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Brave Browser 1.32.106 Crack 2022

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Brave Browser 1.32.106 Crack is the latest unique browser to join the ever-expanding market. The open-source and free browser from Brave Software Inc. has positioned itself as the browser that loads faster with better privacy protection. The browser keeps data safe and provides users with the power to save or delete it.  It features a built-in ad tracker and blocker. Unlike most common browsers, Brave also helps to fight phishing and malware.

Different apps are being developed and released for the Android operating system, each of which can give you the opportunity to do various tasks.Some of these apps are on the phone by default and you can have more features by installing the new program.

Brave Browser Key app is a very functional Android browser that you can easily surf the Web with the installation and running of it.There are a few tips on using browsers in which speed and security are among the top priorities for users.This excellent browser can provide you with exceptional speed so you can download web pages for less time and use the ability to reduce data usage.

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The Brave Browser Patch app is a very functional Android browser that you can easily surf the Web with the installation and running of it.There are a few tips on using browsers in which speed and security are among the top priorities for users.This awesome browser can provide you with great speed so you can download web pages for less time and use the ability to reduce data usage.

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Brave Browser 1.32.106 Crack automatically blocks ads and trackers, making it faster and safer than your current browser. It’s amazing how fast a page loads when you strip away everything but the real content. Up to a whopping 60% of page load time is caused by the underlying ad technology that loads into various places each time you hit a page on your favorite news site.

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New Brave Browser automatically blocks 64-bit ads and trackers for cracking, making it faster and safer than your current browser. It’s not surprising how quickly you load a page without leaving everything behind. Up to 60% of page load time is due to the necessary advertising technology that pops up every time you hit a page on your favorite news site. And 20 of these are done from time to time packing things you are trying to find out more about – download the brave browser crack for 64-bit offline installer setup.

This awesome browser can provide you with great speed so you can download web pages for less time and use the ability to reduce data usage.Also, this browser is equipped with an ad-blocker ad blocker and you can see all web pages being advertisements like pop-up advertisements. Overall, Brave Browser Crack is a fast web browser that has a crisp, trimmed-down interface, which is simple to use, and a joy to navigate the web with. Upon testing, we were able to navigate to our favorite websites at hardly any time at all, with no glitches in sight. The security tools are first-rate, and the fact you can help out developers by giving back to the community is a real bonus feature. All in all, Brave is a browser to check out.

Take Back Control with Brave!

Block data-grabbing ads and trackers!

The vast bulk of websites and ads include software that tries to identify you. They want to track your every move across the web. Brave blocks all this, allowing you to browse freely.

Blocking harmful ads and trackers means a faster Internet!

Brave loads major news sites up to six times faster than Chrome, Safari, and Firefox on mobile and desktop.

Browse much more privately with Tor!

Other browsers claim to have a “private mode,” but this only hides your history from others using your browser. Brave lets you use Tor right in a tab. Tor not only hides your history but also masks your location from the sites you visit by routing your browsing through several servers before it reaches your destination. These connections are encrypted to increase anonymity.

Browse Without Fear of Censorship from outside Influences!

IPFS is a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol designed to make the Web faster, safer, and more open. IPFS has been integrated into Brave’s desktop browser. Brave’s users can now access content directly from IPFS by resolving URIs via a gateway or installing a full IPFS node in one click. Integrating IPFS provides Brave users with a significantly enhanced browsing experience, increasing the availability of content, offloading server costs from the content publisher, and improving the overall resilience of the Internet.

Key Features:

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Pros:

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Cons:

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 System Requirments:

  • Windows XP
  • operating system Windows Vista to
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Activation Key:

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  • New: Send generated PDF automatically via Outlook
  • New: Password protect ZIP attachments
  • For New: Page visibility options by size and orientation
  • Further: Support for multiple overlays
  • Updated: The add-in for Office applications was re-stylized
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Brave Browser 1.32.106 Crack + License Key Free Download 2022

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Brave Browser 1.32.106 Crack is the latest unique Browser to join the ever-expanding market. It’s fantastic that web pages load quickly when you shoot everything but the actual content. The necessary advertising technology, which can be downloaded to various locations each time it arrives, stimulates 60% of the page loading speed. For example, on the news website, there is a page called You’ve. Spend 20% of your time downloading content to learn more about yourself. Under the hood, Chromium-based web Brave Browser offline installer k means that the web pages’ performance and compatibility are the same as in other chrome-based browsers.

Brave Browser Free download saves you and your data safer, effectively shielding you from 3rd person tracking. It is an open-source browser that is individual from other software. They also block ads and trackers. It is fast and more protected, and having freedom in the online world is an essential feature of this Brave Browser. And last but not least, you can earn revenue through Brave with a digital token on this platform called BAT. Brave blocks unwanted content by default and keeps count. They fight malware and prevent tracking, keeping your information safe and secure.

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Brave Browser License Key is the newest unique Browser joining the growing market constantly. Open source and free Browser from Brave Software Inc. The same as a browser that loads faster with better privacy protection. The browser stores secure data and offer users the option to save or delete it. In addition, it features tracking and built-in blocking. Unlike most popular browsers, Brave Browser Crack also helps to combat phishing and malware. Different apps are being developed and released for Android, and each can offer you the ability to perform other tasks. Some of these applications are standard on your phone, and you can get more functions by installing the new software.

Brave Browser Activation Code App Android browser is very effective where you can easily browse the web through installation and operation. There are some tips for using browsers where speed and security are among the top priorities of users. The application is a very effective Android browser with which you can easily surf the Internet by installing and running it.

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Brave Browser Download is a protected and ground-breaking browser with an unexpected strategy compared to different browsers. This Browser regards your time and security. The connections you click on are produced out of sight of the software and are presented in full lading, just as interloper square notices, site-following insurance, and HTTPS Everywhere’s specific software skills.

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Different Android apps are developed and released, and each app allows you to do some of these apps as a standard on your phone, and you can get more features by installing software. For example, the new Brave Browser Keygen Download is an excellent Android browser, so you can easily browse the Internet by installing and launching it. In addition, there are many tips for using the Browser, including speed and security.

Brave Browser Download features incorporated security features to ensure that your privacy is secured. You can be sure your website links are always the most reliable with HTTPS integration everywhere. The Browser also prevents pixels and cookies from being monitored. Finally, you can customize your default search engine like Duck Duck Gok instead of the standard font tool.

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Brave Browser Patch 2022 eliminates advertising and trackers automatically, making them quicker and safer than your existing Browser. It is incredible how quickly a page loads if you remove all but the natural material. The underlying ad technology is responsible for up to 60% of the page load time, which loads every time you access a page on your favorite news site.

Brave Browser Activation Code the Android browser is quite effective, allowing you to browse the web with ease of installation and use. There are some guidelines for utilizing browsers in situations where speed and security are major objectives for users. This fantastic Browser can provide you with fast download speeds, allowing you to save money on web pages while also reducing data usage. Processing this Browser also stops spirit ads from appearing in advertisements, and you can already see web pages as advertisements, such as pop-up ads.

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Brave Browser Keygen Securely protects you and your data, effectively shielding you from third-party tracking. It is an open-source browser that operates independently of other software. The primary characteristics of this Browser are that it eliminates adverts and trackers, is faster and more secure, and provides independence in the online world. Finally, on a network called BAT, you may win at Brave using digital currency. Brave by default blocks and counts unwanted stuff. They protect your data by fighting malware and preventing tracking. Overall, we were able to browse to our preferred website in nearly no time after testing.

Brave Browser 1.32.106 Crack + License Key Free Download 2022

Features of Brave Browser Crack:

  • Safe Browse.
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  • What’s more, in different offices.
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  • I am blocking content.
  • View program history.
  • Great Internet program.
  • Local sidetracks to HTTPS.
  • It is easy and lovely.
  • Use HTTPS Secure Protocols.
  • Advertisement Blocker Internal Ad Blocker.
  • Squares from hurtful publicizing.
  • Forces to forestall following your site.
  • Capacity to add pages to the bookmarks.
  • I have streamlined less battery utilization.
  • Squares Tracking Pixels and Tracking Cookies.
  • I have facilitated less Internet volume utilization.

System Requirements Mac OS:

  • Mac OS X Kodiak, 10.0 (Cheetah), 10.1 (Puma), 10.2 (Jaguar), 10.3 (Panther), 10.4 (Tiger), 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion)
  • OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.10 (Yosemite), 10.11 (El Capitan)
    macOS 10.12 (Sierra), 10.13 (High Sierra), 10.14 (Mojave), 10.15 (Catalina), 11.0 (Big Sur) and Later Version.
  • Supported hardware: Intel or PowerPC Mac.

System Requirments Windows:

  • Windows XP.
  • Working framework Windows Vista to Windows7.
  • Working framework Windows 8.
  • 8.1 Windows10 working framework.

What’s new in Brave Browser Crack?

  • History.
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  • Ability to block tracking your site.
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  • Ability to add multiple pages, Flannagan.

Brave Browser License Keys:

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Other Softwares:

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  1. To begin with, download the split from the beneath connect.
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Download Link

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Summary

Reviewer

john parther

Review Date

Reviewed Item

Brave Browser Crack

Author Rating

Software Name

Brave Browser Crack

Software Name

Win/Mac

Software Category

software

Источник: https://explorecrack.com/brave-browser-crack/

Top 10 Secure Browsers That Protect Your Privacy in 2021

secure browser

A secure browser that protects your privacy is a critical tool for staying safe online and keeping your data secure from third parties. In this guide we are going to be analyzing the most secure browsers that also protect your privacy online.

WARNING: Many browsers today are actually data collection tools for advertising companies. This is the case for Google Chrome, the largest and most popular browser. By collecting data through your browser, these companies can make money through their advertising partners with targeted ads. We see this same privacy-abusing business model with search engines, email services, and even free mobile apps.

Unless properly configured, most browsers contain lots of private information that can be exploited – or simply collected – by various third parties:

  • Browsing history: all the websites you visit
  • Login credentials: usernames and passwords
  • Cookies and trackers: these are placed on your browser by the sites you visit
  • Autofill information: names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.

And as we will explain further below, using “private” or “incognito” browsing will not protect you. Your IP address will remain exposed and various third parties can still track all of your activities. But you don’t even need to take my word for it. Here is a recent headline about Google spying on “Incognito” browsing:

secure browser with incognito

And even with a locked-down and hardened browser, there may still be exploits that reveal your data and potential identity. For example, Google Chrome announced a severe zero-day flaw that could allow hackers to remotely execute code on affected systems. We discuss some other privacy issues (and solutions) in our guides on browser fingerprinting and also WebRTC leaks.

But don’t let this stress you out. There are effective solutions and tools that we will cover in detail below. In this browser security and privacy guide, we’re going to explain the following topics:

  1. Best secure browsers that respect your privacy
  2. Problems with other browsers
  3. Browser privacy compartmentalization
  4. Secure browser add-ons
  5. “Private browsing” mode is NOT very private (and why you need a VPN)

Incognito / Private browsing mode leaves you exposed!

When using “private” or “incognito” browsing mode in your browser, your real IP address and location are still being revealed to every website, ad, and tracker that loads in your browser. Additionally, all your activities remain visible to your internet service provider (ISP). And as we have recently learned, ISPs log everything you do online and share the data with others. This is why it’s critical to use a good VPN for basic digital privacy.

The best way to achieve true privacy while hiding your real IP address and online activities is to use a secure browser together with a good VPN. This will hide your real IP address and location, while also encrypting and anonymizing your traffic so your ISP cannot see your activities online. Here are our top three recommendations from the best VPN list that we have tested and reviewed:

  1. NordVPN: A fast, secure, audited VPN with advanced privacy features and a strict no-logs policy, based in Panama (with a 72% discount coupon).
  2. Surfshark VPN: A no-logs VPN service with a large lineup of privacy and security features, based in the British Virgin Islands.
  3. VyprVPN – A fast, secure, and user-friendly VPN service that is based in Switzerland with a no-logs policy.

Now let’s examine the most secure browsers that you can combine with a VPN for maximum privacy.

Secure browsers that protect your privacy

In this section we will examine the best browsers based on two main factors:

  • Security: How well does the browser protect you from hackers, vulnerabilities, and online exploits?
  • Privacy: How much data is the browser itself collecting about you and who is this data being shared with? How does the browser protect your privacy?

Conflicting opinions! Just like with Tor, opinions about browser privacy and security can be wildly divergent and contentious.

This guide is not meant to sell everyone on one browser that beats all others. Rather, it is a summary of information about different web browsers that do well with both privacy and security. Choose the best browser for you based on your own unique needs and threat model.

Here are the most secure and private browsers for 2021:

1. Brave: The most secure and private browser (by default)

most secure browser

Brave is arguably the most secure browser with simple, out-of-the-box privacy. It is a Chromium-based browser that is fast, secure, and privacy-focused by default. It has a built-in ad blocker and browser fingerprinting protection, while also giving you access to numerous add-ons and extensions. The main developer behind Brave is Brandon Eich, who formerly worked for Mozilla.

To summarize this browser, Brave is based on open-source Chromium, but configured for more privacy. It does well with its default privacy settings and extra features. Here is a brief overview:

  • Blocks ads and trackers by default
  • Protects against browser fingerprinting and even offers fingerprint randomization
  • Built-in script blocker
  • Blocks all third-party storage
  • Automatically upgrades to HTTPS (HTTPS Everywhere)
  • Easy access to the Tor network

One of the reasons we like Brave is because it offers simple, out-of-the-box privacy by default. This makes it ideal for those who do not have the time, patience, or know-how for browser customizations and tinkering. Brave can also be used with Chrome extensions, making it an ideal alternative for Chrome. Just download it and you’re good to go.

Tor network – Brave also has a feature that allows you to access the Dark web by simply opening a new window with Tor. We discuss this feature in our guide on how to access the Dark web safely.

Ads – Brave has received some criticism for its ads program, which allows users to “view non-invasive ads without compromising your privacy.” While some people find it hypocritical that a privacy-focused browser has its own ad program, we also see it as a secure source of funding. And with many browsers financially struggling, it appears that Brave’s business model is securing this browser’s future and ability to continue to innovate its products.

As one example of these innovations, Brave is currently developing a private search engine called Brave Search. Additionally, Brave continues to improve and innovate with its browser, which is growing in popularity.

You can read more about Brave’s privacy features here.

https://brave.com


2. Firefox (modified and tweaked for privacy)

firefox secure browser

Firefox is a great all-around browser for privacy and security. It offers strong privacy protection features, many customization options, excellent security, and regular updates with an active development team. The newest version of Firefox is fast and lightweight with many privacy customization options.

Out of the box, Firefox is not the best for privacy, but it can be customized and hardened, and we show you exactly how in our Firefox privacy modifications guide. Be sure to disable telemetry in Firefox, which is a feature that will collect “technical and interaction data” and also “install and run studies” within your browser.

Within the Privacy & Security settings area, there are many useful customization options for different levels of privacy: Standard, Strict, or Custom.

browser privacy settings

Another great benefit with Firefox is the ability to use numerous browser extensions that can enhance your privacy and security. We’ll go over some of these extensions further below.

Firefox highlights:

  • Open source code that has been independently audited
  • Active development with frequent updates
  • Excellent privacy features and customization options
  • Many browser extensions supported
  • Telemetry and tracking needs to be manually disabled
  • Other modifications necessary for extra privacy and security

If you want to keep using older add-ons that are no longer supported by the latest Firefox release, you can go with the Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR). If you want a privacy-focused version of Firefox for Android, you could try Firefox focus.

For additional customization and privacy settings, check out our Firefox privacy guide.

https://www.mozilla.org/firefox


3. Tor browser

Tor browser secure

Next up we have the Tor browser. The Tor browser is a hardened version of Firefox that is configured to run on the Tor network. By default, the Tor Browser is a secure browser that protects you against browser fingerprinting, but it also has some disadvantages.

Because it uses the Tor network, which routes traffic over three different hops, download speeds with the Tor browser can be quite slow. The default version may also break some sites due to script blocking. Finally, there are also drawbacks with the Tor network itself, including malicious/dangerous exit nodes, high latency, dependence on US government financing, and some consider it to be fundamentally compromised. There are also many websites that block IP addresses originating from the Tor network. (See the pros and cons of Tor here.)

Another option is to use the Tor browser with the Tor network disabled. In this sense, the Tor browser will work like the other browsers we’ve covered above. Additionally, you can simply run a VPN in the background. Like the Tor network, a VPN will also encrypt your traffic and hide your IP, but it will be much faster.

Be careful when adjusting the settings for the Tor browser, however, as this may compromise the browser’s built-in privacy and security features.

https://www.torproject.org/


4. Ungoogled Chromium browser

Ungoogled Chromium browser private

Ungoogled Chromium is an open source project to provide a Chromium browser, without the Google privacy issues:

ungoogled-chromium is Google Chromium, sans dependency on Google web services. It also features some tweaks to enhance privacy, control, and transparency (almost all of which require manual activation or enabling).

ungoogled-chromium retains the default Chromium experience as closely as possible. Unlike other Chromium forks that have their own visions of a web browser, ungoogled-chromium is essentially a drop-in replacement for Chromium.

Ungoogled Chromium receives regular Chromium security updates.

https://github.com/Eloston/ungoogled-chromium


5. Bromite (Android)

bromite secure browser 2021

Bromite is a Chromium-based browser for Android only (no desktop support). It comes with some great features by default, including ad blocking and various privacy enhancements. Here are some highlights of this browser from the official Bromite website:

  • The main goal is to provide a no-clutter browsing experience without privacy-invasive features and with the addition of a fast ad-blocking engine.
  • Minimal UI changes are applied to help curbing the idea of “browser as an advertisement platform”.
  • All patches are published under GNU/GPL v3 to enable other open source projects’ usage.
  • Bromite is only available for Android Lollipop (v5.0, API level 21) and above.

Another cool feature I like with Bromite is that you can use custom ad block filters — learn more here. Bromite is under active development and remains a great browser for Android users.

https://www.bromite.org/


6. DuckDuckGo privacy browser (iOS and Android)

DuckDuckGo browser

The DuckDuckGo privacy browser is a new addition to our lineup. This browser is available for mobile devices on iOS and Android and comes with lots of privacy-focused features by default. According to this blog post, DuckDuckGo’s browser offers:

  • Built-in tracking protection
  • Encryption upgrades via Smarter Encryption technology
  • Easy data management and clearing options
  • Fast speeds

This browser is now available on both the Google Play and Apple stores.


Private browsers worth mentioning

Below are a few private and secure browsers that are worth mentioning. However, these browsers did not quite make the cut to be recommended, for various reasons listed below.

7. Waterfox

Waterfox is a fork of Firefox that was maintained by just one person for many years. In February 2020, news blew up on reddit that it had sold out to a pay-per-click ad company called System1. The news was also picked up by others, which resulted in Waterfox and System1 formally announcing the acquisition (but only after the news broke).

The problem here is the apparent contradiction of an ad company (that relies on data collection) owning a privacy-focused browser. As I previously reported, System1 also acquired a stake in Startpage, the private search engine based in The Netherlands. In researching the company’s background, it appears that System1 is fundamentally in the business of data collection:

In our business,” Blend adds, “if we can gather as much data as possible, give it off to our engineers and data scientists, and then manage the two effectively, the business can quickly scale.”

