If you are on the Internet, then you leave a digital footprint no matter what you do. That does not seem to be a problem if those footprints are not tracked for monetary gains. Unfortunately, that is not the case now but the fact is that you are being tracked every moment you spend online. You may not know but all your online activities, including browsing, playing games, streaming movies, chatting, social media, etc and are being tracked. This helps to understand your choices and interests and then display advertisements accordingly. It was never a coincidence that you wanted to buy a TV and all of a sudden TV ads started appearing on YouTube, random websites, and other apps that allow ads. This guide will guide you to choose the best anti-tracking software which will not stop displaying ads but make sure they are not customized ac to your searches.
The Beyond the Front Page Study conducted in 2020 reported that 55 cookie files load on an average when you visit a website and 78 cookies approx load up when you visit more pages on the same website. Some websites allow you to access the content only when you allow them to store cookies on your computer which collect your information and share it with these websites. There is an ongoing global debate on this tracking business and Apple is one of the first to introduce App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14.5 that allows users to decide if they wish to be tracked by the apps in their phone. Facebook has always been against this feature as it feels that many advertisers and marketing agencies (including itself) would lose the chance to attract people by showing them products of their interest. Until the battle rages to decide if tracking users is justified or not, let us check out the best anti-tracking software that will help us to keep our data, browsing history, and online activities safe and secure. The anti-tracking software includes :
- Browser Extensions
- Secure Browsers
- Desktop Applications
Best Anti-Tracking Software/Plugins/Apps You Must Use (2023 Edition)
Browsers are the programs that help you to surf the internet and it is most appropriate that we stop the tracking activities from the root itself. Thus, a browser extension that can be considered as an add-on or plug-in is the best solution to prevent trackers from collecting any info about you. Browser extensions are generally free of cost, easy on CPU resources, and compatible with most popular browsers. Ad-Blocking extensions are the most popular extensions used to prevent advertisements from loading on the pages you visit.
Best Browser Extensions to Prevent Tracking (2023 Picks)
Check out the topmost recommended browser plugins/add-ons you must try using in 2023.
The basic version of Disconnect is free anti-tracking software that can be used on all popular browsers namely Opera, Samsung Browser, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. As advertisements on websites contain trackers, this extension blocks all ads and trackers which results in a website to load faster by 27% and hence consume less data by 17%. It also displays the actual numbers at the bottom of the window and also displays requests that are blocked from Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
It also includes a Whitelist button that allows users to manually manage websites that can collect data if required.
- Supports blocking 2,000+ websites.
- Known for improving page loading time up to 27%.
- Support for Whitelisting & Blacklisting sites are supported.
- Visually attractive dashboard that shows the time, bandwidth & other details.
- Limited compatibility.
The next extension on the list of free anti-tracking software is Ghostery which is available for Firefox, Opera, Edge, Cliqz, and Google Chrome. It allows users to customize the settings and has an easy-to-use and intuitive interface. It also displays status at the bottom and is not identified by many websites that have started using counter anti-tracking measures.
- Equipped with award-winning AI anti-tracking technology.
- Stay informed about what companies are tracking you.
- Open-source anti-tracking extension for popular browsers.
- Declutter webpages and speed up page loads.
- Some sites require you to pause Ghostery.
When speaking about the best anti-tracking software, one cannot miss AdGuard which boasts of having a large number of filters that consist of over 5000 rules. These rules ensure that no data or information can be collected by trackers without the user’s permission. This particular extension performs the massive task of blocking web trackers, ads, and all other tools that are implied to collect data. It also displays separate numbers of trackers blocked per website but does not list what exactly it has blocked. This extension also features hiding your search queries and your IP address when using a Virtual Private Network.
- Make your web surfing faster, safer, and more comfortable.
- The anti-tracker software hides your data from a multitude of trackers.
- Excellent parental control features are supported.
- Good user-dashboard.
- Poor customer support.
4. Privacy Badger
Moving forward on the list of free anti-tracking software we have Privacy Badger which can be used on Microsoft Edge, Opera, Firefox, and Google Chrome. This extension was developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation which is a non-profit organization that focuses on Civil Rights in the digital era. It uses powerful algorithms to block cookies, local super cookies, and fingerprinting methods used by different domains.
