Brave Browser is ‘by far the most private of browsers’ for web browser privacy, among a group of 6 browsers; Brave Browser, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge and Yandex browser (used by Russian speakers).
This is according to a study by, Douglas J Leith, and published by Trinity College Dublin, in February 2020.
Most studies of web browser privacy take into consideration such factors as, cross-site tracking and cookies, or ways to block trackers.
However, Leith’s study which is entitled, ‘Web Browser Privacy: What Do Browsers Say When They Phone Home?’, took a novel approach.
All browsers use the services of a backend or underlying foundation for such things as checking for updates and protecting users from phishing and malware.
This means that as you surf the web your browser is sharing data with these backend servers, for example, Apple will share data with Safari.
It is the risks to browser privacy, arising from this commutation of data to backend servers that the study looked at.
The study tries to answer the following questions;
- Does this data allow servers to track the IP address of a browser instance over time?
- Does the browser leak any details of the web pages visited?
To do this they used a set of tests that can be done for each of the browsers. Data was then gathered relating to the network connections the browsers produce during the tests.
For testing they used the following scenarios and analyzed the data shared;
- The first time you open a newly downloaded browser.
- A browser has been closed and then restarted.
- When you paste a URL into the top bar.
- If you write a URL into the top bar.
- When a browser is open but not in use.
After careful analysis of the data gathered, they were able to categorize the browsers into 3 apparent groups related to the amount of browser privacy they afford the user whilst surfing the web.
The first group was populated solely by Brave browser. The study found that, ‘used ,out of the box, with its default settings for Brave Shield is by far the most private of the browsers studied‘.
They could not find any instances of web pages that had been visited being relayed to backend servers. Nor could they find any tracking using identifiers.
The second group consisting of Chrome, Safari and Firefox were all guilty of intruding into your browsing privacy. Each of these relayed details of web pages visited back to backend servers.
Furthermore, they each ‘tag requests with identifiers that are linked to the browser instance’.
These setting can be fixed on each of the browsers manually, but let us be honest here, the vast majority of users are not tech-savvy enough to do this.
The last group was made up of Microsoft Edge and Yandex. According to the study, these were by far the most troubling in relation to browser privacy.
Both these browsers not only send details of web pages visited but also store these details in the device hardware. This means that they continue to track you, even after installing a new browser.
Moreover, ‘both transmit web page information to servers that appear unrelated to search autocomplete’.
It is plain to see from the findings of this study, that amongst the 6 browsers tested, Brave Browser is in a league of its own, when it comes to protecting your privacy whilst browsing.
There was no evidence of either information being sent to backend servers or the use of identifiers for tracking.
As for the other browsers tested in this study on browser privacy, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Yandex Browser, all are guilty of leaking your browsing details to backend servers and the use of identifiers for tracking.
To us at Minedhash, there is not a better browser than Brave Browser for browsing privacy, and this study further adds to host of reasons including rewards from Brave in the form of BAT that should entice you to download browser.
You can follow the link to read the complete study, ‘Web Browser Privacy: What Do Browsers Say When They Phone Home?’, Douglas J. Leith, and published by Trinity College Dublin.
Author James N;