So can Waterfox still be trusted now that it’s owned by an ad-tech company? You can be the judge.

8. Pale Moon

Pale Moon is another open-source fork of Firefox, which aims for efficiency and customization. In testing out Pale Moon, it does offer different customization options, as well as support for older Firefox add-ons and its own lineup of add-ons. The design feels a bit dated, but it’s also not overly-cluttered and is lightweight and fast.

Pale Moon is currently available on Windows and Linux, with other operating systems in development. Unlike other Firefox forks, Pale Moon runs on its own browser engine, Goanna, which is a fork of Gecko (used by Firefox). This is an older engine that was previously used by Firefox, but has long since been replaced. Many argue that this older codebase is a security vulnerability. And it’s also worth noting that the development team is very small compared to more popular browsers.

9. GNU IceCat

GNU IceCat is a fork of Firefox from the GNU free software project. IceCat is entirely “free software” as defined here and also includes various privacy add-ons and tweaks by default. Here are the privacy-protection features listed from the IceCat page:

  • LibreJS
  • HTTPS-Everywhere
  • SpyBlock
  • AboutIceCat
  • Fingerprinting countermeasures

Slow updates – The big issue with GNU IceCat is that updates are very slow, and in some cases, years behind. This can expose IceCat users to security vulnerabilities, which is why we are no longer recommending it.

10. Iridium

Like Brave, Iridium is a secure browser that is based on Chromium and configured for more privacy by default. The following excerpt from Iridium’s website provides a good overview of this secure browser:

Iridium Browser is based on the Chromium code base. All modifications enhance the privacy of the user and make sure that the latest and best secure technologies are used. Automatic transmission of partial queries, keywords and metrics to central services is prevented and only occurs with the approval of the user. In addition, all our builds are reproducible and modifications are auditable, setting the project ahead of other secure browser providers.

Unfortunately, like IceCat above, updates to Iridium are few and far between.


Problems with popular browsers

While some browsers claim to be secure against vulnerabilities, they might not be the best choice from a privacy perspective.

1. Google Chrome

Google Chrome is by far the most popular browser. Unfortunately, it’s a data collection tool as well and not a good choice for anyone looking for privacy.

You can safely assume that everything you do through Google Chrome is collected, saved to your data profile, and used for targeted advertising.

2. Microsoft Internet Explorer/Edge

Edge is a Microsoft product.

Just like with Windows, it’s a good idea to avoid Microsoft products, including Internet Explorer, and their newer browser called Edge. Internet Explorer and Edge are also closed-source, so there’s no telling what’s going on behind the scenes, and they’re also not the best for privacy reasons.

3. Opera browser

Opera started off as a decent browser, developed in Norway. However, in 2016 it was sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million – and a lot has changed. Opera’s privacy policy explains how your data is being collected and shared when you use Opera products. Here’s what I found:

opera browser is not private or secure

Opera also claims to offer a free VPN through the browser. However, as we covered in the Opera VPN review, it’s not really a VPN and does not offer full system-wide encryption. Additionally, your data is being collected when you use Opera browser and its “free VPN” feature.

4. Epic browser

Epic is a browser based on Chromium, created by “Hidden Reflex” which is based in India. Since 2014, Epic has been claiming they would open source the code, but it remains closed source today. What’s going on behind the scenes? How do they manage Chromium and remove invasive code? Who knows.

Just like with Opera VPN, Epic falsely claims to offer a “free VPN” through the browser, but this is not really true. The browser is merely routing traffic through a US proxy server. As we learned with Opera (and with many other “free proxy” services), proxies are often used for data collection (and they are often not secure). When reading the Epic privacy policy, we find that data from “video download and proxy services” is being collected.

One person who analyzed Epic found it to be connecting to Google on startup. This suggests that Epic is not, in fact, de-googled as it claims.

There are many better Chromium-based browsers to consider.

5. Safari browser

Safari is the default browser for Mac OS and iOS devices. Overall, Safari is not a horrible choice in terms of privacy and tracking protection – but it also cannot be recommended for a few reasons:

On a positive note, however, Apple does somewhat better with privacy than other large companies. The Safari browser blocks third-party cookies by default and also implements cross-site tracking protection.

6. Vivaldi browser

Vivaldi is a Chromium-based browser with source-code modifications that can be seen here. It is less popular than other browsers, with less active development than Firefox, for example.

Reading through their Privacy Policy, I did find some concerning information about data collection and the use of unique IDs:

When you install Vivaldi browser (“Vivaldi”), each installation profile is assigned a unique user ID that is stored on your computer. Vivaldi will send a message using HTTPS directly to our servers located in Iceland every 24 hours containing this ID, version, cpu architecture, screen resolution and time since last message. We anonymize the IP address of Vivaldi users by removing the last octet of the IP address from your Vivaldi client then we store the resolved approximate location after using a local geoip lookup. The purpose of this collection is to determine the total number of active users and their geographical distribution.

You can read more about Vivaldi here, although it’s not recommended for privacy reasons.

Secure and private browsers on mobile devices

Many of the recommended browsers above also offer versions for mobile users on iOS and Android.

With that being said, here some good options for mobile users:

  • Brave
  • Bromite
  • Firefox Focus
  • DuckDuckGo

I also like using standard Firefox on mobile devices with customization and configurations for more privacy.

Browser privacy and compartmentalization

One problem that often comes with browser privacy and security is that people want to remain logged in to various accounts, while also browsing the web. But this is problematic. When you stay logged in to Gmail or Facebook, for example, their trackers can record your activity as you browse the web.

One potential solution to this problem is browser compartmentalization. This is when you use different web browsers for different online activities. For example:

  • Browser #1 will only be used for accessing your online accounts that require a password. You can stay logged in with only this browser, and it won’t be used for general browsing.
  • Browser #2 will only be used for web browsing, with various privacy configurations and no cookies or history being stored on the browser.
  • Browser #3 could be completely locked down for maximum privacy and security.

You can also utilize different browsers, configured exactly the way you want, for various purposes, depending on your needs and threat model. The key is to keep the compartmentalization strict and not break the rules/uses for each browser.

Virtual machines – On the topic of compartmentalization, using virtual machines is also a good idea for both privacy and security. You can easily run Linux VMs through VirtualBox (FOSS) on your host computer.

Password managers – It should also be noted that storing your passwords in the browser may be risky depending on the browser you are using, especially since browsers may store passwords in cleartext. A better alternative would be to utilize a secure password manager. We have reviewed many popular options, including Bitwarden, Dashlane, LastPass, and more.

Browser add-ons for security and privacy

In addition to adjusting the settings within your browser, there are also a number of different add-ons or extensions you can install to improve your browser’s privacy and security.

Here are a few different options, but they may not all be supported by the browser you are using:

  • uBlock Origin – This is one of the best browser-based ad blockers available that will also protect you against tracking.
  • HTTPS Everywhere – An add-on from the folks at Electronic Frontier Foundation, this will force websites to use a secure HTTPS encrypted connection (when available).
  • Cookie Autodelete – This will automatically delete cookies that are no longer needed from your browser.
  • NoScript – NoScript allows you to customize exactly which scripts run on the websites you visit. Like uMatrix, this is for advanced users and requires lots of customization.

Warning: Be cautious about using third-party add-ons and browser extensions. Do your research first, since add-ons could function as spyware and data collection tools for third parties. This is especially true with free VPN services or browser proxy add-ons, even if they are highly rated in the Google Play or Apple stores.

“Private” or “Incognito” browsing mode is NOT private (and why you need a VPN)

Many people falsely assume that using “private” or “incognito” mode in a browser actually provides some privacy. This is a false assumption.

Using “private” browsing mode only stops your browser from storing cookies, history, and passwords. But it doesn’t actually make you any more “private” to the outside world. Even when browsing in “private” or “incognito” mode, you are still exposed:

  • Your internet provider can still see every site you visit. And note that internet providers are now forced to log web browsing activity of their customers and provide this data to authorities on request in many countries. In the United States, ISPs log everything and share the data with a huge network of third parties.
  • Your real IP address and location remain exposed to all sites, ads, and trackers. This makes tracking and identification easy since your device has a unique IP address linked back to your identity through your internet service provider.

To easily solve these problems, we strongly recommend using a good VPN service. Using a VPN is simple. You just need to sign up for a VPN subscription, download the VPN app for your device, then connect to a VPN server and browse the web as normal. This offers many benefits:

  • A VPN will securely encrypt your internet traffic, which prevents your ISP from seeing what you do online. (Your ISP will only see encrypted data, but not what you’re actually up to.)
  • When you connect to a VPN server, the VPN server’s IP address and location will replace your real IP address and location. This allows you to appear to be anywhere in the world.
  • A VPN will also allow you to access geo-restricted content, such as streaming Netflix with a VPN from anywhere in the world.
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Below is a brief overview of our recommended VPNs that have come out on top in testing for the respective VPN reviews. Click the VPN name to read our full review, or check out the discount coupon:

  • NordVPN: A fast, secure, audited VPN with advanced privacy features and a strict no-logs policy, based in Panama (with a 72% discount coupon).
  • Surfshark VPN: A no-logs VPN service with a large lineup of privacy and security features, based in the British Virgin Islands.
  • VyprVPN – A fast, secure, and user-friendly VPN service that is based in Switzerland with a no-logs policy.

Short on money? There are also some good cheap VPNs that offer excellent features and performance, without breaking the bank.

Conclusion on secure browsers and privacy

A well-configured secure browser is crucial for protecting your data as you browse the web with privacy.

Finding the best secure browser all comes down to identifying the best fit for your unique needs. Since this is a personal decision with subjective criteria, I tend to avoid recommending only one option for all use cases.

In addition to using a secure browser that is configured to protect your privacy, you should also consider using a good ad blocker. Ads function as tracking to collect your browsing data and serve you targeted ads. If you aren’t blocking ads, your activities can be tracked by third-party advertising networks, with any site hosting ads.

In terms of privacy, you may also want to protect yourself against browser or device fingerprinting and WebRTC browser leaks, which can expose your identity even when using a good VPN service.

Other roundup guides on RestorePrivacy:

This secure browser guide was last updated on November 16, 2021.

Источник: https://restoreprivacy.com/browser/secure/

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It is the latest single browser to join the ever-growing market. Brave Software Inc.’s open-source and free browser is positioned as the browser that loads faster and offers better privacy protection. The browser protects the data and gives users the option to save or delete it. It has a built-in ad tracker and blocker. Unlike most popular browsers, Brave also helps fight phishing and malware. Various apps are being developed and released for the Android operating system, each offering the ability to perform different tasks. Some of these applications are available on the phone by default. You can use additional functions by installing the new program.

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BscScan". Binance (BNB) Blockchain Explorer. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  • ^Shankland, Stephen. "Ad-blocking Brave is now the default web browser on HTC's niche cryptocurrency phone". CNET. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  • ^"‎The Brave Marketer on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  • ^"The Brave Marketer". Spotify. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  • ^"About Brave". Brave Browser. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  • ^"https://twitter.com/lukemulks/status/1454478574765834244". Twitter. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  • ^Brave (29 March 2019). "BATCommunity.org Now Live". Brave Browser. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  • ^CryptoJennie (11 February 2021). "BAT Ambassadors: Help us take BAT to the next level in 2021!". r/BATProject. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  • ^Anthony, Sebastian (21 January 2016). "Mozilla co-founder unveils Brave, a browser that blocks ads by default". Ars Technica.
  • ^Keizer, Gregg (25 June 2018). "Brave browser begins controversial ad repeal-and-replace tests". Computerworld. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  • ^England, Rachel (20 June 2018). "Privacy browser Brave pays 'crypto tokens' for watching its ads". Engadget. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  • ^Patrizio, Andy (4 February 2016). "Benchmark tests: How the Brave browser compares with Chrome, Firefox, and IE 11". Network World. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  • ^Murphy, David (8 April 2016). "Newspapers: Ad-Blocking Brave Browser Is Illegal, Deceptive". PC Magazine. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  • ^Edmonds, Rick (7 April 2016). "U.S. newspapers to ad blocker: Drop dead". Poynter. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  • ^Mercer, Christina; Dunn, John E (26 April 2018). "The most secure browsers 2018". Techworld. Archived from the original on 25 November 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  • ^ abcHodge, Rae (14 November 2019). "Brave 1.0 browser review: Browse faster and safer while ticking off advertisers". CNET. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  • ^Chen, Brian X. (31 March 2021). "If You Care About Privacy, It's Time to Try a New Web Browser". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  • ^"Brave browser is collecting donations on your behalf — did you know?". The Block. Archived from the original on 8 June 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  • ^"Brave web browser no longer claims to fundraise on behalf of others — so that's nice". Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain. 13 January 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  • ^"Tom Scott doesn't like donations". Internet Archive. 21 December 2018. Archived from the original on 24 December 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  • ^ abBrave (22 December 2018). "Brave Rewards Update". Brave Browser. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  • ^"News: Brave browser's opt-out "fundraising" for third parties, fallout from the Bitcoin and Ether price crash, Tether margin trading, UK tax guidance". Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain. 23 December 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  • ^"Frequently Asked Questions – unclaimed funds". Brave Browser. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  • ^ abShankland, Stephen (15 January 2019). "Brave browser launches ad system that soon will pay you 70 percent of the revenue". CNET. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  • ^"@cryptonator found Brave Refferal codes". Twitter. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  • ^Iyer, Kavvitaa S. (8 June 2020). "Brave Browser Caught Adding Referral Codes To Cryptocurrency URLs". TechWorm. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  • ^Lyons, Kim (8 June 2020). "Brave browser CEO apologizes for automatically adding affiliate links to cryptocurrency URLs". The Verge.
  • ^Tung, Liam (8 June 2020). "Privacy browser Brave busted for autocompleting URLs to versions it profits from". ZDNet. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  • ^"Release Channel v1.9.80". GitHub. 8 June 2020.
  • ^"On Partner Referral Codes in Brave Suggested Sites". Brave.com. 9 June 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  • ^Cimpanu, Catalin. "Brave browser leaks onion addresses in DNS traffic". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 31 October 2021. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  • ^yan. "[hackerone] Tor DNS issue". brave/brave-browser. GitHub. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  • ^"Brave privacy bug exposes Tor onion URLs to your DNS provider". BleepingComputer. Archived from the original on 31 October 201. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  • ^"Terms of Service for BAT". Brave Software. 5 October 2021.
  • ^"Kiwi Farms Black Pill Edition Stream - Banned by Brendan Eich - Brave Browser". Youtube. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  • ^"Brendan's Twitter Post". Internet Archive. 13 June 2019. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  • ^Citations:
  • Источник: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_(web_browser)
    Etherscan". Ethereum (ETH) Blockchain Explorer. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  • ^"Javascript creator's browser raises $35 million in 30 seconds". Engadget. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  • ^"Ad-blocking browser Brave courts new users with free crypto tokens". VentureBeat. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  • ^"This ad-blocking browser has some cryptocurrency for you". CNET. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  • ^"Brave Ads". Brave Browser. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  • ^ abc"Basic Attention Token". Basic Attention Token. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  • ^Brave (19 March 2021). "Brave (BAT) Joins the BSC Ecosystem To Accelerate DeFi Adoption". Brave Browser. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  • ^"Brave (BAT) joins the BSC ecosystem to accelerate DeFi adoption". Binance Chain Blog. 19 March 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  • ^BscScan.com. "Binance-Peg Basic Attention Token (BAT) Token Tracker

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    Brave Browser - Finally Switching Off of Google

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    Brave Browser 1.27.109 (64-bit) Crack + License Key 2021 Free Download

    Brave Browser 1.27.109Crack is among the best choices for classic browsers, which you may discover online. If you would like to see all your favorite sites without needing to see ads or other advertisements, try out this tool. Additionally, it restricts variables that monitor your session also keeps your data from circulating the net.

    Forums and social websites are a passionate battleground for its “browser wars.” There is an extreme show of support from users of one specific Browser, guided towards the opposing side. This is not unique for browsers, but this Brave browser review can still burn another skirmish.

    On the outside, the signs point to Brave as a beautiful browser, without a consumer monitoring during its heart, and advertisements decreased to a minimum. However, there is more to find since you dive deeper, like the Browser’s functionality, codebase, and add-ons compatibility.

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    This can be accomplished via its convenient “protects” These shields can block third party websites from tracking your internet activity (they block tracking cookies and intrusive advertisements, among other people ).

    Though Brave relies on Chromium, whish’s the foundation for Google Chrome, the programmers behind the project have “stripped” it blank of elements that send information back to Google. Speaking of solitude, Brave takes it quite seriously, a fact readily demonstrated by how the Browser has built-in access to Tor (onion-routing system ). This is useful for absolutely hiding your identity and place on the internet and may even work as a gateway towards the Dark net.

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    Brave nevertheless has a long way until our view and our online society will evolve towards such forward-thinking surroundings. Still, the simple philosophy behind the endeavor that promises to revolutionize the electronic marketing market is undoubtedly good.

    Brave Browser Linux intends to address a few of the very intricate and possibly fragile things online: striking a perfect balance between security and privacy and supplying an efficient platform for paying content creators.

    In the conclusion of the afternoon, Brave is a relatively fast and incredibly safe browser that boasts a default advertisement blocker, enough solitude, and safety features to keep many people happy; it supports Chrome extensions. Also, it has a very clean and intuitive GUI, just like a modern browser ought to. The only problem with this particular Browser (and it is not a problem per se) is its compensatory rewards program can confuse some fundamental users.

    Link Bubble is a browser that loads links from other apps in the background. This saves you precious seconds of transition time. Brave Software purchased the studio a few months back, and the app is now relaunched. It has a new name and features such as an integrated ad blocker.

    This browser is more compatible with older devices than other browsers that often baulk or boot out. This browser is very effective at blocking AdSense, but you will need to toggle the mouse. Make sure to set your preferences by clicking on the 3 dots at the top that enable the mouse. Then you can disable Brave. Scroll down to Settings to customize Brave to meet your needs

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    • There is a brand new ad game in the city. The most recent screen ad technology may install malware on your notebook without your knowing. But maybe not with Brave seeing your spine.
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    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Online Anonymity

    (Or “How I learned to start worrying and love anonymity”)

    Version 1.1.1, November 2021 by Anonymous Planet.

    This guide is a work in progress. While I am doing the best I can to correct issues, inaccuracies, and improve the content, general structure, and readability; it will probably never be “finished”.

    There might be some wrong or outdated information in this guide because no human is omniscient, and humans do make mistakes.Please do not take this guide as a definitive gospel or truth because it is not. Mistakes have been written in the guide in earlier versions and fixed later when discovered. There are likely still some mistakes in this guide at this moment (hopefully few). Those are fixed as soon as possible when discovered.

    Your experience may vary.Remember to check regularly for an updated version of this guide.

    This guide is a non-profit open-source initiative, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (cc-by-nc-4.0[Archive.org]).

    Feel free to submit issues (please do report anything wrong) using GitHub Issues at: https://github.com/AnonymousPlanet/thgtoa/issues

    Feel free to come to discuss ideas at:

    Follow me on:

    To contact me, see the updated information on the website or send an e-mail to contact@anonymousplanet.org

    Please consider donating if you enjoy the project and want to support the hosting fees or support the funding of initiatives like the hosting of Tor Exit Nodes.

