already touched on some of the things that make Shift different, but there are lots of features that focus on privacy and security. Here are some ways using Shift as your browser can help enhance privacy and security:

  • Private browsing mode - Shift offers a private browsing mode that allows you to browse the internet without storing your browsing history, cookies, or other temporary data. This helps prevent others from accessing your browsing information.
  • Ad and tracker blocking - Shift blocks intrusive ads and trackers by default, reducing the amount of data collected about your online activities by third-party companies.
  • Enhanced encryption - Shift uses HTTPS encryption whenever possible, ensuring that your connection to websites is secure and protecting your data from interception or tampering.
  • Password management - Shift provides a built-in password manager that securely stores your login credentials. This helps you to create strong, unique passwords for different websites and eliminates the need to remember multiple passwords.
  • Anti-fingerprinting technology - Shift incorporates anti-fingerprinting measures to prevent websites from collecting unique identifiers about your device and online behavior. This helps protect your anonymity and makes it harder for advertisers to track you.
  • Secure data syncing - Shift allows you to sync your bookmarks, settings, and other data across multiple devices securely. This ensures that your data is encrypted and protected during the synchronization process.
  • Privacy-focused search engine - Shift offers a privacy-focused search engine that doesn't track or store your search queries, providing an additional layer of privacy when searching the web.
  • Regular updates and security patches - Shift regularly updates its browser to address security vulnerabilities and provide the latest security features, ensuring that you have the most secure browsing experience possible.

It's important to note that while using Shift can enhance privacy and security, no browser can guarantee complete anonymity or protection from all online threats. It's always recommended to practice other security measures we mentioned like  strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and being cautious of incoming websites and emails.

Increased privacy and security are only part of the story with Shift. The browser was originally designed as a productivity tool, with features meant to streamline work processes and help you to stay organized. Here are a few of the benefits of using Shift as your browser.

Improved work/life balance

This might seem like a stretch, but really, marketers or other professionals who manage multiple accounts can seriously benefit from using the Shift browser. Should you forget to toggle between accounts,  you might post to the wrong account. Or, you would need to constantly go back and forth between personal and work accounts. Using Shift’s dedicated spaces, you can keep personal things separate and only access your work-related accounts during your actual working hours. The rest of the time, it can all be out of sight, out of mind - which is ideal for professionals who want to leave work at work.

Complete access to all of your email accounts

Connect all of your Gmail, Outlook, and Office 365 accounts and manage everything from one centralized window.

The ability to use all of your favorite apps

WhatsApp, Slack, Messenger—we have everything you need to get it done. Browse our Apps Directory, connect yours, and switch between them easily.

Chrome extension connections

Use all of your favorite Chrome extensions like Boomerang, Grammarly, and so much more. You can browse our app directory to see all of the Chrome extensions that integrate with Shift.

Easier tab management

Access the web from inside Shift. Manage your tabs and organize them by account for a better browsing experience.

Expanded search capabilities

Save time and find exactly what you're looking for across any of your Mail, Calendar, and Drive accounts. This is extremely helpful for streamlining search and keeping what you need right at your fingertips.

More focused browsing with Workspaces

Create a Workspace for strictly business and another for weekend plans— with entirely separate tabs, apps, and bookmarks. Workspaces are a focused collection of platforms and accounts. Create a custom Workspace with the exact tools you need to be efficient online, including apps, extensions, bookmarks, email, and more. Workspaces allow for more collaboration and focus which makes you even more efficient online.

When it comes to online privacy and security, you can’t be too careful. Most people enjoy privacy, and everyone needs security. If you’re looking for both, give Shift a try. Shift can not only keep you more secure, but it can make you more productive, and save lots of time and effort as well.