The Mullvad Browser is Neat

in #privacy8 months ago


Mullvad Browser

The other day I saw a post from the Tor Project about them collaborating with Mullvad on a browser project. It’s pretty much the Tor Browser without Tor, i.e. a fork of Firefox with the anti-finger printing and hardening features included.

Tor is obviously great for anonymizing your traffic, but in a lot of general day to day usage it’s not exactly the tool for the job. Generally speaking, unless you sign into a service or there’s a criminal investigation out somebody’s not going to be getting your identity from an IP address; so running the Mullvad browser in this case would be just as effective if you’re looking to get some privacy and a better experience when reading the news or other day to day web browsing.

The benefits that come with it pretty much boils down to into three different things:

  • First, it’s Firefox without the Mozilla. No telemetry, no pocket, auto cookie clearing set from the start, and no Google default. Just like projects like LibreWolf it takes the good and leaves out the bad.

  • Next, and what really sets it apart for privacy, is fingerprint protection done in two ways. First, if a large group of people are using the same browser with the same plugins and similar settings it gets a lot harder to fingerprint individual users. Further, it takes the anti-fingerprinting tools built into the Tor Browser (e.g. hiding screen resolution) which, as far as I know, makes it harder to finger print then just about any other browser regardless of how you configure it.

  • Last, it also takes on the Tor Browser’s hardening tools. You can easily set it up to block scripts and such on some or all websites, in addition to blocking ads and trackers, with the security slider like the Tor Browser. Not only is that a boost to privacy and security, but if you’ve never read the news without ads and JavaScript blocked you’re seriously missing out.

There are a few minor things to note that might be slight drawbacks. The project is new and might not be fully polished up (thought it seemed to work fine for me in my minor testing of it). Both the Linux and Windows verions seem to be portable applications masquerading as a regular programs, but again it’s new and in testing still.

Also, though really nit picky, is it’s pretty Mullvad themed. For example, when you check connection there’s a big not connected to Mullvad label if you’re not connected. It does feel a little cheesy, especially being not fully made by Mullvad and being a general tool not specific to their software; but nevertheless it works exactly the same without Mullvad VPN (both with other VPNs and no VPN at all). I guess though if they put a lot of effort into a project like this I can’t fault them too much for the branding.

Anyway, it’s a cool project I’ll continue to toy around with, and very well might end up using as my primary browser at some point. If you’re reading this and it sounds interesting then it’s definitely worth checking out.


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