Web Browers

You're using one right now!!

My customers often ask the question “What is a web browser?” In short, it’s the piece of software installed on a computer which you use to surf the internet. The most popular web browsers on Windows computers are Microsoft Edge (Windows 10 only), Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera. On an Apple Mac, iPad or iPhone you’d be using Safari.

So, the next question I am asked is “which one is the best to use?” On the surface there’s not a lot between the four Windows PC ones – they all have a Favourites system in which you can keep a list of the places you want to revisit (Firefox and Chrome call them Bookmarks). They also all have tabs which allow you to have multiple web pages open at the same time and, of course, they all claim to be the fastest!

For me, the most important thing is to have an adblocker installed within the web browser. These little programs, such as Adblock, Adblock Plus and Adguard, are the first line of defence on any device connected to the internet. I don’t block ads because I have something against normal adverts, I do it because of MALVERTISING (MALicious adVERTISING). Malvertising is currently one of the biggest threats to your computer. For the most part, we all know not to open dodgy emails or tell the person who falsely claims they are calling from Windows Technical Support to go away (I obviously need to be polite as I am writing this for public viewing…). However, when you are reading a genuine news article and an advert that you haven’t even clicked on can infect your computer, then something about the way advertisers create adverts to generate revenue needs to change.

All the aforementioned browsers can install adblockers (you need to go to the Microsoft Store to install them into Microsoft Edge). However, another option is to download a different kind of web browser. This week I downloaded and have been trialling Brave Browser. Not only does it block adverts, it also has more features that enable secure content than any other browser I’ve seen. For example, it blocks the tracking features that remember you viewed a certain item on one website last week, and then pulls up an ad for that same item on a website you are viewing today. Not only does this make it harder for advertisers to build an anonymous profile of you, it also greatly speeds up page loading times.

Brave also has plugins for useful apps such as password management tools (Dashlane, LastPass and Bitwarden).

browser images

Philip Brooks