The following Brave Browser features, backed by several independent research findings positions it as the undisputed most private and secure browser yet.
The sole reason why people build fences around their homes, line the top of it with electrified barb wires, and mount the entrance with a giant metallic gate is for security.
If not to entirely ward off thieves and other bad actors, to at least deter them from breaking in to steal valuables or monitor our lives.
However, most people fail to see the need to protect their dwelling as well in the digital space. We walk into the den of thieves unarmed, outmanned, and vulnerable. In our vulnerability, we walk through the perilous streets of the internet with digital crude oil – Our data.
This ignorance and vulnerability have been preyed upon by many actors on the internet who have made a fortune off of us; and by “actors”, I don’t refer to hackers alone – even some of our trusted browsers.
However, Brave Browser positions itself to make sure this unpermitted data drilling comes to an end.
What is Brave Browser?
So how does Brave achieve privacy, anonymity, and security?
Before stating and elaborating on the Brave Browser privacy and security features, it is IMPORTANT to note that security breaches happen for two primary reasons; to steal our data and to install malware (which might be to steal data as well or damage it).
Brave Browser Privacy and Security Features
1. BRAVE SHIELD
a. Ads Blocking
Brave Browser has zero-tolerance for intrusive adverts. These adverts do not only dampen our surfing experience, but they are also usually targeted based on data gathered from our online behaviors.
Websites either track us or earlier browsers, in their traditional business model sell us out to advertising companies.
However, Brave Browser does not block ads integrated into search results. It is important to note too that Brave Browser introduces a new advertisement model, that is more permissioned and rewarding.
b. HTTPS Everywhere.
There are websites that are not secured with the HTTPS Protocol. For such websites, the communication between the website and the users’ machine is quite vulnerable.
Not only can bad actors or intruders listen in, but they can also doctor whatever is communicated.
As a matter of fact, visiting several sites with such vulnerability poses privacy, security, and even financial risks to users.
Where other browsers would communicate with a website as it is, Brave, again, shields communication by upgrading connections across all websites to the HTTPS Protocol wherever possible, regardless of whether the website has SSL secured or not.
Thus effectively protecting you everywhere you go online.
c. Fingerprinting Prevention
Establishing a secured connection between a website and a user’s browser is not sufficient to keep the user’s online activities totally private and secure.
Advertisement and marketing platforms constantly and earnestly scout for data to understand users’ behavior so as to get the right Ads. to the right people, of course, “intrusively”.
Fingerprinting serves for this purpose. Websites use this method to collect information about your device and browser, from which it creates a unique ID about the device, hence you, and then track your every online move.
Again, Brave shield positions itself to prevent this from taking place. It blinds online trackers by withholding users’ data from them.
The best part about the shield is, it can be modified per-site basis and on a global basis too. Though some of its defense mechanisms – such as the one against scripting – could make some websites load improperly.
Accessing the shield can be done easily by tapping on the brave icon beside the address bar, top-right of the browser’s Interface.
2. BRAVE DATA MANAGEMENT
Brave believes “YOU are not a product” and it explicitly claims that “They are not in the business of selling (your) data”.
There are some features that back these claims and reveals that to a large extent, brave manages data with serious considerations for users’ privacy.
a. Local Storage of Browsing Cache
Brave stores all bits of information that would make loading pages faster within the device.
Cookies that are not from the site a user visits are automatically knocked off. Its servers never see your browsing data, and with ease, this can be cleared from the device if you wish.
Brave operates a more permissioned Ads business model, that allows users to voluntarily view ads or turn them off entirely if that’s what they want.
If you opt to view ads you receive a share of the advertising revenue and have the ads as push notifications in the notifications tray, in a non-intrusive or compulsive manner.
You might ask, What data does it use to judge what Ads notifications to serve each unique user?
It uses users’ data, but this time it brings the Ads from its server to the user. Not the reverse.
The entire Ad catalog is downloaded to the user’s device from which it interacts with the user’s data.
Brave also utilizes the built-in password manager to maintain the local storage of users’ passwords form auto-fill.
It also uses “Do Not Track” browsing requests all in a quest to keep your data secure by keeping it private.
A downside to this, maybe that you could potentially lose all your saved passwords and personal data should your device experience a crash or accidentally erase the information.
b. Search Engine Options.
Brave allows you to choose & use multiple search engines including the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo your standard, default search engine.
Keeping you from Google and its trackers as much as it can. Besides data security, search engines like DuckDuckGo which doesn’t feed users their expectations. This could help build mental security too, as it reduces confirmation biases.
3. BRAVE INCOGNITO FEATURE
Most people browse with the regular incognito mode in the browsers thinking they are “invisible”.
Little do they know that all this does in regular browsers is to keep open tabs in that mode from browsing history or being saved locally.
However, the user’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the Website knows with clarity what you do. Even when you go “incognito”.
Brave introduces the Private Window with TOR (the onion router) to give you the level of privacy you wouldn’t get with other browsers.
With the Brave Private Window, your browsing history and activities are hidden from your internet service provider (ISP) or employer.
More so, your IP address is hidden from the websites you visit.
Brave advises that mobile users can combine Orbot with its incognito mode to get a true anonymous browsing experience.
PS: Browsing experience is relatively slower due to using Tor or Orbot as is usually with all “VPN” services.
4. BRAVE ENGINE
The fundamental technology or software which the brave browser uses is essentially the same as Chrome.
If Brave and Chrome where physical metallic plates, they would be alloys forged from the same Core element.
Brave was built from the same free open-source code as Chrome —Chromium.
Authored by Google, the software is currently being developed upon by several companies including Microsoft, Igalia, Yandex, etc.
Several browsers are compiled from this code, and being open-source software, developers are free to look into the code and use it to build whatever they like.
There are speculations that Google still tracks data from all Chromium-based browsers but that remains “just speculations”.
5. BRAVE EXTENSIONS
Research shows that most malware crawl into users’ devices from third-party extensions.
Ideally, for more security, a web browser should not rely on third-party plugins or extensions.
However, this would limit its versatility.
Brave uses most of Chrome’s extensions which have been properly vetted by brave’s developers.
This is to ensure that no trackers are imported into the browser via extensions.
Thus giving you, the user, the versatility provided by extensions while maintaining the privacy and security of Brave.
Final Thought on Brave Browser Features
Many may say that anonymity is not privacy and privacy is not security.
Well, those arguments are partially correct.
But to put it into a proper perspective; in an absolute private economy, where no one knew the worth of another or their financial activities, thieves wouldn’t know who to attack. Hence, privacy could be security.
Finally, privacy and anonymity may not be Security but on the internet, the combination of those defense mechanisms could discourage data theft.
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Considering all these features of the Brave browser, Do you think it’s as secure as it claims to be? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.