Today I wanted to do more of a public service announcement than a blog, it’s about a new browser that has found to be incredibly easy to use for new people, but also contains advanced options for more experienced users. Most importantly it’s a browser that respects and helps to protect your privacy as well as your security.
Before I reveal the name of this amazing browser, let’s first talk about what a web browser actually is. A web browser is a piece of software that runs on the operating system and allows you to interface with the internet. That still sounds a bit complex let’s break that down a bit further. I’m going to have a video up soon in my YouTube page soon, link here, where I will be talking about software in general. I’ll also be putting up another video soon that talks about the internet and web browsers in more detail. For now, we can just think of the Internet as ‘that cloud’ people always draw and they talk about the internet and your browser is the way that you connect to that cloud.
When you start using Windows, which is sort of the default operating system for most computers, you will also have a default browser called Internet Explorer installed on it. This is the one that Microsoft would like you to use however is the one probably least used globally. Some of the popular choices that people like to install are; Google’s Chrome browser, Mozilla’s Firefox browser and Apple’s Safari browser. There are also quite a few different flavours of these browsers that you can get that are built on one of the aforementioned ones.
The one that I’m going to recommend is actually built on Google Chrome, and it is called Brave.
The first question you might have is “Well why would I use brave instead of Google Chrome?” the simple answer is that Brave is designed to block all of the “nasties” straight out of the box. So that means when you install it, you’re already set up ready to go to for safe browsing. Brave’s inbuilt protection feature is called “Shields” and by default all of “your shield are up” and you are protected against ads and trackers, it ensures that your connection is encrypted and that you blocks third-party cookies. There are two advanced options for even more protection, you can turn off scripts and third-party device recognition. Once again there’s a lot of jargon words in there that break down a few of those to discuss why each of them is things that are good to have blocked.;
1) Ads and Trackers
When you load a site (news sites are good for this one) you will be shown a whole lot of ads as well as the content you are expecting to see (on http://www.cnbc.com Brave blocks 23 ads and trackers)
2) Connection is Encrypted
This option will ensure that you have an encrypted connection between your computer and the server showing you the page. VERY important for any page you enter your personal information on.
3) Blocks Third-Party Cookies
A cookie is a little file a website stores on your computer so that when you come back to that site it can remember what you were doing last. They are also the thing you now have to acknowledge on almost every site when you visit it thanks to the GDPR (more on this in a future post)
Advanced Options Below
4) Turn off Scripts
A powerful option that can ‘break’ a lot of features on the Internet. If you are using this option and the site you are going to does not work, simply turn it back off again.
5) Third-Party Device Recognition
This helps to prevent websites from ‘fingerprinting’ you and tracking you with this identifiable print.
I like to set cookies to ‘blocked’ and ‘scripts’ to ‘blocked’ as well. Then, if a site is not working for me I turn them back to ‘allowed’ but you certainly don’t have to take these extra steps.
If you are a more experienced user and you have a few plugins/ extensions that you use, as long as they were designed to work in Chrome, they will also work here. One that I always add is called ‘Cookies AutoDelete’ which, as the name suggests, deletes cookies when you close a tab. This works well if you decided to allow Third-Party Cookies back in the Shield settings. It just makes sure that no little bits of information are left floating around.
Sounds good? You can grab Brave from their site, here, and while you’re there, have a read about their philosophies and features.
Although Brave is my ‘Daily Driver’ I still use a few other browsers for other uses. In fact, Firefox has some really advanced security features that I will showcase in another post at a later date. The point of Brave is that it is ready to go out of the box and easy to use.
That’s all for today folks. Let me know in the comment section if you already use Brave, or would consider switching to it. Or, if you’re not sure what browser you have, post that as a comment and we can see if we can work it out together.