    There are several ways you could read this guide:

    Precautions while reading this guide and accessing the various links:

    • Documents/Files have a [Archive.org] link next to them for accessing content through Archive.org for increased privacy and in case the content goes missing. Some links are not yet archived or outdated on archive.org in which case I encourage you to ask for a new save if possible.

    • YouTube Videos have a [Invidious] link next to them for accessing content through an Invidious Instance (in this case yewtu.be hosted in the Netherlands) for increased privacy. It is recommended to use these links when possible. See https://github.com/iv-org/invidious[Archive.org] for more information.

    • Twitter links have a [Nitter] link next to them for accessing content through a Nitter Instance (in this case nitter.net) for increased privacy. It is recommended to use these links when possible. See https://github.com/zedeus/nitter[Archive.org] for more information.

    • Wikipedia links have a [Wikiless] link next to them for accessing content through a Wikiless Instance (in this case Wikiless.org) for increased privacy. Again, it is recommended to use these links when possible. See https://codeberg.org/orenom/wikiless[Archive.org] for more information.

    • If you are reading this in PDF or ODT format, you will notice plenty of ``` in place of double quotes (“”). These ``` should be ignored and are just there to ease conversion into Markdown/HTML format for online viewing of code blocks on the website.

    If you do not want the hassle and use one of the browsers below, you could also just install the following extension on your browser: https://github.com/SimonBrazell/privacy-redirect[Archive.org]:

    If you are having trouble accessing any of the many academic articles referenced in this guide due to paywalls, feel free to use Sci-Hub (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sci-Hub[Wikiless][Archive.org]) or LibGen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_Genesis[Wikiless][Archive.org]) for finding and reading them. Because Science should be free. All of it.

    Finally note that this guide does mention and even recommends various commercial services (such as VPNs, CDNs, e-mail providers, hosting providers…) but is not endorsed or sponsored by any of them in any way. There are no referral links and no commercial ties with any of these providers. This project is 100% non-profit and only relying on donations.

    • Pre-requisites and limitations:
    • Introduction:
    • Understanding some basics of how some information can lead back to you and how to mitigate some:
      • Your Network:
      • Your Hardware Identifiers:
      • Your CPU:
      • Your Operating Systems and Apps telemetry services:
      • Your Smart devices in general:
      • Yourself:
      • Malware, exploits, and viruses:
      • Your files, documents, pictures, and videos:
      • Your Cryptocurrencies transactions:
      • Your Cloud backups/sync services:
      • Your Browser and Device Fingerprints:
      • Local Data Leaks and Forensics:
      • Bad Cryptography:
      • No logging but logging anyway policies:
      • Some Advanced targeted techniques:
      • Some bonus resources:
      • Notes:
    • General Preparations:
    • Creating your anonymous online identities:
    • Backing up your work securely:
    • Covering your tracks:
    • Some low-tech old-school tricks:
    • Some last OPSEC thoughts:
    • If you think you got burned:
    • A small final editorial note:
    • Donations:
    • Helping others staying anonymous:
    • Acknowledgments:
    • Appendix A: Windows Installation
    • Appendix B: Windows Additional Privacy Settings
    • Appendix C: Windows Installation Media Creation
    • Appendix D: Using System Rescue to securely wipe an SSD drive.
    • Appendix E: Clonezilla
    • Appendix F: Diskpart
    • Appendix G: Safe Browser on the Host OS
    • Appendix H: Windows Cleaning Tools
    • Appendix I: Using ShredOS to securely wipe an HDD drive:
    • Appendix J: Manufacturer tools for Wiping HDD and SSD drives:
    • Appendix K: Considerations for using external SSD drives
    • Appendix L: Creating a mat2-web guest VM for removing metadata from files
    • Appendix M: BIOS/UEFI options to wipe disks in various Brands
    • Appendix N: Warning about smartphones and smart devices
    • Appendix O: Getting an anonymous VPN/Proxy
    • Appendix P: Accessing the internet as safely as possible when Tor and VPNs are not an option
    • Appendix Q: Using long-range Antenna to connect to Public Wi-Fis from a safe distance:
    • Appendix R: Installing a VPN on your VM or Host OS.
    • Appendix S: Check your network for surveillance/censorship using OONI
    • Appendix T: Checking files for malware
    • Appendix U: How to bypass (some) local restrictions on supervised computers
    • Appendix V: What browser to use in your Guest VM/Disposable VM
    • Appendix V1: Hardening your Browsers:
    • Appendix W: Virtualization
    • Appendix X: Using Tor bridges in hostile environments
    • Appendix Y: Installing and using desktop Tor Browser
    • Appendix Z: Online anonymous payments using cryptocurrencies
    • Appendix A1: Recommended VPS hosting providers
    • Appendix A2: Guidelines for passwords and passphrases
    • Appendix A3: Search Engines
    • Appendix A4: Counteracting Forensic Linguistics
    • Appendix A5: Additional browser precautions with JavaScript enabled
    • Appendix A6: Mirrors
    • Appendix A7: Comparing versions
    • Appendix A8: Crypto Swapping Services without Registration and KYC
    • Appendix A9: Installing a Zcash wallet:
    • Appendix B1: Checklist of things to verify before sharing information:
    • Appendix B2: Monero Disclaimer
    • Appendix B3: Threat modeling resources
    • References:

    Pre-requisites:

    • Understanding of the English language (in this case US English).

    • Be a permanent resident in Germany where the courts have upheld up the legality of not using real names on online platforms (§13 VI of the German Telemedia Act of 200712). Alternatively, be a resident of any other country where you can confirm and verify the legality of this guide yourself.

    • This guide will assume you already have access to some (Windows/Linux/macOS) laptop computer (ideally not a work/shared device) and a basic understanding of how it works.

    • Have patience as this process could take several weeks to complete if you want to go through all the content.

    • Have some free time on your hands to dedicate to this process (or a lot depending on the route you pick).

    • Be prepared to read a lot of references (do read them), guides (do not skip them), and follow a lot of how-to tutorials thoroughly (do not skip them either).

    • Don’t be evil (for real this time)3.

    Limitations:

    This guide is not intended for:

    • Creating machine accounts of any kind (bots).

    • Creating impersonation accounts of existing people (such as identity theft).

    • Helping malicious actors conduct unethical, criminal, or illicit activities (such as trolling, stalking, disinformation, misinformation, harassment, bullying…).

    • Use by minors.

    TLDR for the whole guide: “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play”4.

    Making a social media account with a pseudonym or artist/brand name is easy. And it is enough in most use cases to protect your identity as the next George Orwell. There are plenty of people using pseudonyms all over Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/LinkedIn/TikTok/Snapchat/Reddit/… But the vast majority of those are anything but anonymous and can easily be traced to their real identity by your local police officers, random people within the OSINT5 (Open-Source Intelligence) community, and trolls6 on 4chan7.

    This is a good thing as most criminals/trolls are not tech-savvy and will usually be identified with ease. But this is also a terrible thing as most political dissidents, human rights activists and whistleblowers can also be tracked rather easily.

    This guide aims to provide an introduction to various de-anonymization techniques, tracking techniques, ID verification techniques, and optional guidance to creating and maintaining reasonably and truly online anonymous identities including social media accounts safely. This includes mainstream platforms and not only the privacy-friendly ones.

    It is important to understand that the purpose of this guide is anonymity and not just privacy but much of the guidance you will find here will also help you improve your privacy and security even if you are not interested in anonymity. There is an important overlap in techniques and tools used for privacy, security, and anonymity but they differ at some point:

    • Privacy is about people knowing who you are but not knowing what you are doing.

    • Anonymity is about people knowing what you are doing but not knowing who you are8.

    (Illustration from9)

    Will this guide help you protect yourself from the NSA, the FSB, Mark Zuckerberg, or the Mossad if they are out to find you? Probably not … Mossad will be doing “Mossad things” 10 and will probably find you no matter how hard you try to hide11.

    You must consider your threat model12 before going further.

    (Illustration by Randall Munroe, xkcd.com, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.5)

    Will this guide help you protect your privacy from OSINT researchers like Bellingcat13, Doxing14 trolls on 4chan15, and others that have no access to the NSA toolbox? More likely. Tho I would not be so sure about 4chan.

    Here is a basic simplified threat model for this guide:

    (Note that the “magical amulets/submarine/fake your own death” jokes are quoted from the excellent article “This World of Ours” by James Mickens, 2014above10)

    Disclaimer: Jokes aside (magical amulet…). Of course, there are also advanced ways to mitigate attacks against such advanced and skilled adversaries but those are just out of the scope of this guide. It is crucially important that you understand the limits of the threat model of this guide. And therefore, this guide will not double in size to help with those advanced mitigations as this is just too complex and will require an exceedingly high knowledge and skill level that is not expected from the targeted audience of this guide.

    The EFF provides a few security scenarios of what you should consider depending on your activity. While some of those tips might not be within the scope of this guide (more about Privacy than Anonymity), they are still worth reading as examples. See https://ssd.eff.org/en/module-categories/security-scenarios[Archive.org].

    If you want to go deeper into threat modeling, see Appendix B3: Threat modeling resources.

    You might think this guide has no legitimate use but there are many16171819202122 such as:

    • Evading Online Censorship23

    • Evading Online Oppression

    • Evading Online Stalking, Doxxing, and Harassment

    • Evading Online Unlawful Government Surveillance

    • Anonymous Online Whistle Blowing

    • Anonymous Online Activism

    • Anonymous Online Journalism

    • Anonymous Online Legal Practice

    • Anonymous Online Academic Activities (For instance accessing scientific research where such resources are blocked). See note below.

    This guide is written with hope for those good-intended individuals who might not be knowledgeable enough to consider the big picture of online anonymity and privacy.

    Lastly, use it at your own risk. Anything in here is not legal advice and you should verify compliance with your local law before use (IANAL24). “Trust but verify”25all the information yourself (or even better, “Never Trust, always verify”26). I strongly encourage you to inform yourself and do not hesitate to check any information in this guide with outside sources in case of doubt. Please do report any mistake you spot to me as I welcome criticism. Even harsh but sound criticism is welcome and will result in having the necessary corrections made as quickly as possible.

    There are many ways you can be tracked besides browser cookies and ads, your e-mail, and your phone number. And if you think only the Mossad or the NSA/FSB can find you, you would be wrong.

    First, you could also consider these more general resources on privacy and security to learn more basics:

    If you skipped those, you should really still consider viewing this YouTube playlist from the Techlore Go Incognito project (https://github.com/techlore-official/go-incognito[Archive.org]) as an introduction before going further: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3KeV6Ui_4CayDGHw64OFXEPHgXLkrtJO[Invidious]. This guide will cover many of the topics in the videos of this playlist with more details and references as well as some added topics not covered within that series. This will just take you 2 or 3 hours to watch it all.

    Now, here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the many ways you could be tracked and de-anonymized:

    Your Network:

    Your IP address:

    Disclaimer: this whole paragraph is about your public-facing Internet IP and not your local network IP.

    Your IP address27 is the most known and obvious way you can be tracked. That IP is the IP you are using at the source. This is where you connect to the internet. That IP is usually provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) (xDSL, Mobile, Cable, Fiber, Cafe, Bar, Friend, Neighbor). Most countries have data retention regulations28 that mandate keeping logs of who is using what IP at a certain time/date for up to several years or indefinitely. Your ISP can tell a third party that you were using a specific IP at a specific date and time, years after the fact. If that IP (the original one) leaks at any point for any reason, it can be used to track down you directly. In many countries, you will not be able to have internet access without providing some form of identification to the provider (address, ID, real name, e-mail …).

    Needless to say, that most platforms (such as social networks) will also keep (sometimes indefinitely) the IP addresses you used to sign-up and sign into their services.

    Here are some online resources you can use to find some information about your current public IP right now:

    For those reasons, we will need to obfuscate and hide that origin IP (the one tied to your identification) or hide it as much as we can through a combination of various means:

    • Using a public Wi-Fi service (free).

    • Using the Tor Anonymity Network29 (free).

    • Using VPN30 services anonymously (anonymously paid with cash or Monero).

    Do note that, unfortunately, these solutions are not perfect, and you will experience performance issues31.

    All those will be explained later in this guide.

    Your DNS and IP requests:

    DNS stands for “Domain Name System”32 and is a service used by your browser (and other apps) to find the IP addresses of a service. It is a huge “contact list” (phone book for older people) that works like asking it a name and it returns the number to call. Except it returns an IP instead.

    Every time your browser wants to access a certain service such as Google through www.google.com. Your Browser (Chrome or Firefox) will query a DNS service to find the IP addresses of the Google web servers.

    Here is a video explaining DNS visually if you are already lost: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrxwXXytEuI[Invidious]

    Usually, the DNS service is provided by your ISP and automatically configured by the network you are connecting to. This DNS service could also be subject to data retention regulations or will just keep logs for other reasons (data collection for advertising purposes for instance). Therefore, this ISP will be capable of telling everything you did online just by looking at those logs which can, in turn, be provided to an adversary. Conveniently this is also the easiest way for many adversaries to apply censoring or parental control by using DNS blocking33. The provided DNS servers will give you a different address (than their real one) for some websites (like redirecting thepiratebay.org to some government website). Such blocking is widely applied worldwide for certain sites34.

    Using a private DNS service or your own DNS service would mitigate these issues, but the other problem is that most of those DNS requests are by default still sent in clear text (unencrypted) over the network. Even if you browse PornHub in an incognito Window, using HTTPS and using a private DNS service, chances are exceedingly high that your browser will send a clear text unencrypted DNS request to some DNS servers asking basically “So what’s the IP address of www.pornhub.com?”.

    Because it is not encrypted, your ISP and/or any other adversary could still intercept (using a Man-in-the-middle attack35) your request will know and possibly log what your IP was looking for. The same ISP can also tamper with the DNS responses even if you are using a private DNS. Rendering the use of a private DNS service useless.

    As a bonus, many devices and apps will use hardcoded DNS servers bypassing any system setting you could set. This is for example the case with most (70%) Smart TVs and a large part (46%) of Game Consoles36. For these devices, you will have to force them37 to stop using their hardcoded DNS service which could make them stop working properly.

    A solution to this is to use encrypted DNS using DoH (DNS over HTTPS38), DoT (DNS over TLS39) with a private DNS server (this can be self-hosted locally with a solution like pi-hole40, remotely hosted with a solution like nextdns.io or using the solutions provider by your VPN provider or the Tor network). This should prevent your ISP or some go-between from snooping on your requests … except it might not.

    Small in-between Disclaimer: This guide does not necessarily endorse or recommends Cloudflare services even if it is mentioned several times in this section for technical understanding.

    Unfortunately, the TLS protocol used in most HTTPS connections in most Browsers (Chrome/Brave among them) will leak the Domain Name again through SNI41 handshakes (this can be checked here at Cloudflare: https://www.cloudflare.com/ssl/encrypted-sni/[Archive.org] ). As of the writing of this guide, only Firefox-based browsers supports ECH (Encrypted Client Hello42previously known as eSNI43) on some websites which will encrypt everything end to end (in addition to using a secure private DNS over TLS/HTTPS) and will allow you to hide your DNS requests from a third party44. And this option is not enabled by default either so you will have to enable it yourself.

    In addition to limited browser support, only Web Services and CDNs45 behind Cloudflare CDN support ECH/eSNI at this stage46. This means that ECH and eSNI are not supported (as of the writing of this guide) by most mainstream platforms such as:

    • Amazon (including AWS, Twitch…)

    • Microsoft (including Azure, OneDrive, Outlook, Office 365…)

    • Google (including Gmail, Google Cloud…)

    • Apple (including iCloud, iMessage…)

    • Reddit

    • YouTube

    • Facebook

    • Instagram

    • Twitter

    • GitHub

    Some countries like Russia47 and China48 might (unverified despite the articles) block ECH/eSNI handshakes at the network level to allow snooping and prevent bypassing censorship. Meaning you will not be able to establish an HTTPS connection with a service if you do not allow them to see what it was.

    The issues do not end here. Part of the HTTPS TLS validation is called OCSP49 and this protocol used by Firefox-based browsers will leak metadata in the form of the serial number of the certificate of the website you are visiting. An adversary can then easily find which website you are visiting by matching the certificate number50. This issue can be mitigated by using OCSP stapling51. Unfortunately, this is enabled but not enforced by default in Firefox/Tor Browser. But the website you are visiting must also be supporting it and not all do. Chromium-based browsers on the other hand use a different system called CRLSets5253 which is arguably better.

    Here is a list of how various browsers behave with OCSP: https://www.ssl.com/blogs/how-do-browsers-handle-revoked-ssl-tls-certificates/[Archive.org]

    Here is an illustration of the issue you could encounter on Firefox-based browsers:

    Finally, even if you use a custom encrypted DNS server (DoH or DoT) with ECH/eSNI support and OCSP stapling, it might still not be enough as traffic analysis studies54 have shown it is still possible to reliably fingerprint and block unwanted requests. Only DNS over Tor was able to show efficient DNS Privacy in recent studies but even that can still be defeated by other means (see Your Anonymized Tor/VPN traffic).

    One could also decide to use a Tor Hidden DNS Service or ODoH (Oblivious DNS over HTTPS55) to further increase privacy/anonymity but unfortunately, as far as I know, these methods are only provided by Cloudflare as of this writing (https://blog.cloudflare.com/welcome-hidden-resolver/[Archive.org], https://blog.cloudflare.com/oblivious-dns/[Archive.org]). These are workable and reasonably secure technical options but there is also a moral choice if you want to use Cloudflare or not (despite the risk posed by some researchers56).

    Lastly, there is also this new possibility called DoHoT which stands for DNS over HTTPS over Tor which could also further increase your privacy/anonymity and which you could consider if you are more skilled with Linux. See https://github.com/alecmuffett/dohot[Archive.org]. This guide will not help you with this one at this stage, but it might be coming soon.

    Here is an illustration showing the current state of DNS and HTTPS privacy based on my current knowledge.

    As for your normal daily use (non-sensitive), remember that only Firefox-based browsers support ECH (formerly eSNI) so far and that it is only useful with websites hosted behind Cloudflare CDN at this stage. If you prefer a Chrome-based version (which is understandable for some due to some better-integrated features like on-the-fly Translation), then I would recommend the use of Brave instead which supports all Chrome extensions and offers much better privacy than Chrome.

    But the story does not stop there right. Now because after all this, even if you encrypt your DNS and use all possible mitigations. Simple IP requests to any server will probably allow an adversary to still detect which site you are visiting. And this is simply because the majority of websites have unique IPs tied to them as explained here: https://blog.apnic.net/2019/08/23/what-can-you-learn-from-an-ip-address/[Archive.org]. This means that an adversary can create a dataset of known websites for instance including their IPs and then match this dataset against the IP you ask for. In most cases, this will result in a correct guess of the website you are visiting. This means that despite OCSP stapling, despite ECH/eSNI, despite using Encrypted DNS … An adversary can still guess the website you are visiting anyway.