Privacy Badger empowers users to allow or deny domains, block cookies and customize the filtering process. The list of blocked web trackers with names, numbers, and sources is well displayed. Users can also import their settings from another browser and sync them on the device they are currently using.
- Easy-to-use and configurable.
- Securely block invisible trackers.
- The extension doesn’t block ads unless they happen to be tracking you.
- Blocks a wide selection of annoying ads on YouTube, Facebook & more.
- Uses a significant amount of RAM.
5. uBlock Origin
- Free and open-source anti-tracking app.
- Stays easy on a CPU and memory.
- Highly customizable & powerful anti-tracking extension.
- Support for Dark Mode has recently been added.
- Can cut off your access to other video-based sites such as YouTube & more.
Best Anti Tracking Software – Secure browsers
Secure Browsers do not need extensions but are well designed to block trackers as a default option and also provide VPN to mask your IP address. Browser extensions do help to prevent tracking to a certain extent but if you are looking for more privacy and can change your browser altogether, then here are three anti-tracking browsers for you.
The first one on the list of best anti-tracking software is Cliqz Browser which is quite similar to the Firefox browser as it has been built on the same platform. It can be used on both Windows and Mac operating systems. The anti-tracking feature is very advanced as it blocks all suspicious data communication in cases where the user has mistakenly accepted and allowed cookies while surfing. There is an option of a Strict box which when selected prevents all ads from popping up.
The address bar of this browser also provides a Cliqz search engine which can be used in place of Google and Bing. The results of this search engine are appropriate and the browser also allows users to use any search engine of their choice.
- Its safety architecture gives you back your anonymity.
- Get all the important information even before you visit the websites.
- Its built-in search revolutionizes the way you search the Internet.
- The Cliqz browser will protect you from such identity theft.
- Doesn’t receive frequent updates.
The next one on the list of free anti-tracking software in the browser category is Brave. This browser is famous for the exclusive privacy and security that it provides and has been one of the top secure browsers of all time. The Brave browser does not maintain or store any user information on its servers which means all the data used while browsing is stored on the hard disk of the user. Another important feature is that this browser uses the HTTPS protocol by default so that the communication between the user and the website remains encrypted at all times. Other security issues like Malware, Adware, Trackers, and Phishing are blocked by default settings.
Brave browser has a unique feature where it maintains a reward system using its currency known as BAT. This currency can be earned by users if they view Brave partner ads and make donations to the developers. Although most of the required settings are set by default, users can still tweak some of the settings according to their discretion like an Adblocker, Cookies, Social Media, HTTPS, Blocking scripts, etc.
- Provides better protection from Google and Big Tech.
- Cross-site trackers blocked.
- Anonymized network routing is supported.
- Malware & phishing protection is provided.
- Lack of extensions & add-ons.
- Doesn’t always work well with every website.
One of the best browsers which is also a free anti-tracking software is Tor which is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms. This browser offers its users an anonymous network of proxies and the ability to break through the barriers of geo-restrictions. This browser was built on the Mozilla Firefox platform which means all the Firefox extensions and add-ons would work on this browser. This increased privacy browser does not allow users to change parameters within its predefined sets.
- Top-notch protection against tracking, surveillance, and censorship.
- Free anti-track software & relatively easy-to-setup & use.
- Can be used at the same time as a VPN service or other proxy
- Supports almost all major operating systems.
- Bandwidth speeds are often reduced when using this free anti-track software.
To summarize, the Tor browser offers anonymity, security, and protection while considering ease of usage and VPN, Brave can be your choice. But if you want to keep Google out of your life then use Cliqz as it provides its search engine.
Best Anti Tracking Software – Desktop applications
If you are looking for the best anti-tracking software on the next level then perhaps you have to go beyond the Browsers and Extensions and opt for a complete software that monitors all the online activities carried out on your PC. This software can provide extensive features like anti-track, Ad-block, Anti Phishing, Anonymous IP Addresses, Parental Control, Fingerprint Management, and taking care of all your browsing history and data.
The first anti-tracking software that can be installed on your PC is AdGuard which offers many exclusive features for $30 for 1 year of a personal membership. The features include parental control, anti-malware, blocking cookies, anonymous IP address, Adblocking, and anti-phishing. There is a Stealth Mode where advanced users can configure the removal of cache and cookies. Users can also check do not track requests and block WebRTC, Flash, and Java content.
