British police is now allowed to hack into personal computers without a warrant. Be very careful not to piss off your local police officer because he/she may go fishing into your computer to try and find out if you have paid your taxes this year or if your cat vaccines are up to date.
In order to carry out mass surveillance of personal computers a huge amount of UK police officers will have to be given computing skills, this is highly unlikely to happen. It would not make any sense for the Government to spend millions of pounds training police officers in computers for the occassional use with the antiwar or animal rights protester.
Malicious computer hacker
Suspects of terrorism and other serious offences will be likely to have a highly skilled and experienced computer forensics officer on their case, the others will have Robbie the bobby.
In my oppinion your local copper will be trained in 15 minutes on how to use a trojan horse like eBlaster or Win-Spy. The police will send it to you by email, or you can be made to inadvertently download it through your internet browser visiting a campaign site or forum. Then Robbie the bobby can use his point and click mouse to spy on you like a cheap 007 James Bond agent, with no knowledge at all about networking, computer antiforensics tools, encryption, cracking or anything else that requires a brain.
You will need a good internet browser to protect your family privacy and stop Robbie the bobby from spying on you and your children. Besides the obvious advice of saving all your holiday snaps inside an encrypted container, you should also use a secure an updated internet browser that will not be exploited to plant a trojan horse in your computer.
Innocent computer user
Multiplatform Internet Browsers (Unix,Windows and MAC):
Based on Presto rendering engine:
- Opera Internet Browser(Unix,Windows and MAC)
Based on Mozilla Gecko rendering engine:
- Seamonkey Internet Browser(Unix,Windows and MAC)
- Firefox Internet Browser(Unix,Windows and MAC)
- Flock Internet Browser(Windows only)
- K-Meleon Internet Browser(Windows only)
Based on Webkit/KHTML rendering engine:
- Google Chrome Internet Browser(Windows only)
- Safari Internet Browser(Windows and MAC)
- Konqueror Internet Browser(Unix,Windows and MAC)
MAC only Internet Browsers:
Unix Only Internet Browsers :
IE Embedded Internet Browsers:
These are not really proper internet browsers but more like skins that embed in Internet Explorer. They are an improvement over Internet Explorer an add some extra features, but as they use the same base code and rendering engine as IE the security vulnerabilites will be corresponding and you get no major extra security gains.
Internet Explorer is probably the worst browser out there in functionality, security and privacy, but this is or should be a free World, if you want to risk unknow people knowing everything about you while you know nothing about them, then feel free to do so.
- Maxthor IE Embedded Internet Browser
- PhaseOut IE Embedded Internet Browser
- AvantBrowser IE Embedded Internet Browser
PhaseOut IE embedded browser skin
Internet browsers that run from a USB key or encrypted container:
This is the best way to avoid leaving any tracks on your computer, and a must have for those using the Library or an internet cafe for internet surfing.
If you do all your internet browsing from inside an encrypted hardrive or encrypted USB key then all the cache and history will be stored there too. But do not get too excited yet as huge amount of private data can still be recovered from the operating system.
The files you download and view may be stored on a temporaty folder by Windows Media Player, Microsoft Word, etc… The names of the files you view can also be stored in unsuspected places inside the OS, and all USB thumbdrives have a unique ID number that will be stored in the Windows registry as soon as you plug it in.
Thanks to this unique number it is possible to proof that the owner of that thumbdrive used it on that computer and it is also possible to find out the maker/brand of your thumbdrive without even having it.
- K-Meleon Portable Internet Browser
- OffByone Portable Internet Browser
- Arora Portable Internet Browser
- Firefox Portable Internet Browser
- Google Chrome Portable Internet Browser
- Opera Portable Internet Browser
Internet browsers highlights:
The Safari browser has a privacy mode that will do all your internet surfing in RAM and will not store anything on your hard disk provided you have enough amount of RAM available.
Konqueror internet browser support for Windows and MAC is in beta, which means it may work or may not. Konqueror origins are in Unix and KDE.
SeaMonkey, Flock and Opera internet browsers are an all in one internet application suite, they include embedded features like an IRC chat client, newsreader and notepad.
You should avoid embedded Internet Explorer internet browsers as they do not offer any major security advantadge over IE.
What internet browser is the best?
As individuals we all have different needs and wants, it is not possible to advise an absolute browser for everyone without knowing what they want from it and how they will use it.
With so many choices available I would simply avoid Internet Explorer like the plague due to its tracked record of security problems. On my next post I will tell you the internet browser I use myself and what features I like and do not like from it.