    Therefore, to mitigate all these issues (as much as possible and as best as we can), this guide will later recommend two solutions: Using Tor and a virtualized (See Appendix W: Virtualization) multi-layered solution of VPN over Tor solution (DNS over VPN over Tor or DNS over TOR). Other options will also be explained (Tor over VPN, VPN only, No Tor/VPN) but are less recommended.

    Your RFID enabled devices:

    RFID stands for Radio-frequency identification57, it is the technology used for instance for contactless payments and various identification systems. Of course, your smartphone is among those devices and has RFID contactless payment capabilities through NFC58. As with everything else, such capabilities can be used for tracking by various actors.

    But unfortunately, this is not limited to your smartphone, and you also probably carry some amount of RFID enabled device with you all the time such as:

    • Your contactless-enabled credit/debit cards

    • Your store loyalty cards

    • Your transportation payment cards

    • Your work-related access cards

    • Your car keys

    • Your national ID or driver license

    • Your passport

    • The price/anti-theft tags on object/clothing

    While all these cannot be used to de-anonymize you from a remote online adversary, they can be used to narrow down a search if your approximate location at a certain time is known. For instance, you cannot rule out that some stores will effectively scan (and log) all RFID chips passing through the door. They might be looking for their loyalty cards but are also logging others along the way. Such RFID tags could be traced to your identity and allow for de-anonymization.

    More information over at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-frequency_identification#Security_concerns[Wikiless][Archive.org] and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-frequency_identification#Privacy[Wikiless][Archive.org]

    The only way to mitigate this problem is to have no RFID tags on you or to shield them again using a type of Faraday cage. You could also use specialized wallets/pouches that specifically block RFID communications. Many of those are now made by well-known brands such as Samsonite59. You should just not carry such RFID devices while conducting sensitive activities.

    See Appendix N: Warning about smartphones and smart devices

    The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices around you:

    Geolocation is not only done by using mobile antennas triangulation. It is also done using the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices around you. Operating systems makers like Google (Android60) and Apple (IOS61) maintain a convenient database of most Wi-Fi access points, Bluetooth devices, and their location. When your Android smartphone or iPhone is on (and not in Plane mode), it will scan actively (unless you specifically disable this feature in the settings) Wi-Fi access points, and Bluetooth devices around you and will be able to geolocate you with more precision than when using a GPS.

    This active and continuous probing can then be sent back to Google/Apple/Microsoft as part of their Telemetry. The issue is that this probing is unique and can be used to uniquely identify a user and track such user. Shops, for example, can use this technique to fingerprint customers including when they return, where they go in the shop and how long they stay at a particular place. There are several papers6263 and articles64 describing this issue in depth.

    This allows them to provide accurate locations even when GPS is off, but it also allows them to keep a convenient record of all Wi-Fi Bluetooth devices all over the world. Which can then be accessed by them or third parties for tracking.

    Note: If you have an Android smartphone, Google probably knows where it is no matter what you do. You cannot really trust the settings. The whole operating system is built by a company that wants your data. Remember that if it is free then you are the product.

    But that is not what all those Wi-Fi access points can do. Recently developed techs could even allow someone to track your movements accurately just based on radio interferences. What this means is that it is possible to track your movement inside a room/building based on the radio signals passing through. This might seem like a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory claim but here are the references65 with demonstrations showing this tech in action: http://rfpose.csail.mit.edu/[Archive.org] and the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgDdaMy8KNE[Invidious]

    Other researchers have found a way to count the people in a defined space using only Wi-Fi, see https://www.news.ucsb.edu/2021/020392/dont-fidget-wifi-will-count-you[Archive.org]

    You could therefore imagine many use cases for such technologies like recording who enters specific buildings/offices (hotels, hospitals, or embassies for instance) and then discover who meets who and thereby tracking them from outside. Even if they have no smartphone on them.

    Again, such an issue could only be mitigated by being in a room/building that would act as a Faraday cage.

    Here is another video of the same kind of tech in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDZ39h-kCS8[Invidious]

    See Appendix N: Warning about smartphones and smart devices

    There is not much you can do about these. Besides being non-identifiable in the first place.

    Malicious/Rogue Wi-Fi Access Points:

    These have been used at least since 2008 using an attack called “Jasager”66 and can be done by anyone using self-built tools or using commercially available devices such as Wi-Fi Pineapple67.

    Here are some videos explaining more about the topic:

    These devices can fit in a small bag and can take over the Wi-Fi environment of any place within their range. For instance, a Bar/Restaurant/Café/Hotel Lobby. These devices can force Wi-Fi clients to disconnect from their current Wi-Fi (using de-authentication, disassociation attacks68) while spoofing the normal Wi-Fi networks at the same location. They will continue to perform this attack until your computer, or you decide to try to connect to the rogue AP.

    These devices can then mimic a captive portal69 with the exact same layout as the Wi-Fi you are trying to access (for instance an Airport Wi-Fi registration portal). Or they could just give you unrestricted access internet that they will themselves get from the same place.

    Once you are connected through the Rogue AP, this AP will be able to execute various man-in-the-middle attacks to perform analysis on your traffic. These could be malicious redirections or simple traffic sniffing. These can then easily identify any client that would for instance try to connect to a VPN server or the Tor Network.

    This can be useful when you know someone you want to de-anonymize is in a crowded place, but you do not know who. This would allow such an adversary to possibly fingerprint any website you visit despite the use of HTTPS, DoT, DoH, ODoH, VPN, or Tor using traffic analysis as pointed above in the DNS section.

    These can also be used to carefully craft and serve you advanced phishing webpages that would harvest your credentials or try to make you install a malicious certificate allowing them to see your encrypted traffic.

    How to mitigate those? If you do connect to a public wi-fi access point, use Tor, or use a VPN and then Tor (Tor over VPN) or even (VPN over Tor) to obfuscate your traffic from the rogue AP while still using it.

    Your Anonymized Tor/VPN traffic:

    Tor and VPNs are not silver bullets. Many advanced techniques have been developed and studied to de-anonymize encrypted Tor traffic over the years70. Most of those techniques are Correlation attacks that will correlate your network traffic in one way or another to logs or datasets. Here are some examples:

    • Correlation Fingerprinting Attack: As illustrated (simplified) below, this attack will fingerprint your encrypted Tor traffic (like the websites you visited) based on the analysis of your encrypted traffic without decrypting it. Some of those methods can do so with a 96% success rate in a closed-world setting. The efficacy of those methods in a real open-world settinghas not been demonstrated yet and would probably require tremendous resources computing power making it very unlikely that such techniques would be used by a local adversary in the near future. Such techniques could however hypothetically be used by an advanced and probably global adversary with access to your source network to determine some of your activity. Examples of those attacks are described in several research papers717273 as well as their limitations74. The Tor Project itself published an article about these attacks with some mitigations: https://blog.torproject.org/new-low-cost-traffic-analysis-attacks-mitigations[Archive.org].

    • Correlation Timing Attacks: As illustrated (simplified) below, an adversary that has access to network connection logs (IP or DNS for instance, remember that most VPN servers and most Tor nodes are known and publicly listed) at the source and the destination could correlate the timings to de-anonymize you without requiring any access to the Tor or VPN network in between. A real use case of this technique was done by the FBI in 2013 to de-anonymize75 a bomb threat hoax at Harvard University.

    • Correlation Counting Attacks: As illustrated (simplified) below, an adversary that has no access to detailed connection logs (cannot see that you used Tor or Netflix) but has access to data counting logs could see that you have downloaded 600MB on a specific time/date that matches the 600MB upload at the destination. This correlation can then be used to de-anonymize you over time.

    There are ways to mitigate these such as:

    • Do not use Tor/VPNs to access services that are on the same network (ISP) as the destination service. For example, do not connect to Tor from your University Network to access a University Service anonymously. Instead, use a different source point (such as a public Wi-Fi) that cannot be correlated easily by an adversary.

    • Do not use Tor/VPN from an obviously heavily monitored network (such as a corporate/governmental network) but instead try to find an unmonitored network such as a public Wi-Fi or a residential Wi-Fi.

    • Consider the use of multiple layers (such as what will be recommended in this guide later: VPN over Tor) so that an adversary might be able to see that someone connected to the service through Tor but will not be able to see that it was you because you were connected to a VPN and not the Tor Network.

    Be aware again that this might not be enough against a motivated global adversary76 with wide access to global mass surveillance. Such an adversary might have access to logs no matter where you are and could use those to de-anonymize you. These adversaries are out of the scope of this guide.

    Be also aware that all the other methods described in this guide such as Behavioral analysis can also be used to deanonymize Tor users indirectly (see further Your Digital Fingerprint, Footprint, and Online Behavior).

    I also strongly recommend reading this very good, complete, and thorough (and more detailed) guide on most known Attack Vectors on Tor: https://github.com/Attacks-on-Tor/Attacks-on-Tor[Archive.org] as well as this recent research publication https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323627387_Shedding_Light_on_the_Dark_Corners_of_the_Internet_A_Survey_of_Tor_Research[Archive.org]

    As well as this great series of blog posts: https://www.hackerfactor.com/blog/index.php?/archives/906-Tor-0day-The-Management-Vulnerability.html[Archive.org]

    Lastly, do remember that using Tor can already be considered suspicious activity77, and its use could be considered malicious by some78.

    This guide will later propose some mitigations to such attacks by changing your origin from the start (using public wi-fi’s for instance). Remember that such attacks are usually carried by highly skilled, highly resourceful, and motivated adversaries and are out of scope from this guide.

    Disclaimer: it should also be noted that Tor is not designed to protect against a global adversary. For more information see https://svn-archive.torproject.org/svn/projects/design-paper/tor-design.pdf[Archive.org] and specifically, “Part 3. Design goals and assumptions.”.

    Some Devices can be tracked even when offline:

    You have seen this in action/spy/Sci-Fi movies and shows, the protagonists always remove the battery of their phones to make sure it cannot be used. Most people would think that’s overkill. Well, unfortunately, no, this is now becoming true at least for some devices:

    • iPhones and iPads (IOS 13 and above)7980

    • Samsung Phones (Android 10 and above)81

    • MacBooks (macOS 10.15 and above)82

    Such devices will continue to broadcast identity information to nearby devices even when offline using Bluetooth Low-Energy83. They do not have access to the devices directly (which are not connected to the internet) but instead use BLE to find them through other nearby devices84. They are using peer-to-peer short-range Bluetooth communication to broadcast their status through nearby online devices.

    They could now find such devices and keep the location in some database that could then be used by third parties or themselves for various purposes (including analytics, advertising, or evidence/intelligence gathering).

    See Appendix N: Warning about smartphones and smart devices

    TLDR: Do not take such devices with you when conducting sensitive activities.

    Your Hardware Identifiers:

    Your IMEI and IMSI (and by extension, your phone number):

    The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity85) and the IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity86) are unique numbers created by cell phone manufacturers and cell phone operators.

    The IMEI is tied directly to the phone you are using. This number is known and tracked by the cell phone operators and known by the manufacturers. Every time your phone connects to the mobile network, it will register the IMEI on the network along with the IMSI (if a SIM card is inserted but that is not even needed). It is also used by many applications (Banking apps abusing the phone permission on Android for instance87) and smartphone Operating Systems (Android/IOS) for identification of the device88. It is possible but difficult (and not illegal in many jurisdictions89) to change the IMEI on a phone but it is probably easier and cheaper to just find and buy some old (working) Burner phone for a few Euros (this guide is for Germany remember) at a flea market or some random small shop.

    The IMSI is tied directly to the mobile subscription or pre-paid plan you are using and is tied to your phone number by your mobile provider. The IMSI is hardcoded directly on the SIM card and cannot be changed. Remember that every time your phone connects to the mobile network, it will also register the IMSI on the network along with the IMEI. Like the IMEI, the IMSI is also being used by some applications and smartphone Operating systems for identification and is being tracked. Some countries in the EU for instance maintain a database of IMEI/IMSI associations for easy querying by Law Enforcement.

    Today, giving away your (real) phone number is the same or better than giving away your Social Security number/Passport ID/National ID.

    The IMEI and IMSI can be traced back to you in at least six ways:

    • The mobile operator subscriber logs will usually store the IMEI along with the IMSI and their subscriber information database. If you use a prepaid anonymous SIM (anonymous IMSI but with a known IMEI), they could see this cell belongs to you if you used that cell phone before with a different SIM card (different anonymous IMSI but same known IMEI).

    • The mobile operator antenna logs will conveniently keep a log of which IMEI and IMSI also keep some connection data. They know and log for instance that a phone with this IMEI/IMSI combination connected to a set of Mobile antennas and how powerful the signal to each of those antennas were allowing easy triangulation/geolocation of the signal. They also know which other phones (your real one for instance) connected at the same time to the same antennas with the same signal which would make it possible to know precisely that this “burner phone” was always connected at the same place/time than this other “known phone” which shows up every time the burner phone is being used. This information can be used by various third parties to geolocate/track you quite precisely9091.

    • The manufacturer of the Phone can trace back the sale of the phone using the IMEI if that phone was bought in a non-anonymous way. Indeed, they will have logs of each phone sale (including serial number and IMEI), to which shop/person to whom it was sold. And if you are using a phone that you bought online (or from someone that knows you). It can be traced to you using that information. Even if they do not find you on CCTV92 and you bought the phone using cash, they can still find what other phone (your real one in your pocket) was there (in that shop) at that time/date by using the antenna logs.

    • The IMSI alone can be used to find you as well because most countries now require customers to provide an ID when buying a SIM card (subscription or pre-paid). The IMSI is then tied to the identity of the buyer of the card. In the countries where the SIM can still be bought with cash (like the UK), they still know where (which shop) it was bought and when. This information can then be used to retrieve information from the shop itself (such as CCTV footage as for the IMEI case). Or again the antenna logs can also be used to figure out which other phone was there at the moment of the sale.

    • The smartphone OS makers (Google/Apple for Android/IOs) also keep logs of IMEI/IMSI identifications tied to Google/Apple accounts and which user has been using them. They too can trace back the history of the phone and to which accounts it was tied in the past93.

    • Government agencies around the world interested in your phone number can and do use94 special devices called “IMSI catchers”95 like the Stingray96 or more recently the Nyxcell97. These devices can impersonate (to spoof) a cell phone Antenna and force a specific IMSI (your phone) to connect to it to access the cell network. Once they do, they will be able to use various MITM35 (Man-In-The-Middle Attacks) that will allow them to:

      • Tap your phone (voice calls and SMS).

      • Sniff and examine your data traffic.

      • Impersonate your phone number without controlling your phone.

    Here is also a good YouTube video on this topic: DEFCON Safe Mode - Cooper Quintin - Detecting Fake 4G Base Stations in Real-Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siCk4pGGcqA[Invidious]

    For these reasons, it is crucial to get dedicated an anonymous phone number and/or an anonymous burner phone with an anonymous pre-paid sim card that is not tied to you in any way (past or present) for conducting sensitive activities (See more practical guidance in Getting an anonymous Phone number section).

    While there are some smartphones manufacturers like Purism with their Librem series98 who claim to have your privacy in mind, they still do not allow IMEI randomization which I believe is a key anti-tracking feature that should be provided by such manufacturers. While this measure will not prevent IMSI tracking within the SIM card, it would at least allow you to keep the same “burner phone” and only switch SIM cards instead of having to switch both for privacy.

    See Appendix N: Warning about smartphones and smart devices

    Your Wi-Fi or Ethernet MAC address:

    The MAC address99 is a unique identifier tied to your physical Network Interface (Wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi) and could of course be used to track you if it is not randomized. As it was the case with the IMEI, manufacturers of computers and network cards usually keep logs of their sales (usually including things like serial number, IMEI, Mac Addresses, …) and it is possible again for them to track where and when the computer with the MAC address in question was sold and to whom. Even if you bought it with cash in a supermarket, the supermarket might still have CCTV (or a CCTV just outside that shop) and again the time/date of sale could be used to find out who was there using the Mobile Provider antenna logs at that time (IMEI/IMSI).

    Operating Systems makers (Google/Microsoft/Apple) will also keep logs of devices and their MAC addresses in their logs for device identification (Find my device type services for example). Apple can tell that the MacBook with this specific MAC address was tied to a specific Apple Account before. Maybe yours before you decided to use the MacBook for sensitive activities. Maybe to a different user who sold it to you but remembers your e-mail/number from when the sale happened.

    Your home router/Wi-Fi access point keeps logs of devices that are registered on the Wi-Fi, and these can be accessed too to find out who has been using your Wi-Fi. Sometimes this can be done remotely (and silently) by the ISP depending on if that router/Wi-Fi access point is being “managed” remotely by the ISP (which is often the case when they provide the router to their customers).

    Some commercial devices will keep a record of MAC addresses roaming around for various purposes such as road congestion100.

    So, it is important again not to bring your phone along when/where you conduct sensitive activities. If you use your own laptop, then it is crucial to hide that MAC address (and Bluetooth address) anywhere you use it and be extra careful not to leak any information. Thankfully many recent OSes now feature or allow the possibility to randomize MAC addresses (Android, IOS, Linux, and Windows 10) with the notable exception of macOS which does not support this feature even in its latest Big Sur version.

    See Appendix N: Warning about smartphones and smart devices

    Your Bluetooth MAC address:

    Your Bluetooth MAC is like the earlier MAC address except it is for Bluetooth. Again, it can be used to track you as manufacturers and operating system makers keep logs of such information. It could be tied to a sale place/time/date or accounts and then could be used to track you with such information, the shop billing information, the CCTV, or the mobile antenna logs in correlation.

    Operating systems have protections in place to randomize those addresses but are still subject to vulnerabilities101.

    For this reason, and unless you really need those, you should just disable Bluetooth completely in the BIOS/UEFI settings if possible or in the Operating System otherwise.

    On Windows 10, you will need to disable and enable the Bluetooth device in the device manager itself to force randomization of the address for next use and prevent tracking.

    In general, this should not be too much of a concern compared to MAC Addresses. BT Addresses are randomized quite often.

    See Appendix N: Warning about smartphones and smart devices

    Your CPU:

    All modern CPUs102 are now integrating hidden management platforms such as the now infamous Intel Management Engine103 and the AMD Platform Security Processor104.

    Those management platforms are small operating systems running directly on your CPU as long as they have power. These systems have full access to your computer’s network and could be accessed by an adversary to de-anonymize you in various ways (using direct access or using malware for instance) as shown in this enlightening video: BlackHat, How to Hack a Turned-Off Computer, or Running Unsigned Code in Intel Management Engine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYsTBPqbya8[Invidious].

    These have already been affected by several security vulnerabilities in the past105 that allowed malware to gain control of target systems. These are also accused by many privacy actors including the EFF and Libreboot of being a backdoor into any system106.

    There are some not so straightforward ways107 to disable the Intel IME on some CPUs and you should do so if you can. For some AMD laptops, you can disable it within the BIOS settings by disabling PSP.

    Note that to AMD’s defense, so far and AFAIK, there were no security vulnerabilities found for ASP and no backdoors either: See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKH5nGLgi08&t=2834s[Invidious]. In addition, AMD PSP does not provide any remote management capabilities contrary to Intel IME.

    If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you could install your own BIOS using Libreboot108 or Coreboot109 if your laptop supports it (be aware that Coreboot does contain some propriety code unlike its fork Libreboot).