The IP address hiding feature is not a Virtual Private Network application as it only masks the system and browser settings completely but the IP address can be retrieved. But because this is anti tracking software, these settings are quite sufficient. The Parental Control tool allows users to block adult content and filter search results. The AdGuard works fine on all browsers and even on other applications like Utorrent.
- The ad-tracking software works silently in the background.
- Has a very good GUI interface.
- Easily blocks pop-ups, trackers & malicious websites.
- Available for multiple platforms such as Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.
- Some bugs are working when starting the application.
10. Avast AntiTrack Premium
The next anti-tracking software on the list is Avast AntiTrack Premium Software which is developed by Avast that has been in the software market for a very long time and is famous for its Anti-Virus. This application is easy to use with an intuitive interface and provides an exclusive summary of the data consisting of all that has been blocked. The key features of this app are anonymous browsing, preventing access to suspicious websites, alerts on web trackers, anti-fingerprinting, and blocking all sorts of ads.
While using the browser, the program is in the tray, yet it quite effectively blocks incoming ad scripts. In the report tab, you can only view the information, without the ability to change anything. One of the most interesting things in terms of security is the feature of changing the digital fingerprint – to avoid de-anonymization. The program automatically changes fingerprints after detecting tracking attempts.
- Uses anti-fingerprinting technology, making it a top-notch anti-tracking app.
- Block trackers from collecting and sharing your data by disguising your online identity.
- The anti-track software hides your purchases so you don’t see the same ads.
- Clears your browsing history and cookies.
- Doesn’t support hiding your location.
The Final Word On Best Anti-Tracking Software
Anti-Tracking Software are available in different types of apps like browsers, extensions, and desktop applications. For simple blocking of ads and trackers, users can use an extension on their favorite browser or if you are comfortable using a different browser then you can opt for Tor or Brave. There are free versions available for most extensions and browsers. But if you are adamant about keeping your PC safe and secure while maintaining your privacy and are ready to spend a little then you can go for AdGuard complete desktop security and parental control. Follow us on social media – Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
People Also Ask:
Q: What is web tracking?
A: Web tracking refers to recording and analyzing the online activities of a user which include online shopping, streaming movies, playing games, browser history, and in short, everything that a user does on the internet.
Q: What is fingerprinting?
A: Like your fingerprints, your IP Address is a unique set of numbers. Digital Fingerprinting is the process where your online activities are tracked using your IP address because that is the only piece of information that remains constant and is unique to a user.
Q: Can fingerprinting be avoided by using extensions?
A: Browser extensions cannot prevent digital fingerprinting 100% because they can protect the users from what is being surfed on a particular browser. Any internet activity using apps is not protected by a browser extension.
Q: Why should I use anti-tracking software?
A: Anti-tracking Software helps the users to keep their online activities from marketing agencies and advertisers which means you would not get customized ads related to the product you have just searched.
Q: What is a VPN?
A: Virtual Private Networks can help users to mask their IP addresses and maintain anonymity. They are a part of anti-tracking software which includes a collection of modules and VPN is one of them.
Q: Can I use an ad blocker instead of an anti-tracker?
Q: What are cookies?
A: Third-party cookies are tiny files that are injected into the user’s PC and stored on their hard drive. These cookies collect information about the user’s personal information which helps users to automatically sign in. These cookies often store the items kept in the cart while online shopping so that if the user wants to complete his/her shopping of the previous day, those items would already be in the cart.
Q: What is phishing?
A: Phishing is a type of scam where an unauthorized person gains information about a user’s details and uses it to commit fraudulent activities.
Q: Are Anti-tracking software efficient against phishing?
A: Anti Tracking Software maintains a database of malicious websites and IP addresses which are compared when a user attempts to access a new website. And Using anti-tracking extensions and browsers ensures that you would be using HTTPS which is a secure and encrypted protocol that is used only by legitimate websites.
Q: Do Social Media websites track your online activities?
A: Social Media websites and apps are some of the biggest trackers of all time. They keep records of all your online activities and interests as it helps them to modify their ads, recommendations, and suggestions as per user’s interests and history.
Q: What should I use to stop tracking on my PC?
A: It is recommended to use anti-tracking software like AdGuard that would provide complete protection against trackers but if you are looking for a free option then Tor browser is the best option as recommended by most experts across the globe.