Secure web services

If there's one thing the Snowden leaks have shown us, it's that security and privacy are largely an illusion.

WhiteHat’s Aviator combines excellent features with the popular Disconnect plugin.

WhiteHat’s Aviator combines excellent features with the popular Disconnect plugin.

WhiteHat Aviator

A relatively new browser and the new poster boy for security and privacy, WhiteHat Aviator is a derivative of Chromium that comes with a range of default security-focused presets, as well as some interesting changes and additions. For a start, settings like Do Not Track are enabled and navigation prediction disabled (as is any form of feedback to Google), while ads are automatically blocked and media files don't automatically play -- cutting off two popular avenues for malware infection.

Additionally, you need to activate any Flash elements on a page manually, which not only helps in avoiding annoying Flash, but also speeds page loading.

Tracking software used by marketing engines like Google Analytics and DoubleClick are also automatically blocked, as are HTTP referrers (which can potentially contain private information), with WhiteHat's position being to not allow the user to be tracked at all.

It also automatically prevents access to any local non-routable IP addresses, such as those belonging to local computers, tablets or printers, so even in the event a user's browser is compromised it can't be used to hop to another device.

To help safeguard search queries, the default search engine is DuckDuckGo, which does its best to remove any personally identifiable information while leveraging the power of multiple search engines (see Secure Search, below).

Not everything in Aviator may be to an admins liking, however, with the privacy features extending to not storing browsing history, cookies, or even the tabs that were open so you can't 'restore last session'. By the same token, it also won't keep users signed into websites between sessions.

Finally, Aviator bundles in the popular Disconnect plugin automatically, which helps the user see just how websites are tracking them and what type of information is being divulged by their browser. This includes analytics, advertising, social and third-party content requests, and allows users to block these sources from tracking them. Disconnect is an excellent plugin, and easily one of Aviator's best features though, as a Chrome plugin, this can be installed on any Chrome-based browser.

Being built on Chromium it otherwise has all the features and speed of Chrome, making it an excellent alternative to the same. If there's one complaint that's been levied against Aviator it's that, unlike Chromium upon which it is based, Aviator itself isn't open-sourced, and one of the staples in the security sphere is that open-source allows anyone to see just what a program is doing. While it's unlikely, the fact Aviator does so much for security and privacy doesn't preclude the fact its authors may be doing their own tracking and harvesting of information, for without the source there's no way to know this for sure.

Aviator is available for Windows and MacOS X.

WhiteHat’s Aviator combines excellent features with the popular Disconnect plugin.
WhiteHat’s Aviator combines excellent features with the popular Disconnect plugin.

Tags privacymalwareattacksweb browserscriminalsSnowden leaks

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