    In addition, some CPUs have unfixable flaws (especially Intel CPUs) that could be exploited by various malware. Here is a good current list of such vulnerabilities affecting recent widespread CPUs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transient_execution_CPU_vulnerability[Wikiless][Archive.org]

    Check yourself:

    Some of these can be avoided using Virtualization Software settings that can mitigate such exploits. See this guide for more information https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Spectre_Meltdown[Archive.org] (warning: these can severely impact the performance of your VMs).

    I will therefore mitigate some of these issues in this guide by recommending the use of virtual machines on a dedicated anonymous laptop for your sensitive activities that will only be used from an anonymous public network.

    In addition, I will recommend the use of AMD CPUs vs Intel CPUs.

    Your Operating Systems and Apps telemetry services:

    Whether it is Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, or even Ubuntu. Most popular Operating Systems now collect telemetry information by default even if you never opt-in or opted-out110 from the start. Some like Windows will not even allow disabling telemetry completely without some technical tweaks. This information collection can be extensive and include a staggering number of details (metadata and data) on your devices and their usage.

    Here are good overviews of what is being collected by those five popular OSes in their last versions:

    Not only are Operating Systems gathering telemetry services but so are Apps themselves like Browsers, Mail Clients, and Social Networking Apps installed on your system.

    It is important to understand that this telemetry data can be tied to your device and help de-anonymizing you and later can be used against you by an adversary that would get access to this data.

    This does not mean for example that Apple devices are terrible choices for good Privacy (tho this might be changing113), but they are certainly not the best choices for (relative) Anonymity. They might protect you from third parties knowing what you are doing but not from themselves. In all likelihood, they certainly know who you are.

    Later in this guide, we will use all the means at our disposal to disable and block as much telemetry as possible to mitigate this attack vector in the Operating Systems supported in this guide. These will include Windows, macOS, and even Linux in some regard.

    See Appendix N: Warning about smartphones and smart devices

    Your Smart devices in general:

    You got it; your smartphone is an advanced spying/tracking device that:

    • Records everything you say at any time (“Hey Siri”, “Hey Google”).

    • Records your location everywhere you go.

    • Always records other devices around you (Bluetooth devices, Wi-Fi Access points).

    • Records your habits and health data (steps, screen time, exposure to diseases, connected devices data)

    • Records all your network locations.

    • Records all your pictures and videos (and most likely where they were taken).

    • Has most likely access to most of your known accounts including social media, messaging, and financial accounts.

    Data is being transmitted even if you opt-out110, processed, and stored indefinitely (most likely unencrypted114) by various third parties115.

    But that is not all, this section is not called “Smartphones” but “Smart devices” because it is not only your smartphone spying on you. It is also every other smart device you could have:

    • Your Smart Watch? (Apple Watch, Android Smartwatch …)

    • Your Fitness Devices and Apps116117? (Strava118119, Fitbit120, Garmin, Polar121, …)

    • Your Smart Speaker? (Amazon Alexa122, Google Echo, Apple Homepod …)

    • Your Smart Transportation? (Car? Scooter?)

    • Your Smart Tags? (Apple AirTag, Galaxy SmartTag, Tile…)

    • Your Car? (Yes, most modern cars have advanced logging/tracking features these days123)

    • Any other Smart device? There are even convenient search engines dedicated to finding them online:

    See Appendix N: Warning about smartphones and smart devices

    Conclusion: Do not bring your smart devices with you when conducting sensitive activities.

    Yourself:

    Your Metadata including your Geo-Location:

    Your metadata is all the information about your activities without the actual content of those activities. For instance, it is like knowing you had a call from an oncologist before then calling your family and friends successively. You do not know what was said during the conversation, but you can guess what it was just from the metadata124.

    This metadata will also often include your location that is being harvested by Smartphones, Operating Systems (Android125/IOS), Browsers, Apps, Websites. Odds are several companies are knowing exactly where you are at any time126 because of your smartphone127.

    This location data has been used in many judicial cases128 already as part of “geofencing warrants” 129 that allow law enforcement to ask companies (such as Google/Apple) a list of all devices present at a certain location at a certain time. In addition, this location data is even sold by private companies to the military who can then use it conveniently130. These warrants are becoming widely used by law enforcement131132133.

    If you want to experience yourself what a “geofencing warrant” would look like, here is an example: https://wigle.net/.

    Now let us say you are using a VPN to hide your IP. The social media platform knows you were active on that account on November 4th from 8 am to 1 pm with that VPN IP. The VPN allegedly keeps no logs and cannot trace back that VPN IP to your IP. Your ISP however knows (or at least can know) you were connected to that same VPN provider on November 4th from 7:30 am to 2 pm but does not know what you were doing with it.

    The question is: Is there someone somewhere that would have both pieces of information available134 for correlation in a convenient database?

    Have you heard of Edward Snowden135? Now is the time to google him and read his book136. Also read about XKEYSCORE137138, MUSCULAR139, SORM140, Tempora141 , and PRISM142.

    See “We kill people based on Metadata”143 or this famous tweet from the IDF https://twitter.com/idf/status/1125066395010699264[Archive.org][Nitter].

    See Appendix N: Warning about smartphones and smart devices

    Your Digital Fingerprint, Footprint, and Online Behavior:

    This is the part where you should watch the documentary “The Social Dilemma”144 on Netflix as they cover this topic much better than anyone else IMHO.

    This includes is the way you write (stylometry) 145146, the way you behave147148. The way you click. The way you browse. The fonts you use on your browser149. Fingerprinting is being used to guess who someone is by the way that user is behaving. You might be using specific pedantic words or making specific spelling mistakes that could give you away using a simple Google search for similar features because you typed comparably on some Reddit post 5 years ago using a not so anonymous Reddit account150. The words you type in a search engine alone can be used against you as the authorities now have warrants to find users who used specific keywords in search engines151.

    Social Media platforms such as Facebook/Google can go a step further and can register your behavior in the browser itself. For instance, they can register everything you type even if you do not send it / save it. Think of when you draft an e-mail in Gmail. It is saved automatically as you type. They can register your clicks and cursor movements as well.

    All they need to achieve this in most cases is Javascript enabled in your browser (which is the case in most Browsers including Tor Browser by default). Even with Javascript disabled, there are still ways to fingerprint you152.

    While these methods are usually used for marketing purposes and advertising, they can also be a useful tool for fingerprinting users. This is because your behavior is unique or unique enough that over time, you could be de-anonymized.

    Here are some examples:

    • Specialized companies are selling to, for example, law enforcement agencies products for analyzing social network activities such as https://mediasonar.com/[Archive.org]

    • For example, as a basis of authentication, a user’s typing speed, keystroke depressions, patterns of error (say accidentally hitting an “l” instead of a “k” on three out of every seven transactions) and mouse movements establish that person’s unique pattern of behavior153. Some commercial services such as TypingDNA (https://www.typingdna.com/[Archive.org]) even offer such analysis as a replacement for two-factor authentications.

    • 154 services to verify that you are “human” and can be used to fingerprint a user.

    • See Appendix A4: Counteracting Forensic Linguistics.

    Analysis algorithms could then be used to match these patterns with other users and match you to a different known user. It is unclear whether such data is already used or not by Governments and Law Enforcement agencies, but it might be in the future. It could and probably will be used for investigations in the short or mid-term future to deanonymize users.

    Here is a fun example you try yourself to see some of those things in action: https://clickclickclick.click (no archive links for this one sorry). You will see it becoming interesting over time (this requires Javascript enabled).

    Here is also a recent example just showing what Google Chrome collects on you: https://web.archive.org/web/https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EwiUNH0UYAgLY7V?format=jpg&name=4096x4096

    Here are some other resources on the topic if you cannot see this documentary:

    So, how can you mitigate these?

    • This guide will provide some technical mitigations using Fingerprinting resistant tools but those might not be sufficient.

    • You should apply common sense and try to find your own patterns in your behavior and behave differently when using anonymous identities. This includes:

      • The way you type (speed, accuracy…).

      • The words you use (be careful with your usual expressions).

      • The type of response you use (if you are sarcastic by default, try to have a different approach with your identities).

      • The habits you have when using some Apps or visiting some Websites (do not always use the same menus/buttons/links to reach your content).

    You need to act and fully adopt a role as an actor would do for a performance. You need to become a different person, think, and act like that person. This is not a technical mitigation but a human one. You can only rely on yourself for that.

    Ultimately, it is mostly up to you to fool those algorithms by adopting new habits and not revealing real information when using your anonymous identities. See Appendix A4: Counteracting Forensic Linguistics.

    Your Clues about your Real Life and OSINT:

    These are clues you might give over time that could point to your real identity. You might be talking to someone or posting on some board/forum/Reddit. In those posts, you might over time leak some information about your real life. These might be memories, experiences, or clues you shared that could then allow a motivated adversary to build a profile to narrow their search.

    A real use and well-documented case of this was the arrest of the hacker Jeremy Hammond155 who shared over time several details about his past and was later discovered.

    There are also a few cases involving OSINT at Bellingcat156. Have a look at their very informative (but slightly outdated) toolkit here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18rtqh8EG2q1xBo2cLNyhIDuK9jrPGwYr9DI2UncoqJQ/edit#gid=930747607[Archive.org]

    You can also view some convenient lists of some available OSINT tools here if you want to try them on yourself for example:

    As well as this interesting Playlist on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrFPX1Vfqk3ehZKSFeb9pVIHqxqrNW8Sy[Invidious]

    As well as those interesting podcasts:

    https://www.inteltechniques.com/podcast.html

    You should never share real individual experiences/details using your anonymous identities that could later lead to finding your real identity. You will see more details about this in the Creating new identities section.

    Your Face, Voice, Biometrics, and Pictures:

    “Hell is other people”, even if you evade every method listed above, you are not out of the woods yet thanks to the widespread use of advanced Face recognition by everyone.

    Companies like Facebook have used advanced face recognition for years157158 and have been using other means (Satellite imagery) to create maps of “people” around the world159. This evolution has been going on for years to the point we can now say “We lost control of our faces”160.

    If you are walking in a touristy place, you will most likely appear in someone’s selfie within minutes without knowing it. That person could then go ahead and upload that selfie to various platforms (Twitter, Google Photos, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat …). Those platforms will then apply face recognition algorithms to those pictures under the pretext of allowing better/easier tagging or to better organize your photo library. In addition to this, the same picture will provide a precise timestamp and in most cases geolocation of where it was taken. Even if the person does not provide a timestamp and geolocation, it can still be guessed with other means161162.

    Here are a few resources for even trying this yourself:

    • Bellingcat, Guide To Using Reverse Image Search For Investigations: https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/how-tos/2019/12/26/guide-to-using-reverse-image-search-for-investigations/[Archive.org]

    • Bellingcat, Using the New Russian Facial Recognition Site SearchFace https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/how-tos/2019/02/19/using-the-new-russian-facial-recognition-site-searchface-ru/[Archive.org]

    • Bellingcat, Dali, Warhol, Boshirov: Determining the Time of an Alleged Photograph from Skripal Suspect Chepiga https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/how-tos/2018/10/24/dali-warhol-boshirov-determining-time-alleged-photograph-skripal-suspect-chepiga/[Archive.org]

    • Bellingcat, Advanced Guide on Verifying Video Content https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/how-tos/2017/06/30/advanced-guide-verifying-video-content/[Archive.org]

    • Bellingcat, Using the Sun and the Shadows for Geolocation https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/2020/12/03/using-the-sun-and-the-shadows-for-geolocation/[Archive.org]

    • Bellingcat, Navalny Poison Squad Implicated in Murders of Three Russian Activists https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2021/01/27/navalny-poison-squad-implicated-in-murders-of-three-russian-activists/[Archive.org]

    • Bellingcat, Berlin Assassination: New Evidence on Suspected FSB Hitman Passed to German Investigators https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2021/03/19/berlin-assassination-new-evidence-on-suspected-fsb-hitman-passed-to-german-investigators/[Archive.org]

    • Bellingcat, Digital Research Tutorial: Investigating a Saudi-Led Coalition Bombing of a Yemen Hospital https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAVZaPiVArA[Invidious]

    • Bellingcat, Digital Research Tutorial: Using Facial Recognition in Investigations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awY87q2Mr0E[Invidious]

    • Bellingcat, Digital Research Tutorial: Geolocating (Allegedly) Corrupt Venezuelan Officials in Europe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS6gYWM4kzY[Invidious]

    Even if you are not looking at the camera, they can still figure out who you are163, make out your emotions164, analyze your gait165166167, read your lips168, analyze the behavior of your eyes169, and probably guess your political affiliation170171.

    (Illustration from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-79310-1[Archive.org])

    (illustration from https://rd.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-42504-3_15[Archive.org])

    Those platforms (Google/Facebook) already know who you are for a few reasons:

    • Because you have or had a profile with them, and you identified yourself.

    • Even if you never made a profile on those platforms, you still have one without even knowing it172173174175176.

    • Because other people have tagged you or identified you in their holidays/party pictures.

    • Because other people have put a picture of you in their contact list which they then shared with them.

    Here is also an insightful demo of Microsoft Azure you can try for yourself at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/cognitive-services/face/#demo where you can detect emotions and compare faces from different pictures.

    Governments already know who you are because they have your ID/Passport/Driving License pictures and often added biometrics (Fingerprints) in their database. Those same governments are integrating those technologies (often provided by private companies such as the Israeli AnyVision177, Clearview AI178179, or NEC180) in their CCTV networks to look for “persons of interest”181. And some heavily surveilled states like China have implemented widespread use of Facial Recognition for various purposes182183 including possibly identifying ethnic minorities184. A simple face recognition error by some algorithm can ruin your life185186.

    Here are some resources detailing some techniques used by Law Enforcement today:

    Apple is making FaceID mainstream and pushing its use to log you into many services including the Banking systems.

    The same goes with fingerprint authentication being mainstreamed by many smartphone makers to authenticate yourself. A simple picture where your fingers appear can be used to de-anonymize you187188189.

    The same goes with your voice which can be analyzed for various purposes as shown in the recent Spotify patent190.

    Even your iris can be used for identification in some places191.

    We can safely imagine a near future where you will not be able to create accounts or sign in anywhere without providing unique biometrics (A suitable time to re-watch Gattaca192, Person of Interest193 , and Minority Report194). And you can safely imagine how useful these large biometrics databases could be to some interested third parties.

    In addition, all this information can also be used against you (if you are already de-anonymized) using deepfake195 by crafting false information (Pictures, Videos, Voice Recordings196…) and have already been used for such purposes197198. There are even commercial services for this readily available such as https://www.respeecher.com/[Archive.org] and https://www.descript.com/overdub[Archive.org].

    See this demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5yw5cR79VA[Invidious]

    At this time, there are a few steps199 you can use to mitigate (and only mitigate) face recognition when conducting sensitive activities where CCTV might be present:

    • Wear a facemask as they have been proven to defeat some face recognition technologies200 but not all201.

    • Wear a baseball cap or hat to mitigate identification from high-angle CCTVs (filming from above) from recording your face. Remember this will not help against front-facing cameras.

    • Wear sunglasses in addition to the facemask and baseball cap to mitigate identification from your eye’s features.

    • Consider wearing special sunglasses (expensive, unfortunately) called “Reflectacles” https://www.reflectacles.com/[Archive.org]. There was a small study showing their efficiency against IBM and Amazon facial recognition202.

    • All that might still be useless because of gait recognition mentioned earlier165 but there might be hope here if you have a 3D Printer: https://gitlab.com/FG-01/fg-01[Archive.org]

    (Note that if you intend to use these where advanced facial recognition systems have been installed, these measures could also flag as you as suspicious by themselves and trigger a human check)

    Phishing and Social Engineering:

    Phishing203 is a social engineering204 type of attack where an adversary could try to extract information from you by pretending or impersonating something/someone else.

    A typical case is an adversary using a man-in-the-middle35 attack or a fake e-mail/call to ask for your credential for a service. This could for example be through e-mail or through impersonating financial services.

    Such attacks can also be used to de-anonymize someone by tricking them into downloading malware or revealing personal information over time. The only defense against those is not to fall for them and common sense.

    These have been used countless times since the early days of the internet and the usual one is called the “419 scam” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance-fee_scam[Wikiless][Archive.org]).

    Here is a good video if you want to learn a bit more about phishing types: Black Hat, Ichthyology: Phishing as a Science https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z20XNp-luNA[Invidious].

    Malware, exploits, and viruses:

    Malware in your files/documents/e-mails:

    Using steganography or other techniques, it is easy to embed malware into common file formats such as Office Documents, Pictures, Videos, PDF documents…

    These can be as simple as HTML tracking links or complex targeted malware.

    These could be simple pixel-sized images205 hidden in your e-mails that would call a remote server to try and get your IP address.

    These could be exploiting a vulnerability in an outdated format or an outdated reader206. Such exploits could then be used to compromise your system.

    See these good videos for more explanations on the matter:

    You should always use extreme caution. To mitigate these attacks, this guide will later recommend the use of virtualization (See Appendix W: Virtualization) to mitigate leaking any information even in case of opening such a malicious file.

    If you want to learn how to try detecting such malware, see Appendix T: Checking files for malware

    Malware and Exploits in your apps and services:

    So, you are using Tor Browser or Brave Browser over Tor. You could be using those over a VPN for added security. But you should keep in mind that there are exploits207 (hacks) that could be known by an adversary (but unknown to the App/Browser provider). Such exploits could be used to compromise your system and reveal details to de-anonymize you such as your IP address or other details.

    A real use case of this technique was the Freedom Hosting208 case in 2013 where the FBI inserted malware209 using a Firefox browser exploit on a Tor website. This exploit allowed them to reveal details of some users. More recently, there was the notable SolarWinds210 hack that breached several US government institutions by inserting malware into an official software update server.

    In some countries, Malware is just mandatory and/or distributed by the state itself. This is the case for instance in China with WeChat211 which can then be used in combination with other data for state surveillance212.

    There are countless examples of malicious browser extensions, smartphone apps, and various apps that have been infiltrated with malware over the years.

    Here are some steps to mitigate this type of attack:

    • You should never have 100% trust in the apps you are using.

    • You should always check that you are using the updated version of such apps before use and ideally validate each download using their signature if available.

    • You should not use such apps directly from a hardware system but instead, use a Virtual Machine for compartmentalization.

    To reflect these recommendations, this guide will therefore later guide you in the use of Virtualization (See Appendix W: Virtualization) so that even if your Browser/Apps get compromised by a skilled adversary, that adversary will find himself stuck in a sandbox213 without being able to access identifying information or compromise your system.

    Malicious USB devices:

    There are readily available commercial and cheap “badUSB” 214devices that can take deploy malware, log your typing, geolocate you, listen to you or gain control of your laptop just by plugging them in. Here are some examples that you can already buy yourself:

    Such devices can be implanted anywhere (charging cable, mouse, keyboard, USB key …) by an adversary and can be used to track you or compromise your computer or smartphone. The most notable example of such attacks is probably Stuxnet215 in 2005.

    While you could inspect a USB key physically, scan it with various utilities, check the various components to see if they are genuine, you will most likely never be able to discover complex malware embedded in genuine parts of a genuine USB key by a skilled adversary without advanced forensics equipment216.

