Pagoda Blog

Which is the Most Secure Browser?

May 2, 2019

Most of us don’t think twice about which website browser we use to navigate the internet. We use the default that comes with our computer or we opt for the browser we’ve always used. (And who knows how we chose that one in the first place.) When it comes to security and privacy, however, not all browsers are made equal. Below, we review the security and usability of four major browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.    


Google Chrome

Chrome is the most versatile and user friendly of all the web browsers. In fact, most internet users choose Chrome as their default browser because of its simplicity but also its many capabilities beyond searching the internet. It has also been named “most secure browser” by the Pwn2Own hacking event. At the event, ethical hackers are charged with attacking vulnerabilities in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, and Chrome was the only one to withstand the attack. Chrome tackles vulnerabilities from several fronts, but there are three primary security features that stand out from the rest for the general user.    


First, it’s Safe Browsing technology warns users before they visit potentially harmful websites that contain malware or phishing scams. Other browsers also offer this technology, but Google’s database of web pages is larger and updated more frequently than other browsers, making their security system the most robust. Second, it uses ‘sandboxing’ to ensure all processes operate separately from one another. This means that each time you open a new web page, Chrome launches a new process. This actually helps block pages from installing malware or capturing personal information or data from your hard drive. Third, the browser has auto-updates meaning that when Chrome detects a new security update, it automatically installs it without interrupting your workflow.   


Mozilla Firefox

Unlike Chrome, Firefox is an open source browser and was the first browser to make its code openly available to the public. This means that when a Firefox user (with coding skills) would like to improve an existing feature or add a new one in the browser, he or she has the ability to write the code and offer that new feature to the public. This allows Firefox to adapt and improve more quickly than non-open source browsers.


In terms of security and usability, Firefox is generally rated as a close second to Chrome. The primary benefit of Firefox over Chrome is that it’s a non-profit organization that doesn’t use data tracked through your browser history to run targeted ads. The organization prides itself on its commitment to user privacy and security and is refreshingly transparent about how they collect and use your data. Another perk, is that older web apps typically run better on Firefox than Chrome.  



Safari is only available on Mac OS X, macOS and iOS platforms and is less secure than both Firefox and Chrome. It does offer “Intelligent Tracking prevention” to prevent websites from tracking your online activity and to identify potentially harmful sites. Safari also uses sandboxing to protect from malware. The primary benefit of Safari is that it’s optimized for Macs. This means that while users say it’s not quite as fast as Chrome, it will save your battery life and integrate seamlessly with Apple extensions.



Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge has all but replaced Internet Explorer, offering strengthened security, faster performance, and compatibility with modern apps and websites. While Internet Explorer is still technically available, Microsoft is urging all users to make the switch to Edge. At the aforementioned Pwn2Own hacking event, Edge was rated least secure of all tested browsers, despite Microsoft’s attempts to fix the vulnerabilities that plagued the now retired Internet Explorer. The browser is relatively new, however, so it could still improve over the next year as Microsoft has more time to test and fix security and performance issues.


Alternative web browsers  

If you’re not satisfied with the level of security and privacy offered by the above mainstream browsers, there are several alternative web browsers that specialize in protecting your information. The following three are some of the most popular options.


Tor Browser

Tor, a version of Firefox, makes it nearly impossible for websites, internet service providers, or criminal parties, to identify you based on your online activity. It does this by routing your traffic through multiple anonymous servers. This level of protection is not usually required by the general user and significantly slows page load times. Journalists and activists in countries with repressive governments and those looking to conduct business on the dark web, however, choose Tor for its ability to mask their identities and maintain their anonymity.   



Opera offers a free Virtual Private Network or VPN that protects users’ data by encrypting your internet connection. It also has fraud and malware protection as well as an ad-blocker that leads to faster page-load times, making it a valid contender for the everyday internet user.



DuckDuckGo started as a private search engine and now offers a web browser extension available with Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. With the extension you can search online without being tracked by advertisers and none of your browsing history or personal information is stored. Its quick-view privacy grading system also lets you see how well any website you visit protects your privacy.  


Which browser will you choose?  

Even though Google Chrome is currently the obvious mainstream choice in terms of security, website browsers are constantly evolving to accommodate user feedback and improve security weaknesses. Go ahead and explore other browsers and find the one that best meets your needs while still offering robust security features. The great thing about browsers, is that you can easily give each one a try temporarily (if it’s compatible with your operating system) without giving up your default browser. The only major browser that we strongly encourage you to avoid is Internet Explorer because Microsoft is no longer providing it with security updates.


Related posts:


Why You Should No Longer Use Internet Explorer as Your Default Browser

Is it Safe to Store Your Passwords in Chrome or Other Browsers?

Your Web Browser and ISP Know You Better Than You Think  


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