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.

Comodo IceDragon

Yep, Comodo is definitely savvy on this one -- in order to appeal to the widest audience and include those who might not like Chrome as a browser, Comodo has also applied its security expertise to Firefox to produce IceDragon. It's good to see as the source code to Firefox is available just the same as Chromium, yet it's the only Firefox-based security spin we've seen here.

Firefox already has decent security and privacy features including blocking known malicious websites, but Comodo aims to improve on this by making small tweaks like removing Firefox's health reporting and again including its Comodo Secure DNS functionality, as well as a feature called Virtual Browsing that sandboxes IceDragon into its own environment -- which is about as secure as you can get to prevent any breaches into a local machine. However this does require the use of Comodo's Internet Security suite to be active on the same computer.

Do Not Track is again not enabled by default, and the drag and drop functionality for text sharing and searching is also included.

Still, kudos have to be given for not just compiling the default source with just a few options toggled. Just like Dragon, IceDragon has its own visual theme, and the integration of its own update system in addition to the tweaks to privacy and the extra functionality of Virtual Browsing and Secure DNS see it as a good alternative for lovers of Firefox who also don't mind trusting Comodo as a security brand.

The Firefox equivalent of Dragon sports a ‘virtual browser’ mode unique to this edition.
The Firefox equivalent of Dragon sports a ‘virtual browser’ mode unique to this edition.
Secure plugins

Beyond Disconnect , bundled with Aviator, and Privdog with Comodo Dragon, there are a few other plugins you can add to your current browser to improve security and privacy, or see just how much information your browser leaks when you do nothing more than read the morning news.

These include the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) developed Privacy Badger that prevents third-party trackers and ad networks from learning about you; Ghostery ( which mixes tracking blocking with a click-to-play option for sources like media let you selectively participate; Lightbeam (Firefox only) which impressively demonstrates all the links to tracking sites that visiting a webpage generates, and allows you to block them; and Web Of Trust which leverages crowdsourcing to verify the security of websites to help users avoid known malware, scam and phishing sites.

Secure search
Searching, as Google has shown us, is big business. And as a search engine rises and falls on the relevancy of its results, so too its business model is usually reliant on the accuracy of tracking and recording user-searches to more accurately target advertising and sponsored links.

The selection of search engines that, by one means or another, are more 'secure' with little or no tracking features is less diverse than our selection of browsers. Still, there are a few out there that put users first, some of which still use advertising to make revenue -- just doing so without user tracking.

Tags privacymalwareattacksweb browserscriminalsSnowden leaks

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