    To mitigate this, you should never trust such devices and plug them into sensitive equipment. If you use a charging device, you should consider the use of a USB data blocking device that will only allow charging but not any data transfer. Such data blocking devices are now readily available in many online shops. You should also consider disabling USB ports completely within the BIOS of your computer unless you need them (if you can).

    Malware and backdoors in your Hardware Firmware and Operating System:

    This might sound a bit familiar as this was already partially covered previously in the Your CPU section.

    Malware and backdoors can be embedded directly into your hardware components. Sometimes those backdoors are implemented by the manufacturer itself such as the IME in the case of Intel CPUs. And in other cases, such backdoors can be implemented by a third party that places itself between orders of new hardware and customer delivery217.

    Such malware and backdoors can also be deployed by an adversary using software exploits. Many of those are called rootkits218 within the tech world. Usually, these types of malware are harder to detect and mitigate as they are implemented at a lower level than the userspace219 and often in the firmware220 of hardware components itself.

    What is firmware? Firmware is a low-level operating system for devices. Each component in your computer probably has firmware including for instance your disk drives. The BIOS221/UEFI222 system of your machine for instance is a type of firmware.

    These can allow remote management and are capable of enabling full control of a target system silently and stealthily.

    As mentioned previously, these are harder to detect by users but some limited steps that can be taken to mitigate some of those by protecting your device from tampering and use some measures (like re-flashing the bios for example). Unfortunately, if such malware or backdoor is implemented by the manufacturer itself, it becomes extremely difficult to detect and disable those.

    Your files, documents, pictures, and videos:

    Properties and Metadata:

    This can be obvious to many but not to all. Most files have metadata attached to them. Good examples are pictures that store EXIF223 information which can hold a lot of information such as GPS coordinates, which camera/phone model took it, and when it was taken precisely. While this information might not directly give out who you are, it could tell exactly where you were at a certain moment which could allow others to use various sources to find you (CCTV or other footage taken at the same place at the same time during a protest for instance). You must verify any file you would put on those platforms for any properties that might hold any information that might lead back to you.

    Here is an example of EXIF data that could be on a picture:

    (Illustration from Wikipedia)

    This also works for videos. Yes, videos too have geo-tagging, and many are very unaware of this. Here Is for instance a very convenient tool to geo-locate YouTube videos: https://mattw.io/youtube-geofind/location[Archive.org]

    For this reason, you will always have to be incredibly careful when uploading files using your anonymous identities and check the metadata of those files.

    Even if you publish a plain text file, you should always double or triple-check it for any information leakage before publishing. You will find some guidance about this in the Some additional measures against forensics section at the end of the guide.

    Watermarking:

    Pictures/Videos/Audio:

    Pictures/Videos often contain visible watermarks indicating who is the owner/creator but there are also invisible watermarks in various products aiming at identifying the viewer itself.

    So, if you are a whistleblower and thinking about leaking some picture/audio/video file. Think twice. There are chances that those might contain invisible watermarking within them that would include information about you as a viewer. Such watermarks can be enabled with a simple switch in like Zoom (Video224 or Audio225) or with extensions226 for popular apps such as Adobe Premiere Pro. These can be inserted by various content management systems.

    For a recent example where someone leaking a Zoom meeting recording was caught because it was watermarked: https://theintercept.com/2021/01/18/leak-zoom-meeting/[Tor Mirror][Archive.org]

    Such watermarks can be inserted by various products227228229230 using Steganography231 and can resist compression232 and re-encoding233234.

    These watermarks are not easily detectable and could allow identification of the source despite all efforts.

    In addition to watermarks, the camera used for filming (and therefore the device used for filming) a video can also be identified using various techniques such as lens identification235 which could lead to de-anonymization.

    Be extremely careful when publishing videos/pictures/audio files from known commercial platforms as they might contain such invisible watermarks in addition to details in the images themselves. There is no guaranteed 100% protection against those. You will have to use common sense.

    Printing Watermarking:

    Did you know your printer is most likely spying on you too? Even if it is not connected to any network? This is usually a known fact by many people in the IT community but few outside people.

    Yes … Your printers can be used to de-anonymize you as well as explained by the EFF here https://www.eff.org/issues/printers[Archive.org]

    With this (old but still relevant) video explaining how from the EFF as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izMGMsIZK4U[Invidious]

    Many printers will print an invisible watermark allowing for identification of the printer on every printed page. This is called Printer Steganography236. There is no tangible way to mitigate this but to inform yourself on your printer and make sure it does not print any invisible watermark. This is important if you intend to print anonymously.

    Here is an (old but still relevant) list of printers and brands who do not print such tracking dots provided by the EFF https://www.eff.org/pages/list-printers-which-do-or-do-not-display-tracking-dots[Archive.org]

    Here are also some tips from the Whonix documentation (https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Printing_and_Scanning[Archive.org]):

    Do not ever print in Color, usually, watermarks are not present without color toners/cartridges237.

    Pixelized or Blurred Information:

    Did you ever see a document with blurred text? Did you ever make fun of those movies/series where they “enhance” an image to recover seemingly impossible-to-read information?

    Well, there are techniques for recovering information from such documents, videos, and pictures.

    Here is for example an open-source project you could use yourself for recovering text from some blurred images yourself: https://github.com/beurtschipper/Depix[Archive.org]

    This is of course an open-source project available for all to use. But you can imagine that such techniques have probably been used before by other adversaries. These could be used to reveal blurred information from published documents that could then be used to de-anonymize you.

    There are also tutorials for using such techniques using Photo Editing tools such as GIMP such as https://medium.com/@somdevsangwan/unblurring-images-for-osint-and-more-part-1-5ee36db6a70b[Archive.org] followed by https://medium.com/@somdevsangwan/deblurring-images-for-osint-part-2-ba564af8eb5d[Archive.org]

    Finally, you will find plenty of deblurring resources here: https://github.com/subeeshvasu/Awesome-Deblurring[Archive.org]

    Some online services could even help you do this automatically to some extent like MyHeritage.com enhance tool:

    https://www.myheritage.com/photo-enhancer[Archive.org]

    Here is the result of the above image:

    Of course, this tool is more like “guessing” than really deblurring at this point, but it could be enough to find you using various reverse image searching services.

    For this reason, it is always extremely important that you correctly redact and curate any document you might want to publish. Blurring is not enough, and you should always completely blacken/remove any sensitive data to avoid any attempt at recovering data from any adversary. Do not pixelized, do not blur, just put a hard black rectangle to redact information.

    Your Cryptocurrencies transactions:

    Contrary to widespread belief, Crypto transactions (such as Bitcoin and Ethereum) are not anonymous238. Most cryptocurrencies can be tracked accurately through various methods239240.

    Remember what they say on their page: https://bitcoin.org/en/you-need-to-know[Archive.org] and https://bitcoin.org/en/protect-your-privacy[Archive.org]: “Bitcoin is not anonymous”

    The main issue is not setting up a random Crypto wallet to receive some currency behind a VPN/Tor address (at this point, the wallet is anonymous). The issue is mainly when you want to convert Fiat money (Euros, Dollars …) to Crypto and then when you want to cash in your Crypto. You will have few realistic options but to transfer those to an exchange (such as Coinbase/Kraken/Bitstamp/Binance). Those exchanges have known wallet addresses and will keep detailed logs (due to KYC241 financial regulations) and can then trace back those crypto transactions to you using the financial system242.

    There are some cryptocurrencies with privacy/anonymity in mind like Monero but even those have some and warnings to consider243244.

    Even if you use Mixers or Tumblers245 (services that specialize in “anonymizing” cryptocurrencies by “mixing them”), keep in mind this is only obfuscation246 and not actual anonymity247. Not only are they only obfuscation but they could also put you in trouble as you might end up exchanging your crypto against “dirty” crypto that was used in various questionable contexts248.

    This does not mean you cannot use Bitcoin anonymously at all. You can actually use Bitcoin anonymously as long as you do not convert it to actual currency and use a Bitcoin wallet from a safe anonymous network. Meaning you should avoid KYC/AML regulations by various exchanges and avoid using the Bitcoin network from any known IP address. See Appendix Z: Paying anonymously online with BTC (or any other cryptocurrency).

    Overall, the best option for using Crypto with reasonable anonymity and privacy is still Monero and you should ideally not use any other for sensitive transactions unless you are aware of the limitations and risks involved. Please do readAppendix B2: Monero Disclaimer.

    TLDR: Use Monero!

    Your Cloud backups/sync services:

    All companies are advertising their use of end-to-end encryption (E2EE). This is true for almost every messaging app and website (HTTPS). Apple and Google are advertising their use of encryption on their Android devices and their iPhones.

    But what about your backups? Those automated iCloud/Google Drive backups you have?

    Well, you should know that most of those backups are not fully end-to-end encrypted and will hold some of your information readily available for a third party. You will see their claims that data is encrypted at rest and safe from anyone … Except they usually do keep a key to access some of the data themselves. These keys are used for them indexing your content, recover your account, collecting various analytics.

    There are specialized commercial forensics solutions available (Magnet Axiom249, Cellebrite Cloud250) that will help an adversary analyze your cloud data with ease.

    Notable Examples:

    • Apple iCloud: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202303[Archive.org] : “Messages in iCloud also uses end-to-end encryption. If you have iCloud Backup turned on, your backup includes a copy of the key protecting your Messages. This ensures you can recover your Messages if you lose access to iCloud Keychain and your trusted devices. “.

    • Google Drive and WhatsApp: https://faq.whatsapp.com/android/chats/about-google-drive-backups/[Archive.org]: “Media and messages you back up aren’t protected by WhatsApp end-to-end encryption while in Google Drive. “. Do however note that Facebook/Whatsapp have announced the rollout of encrypted backups on October 14^th^ 2021 (https://about.fb.com/news/2021/10/end-to-end-encrypted-backups-on-whatsapp/[Archive.org]) which should solve this issue.

    • Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/privacy#terms[Archive.org] “To provide these and other features, Dropbox accesses, stores, and scans Your Stuff. You give us permission to do those things, and this permission extends to our affiliates and trusted third parties we work with”.

    • Microsoft OneDrive: https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement[Archive.org]: Productivity and communications products, “When you use OneDrive, we collect data about your usage of the service, as well as the content you store, to provide, improve, and protect the services. Examples include indexing the contents of your OneDrive documents so that you can search for them later and using location information to enable you to search for photos based on where the photo was taken”.

    You should not trust cloud providers with your (not previously and locally encrypted) sensitive data and you should be wary of their privacy claims. In most cases, they can access your data and provide it to a third party if they want to.

    The only way to mitigate this is to encrypt your data on your side and then only upload it to such services or just not use them at all.

    Your Browser and Device Fingerprints:

    Your Browser and Device Fingerprints251 are set of properties/capabilities of your System/Browser. These are used on most websites for invisible user tracking but also to adapt the website user experience depending on their browser. For instance, websites will be able to provide a “mobile experience” if you are using a mobile browser or propose a specific language/geographic version depending on your fingerprint. Most of those techniques work with recent Browsers like Chromium-based252 browsers (such as Chrome/Edge) or Firefox253 unless taking specific measures.

    You can find a lot of detailed information and publications about this on these resources:

    Most of the time, those fingerprints will, unfortunately, be unique or nearly unique to your Browser/System. This means that even If you log out from a website and then log back in using a different username, your fingerprint might remain the same if you did not take precautionary measures.

    An adversary could then use such fingerprints to track you across multiple services even if you have no account on any of them and are using adblocking. These fingerprints could in turn be used to de-anonymize you if you keep the same fingerprint between services.

    It should also be noted that while some browsers and extensions will offer some fingerprint resistance, this resistance in itself can also be used to fingerprint you as explained here https://palant.info/2020/12/10/how-anti-fingerprinting-extensions-tend-to-make-fingerprinting-easier/[Archive.org]

    This guide will mitigate these issues by mitigating, obfuscating, and randomizing many of those fingerprinting identifiers by using Virtualization (See Appendix W: Virtualization), using specific recommendations (See Appendix A5: Additional browser precautions with JavaScript enabled and Appendix V1: Hardening your Browsers) and using by fingerprinting resistant Browsers (Brave and Tor Browser).

    Local Data Leaks and Forensics:

    Most of you have probably seen enough Crime dramas on Netflix or TV to know what forensics are. These are technicians (usually working for law enforcement) that will perform various analysis of evidence. This of course could include your smartphone or laptop.

    While these might be done by an adversary when you already got “burned”, these might also be done randomly during a routine control or a border check. These unrelated checks might reveal secret information to adversaries that had no prior knowledge of such activities.

    Forensics techniques are now very advanced and can reveal a staggering amount of information from your devices even if they are encrypted254. These techniques are widely used by law enforcement all over the world and should be considered.

    Here are some recent resources you should read about your smartphone:

    I also highly recommend that you read some documents from a forensics examiner perspective such as:

    And finally, here is this very instructive detailed paper on the current state of IOS/Android security from the John Hopkins University: https://securephones.io/main.html255.

    When it comes to your laptop, the forensics techniques are many and widespread. Many of those issues can be mitigated by using full disk encryption, virtualization (See Appendix W: Virtualization), and compartmentalization. This guide will later detail such threats and techniques to mitigate them.

    Bad Cryptography:

    There is a frequent adage among the infosec community: “Don’t roll your own crypto!”.

    And there are reasons256257258259 for that:

    I would not want people discouraged from studying and innovating in the crypto field because of that adage. So instead, I would recommend people to be cautious with “Roll your own crypto” because it is not necessarily good crypto:

    • Good cryptography is not easy and usually takes years of research to develop and fine-tune.

    • Good cryptography is transparent and not proprietary/closed source so it can be reviewed by peers.

    • Good cryptography is developed carefully, slowly, and rarely alone.

    • Good cryptography is usually presented and discussed in conferences and published in various journals.

    • Good cryptography is extensively peer-reviewed before it is released for use in the wild.

    • Using and implementing existing good cryptography correctly is already a challenge.

    Yet, this is not stopping some from doing it anyway and publishing various production Apps/Services using their self-made cryptography or proprietary closed-source methods:

    • You should apply caution when using Apps/Services using closed-source or proprietary encryption methods. All the good crypto standards are public and peer-reviewed and there should be no issue disclosing the one you use.

    • You should be wary of Apps/Services using a “modified” or proprietary cryptographic method260.

    • By default, you should not trust any “Roll your own crypto” until it was audited, peer-reviewed, vetted, and accepted by the cryptography community261262.

    • There is no such thing as “military-grade crypto”263264265.

    Cryptography is a complex topic and bad cryptography could easily lead to your de-anonymization.

    In the context of this guide, I recommend sticking to Apps/Services using well-established, published, and peer-reviewed methods.

    So, what to prefer and what to avoid as of 2021? You will have to look up for yourself to get the technical details of each app and see if they are using “bad crypto” or “good crypto”. Once you get the technical details, you could check this page for seeing what it is worth: https://latacora.micro.blog/2018/04/03/cryptographic-right-answers.html[Archive.org]

    Here are some examples:

    • Hashes:

      • Prefer: SHA-3 or BLAKE2266

      • Still relatively ok to use: SHA-2 (such as the widely used SHA256 or SHA512)

      • Avoid: SHA-1, MD5 (unfortunately still widely used), CRC, MD6 (rarely used)

    • File/Disk Encryption:

      • Prefer:

        • Hardware Accelerated267: AES (Rijndael) 256 Bits with HMAC-SHA-2 or HMAC-SHA-3 (This is what Veracrypt, Bitlocker, Filevault 2, KeepassXC, and LUKS use by default). Prefer SHA-3.

        • Non-Hardware Accelerated: Same as accelerated above or if available consider:

      • Avoid: Pretty much anything else

    • Password Storage:

      • Prefer: argon2, scrypt, bcrypt, or if not possible at least PBKDF2 (only as a last resort)

      • Avoid: SHA-3, SHA-2, SHA-1, MD5

    • Browser Security (HTTPS):

      • Prefer: TLS 1.3 (ideally TLS 1.3 with ECH/eSNI support) or at least TLS 1.2 (widely used)

      • Avoid: Anything Else (TLS =<1.1, SSL =<3)

    • Signing messages/files with PGP/GPG:

    • SSH keys:

      • ED25519 (preferred) or RSA 4096 Bits*

      • Avoid: RSA 2048 bits

    • Warning: RSA and ED25519 are unfortunately not seen as “Quantum Resistant”272and while they have not been broken yet, they probably will be broken someday into the future. It is just a matter of when rather than if RSA will ever be broken. So, these are preferred in those contexts due to the lack of a better possibility.

    Here are some real cases of issues bad cryptography:

    Later this guide will not recommend “bad cryptography” and that should hopefully be enough to protect you?

    No logging but logging anyway policies:

    Many people have the idea that privacy-oriented services such as VPN or E-Mail providers are safe due to their no-logging policies or their encryption schemes. Unfortunately, many of those same people forget that all those providers are legal commercial entities subject to the laws of the countries in which they operate.

    Any of those providers can be forced to silently (without your knowing (using for example a court order with a gag order273 or a national security letter274) log your activity to de-anonymize you. There have been several recent examples of those:

    • 2021, ProtonMail, ProtonMail logged IP address of French activist after an order by Swiss authorities275.

    • 2021, WindScribe, Servers were not encrypted as they should have been allowing MITM attacks by authorities276.

    • 2021, DoubleVPN servers, logs, and account info seized by law enforcement277.

    • 2021, The Germany-based mail provider Tutanota was forced to monitor specific accounts for 3 months278.

    • 2020, The Germany-based mail provider Tutanota was forced to implement a backdoor to intercept and save copies of the unencrypted e-mails of one user279 (they did not decrypt the stored e-mail).

    • 2017, PureVPN was forced to disclose information of one user to the FBI280.

    • 2014, an EarthVPN user was arrested based on logs provider to the Dutch Police281.

    • 2013, Secure E-Mail provider Lavabit shuts down after fighting a secret gag order282.

    • 2011, HideMyAss user was de-anonymized, and logs were provided to the FBI283.

    Some providers have implemented the use of a Warrant Canary284 that would allow their users to find out if they have been compromised by such orders, but this has not been tested yet as far as I know.

    Finally, it is now well known that some companies might be sponsored front ends for some state adversaries (see the Crypto AG story285 and Omnisec story286).

    For these reasons, you mustn’t trust such providers for your privacy despite all their claims. In most cases, you will be the last person to know if any of your accounts were targeted by such orders and you might never know at all.

    To mitigate this, in cases where you want to use a VPN, I will recommend the use of a cash/Monero-paid VPN provider over Tor to prevent the VPN service from knowing any identifiable information about you.

    If the VPN provider knows nothing about you, it should mitigate any issue due to them not logging but logging anyway.

