Quickly change these Chrome and Firefox browser settings if you care about privacy
With data breach scandals, phishing attempts, and a seemingly endless string of rule changes around things like cookies, average internet users are wondering what to do with their security settings. Which browser you use may not make it easy for you, especially the most popular one: Chrome, which is owned by Google, a company that literally makes most of its money from data trading.
Good people at CNet are experts on this sort of thing, of course. They took the time to put together a great comprehensive overview of the major browsers and what you can do to improve everyone’s privacy.
We’ve done our best to break it down in layman’s terms below.
If you’re using Chrome, your best bet is to use third-party browser extensions (on PC, Mac, or iOS mobile). Some of the most popular and secure are Cookie Autodelete, uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, and HTTPS Everywhere. Unfortunately, the Android version of Chrome doesn’t support browser extensions at all, so you’re out of luck unless you want to go so far as to switch browsers. Without going through a third party, you can block third-party cookies through the settings menu, under Privacy and security> Settings> Privacy and security. From there, simply select “Block third-party cookies”.
If you are using Safari …
Safari, which tries to be a bit more secure than its competition with Apple’s proprietary “smart tracking prevention”, is only somewhat successful, as the system has been bugged quite regularly since its launch four years ago. years. Ironically, Google researchers found that smart tracking prevention itself can be used to track users (Apple at least solved this problem). To verify that ad tracking and blocking is turned on, open Safari and under Preferences, then Privacy. Check the box next to “Prevent cross-site tracking”, if you haven’t already. While you’re at it, you can also manually or automatically delete your cookies.
Under “Manage website data” you can see which trackers and cookies are already in your browser, and either get rid of those you no longer need one at a time or clear the whole list by clicking ” Delete everything”. “Cookies have obvious benefits, such as better recommendations and faster load times, but they also compromise security to give you these features. You can do research online to determine which balance is best for you, and if you want to take it a step further, you can get third-party ad blockers, VPN apps, and other privacy aids from the App Store.
If you are using Microsoft Edge …
Edge, which is the descendant of the notoriously insecure Microsoft Internet Explorer, offers a “Tracker Prevention” screen, which you can find by going to settings and selecting “Privacy & Services”.
The options on the page are Basic, Balanced, and Strict, which as we noted above is something you will need to decide for yourself. Edge defaults to “balanced,” which blocks trackers from places you’ve never visited before, but gives some benefit of the doubt to places you go on your own. Edge’s Strict setting can create bugs in the operation of some sites, but it will provide you with the utmost privacy.
If you are using Firefox …
Firefox’s default privacy settings are among the best, way above Chrome and Edge, and (as you would expect from the browser preferred by so many Linux users), it probably has privacy options. more advanced than any other major browser.
In the preferences menu, click on Privacy & Security. Like Edge, this will give you three options: Standard, Strict, and Custom. Firefox defaults to Standard, a setting that blocks trackers in private windows, third-party tracking cookies, and cryptominers. The Strict has all of the same pros and cons as the Edge, and of course, if you’ve got some spare time and a certain amount of expertise, the customization is worth the time and the hassle. After making any changes, you need to click on the Reload All Tabs button that appears to apply them.
Finally, if you are using Brave …
This is a browser that relies heavily on the idea of privacy, and by default, Brave blocks all ads, trackers, third-party cookies, and fingerprints, while offering a private Tor browsing mode. built-in, robust tracker blocking option and addition of a built-in VPN for iOS users. So … for most casual users, this doesn’t really need a ton of attention.
If you want to commit to it, you can choose Preferences and go to the Settings panel. Select “Shields” to see a list of privacy options on the right side of the screen, and using the advanced view, choose the types of trackers to block. If you want, you can also block login buttons and embedded content from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other sites that tend to embed them.
This is what we have … but we are not experts. Anyone with more recommendations for resources or fixes, feel free to participate below!