In part one we talked about some of the most well known browsers that are used by many individuals. In part two we will continue to explore browser options and what they have to offer in terms of privacy and security features.
Opera is not as well known a browser as Google Chrome, Edge, or Firefox, but it has features that make it worth considering when deciding which browser to choose. For example, Opera provides a Virtual Private Network feature that will make it look like you are accessing a website from a different IP address than you are actually using, which makes it difficult for others to locate you. It also has a feature that, when enabled, has the ability to block ads. A couple of other features that Opera offers is the ability to provide protection from malicious websites, as well as the means to manage what a website can use and what content they can show you.
Although this browser has some features that make it worth considering, Opera doesn’t provide updates on a very consistent or frequent basis. There have also been arguments made that Opera is not a true VPN. For example, enabling the VPN feature in Opera only provides additional privacy and encryption for the browser app, instead of for all of the applications on your computer that are using a network connection. To see further details about how VPNs work and to view a discussion about Opera, consider reading the article What’s the Difference Between a VPN and a Proxy? from Howtogeek.com and Tom’s Guide’s Opera Browser VPN Review article.
TOR (The Onion Router)
One last browser worth considering is TOR, which is short for The Onion Router. This browser hides your location by routing your internet access through anonymous servers making it difficult to intercept your web traffic and to see your true IP address. In addition, your web traffic is encrypted by TOR when relayed through its different servers. Currently TOR deletes your browser history and cookies after you end your session by default, which may improve a user’s level of privacy and reduce security risks from being online. This browser does receive updates, but it updates on an irregular schedule. Since the beginning of this year it has received roughly 12 updates so far.
While TOR does offer a potentially secure and private browsing session, it’s worth noting that TOR also potentially provides access to the Dark Web which has content that is not always legal or desirable to access. Another potential downside to using TOR is that it tends to be noticeably slower both during start up and navigating to websites.
There are many choices when deciding which browser would be best for you. Ultimately you have to decide which one offers you the features you want both in terms of security and privacy, as well as other attributes that make a browser useful and useable. For example, some may prefer not to use Google Chrome since Google has become known for tracking what its users do online, while others might not be bothered by this at all and continue to use Chrome. Ultimately, the most important thing to look for from a browser is whether or not that browser meets all of your expectations, as well as whether or not it can be customized to meet your needs.
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