    Some Advanced targeted techniques:

    (Illustration: an excellent movie I highly recommend: Das Leben der Anderen287)

    Many advanced techniques can be used by skilled adversaries288 to bypass your security measures provided they already know where your devices are. Many of those techniques are detailed here https://cyber.bgu.ac.il/advanced-cyber/airgap[Archive.org] (Air-Gap Research Page, Cyber-Security Research Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel) and include:

    Источник: https://anonymousplanet.org/guide.html

    Brave (web browser)

    Free and open-source web browser based on Chromium

    Brave logo.svg
    Brave On Windows 11.jpg

    Brave 1.31.91 running on Windows 11

    Developer(s)Brave Software, Inc.[1]
    Initial release13 November 2019 (Version 1.0)
    Android1.31.91 / 9 November 2021; 10 days ago (2021-11-09)[2]
    iOS1.32.2 / 8 November 2021; 11 days ago (2021-11-08)[3]
    Windows, macOS, Linux1.32.106 / 16 November 2021; 3 days ago (2021-11-16)[4]
    Desktop, Beta1.33.83 / 18 November 2021; 1 day ago (2021-11-18)[5]
    Desktop, Developer1.33.81 / 16 November 2021; 3 days ago (2021-11-16)[5]
    Desktop, Nightly1.34.23 / 18 November 2021; 1 day ago (2021-11-18)[5]
    Repositorygithub.com/brave/brave-browser (Android, Windows, macOS, Linux); github.com/brave/brave-ios (iOS)
    Written inJavaScript, Swift, C++
    EnginesBlink, V8, (WebKit on iOS)
    Operating system
    TypeWeb browser
    LicenseMPL 2.0[6]
    Websitebrave.comEdit this at Wikidata

    Brave is a free and open-sourceweb browser developed by Brave Software, Inc. based on the Chromium web browser, which Chrome is based on as well. Brave is a privacy-focused browser, which automatically blocks online advertisements and website trackers in its default settings. It also provides users the choice to turn on optional ads that pay users for their attention in the form of Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) cryptocurrency. Users can then send contributions to websites and content creators, which support BAT in the form of tips along with the ability to keep the cryptocurrency they earned.[7]

    Brave Software's headquarters are located in Santa Clara, CA.[1]

    As of October 2021, Brave has 42.1 million active monthly users, 14 million daily active users and a network of more than 1.2 million content creators.[8]

    History[edit]

    On 28 May 2015, CEO Brendan Eich and CTO Brian Bondy founded Brave Software.[9] On 20 January 2016, Brave Software launched the first version of Brave with ad-blocking capabilities and announced plans for a privacy-respecting ad platform.[10]

    In June 2018, Brave released a pay-to-surf test-version of the browser. This version of Brave came preloaded with approximately 250 ads and sent a detailed log of the user's browsing activity to Brave for the short-term purpose of testing this functionality. Brave announced that expanded trials would follow.[11] Later that month, Brave added support for Tor in its desktop browser's private-browsing mode.[12]

    Until December 2018, Brave ran on a fork of Electron called Muon, which they marketed as a "more secure fork". Nevertheless, Brave developers moved to Chromium, citing a need to ease their maintenance burden.[13] Brave Software released the final Muon-based version with the intention that it would stop working and instructed users to update as its end-of-life approached.[14]

    In June 2019, Brave started testing a new ad-blocking rule-matching algorithm implemented in Rust, replacing the previous C++ one. The uBlock Origin and Ghostery algorithms inspired the new logic, which Brave claims to be on average 69 times faster than the previous algorithm.[15]

    Brave launched its stable release, version 1.0, on 13 November 2019, while having 8.7 million monthly active users overall.[16] At the time, it had approximately 3 million active users on a daily basis. Brave 1.0, running on Android, iOS, Windows 10, macOS, or Linux, integrated "almost all of Brave's marquee features across all platforms", according to Engadget.[17]

    In November 2020, Brave reported having 20 million monthly users,[18] and, in September 2021, it passed 36 million monthly active users.[19]

    In March 2021, Brave built its search engine out of Tailcat, which it acquired earlier that year from Cliqz, a subsidiary of Hubert Burda Media based in Germany. Tailcat was designed to deliver search results without logging user activity or creating profiles.[20][21]

    In April 2021, Brave became the first browser to be added to the Epic Games Store.[22][23] Public beta for Brave Search, Brave Software's upcoming search engine, was launched in June 2021. It is currently being developed.[24][25][26]

    Business model[edit]

    Brave uses its Basic Attention Token (BAT) to drive revenue.[27] Originally incorporated in Delaware as Hyperware Labs, Inc. in 2015, the company later changed its name to Brave Software, Inc. and registered in California, where it is headquartered.[28]

    By August 2016, the company had received at least US$7 million in angel investments from venture capital firms, including Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, Propel Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Foundation Capital, and the Digital Currency Group.[29]

    In November 2019, Brave launched Brave Ads, an ad network. Brave Software takes 30% of the ad revenue and the rest is given back to the users.[30] As consumers browse, they are presented with advertisements.[31]

    Features[edit]

    Brave Search[edit]

    Brave Search is a search engine developed by Brave and released in Beta form in March 2021, following the acquisition of Tailcat, an open source and privacy based search engine from Cliqz.[citation needed] Brave Search aims to use its own independent index to generate search results. However, it does fall back to Google and Bing in cases where it cannot find results, although it claims this is done anonymously and still preserves privacy.[citation needed]

    Brave claims it will eventually offer ad-supported free search as well as ad free paid search options. It hopes to explore bringing BAT revenue sharing to these ads in a similar fashion to the Brave ads platform.[32][non-primary source needed]

    In October 2021, Brave Search was made the default search engine for the Brave browser users in the US, Canada, UK (replacing Google Search), France (replacing Qwant) and Germany (replacing DuckDuckGo). [33][non-primary source needed]

    Brave Wallet[edit]

    Brave Wallet (Legacy)[edit]

    Brave Wallet (Legacy) is a fork of MetaMask, which comes pre-installed with the Brave browser. This lets the browser interact with websites supporting the MetaMask API's to sign crypto transactions for supported Ethereum Virtual Machine networks.[non-primary source needed]

    Brave Wallet[edit]

    Brave is planning to release a new wallet fully developed in house. This wallet aims to compete as a web based wallet with Ethereum API connections to websites. Much like competitors such as MetaMask, it plans to support multiple chains, NFT viewing and built in swaps through its "Brave Swap" aggregator.[34][non-primary source needed] Following their roadmap update, the base of this wallet can be seen in the Nightly release of the browser.[35][non-primary source needed]

    Brave Swap[edit]

    Brave Swap is an aggregator for cryptocurrency DEX's based on 0x.[35] It lets users swap Ethereum tokens for other tokens from within the browser. Brave makes money off of this by taking a small "router" fee. It plans to return 20% of this fee to the user in the form of BAT tokens[36][non-primary source needed]

    Privacy[edit]

    All user data is kept private on the user's device and is not accessible by any third party.[37] The browsing data is not sent to Brave’s servers, so only the user of the device can see the browsing data.[38] A research study analyzing browser privacy by Professor Douglas J. Leith of the University of Dublin reported that Brave had the highest level of privacy of the browsers tested.[39] Brave did not have, "any use of identifiers allowing tracking of IP address overtime, and no sharing of the details of web pages visited with backend servers."

    To prevent browser fingerprinting, Brave uses Fingerprint Randomization[40], which makes the browser look different to websites over browser restart, to ensure Brave's users can not be uniquely identified or tracked periodically by using browser fingerprinting.

    On October 15, 2021, Brave announced a new privacy feature dubbed Debouncing. The new feature is designed to disarm bounce tracking, a method of Internet tracking through intermediary domains that load when users click on a link. Debouncing will automatically recognize when users are about to visit a known tracking domain and renavigates the user to their intended destination, skipping the tracking site altogether.[41][42][43]

    Tests conducted by Digital Trends found Brave to be the only mainstream browser to pass the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Cover Your Tracks test.[44]

    Brave Shields[edit]

    The Brave Shields feature blocks third-party ads and trackers,[45] in a similar fashion to other extension based ad blockers. The advertisement blocking features are enabled by default.[46] Users are given control to adjust ad blocking, script, and cookies settings in the Shields and Privacy section of the browser.[47] As well as ads and cookie based trackers, Brave shields also protect against fingerprint tracking using a technique it calls "farbling" which allows each browser session to appear unique.[48][49]

    Brave Talk[edit]

    A browser-based privacy-focused video conferencing tool based on Jitsi. It was integrated into Brave in September 2021.[50] Although it is integrated into Brave's browser, it can also be found at its website.

    Brave Rewards[edit]

    Since April 2019, users of the Brave browser can opt in to the Brave Rewards feature, which sends BAT micropayments to websites and content creators.[51] Site owners and creators must first register with Brave as a publisher. Users can either turn on auto-contribute, which automatically divides a specified monthly contribution in proportion to the time spent, or they can manually send a chosen amount (referred to as a tip) while visiting the site or creator.[52]

    Users can choose to earn BAT by viewing advertisements that are displayed as notifications by the operating system of their computer or device. Advertising campaigns are matched with users by inference from their browsing history; this targeting is carried out locally, with no transmission of personal data outside the browser. In addition or alternatively, users can buy or sell BAT through Brave's relationship with Uphold Inc., a digital currency exchange operator.[53][non-primary source needed]

    The first version of the micropayments feature, launched in 2016, was called Brave Payments and used Bitcoin.[54] Advertisements were shown in a separate browser tab.[55]

    Other features[edit]

    • Tor: Brave offers Tor support in the desktop version. Users can switch to Tor-enabled browsing by clicking on the hamburger menu on the top right corner of the browser.[56]
    • InterPlanetary File System (IPFS): In January 2021, Brave became one of the first web browsers to offer native integration with a peer-to-peer networking protocol.[57]
    • Blockchain domain names: As of March 2021, Brave supports decentralized domains, namely the ones provided by Unstoppable Domains (.crypto etc.) and Ethereum Name Services (ENS).[58]
    • News aggregator: In December 2020, Brave integrated a personalized news reader focused on user privacy into the browser.[59] It was renamed from Brave Today to Brave News in 2021.[60] As of June 2021, the brave news feed also includes promoted articles based upon the Brave ads platform.[61]
    • Wayback Machine Integration: In February 2020, Brave integrated the Wayback Machine in to its browser. When hitting a 404 error, among other error codes, the browser is able to scan the Wayback Machine archive and recover a cached version of the page.[62]
    • Brave Playlist: An iOS feature that lets users create playlists containing content from a variety of media sources, including both audio and video streams.[63]

    Basic Attention Token[edit]

    The "Basic Attention Token" (BAT) is a cryptocurrency token based on Ethereum, created for use in an open-source, decentralizedad exchange platform and cryptocurrency.[64] It is based on the ERC-20 standard with the contract address: 0x0d8775f648430679a709e98d2b0cb6250d2887ef[65][66]

    In an initial coin offering on 31 May 2017, Brave Software International SEZC sold 1,000,000,000 BAT for a total of 156,250 Ethereum (US$35M) in less than 30 seconds.[64][67] An additional 500,000,000 BAT was retained by the company, to be used to promote the adoption of the platform.[64] This leaves the total supply at 1,500,000,000 BAT, which is fixed.[66]

    In early December 2017, the company disbursed the first round of its 'user growth pool' grants: a total of 300,000 BAT was distributed to new users on a first-come first-served basis.[68][69]

    Tokenomics[edit]

    Basic attention token's tokenomics are based upon a cycle between user, creator and advertiser. Advertisers must purchase BAT to show ads on the Brave Rewards platform (Brave facilitates USD based ad purchases, but will then buy BAT on behalf of the advertiser). These ads are then shown to the user, where the user then receives the bat spent on the ad (with a 30% revenue going to Brave).[70] Users can then either resupply this BAT back to the market to be rebought by advertisers, or they can choose to tip to creators using the "Brave Creators" platform, where the creators may then sell. Creators being hosts of websites the user has visited, or literal creators on platforms such as YouTube.[71]

    In this scenario it is expected that BAT price is supported by advertisers wanting to show ads on the platform and buying BAT, and users or creators selling their BAT at a certain price.

    BAT users may also find utility in the various partnerships Brave has, detailed in the relevant section

    Buys initiated by Brave to pay for ads can be seen on their website

    Inter-Chain Operability[edit]

    Binance Smart Chain[edit]

    On March 2021, BAT became available on BSC in the form of wrapped BAT.[72][73] These tokens are wrapped by Binance and the original BAT is held in "Token Vaults" with Binance. The contract address for BEP-20 BAT is 0x101d82428437127bf1608f699cd651e6abf9766e[74][65]

    Partnerships[edit]

    HTC - In December 2018, Brave partnered with HTC to make Brave Browser the default browser on the HTC Exodus 1.[75]

    [edit]

    The Brave Marketer Podcast[edit]

    In March 2021, Brave started a podcast hosted by Donny Dvorin, Head of sales at Brave and CEO of Never Stop Marketing, with the aim to talk about the future of advertising.[76][77]

    [edit]

    VP of Business Ops, Luke Mulks[78] Hosts a weekly "Community Call" in an AMA format on the Brave Talk Platform[79]

    BAT Ambassador Program[edit]

    Originally known as "BAT Regional Leaders",[80] Brave started an "ambassador" campaign which called on community members to grow regional communities of "BAT fans"[81] Some of these communities include a twitter account, telegram server and discord server as well as a Youtube Channel and Odysee channel.[71]

    Brave also controls a "subreddit" on Reddit called r/BATProject[71]

    Reception[edit]

    In January 2016, in reaction to Brave Software's initial announcement, Sebastian Anthony of Ars Technica described Brave as a "cash-grab" and a "double dip". Anthony concluded, "Brave is an interesting idea, but generally it's rather frowned upon to stick your own ads in front of someone else's".[82]TechCrunch,[29]Computerworld,[83] and Engadget[84] termed Brave's ad replacement plans "controversial" in 2016.

    In February 2016, Andy Patrizio of Network World reviewed a pre-release version of Brave. Patrizio criticized the browser's feature set as "mighty primitive", but lauded its performance: "Pages load instantly. I can't really benchmark page loads since they happen faster than I can start/stop the stopwatch".[85]

    In April 2016, the CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, David Chavern, said that Brave's proposed replacement of advertising "should be viewed as illegal and deceptive by the courts, consumers, and those who value the creation of content".[86][87]

    In April 2017, TechWorld praised Brave's "great speeds and advanced ad-tracking controls", but said that its "extension functionality is still lacking".[88]

    In November 2019, CNET reviewed the newly released 1.0 version of Brave. They praised the speed, saying "Brave is hands-down the fastest browser I've used this year on any operating system, for both mobile and desktop. Memory usage by the browser is far below most others, while website loading is far faster."[89] They also said battery usage could be reduced by using the browser – "With less strain on resources comes less strain on your device's battery life as well."[89] However, they had concerns that the user base is still far below Chrome, and thus it may not be able to build out its ad system fully yet, saying – "The browser will need more users, however, to truly build out its new ad system: while 8 million people is a good start, it will still need to compete with Google Chrome's billion-plus users."[89]

    In March 2021, The New York Times analyzed internet browsers and recommended Brave as the best privacy browser. Writer Brian X. Chen concluded, "My favorite websites loaded flawlessly, and I enjoyed the clean look of ad-free sites, along with the flexibility of opting in to see ads whenever I felt like it."[90]

    Controversies[edit]

    Brave browser collecting donations on behalf of content creators[edit]

    In December of 2018, British YouTube content creator Tom Scott said that he had not received any donations collected on his behalf by Brave browser. In a tweet, he stated "So if you thought you'd donated to me through Brave, the money (or their pseudo-money [BAT]) will not reach me, and Brave's terms say that they may choose to just keep it for themselves. It looks like they're 'providing this service' for every creator on every platform. No opt-in, no consent."[91][92][93] In response, Brave amended the interface with a disclaimer for each creator who hasn't signed up with Brave and promised to consider adding "an opt-out option for creators who do not wish to receive donations" and "switching the default so users cannot tip or donate to unverified creators".[94] Critics stated that the system should be opt-in and not opt-out, that the disclaimer did not clearly state absence of any relation with the creators, and suggests that creator begun process of signing up with Brave.[95] Two days after the complaint, Brave issued an update to "clearly indicate which publishers and creators have not yet joined Brave Rewards so users can better control how they donate and tip"[94] and in January 2020 another update to change the behavior of contributions and tips. They are now held in the browser and transferred if the creator signs up within 90 days; otherwise, they are returned to the user.[96][97] Tom Scott, the original complainant, tweeted in response: "These are good changes, and they fix the complaints I had!".[97]

    Insertion of referral codes[edit]

    On 6 June 2020, a Twitter user pointed out that Brave inserts affiliate referral codes when users type a URL of Binance into the address bar, which earns Brave money.[98][99] Further research revealed that Brave redirects the URLs of other cryptocurrency exchange websites, too. In response to the backlash from the users, Brave's CEO apologized and called it a "mistake" and said "we're correcting".[100][101]

    Two days later, Brave released a new version which they said disabled the auto-completion to partner links,[102] followed by a blog post explaining the issue and apologizing.[103]

    "Private Window with Tor" DNS leaks[edit]

    One privacy issue, promptly patched, appeared via a private disclosure on Brave's HackerOnebug bounty platform on 12 January 2021. The disclosure reported that Brave was sending DNS requests to ISP of the users instead of routing it through the TOR network, thus allowing ISPs to have knowledge of user's browsing sessions.[104][105]

    Brave fixed the issue in its Nightly channel soon after it was initially reported. Once the bug received public attention in mid-February from Twitter users verifying the vulnerability, the fix was soon uplifted to the Stable channel and landed in Brave 1.20.110.[106]

    Restriction on BAT Tokens[edit]

    On 12 June 2019, Brave blocked forum Kiwi Farms from the Brave Rewards platform. Brave Software came under the impression that Kiwi Farms had infringed Section 5 of Terms of Service of Brave Software for BAT.[107][108][109]

    Comparison with other browsers[edit]

    A February 2020 research report published by the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin tested six browsers and deemed Brave to be the most private of them, in terms of phoning home: "In the first (most private) group lies Brave, in the second Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and in the third (least private) group lie Edge and Yandex."[110]

    References[edit]

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      Top 10 Secure Browsers That Protect Your Privacy in 2021

      secure browser

      A secure browser that protects your privacy is a critical tool for staying safe online and keeping your data secure from third parties. In this guide we are going to be analyzing the most secure browsers that also protect your privacy online.

      WARNING: Many browsers today are actually data collection tools for advertising companies. This is the case for Google Chrome, the largest and most popular browser. By collecting data through your browser, these companies can make money through their advertising partners with targeted ads. We see this same privacy-abusing business model with search engines, email services, and even free mobile apps.

      Unless properly configured, most browsers contain lots of private information that can be exploited – or simply collected – by various third parties:

      • Browsing history: all the websites you visit
      • Login credentials: usernames and passwords
      • Cookies and trackers: these are placed on your browser by the sites you visit
      • Autofill information: names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.

      And as we will explain further below, using “private” or “incognito” browsing will not protect you. Your IP address will remain exposed and various third parties can still track all of your activities. But you don’t even need to take my word for it. Here is a recent headline about Google spying on “Incognito” browsing:

      secure browser with incognito

      And even with a locked-down and hardened browser, there may still be exploits that reveal your data and potential identity. For example, Google Chrome announced a severe zero-day flaw that could allow hackers to remotely execute code on affected systems. We discuss some other privacy issues (and solutions) in our guides on browser fingerprinting and also WebRTC leaks.

