- Users can connect through a VPN to encrypt network traffic between them and their internet service provider to protect their privacy.
- Tracking is still possible through cookies, scripts, and something called “fingerprinting,” so using a VPN or Tor is not sufficient to stop all surveillance.
The nonprofit Tor Project Inc., which created the anonymity-preserving Tor Browser, joined forces with business virtual private network provider Mullvad VPN AB to introduce the private Mullvad Browser.
According to a recent announcement, the Tor team created a new browser based on the Tor browser to reduce user tracking and fingerprint right out of the box.
Users can connect through a VPN to encrypt network traffic between them and their internet service provider to protect their privacy. The fact that services only see the VPN’s exit address enables them to conceal their IP address from those services when they connect.
The Tor Project also created the Tor Network, which uses relays to encrypt internet traffic as an additional choice. Users can join the network using the Tor Browser, which routes their traffic through several servers before it exits, hiding their origin from prying eyes.
Tracking is still possible through cookies, scripts, and something called “fingerprinting,” so using a VPN or Tor is insufficient to stop all surveillance. The device the user’s browser is running on, the window’s shape, and the installed fonts can all be used to create a user’s fingerprint.
Mullvad VPN Chief Executive Jan Jonsson said, “The mass surveillance of today is absurd — both from commercial actors like big tech companies and from governments. We want to free the internet from mass surveillance, and a VPN alone is not enough to achieve privacy.”
Because some users might want to obtain the best privacy experience possible without connecting through the Tor Network and using a VPN in its place, Mullvad looked to Tor to create a privacy-focused browser. As a result, the Mullvad Browser can be compared to the Tor Browser in that it offers privacy protections without using Tor.
Jonsson said, “From our perspective, there has been a gap in the market for those who want to run a privacy-focused browser as good as the Tor Project’s but with a VPN instead of the Tor Network.”
Mullvad’s service and any VPN can be used with the browser. However, a reliable VPN service is strongly advised if a user wants to achieve the highest level of privacy.
The Tor team helped Mullvad create a browser with the best anti-fingerprinting suppression possible by including fingerprints that make all its browsers resemble one another. The group refers to it as a “hide-in-the-crowd” strategy. In essence, the browser works to make every user’s configurations and data that could be exposed to scripts and other monitoring tools appear as generic as possible, making it challenging to identify individual users.
The Mullvad browser also comes pre-configured with a private mode, blocks all third-party tracking cookies, and makes it simple to delete cookies when browsing websites. Additionally, the browser respects its users’ privacy by not collecting any information.
Isabela Fernandes, Executive Director of the Tor Project, “Developing this browser with Mullvad is about providing people with more privacy options for everyday browsing and to challenge the current business model of exploiting people’s behavioral data. It demonstrates that you can develop free technology with mass-appeal and privacy in mind.”
Other browsers prioritize privacy, such as the Brave browser, which advertised at launch that it had built-in ad blocking and other cutting-edge privacy protection features. Additionally, it blocks cross-site cookies and trackers and makes fingerprinting challenging.
Users are more concerned with their privacy than ever because almost every website tracks visitors, and advertisements are getting more invasive and invasive. Internet users frequently download more privacy plugins and extensions, which raises the possibility that they may unintentionally expose themselves to security risks.
Users have privacy turned on by default with the new Mullvad browser because it is a crucial feature. It is open source, cost-free, and compatible with many operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Now it can be downloaded from Mullvad’s website.
Fernandes stated, “When we collaborate, we want to drive change and raise people’s awareness that digital rights are human rights. We hope to inspire others to consider privacy a ‘feature’ at the core of tech innovation, a building block designed to enhance user experience.”