Chrome vs. Firefox: Which is the Safest Browser?

Chrome vs. Firefox: Which is the Safest Browser?

Everything we do is being tracked in some way, shape or form. While there are a few ways to navigate around the constant data collection, most of us focus on getting to our internet destination using the quickest method.

However, data breaches are the rule rather than the exception. Indeed, here are approximately 160,000 data breaches every hour. Such a fact signals that even individual private users who access the internet via popular browsers need to be mindful of their data security. This begs the question, which browsers are the safest to use? Since Google Chrome and Firefox are currently the most deployed browsers, they are the focus of the following comparison. So, between the two, which can be considered as the safest?

Chrome Safety Pros

If users stopped using Google Chrome, Google would still find a way to survive. However, the Google powers understand that if users are hit with data breaches, then they’re own ranking as a reliable search engine would likely decrease as well. Therefore, they’ve approached increased security in the following ways:

1.Website rankings will be affected if they have not transitioned to HTTPS.

2.For those sites that acquire credit card and password information, Chrome 56 will now label HTTP sites as non-secure.

3.Incognito mode is an option that provides

  • Deletion of cookies when the incognito window is closed
  • Website visits aren’t recorded your browsing history
  • Downloads aren’t recorded in your download history
  1. Built in Safe Browsing notifies users, including webmasters, regarding the danger of accessing sites that have been suspected of malware or phishing attempts. This feature is turned on by default. However, if you like to live dangerously, you’ll still be allowed to visit the site and Chrome will try to remove the unsafe content from the page. Additionally, you have the capability of turning the warnings off.
  1. Continual safety feature updates are issued through the Google Chrome Developers. This goes back to the underlying fact that Google makes its money from being a robust, reliable, and safe digital business. The emphasis here is: Google is a business that must make money to support its going concern. As such, its developers are perpetually improving pre-emptive security measures through data sharing between Chrome and Google servers. In turn, the developers use this information to expand the list of harmful sites while increasing the accuracy of the “dangerous URL” ledger.

Chrome Safety Cons

The hard reality is that Google has positioned itself as one of the largest digital hunter and gatherers on the planet. Knowing what you visit, for how long, and how frequently is a large chunk of Google’s cash flow. Browsing using the incognito mode does not prevent the sites (including Google and your ISP) that you visit from collecting data about your session. Arguably, there are ways around being tracked, but such methods are beyond the scope of this article.

Firefox Safety Pros

Firefox makes a bold claim: Most Trusted Internet Company for Privacy. Does it live up to that statement?

  1. Firefox also has a private browsing option embedded in its browser. As such, Firefox won’t record data regarding the sites or pages visited during the Private Browsing session while you’re using the Private Window. Username and passwords won’t be saved when you’re browsing privately.
  1. Firefox does have a Tracking Protection option. The basic protection prevents common tracking such as analytical trackers, social sharing trackers, and advertising trackers from collecting your browsing data. Firefox also provides a strict protection protocol that expands the blocking of the aforementioned trackers to all known content trackers. If needed, Tracking Protection can be turned off.

3.Built-in phishing and malware protection are also a Firefox feature. Much like Google Chrome, you’ll be warned if you come across a known Deceptive Site. Infected downloads will also trigger a warning.

  1. Website security checks are also included in the Firefox browser. In the upper left-hand corner of the browser, there is a padlock icon. Firefox warns that you should not send private information (e.g. bank data, Social Security Numbers, etc.) if you don’t see the padlock icon. Each color has a different meaning which Firefox explains in detail in its “How do I tell if my connection to a website is secure” section.
  1. As with Google Chrome, Firefox pushes regular browser updates that refresh their registries regarding malware or phishing sites. These security updates are automatic, but users can also check for updates manually.

Firefox Safety Cons

No one can guarantee 100% safety on something as widely diverse as the Internet. Some may be thinking, “what about blockchain?” And the answer is, nefarious human beings will always try to find devious ways of disrupting others lives. However, Firefox has done a robust job of implementing defensive measures against the most common attack methods.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the user to establish reliable security habits. Certain sites possess a greater probability of easy access for hackers. If you visit those sites, then you’re increasing your vulnerability to data breaches. Every time you send your credit card data over the Internet, it boosts the likelihood of that information being intercepted.

Both Google Chrome and Firefox have deployed strong mechanisms to help users transact safely. Whether one is better than the other largely depends on personal preference. There are browser add-ons and other “we won’t track you” browsers on the market from which to choose. The choice is in your hands.

This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.

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