      But don’t let this stress you out. There are effective solutions and tools that we will cover in detail below. In this browser security and privacy guide, we’re going to explain the following topics:

      1. Best secure browsers that respect your privacy
      2. Problems with other browsers
      3. Browser privacy compartmentalization
      4. Secure browser add-ons
      5. “Private browsing” mode is NOT very private (and why you need a VPN)

      Incognito / Private browsing mode leaves you exposed!

      When using “private” or “incognito” browsing mode in your browser, your real IP address and location are still being revealed to every website, ad, and tracker that loads in your browser. Additionally, all your activities remain visible to your internet service provider (ISP). And as we have recently learned, ISPs log everything you do online and share the data with others. This is why it’s critical to use a good VPN for basic digital privacy.

      The best way to achieve true privacy while hiding your real IP address and online activities is to use a secure browser together with a good VPN. This will hide your real IP address and location, while also encrypting and anonymizing your traffic so your ISP cannot see your activities online. Here are our top three recommendations from the best VPN list that we have tested and reviewed:

      1. NordVPN: A fast, secure, audited VPN with advanced privacy features and a strict no-logs policy, based in Panama (with a 72% discount coupon).
      2. Surfshark VPN: A no-logs VPN service with a large lineup of privacy and security features, based in the British Virgin Islands.
      3. VyprVPN – A fast, secure, and user-friendly VPN service that is based in Switzerland with a no-logs policy.

      Now let’s examine the most secure browsers that you can combine with a VPN for maximum privacy.

      Secure browsers that protect your privacy

      In this section we will examine the best browsers based on two main factors:

      • Security: How well does the browser protect you from hackers, vulnerabilities, and online exploits?
      • Privacy: How much data is the browser itself collecting about you and who is this data being shared with? How does the browser protect your privacy?

      Conflicting opinions! Just like with Tor, opinions about browser privacy and security can be wildly divergent and contentious.

      This guide is not meant to sell everyone on one browser that beats all others. Rather, it is a summary of information about different web browsers that do well with both privacy and security. Choose the best browser for you based on your own unique needs and threat model.

      Here are the most secure and private browsers for 2021:

      1. Brave: The most secure and private browser (by default)

      most secure browser

      Brave is arguably the most secure browser with simple, out-of-the-box privacy. It is a Chromium-based browser that is fast, secure, and privacy-focused by default. It has a built-in ad blocker and browser fingerprinting protection, while also giving you access to numerous add-ons and extensions. The main developer behind Brave is Brandon Eich, who formerly worked for Mozilla.

      To summarize this browser, Brave is based on open-source Chromium, but configured for more privacy. It does well with its default privacy settings and extra features. Here is a brief overview:

      • Blocks ads and trackers by default
      • Protects against browser fingerprinting and even offers fingerprint randomization
      • Built-in script blocker
      • Blocks all third-party storage
      • Automatically upgrades to HTTPS (HTTPS Everywhere)
      • Easy access to the Tor network

      One of the reasons we like Brave is because it offers simple, out-of-the-box privacy by default. This makes it ideal for those who do not have the time, patience, or know-how for browser customizations and tinkering. Brave can also be used with Chrome extensions, making it an ideal alternative for Chrome. Just download it and you’re good to go.

      Tor network – Brave also has a feature that allows you to access the Dark web by simply opening a new window with Tor. We discuss this feature in our guide on how to access the Dark web safely.

      Ads – Brave has received some criticism for its ads program, which allows users to “view non-invasive ads without compromising your privacy.” While some people find it hypocritical that a privacy-focused browser has its own ad program, we also see it as a secure source of funding. And with many browsers financially struggling, it appears that Brave’s business model is securing this browser’s future and ability to continue to innovate its products.

      As one example of these innovations, Brave is currently developing a private search engine called Brave Search. Additionally, Brave continues to improve and innovate with its browser, which is growing in popularity.

      You can read more about Brave’s privacy features here.

      https://brave.com


      2. Firefox (modified and tweaked for privacy)

      firefox secure browser

      Firefox is a great all-around browser for privacy and security. It offers strong privacy protection features, many customization options, excellent security, and regular updates with an active development team. The newest version of Firefox is fast and lightweight with many privacy customization options.

      Out of the box, Firefox is not the best for privacy, but it can be customized and hardened, and we show you exactly how in our Firefox privacy modifications guide. Be sure to disable telemetry in Firefox, which is a feature that will collect “technical and interaction data” and also “install and run studies” within your browser.

      Within the Privacy & Security settings area, there are many useful customization options for different levels of privacy: Standard, Strict, or Custom.

      browser privacy settings

      Another great benefit with Firefox is the ability to use numerous browser extensions that can enhance your privacy and security. We’ll go over some of these extensions further below.

      Firefox highlights:

      • Open source code that has been independently audited
      • Active development with frequent updates
      • Excellent privacy features and customization options
      • Many browser extensions supported
      • Telemetry and tracking needs to be manually disabled
      • Other modifications necessary for extra privacy and security

      If you want to keep using older add-ons that are no longer supported by the latest Firefox release, you can go with the Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR). If you want a privacy-focused version of Firefox for Android, you could try Firefox focus.

      For additional customization and privacy settings, check out our Firefox privacy guide.

      https://www.mozilla.org/firefox


      3. Tor browser

      Tor browser secure

      Next up we have the Tor browser. The Tor browser is a hardened version of Firefox that is configured to run on the Tor network. By default, the Tor Browser is a secure browser that protects you against browser fingerprinting, but it also has some disadvantages.

      Because it uses the Tor network, which routes traffic over three different hops, download speeds with the Tor browser can be quite slow. The default version may also break some sites due to script blocking. Finally, there are also drawbacks with the Tor network itself, including malicious/dangerous exit nodes, high latency, dependence on US government financing, and some consider it to be fundamentally compromised. There are also many websites that block IP addresses originating from the Tor network. (See the pros and cons of Tor here.)

      Another option is to use the Tor browser with the Tor network disabled. In this sense, the Tor browser will work like the other browsers we’ve covered above. Additionally, you can simply run a VPN in the background. Like the Tor network, a VPN will also encrypt your traffic and hide your IP, but it will be much faster.

      Be careful when adjusting the settings for the Tor browser, however, as this may compromise the browser’s built-in privacy and security features.

      https://www.torproject.org/


      4. Ungoogled Chromium browser

      Ungoogled Chromium browser private

      Ungoogled Chromium is an open source project to provide a Chromium browser, without the Google privacy issues:

      ungoogled-chromium is Google Chromium, sans dependency on Google web services. It also features some tweaks to enhance privacy, control, and transparency (almost all of which require manual activation or enabling).

      ungoogled-chromium retains the default Chromium experience as closely as possible. Unlike other Chromium forks that have their own visions of a web browser, ungoogled-chromium is essentially a drop-in replacement for Chromium.

      Ungoogled Chromium receives regular Chromium security updates.

      https://github.com/Eloston/ungoogled-chromium


      5. Bromite (Android)

      bromite secure browser 2021

      Bromite is a Chromium-based browser for Android only (no desktop support). It comes with some great features by default, including ad blocking and various privacy enhancements. Here are some highlights of this browser from the official Bromite website:

      • The main goal is to provide a no-clutter browsing experience without privacy-invasive features and with the addition of a fast ad-blocking engine.
      • Minimal UI changes are applied to help curbing the idea of “browser as an advertisement platform”.
      • All patches are published under GNU/GPL v3 to enable other open source projects’ usage.
      • Bromite is only available for Android Lollipop (v5.0, API level 21) and above.

      Another cool feature I like with Bromite is that you can use custom ad block filters — learn more here. Bromite is under active development and remains a great browser for Android users.

      https://www.bromite.org/


      6. DuckDuckGo privacy browser (iOS and Android)

      DuckDuckGo browser

      The DuckDuckGo privacy browser is a new addition to our lineup. This browser is available for mobile devices on iOS and Android and comes with lots of privacy-focused features by default. According to this blog post, DuckDuckGo’s browser offers:

      • Built-in tracking protection
      • Encryption upgrades via Smarter Encryption technology
      • Easy data management and clearing options
      • Fast speeds

      This browser is now available on both the Google Play and Apple stores.


      Private browsers worth mentioning

      Below are a few private and secure browsers that are worth mentioning. However, these browsers did not quite make the cut to be recommended, for various reasons listed below.

      7. Waterfox

      Waterfox is a fork of Firefox that was maintained by just one person for many years. In February 2020, news blew up on reddit that it had sold out to a pay-per-click ad company called System1. The news was also picked up by others, which resulted in Waterfox and System1 formally announcing the acquisition (but only after the news broke).

      The problem here is the apparent contradiction of an ad company (that relies on data collection) owning a privacy-focused browser. As I previously reported, System1 also acquired a stake in Startpage, the private search engine based in The Netherlands. In researching the company’s background, it appears that System1 is fundamentally in the business of data collection:

      In our business,” Blend adds, “if we can gather as much data as possible, give it off to our engineers and data scientists, and then manage the two effectively, the business can quickly scale.”

      So can Waterfox still be trusted now that it’s owned by an ad-tech company? You can be the judge.

      8. Pale Moon

      Pale Moon is another open-source fork of Firefox, which aims for efficiency and customization. In testing out Pale Moon, it does offer different customization options, as well as support for older Firefox add-ons and its own lineup of add-ons. The design feels a bit dated, but it’s also not overly-cluttered and is lightweight and fast.

      Pale Moon is currently available on Windows and Linux, with other operating systems in development. Unlike other Firefox forks, Pale Moon runs on its own browser engine, Goanna, which is a fork of Gecko (used by Firefox). This is an older engine that was previously used by Firefox, but has long since been replaced. Many argue that this older codebase is a security vulnerability. And it’s also worth noting that the development team is very small compared to more popular browsers.

      9. GNU IceCat

      GNU IceCat is a fork of Firefox from the GNU free software project. IceCat is entirely “free software” as defined here and also includes various privacy add-ons and tweaks by default. Here are the privacy-protection features listed from the IceCat page:

      • LibreJS
      • HTTPS-Everywhere
      • SpyBlock
      • AboutIceCat
      • Fingerprinting countermeasures

      Slow updates – The big issue with GNU IceCat is that updates are very slow, and in some cases, years behind. This can expose IceCat users to security vulnerabilities, which is why we are no longer recommending it.

      10. Iridium

      Like Brave, Iridium is a secure browser that is based on Chromium and configured for more privacy by default. The following excerpt from Iridium’s website provides a good overview of this secure browser:

      Iridium Browser is based on the Chromium code base. All modifications enhance the privacy of the user and make sure that the latest and best secure technologies are used. Automatic transmission of partial queries, keywords and metrics to central services is prevented and only occurs with the approval of the user. In addition, all our builds are reproducible and modifications are auditable, setting the project ahead of other secure browser providers.

      Unfortunately, like IceCat above, updates to Iridium are few and far between.


      Problems with popular browsers

      While some browsers claim to be secure against vulnerabilities, they might not be the best choice from a privacy perspective.

      1. Google Chrome

      Google Chrome is by far the most popular browser. Unfortunately, it’s a data collection tool as well and not a good choice for anyone looking for privacy.

      You can safely assume that everything you do through Google Chrome is collected, saved to your data profile, and used for targeted advertising.

      2. Microsoft Internet Explorer/Edge

      Edge is a Microsoft product.

      Just like with Windows, it’s a good idea to avoid Microsoft products, including Internet Explorer, and their newer browser called Edge. Internet Explorer and Edge are also closed-source, so there’s no telling what’s going on behind the scenes, and they’re also not the best for privacy reasons.

      3. Opera browser

      Opera started off as a decent browser, developed in Norway. However, in 2016 it was sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million – and a lot has changed. Opera’s privacy policy explains how your data is being collected and shared when you use Opera products. Here’s what I found:

      opera browser is not private or secure

      Opera also claims to offer a free VPN through the browser. However, as we covered in the Opera VPN review, it’s not really a VPN and does not offer full system-wide encryption. Additionally, your data is being collected when you use Opera browser and its “free VPN” feature.

      4. Epic browser

      Epic is a browser based on Chromium, created by “Hidden Reflex” which is based in India. Since 2014, Epic has been claiming they would open source the code, but it remains closed source today. What’s going on behind the scenes? How do they manage Chromium and remove invasive code? Who knows.

      Just like with Opera VPN, Epic falsely claims to offer a “free VPN” through the browser, but this is not really true. The browser is merely routing traffic through a US proxy server. As we learned with Opera (and with many other “free proxy” services), proxies are often used for data collection (and they are often not secure). When reading the Epic privacy policy, we find that data from “video download and proxy services” is being collected.

      One person who analyzed Epic found it to be connecting to Google on startup. This suggests that Epic is not, in fact, de-googled as it claims.

      There are many better Chromium-based browsers to consider.

      5. Safari browser

      Safari is the default browser for Mac OS and iOS devices. Overall, Safari is not a horrible choice in terms of privacy and tracking protection – but it also cannot be recommended for a few reasons:

      On a positive note, however, Apple does somewhat better with privacy than other large companies. The Safari browser blocks third-party cookies by default and also implements cross-site tracking protection.

      6. Vivaldi browser

      Vivaldi is a Chromium-based browser with source-code modifications that can be seen here. It is less popular than other browsers, with less active development than Firefox, for example.

      Reading through their Privacy Policy, I did find some concerning information about data collection and the use of unique IDs:

      When you install Vivaldi browser (“Vivaldi”), each installation profile is assigned a unique user ID that is stored on your computer. Vivaldi will send a message using HTTPS directly to our servers located in Iceland every 24 hours containing this ID, version, cpu architecture, screen resolution and time since last message. We anonymize the IP address of Vivaldi users by removing the last octet of the IP address from your Vivaldi client then we store the resolved approximate location after using a local geoip lookup. The purpose of this collection is to determine the total number of active users and their geographical distribution.

      You can read more about Vivaldi here, although it’s not recommended for privacy reasons.

      Secure and private browsers on mobile devices

      Many of the recommended browsers above also offer versions for mobile users on iOS and Android.

      With that being said, here some good options for mobile users:

      • Brave
      • Bromite
      • Firefox Focus
      • DuckDuckGo

      I also like using standard Firefox on mobile devices with customization and configurations for more privacy.

      Browser privacy and compartmentalization

      One problem that often comes with browser privacy and security is that people want to remain logged in to various accounts, while also browsing the web. But this is problematic. When you stay logged in to Gmail or Facebook, for example, their trackers can record your activity as you browse the web.

      One potential solution to this problem is browser compartmentalization. This is when you use different web browsers for different online activities. For example:

      • Browser #1 will only be used for accessing your online accounts that require a password. You can stay logged in with only this browser, and it won’t be used for general browsing.
      • Browser #2 will only be used for web browsing, with various privacy configurations and no cookies or history being stored on the browser.
      • Browser #3 could be completely locked down for maximum privacy and security.

      You can also utilize different browsers, configured exactly the way you want, for various purposes, depending on your needs and threat model. The key is to keep the compartmentalization strict and not break the rules/uses for each browser.

      Virtual machines – On the topic of compartmentalization, using virtual machines is also a good idea for both privacy and security. You can easily run Linux VMs through VirtualBox (FOSS) on your host computer.

      Password managers – It should also be noted that storing your passwords in the browser may be risky depending on the browser you are using, especially since browsers may store passwords in cleartext. A better alternative would be to utilize a secure password manager. We have reviewed many popular options, including Bitwarden, Dashlane, LastPass, and more.

      Browser add-ons for security and privacy

      In addition to adjusting the settings within your browser, there are also a number of different add-ons or extensions you can install to improve your browser’s privacy and security.

      Here are a few different options, but they may not all be supported by the browser you are using:

      • uBlock Origin – This is one of the best browser-based ad blockers available that will also protect you against tracking.
      • HTTPS Everywhere – An add-on from the folks at Electronic Frontier Foundation, this will force websites to use a secure HTTPS encrypted connection (when available).
      • Cookie Autodelete – This will automatically delete cookies that are no longer needed from your browser.
      • NoScript – NoScript allows you to customize exactly which scripts run on the websites you visit. Like uMatrix, this is for advanced users and requires lots of customization.

      Warning: Be cautious about using third-party add-ons and browser extensions. Do your research first, since add-ons could function as spyware and data collection tools for third parties. This is especially true with free VPN services or browser proxy add-ons, even if they are highly rated in the Google Play or Apple stores.

      “Private” or “Incognito” browsing mode is NOT private (and why you need a VPN)

      Many people falsely assume that using “private” or “incognito” mode in a browser actually provides some privacy. This is a false assumption.

      Using “private” browsing mode only stops your browser from storing cookies, history, and passwords. But it doesn’t actually make you any more “private” to the outside world. Even when browsing in “private” or “incognito” mode, you are still exposed:

      • Your internet provider can still see every site you visit. And note that internet providers are now forced to log web browsing activity of their customers and provide this data to authorities on request in many countries. In the United States, ISPs log everything and share the data with a huge network of third parties.
      • Your real IP address and location remain exposed to all sites, ads, and trackers. This makes tracking and identification easy since your device has a unique IP address linked back to your identity through your internet service provider.

      To easily solve these problems, we strongly recommend using a good VPN service. Using a VPN is simple. You just need to sign up for a VPN subscription, download the VPN app for your device, then connect to a VPN server and browse the web as normal. This offers many benefits:

      • A VPN will securely encrypt your internet traffic, which prevents your ISP from seeing what you do online. (Your ISP will only see encrypted data, but not what you’re actually up to.)
      • When you connect to a VPN server, the VPN server’s IP address and location will replace your real IP address and location. This allows you to appear to be anywhere in the world.
      • A VPN will also allow you to access geo-restricted content, such as streaming Netflix with a VPN from anywhere in the world.
      private browser secure vpn

      Below is a brief overview of our recommended VPNs that have come out on top in testing for the respective VPN reviews. Click the VPN name to read our full review, or check out the discount coupon:

      • NordVPN: A fast, secure, audited VPN with advanced privacy features and a strict no-logs policy, based in Panama (with a 72% discount coupon).
      • Surfshark VPN: A no-logs VPN service with a large lineup of privacy and security features, based in the British Virgin Islands.
      • VyprVPN – A fast, secure, and user-friendly VPN service that is based in Switzerland with a no-logs policy.

      Short on money? There are also some good cheap VPNs that offer excellent features and performance, without breaking the bank.

      Conclusion on secure browsers and privacy

      A well-configured secure browser is crucial for protecting your data as you browse the web with privacy.

      Finding the best secure browser all comes down to identifying the best fit for your unique needs. Since this is a personal decision with subjective criteria, I tend to avoid recommending only one option for all use cases.

      In addition to using a secure browser that is configured to protect your privacy, you should also consider using a good ad blocker. Ads function as tracking to collect your browsing data and serve you targeted ads. If you aren’t blocking ads, your activities can be tracked by third-party advertising networks, with any site hosting ads.

      In terms of privacy, you may also want to protect yourself against browser or device fingerprinting and WebRTC browser leaks, which can expose your identity even when using a good VPN service.

      Other roundup guides on RestorePrivacy:

      This secure browser guide was last updated on November 16, 2021.

      Источник: https://restoreprivacy.com/browser/secure/

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      Review Date

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