Tech

5 Free Tools to Check If Your Browser Is Safe and Private


Your browser is your first line of defense against malicious software, privacy-invading trackers, annoying ads, and many other cyber threats.


But how can you know for sure whether your browser is protecting you? Here are five free tools you can use to test its security.


Screenshot of Privacy Analyzer's logo

Privacy Analyzer conducts various different tests to help you gauge the safety of your browser. To launch it, press the START TEST button. In a few seconds, you will get five detailed reports explaining what the website you visit know about you.

Privacy Analyzer reveals if the pages you frequent gather information about your operating system, screen resolution, and even battery levels if you’re on mobile or using a laptop.

The tool also tests whether your browser has autofill enabled, shows if it reveals information about the accounts you’re logged into, test its capabilities and settings, and engages in fingerprint analysis.

Qualys logo seen on white background

Qualys is a household name in the cloud security space, having been around for more than two decades. Its browser checker is free and easy to use, but offers great insight into how secure your software is.

Qualys BrowserCheck scans a browser for any potential vulnerabilities and other security issues, and notifies the user if they need to remove a plugin, install an update, and so on.

For a more thorough analysis, you can install the BrowserCheck plugin, which is also free. Plus, it conducts automated scans from time to time, which can certainly help detect any anomalies should they appear.

Cover Your Tracks logo seen on green background

Created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit advocacy group, Cover Your Tracks is a highly capable tool that tests if your browser is protecting you from tracking.

To begin the analysis, press the TEST YOUR BROWSER button and enable the Test with a real tracking company function. In less than a minute, the tool will reveal if your browser is blocking tracking advertisements, invisible tracking, and fingerprinting.

After running the tests, Cover Your Tracks displays a table and a detailed report explaining how and why you are being tracked by advertisers and data brokers. Also, it displays a short guide on how to read and interpret the report.

A screenshot of AmIUnique's logo seen on yellow background

As the name suggests, AmIUnique determines if your browser is leaving a unique fingerprint online and so making it easier for advertisers to target you. It is more detailed (and more technical) than Cover Your Tracks.

The tool also analyzes any extensions and plugins you have installed, and checks if they are in any way interfering with your browser’s security or violating your privacy.

Much like Qualys BrowserCheck, AmIUnique has its own browser extension. It lets the user view their fingerprint history, and make adjustments based on that. The timeline feature is particularly useful because it allows you to check how and if your fingerprint has changed over time.

Cloudflare logo seen on orange background

Cloudflare’s Browsing Experience Security Check is probably the most unique tool of the bunch, because it revolves around testing Domain Name System (DNS) queries.

After you press the orange Check My Browser button, Cloudflare’s tool will check if you are using a DNS resolver, analyze if you can be attacked via your browser, check if threat actors can see the certificates of websites your browser connects to, and so on.

For more detailed explanations, you can click the Learn more button (located below each result), and find out if there are any steps you can take to boost your security and privacy.

What to Do If Your Browser Fails These Tests

If your browser passes the tests above, it is about as secure as such software can be. However, if it fails some or most of them, you should replace it with a secure alternative. Here are three safe and private browsers to consider if the one you’re currently using is not up to these standards.

1. Brave

Brave browser logo seen on black background

Brave was released in 2019, but it has already established itself as a secure alternative to Chrome and other mainstream browsers, mostly because it does everything on its own.

Brave automatically blocks advertisements and trackers, obscures your online fingerprint, changes all websites to HTTPS, blocks scripts, and has built-in access to the Tor network.

Brave is based on Chromium, which means you can install pretty much any extension that is available in the Chrome web store. Plus, it is very fast and intuitive, so you don’t have to compromise on performance to boost your security.

2. Firefox

Firefox logo seen on grey background

Firefox was launched over 20 years ago, but it remains one of the most popular web browsers among tech enthusiasts, primarily because of its security and privacy features.

Firefox is fast, open-sourced, receives regular security updates, has a store chock-full of useful extensions and add-ons, and can be synced across different devices.

Unlike many other browsers, Firefox is highly-customizable. This can make a real difference when it comes to security and privacy, because it is possible to manage tracking and cookies permissions, disable or enable certain updates, control downloads, and so on.

3. The Tor Browser

Tor browser logo seen on purple background

Tor (The Onion Router) is an open-source technology that allows users to browse the internet privately by directing traffic through an overlay network.

The best way to connect to this network is through the Tor browser, which is arguably the safest and most private browser today, because it was built to hide pretty much all information that could be used to identify you online.

This comes with a price, at least in terms of performance: Tor is much slower than other browsers. However, it is still an essential privacy tool that you should have installed on your devices.

Enhance Your Browser’s Security to Protect Yourself

Brave, Firefox, and Tor may be safer than other browsers, yet none of them are perfect. The good news is, you can strengthen almost any browser’s security by tweaking settings, installing privacy-focused extensions, and updating it regularly.

But no matter how safe a browser is, you are in danger if you don’t follow basic security protocols. This includes having reliable anti-malware software installed, staying away from dodgy websites, using strong passwords, and checking every suspicious link before you follow it.

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