Mullvad Browser protects privacy with standard VPNs

The Tor Project, the organization behind the anonymous network and browser, is helping launch a privacy-focused browser designed to connect to a VPN rather than a decentralized onion network. It’s called Mullvad Browser, named after the company Mullvad VPN they partnered with on the project, and It is available for Windows, Mac or Linux.

Mullvad Browser’s main goal is to make it difficult for advertisers and other companies to track you online. It does this by working to reduce your browser’s “fingerprint,” a term that describes all the metadata that sites can collect to uniquely identify your device. your fingerprint It can consist of simple things, like the browser and operating system you’re using, to more invasive information, like fonts and extensions you’ve installed, and which input/output devices your browser has access to.

Considering all of these factors can make it easy to uniquely identify you based solely on your fingerprint, without the need for things like cookies or other tracking technologies. There are many tools that can show you the extent of your browser fingerprint, but I personally recommend them EFF’s Because it does a good job of explaining the results.

Mullvad Browser is very similar to any other FireFox fork, so you don’t have to learn an entirely new way to browse.
Image: Tor/Mullvad VPN Project

By default, Mullvad Browser makes it difficult for websites to fingerprint you by hiding that metadata. It also blocks third-party cookies and trackers, and comes with a few pre-installed plugins to reduce your fingerprint even further. (Other privacy-focused browsers like Brave They say they prevent fingerprinting but Comes with a lot of extensions They can be determined if a website is able to circumvent their protections.)

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It is possible to configure a browser such as FireFox, which Mullvad Browser (and Tor Browser) relies on, to have similar protection. However, doing so requires at least some level of technical expertise, as you must know which keys to flip and be confident that you have figured everything out.

The idea with Mullvad is to take care of all of that for you; You can just open it up and feel reasonably confident that you are not easily tracked. “Developing this browser with Mullvad is about providing people with more privacy options for everyday browsing and challenging the existing business model of exploiting people’s behavioral data,” said Isabella Fernandez, CEO of the Tor Project, quoted in a press release.

To be clear, these measures are less useful if you’re trying to hide from government tracking and law enforcement like the NSA, FBI, or parties working for other governments around the world. For anyone with enough resources, there are ways to track Internet activity that go beyond tracking pixels and third-party cookies.

However, most users do not feel the need for this type of protection, and the fact of the matter is that it is not convenient to have it. For all the privacy aspects, the standard Tor browser isn’t necessarily the most user-friendly, the biggest downside being that it’s often as slow as molasses, and sites built for normal web traffic won’t always do well with it. This is how it functions to keep you safe – by encrypting your traffic and bouncing it around the world – but that can be quite overkill if all you’re trying to do is avoid scary ads.

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According to Pavel Zunev, spokesperson for The Tor Project, Mullvad Browser is very similar to Tor Browser, only it connects to the Internet through a VPN instead of the Tor network. (It doesn’t have to be Mullvad’s VPN; if you’re using another service you trust, or if you’ve made your own, you can use that.) Nor does Mullvad Browser provide the Tor Browser’s circular navigation user experience, access to onion sites or services, or “circle isolation and integration with the new identity.” But again, if you don’t know what those things are, it probably shouldn’t be much of a concern.

Mullvad Browser will probably still have some usability quirks that you won’t find in Chrome or any other browser. Some websites get cranky about some privacy settings and won’t work properly, and if you use the cookie cleaning feature constantly, you may end up logging into the services more often. But if you’re willing to make those trade-offs for the chance to be more private on the web, this might be a good place to start — though it’s worth keeping in mind that to hide in a crowd, you have to He is crowd. If you’re the only person using Mullvad Browser, it can be very easy to get your fingerprints taken; Fewer fingerprints can still be identified if anyone else has them.

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