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Taking Private Browsing to the Next Level with Brave and Tor

If you are a user of the Brave browser, you are probably aware that its developers announced the integration of Tor into a new private tab feature. The new functionality integrates Tor into the browser and gives users a new browsing mode that helps protect their privacy not only on device but over the network, Brave developers explained a while back.

Called “Private Tabs with Tor”, the new feature is designed to help protect Brave users from ISPs (Internet Service Providers), guest Wi-Fi providers, and visited sites that may be spying on their Internet connection or even tracking and harvesting IP addresses.

More about the Brave Browser

The very first thing to mention about Brave is that it is a free and open-source pay-to-surf web browser developed by Brave Software Inc., based on Chromium and its Blink engine. The browser was developed in 2016 by Brendan Eich, ex-CEO of Mozilla, and ever since it has been known as a privacy-centric browser popular among users.

The browser has also been recognized as a quality ad-blocker with excellent protection against Bitcoin mining scrips. It should be noted that the browser endured an extended period in beta, meanwhile being in a continuous development process. Nonetheless, Brave has been widely accepted as a privacy-savvy browser mainly because of its innovative approach to protecting user data, as is the case with the integration of Tor.

If you regularly use the private browsing mode in your browser, you have definitely noticed what it says. “Please note that your employer or Internet service provider can still track the pages you visit.” The good thing is that if you share a computer with another person, they won’t be able to track down your online whereabouts. In all other cases, private browsing doesn’t make what you’re doing online private. Your ISP will always know what you’ve been up to online, as well as anybody who has the authority to demand your browsing records from your ISP.

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In other words, the average private browsing mode hasn’t done much to avert ISPs, governments and cybercriminals from intercepting users’ traffic and getting hold of users’ online activities on the internet.

This approach somehow changed with the release of Brave v0.23 beta, which made sure that users’ data is safe from online threats. This was possible due to the adoption of the infamous DuckDuckGo search engine known for not tracking its users. Later on Brave’s developers added private tabs that didn’t save cookies and browsing histories.

Now, with the integration of Tor, the browser is getting better at staying private for its users.

The Tor Integration

Brave’s developers are quite sure that their latest rollout will help improve online privacy, with several minor drawbacks. It should be noted that using the Tor private tab could result in slower connections which may baffle some users. Another thing to be considered is that websites generally treat anonymous users in a different manner, and access to some of them may even be restricted.

Furthermore, the Tor integration is experimental and there have been leaks, even though such issues are expected to be patched before Brave’s first stable version. Users should also keep in mind that no privacy mode is entirely private or safe. Serious issues have been identified even in Tor. A couple of years ago researchers found out that Tor users can be fingerprinted. This means that Tor users can be de-anonymized whenever law enforcement entities decide. Fingerprinting is specifically threatening to the Tor user since data stored while he surfs the Web (through Tor) can be later compared to data taken from the user’s regular browser. In addition, operating user accounts in and out of Tor can reveal the user’s identity is also not considered safe.

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Nonetheless, the latest feature of Brave is still great news to all “privacy freaks” offering a new approach to online security. For one, this integration makes Brave more efficient at hiding IP addresses from ISPs. And it is also good for Tor – Brave will help sustain the Tor network by managing some of their relays.

If you’re willing to give it Brave browser a try, Brave v0.23 beta is now available for download.

Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum since the project started. A professional with 10+ years of experience in creating engaging content. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

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