Things about Web browsers:
- They leak private data easily. All of those tracking cookies, WebGL caches, local storage, Flash cookies, etc., leave a digital trail that is widely exploited by ad-tech companies (at best).
- I’m often checking sites that may be risky. For high risk, I would use a VM browser, but for lower-risk sites I want a browser that clears all the cached data.
- Vendor tracking is problematic. Vendor tracking from email and click-throughs has reached epidemic proportions and often results in a “virtual badge scan” where sites grab private data to feed a sales lead.
- Media tracking. Most technology media sites have large numbers of security risks around data gathering and user identification. If you must look at big media sites, you might want to reduce your exposure.
For these reasons I use the Brave Web browser with a simple configuration that purges the local cache every time. When I’m looking at something dodgy or risky, I’ll use the Brave browser to isolate myself so that data loss is minimized.
I also use this when testing connections through an application firewall and/or proxies. It’s quite useful to have a blank browser because the retained state of cookies can cause problems when debugging.
You can download the Brave browser for free.
Configuring Brave Browser For Safe/Private Use
Go to Preferences and set the home page to about:blank and use this as your home page. Otherwise, Brave has the annoying habit of downloading someone else’s photographs every time you start and clutters up the page with random junk. This makes it really slow to load.
Go to the Configure Security section to delete all the browsing data every time you close Brave. Any tracking cookies, logins, browsing history, etc., should be deleted. Your logins will not be saved.
Ad-blocker: Your choice on how you go here. This is how I have configured it.
If you want to use multiple browser apps at the same time, I can highly recommend Choosy for OS X which I have reviewed here