Mullvad VPN and the Tor Project have partnered to release the ‘Mullvad Browser,’ a privacy-focused web browser created specifically for use with a VPN connection.
The browser was developed by engineers from the two teams to minimize tracking and user fingerprinting and make all users appear as one. The two projects have collaborated again, and Mullvad has been an active contributor to the Tor Project for many years.
Mullvad Browser is free and open-source and available for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
What Is it?
The Mullvad Browser is a web browser based on Firefox 102, which is the latest available ESR (Extended Support Release) version.
The software project is the equivalent of the Tor Browser, but instead of browsing the Tor network, it was designed for use with a VPN, complementing its privacy protection features and making sure that user data confidentiality isn’t compromised at the browser level.
It comes pre-configured with settings that make user fingerprinting impossible, like masking the attributes of the user’s device, hardware APIs, fonts, rendered content, etc. Additionally, the Mullvad Browser has “private mode” enabled by default, blocking all third-party cookies.
For a deep-dive on all the browser’s default settings and privacy-enhancing configurations, check out this page.
The browser does not need a VPN connection to operate, and not a Mullvad VPN in particular, so it can still be used with your regular IP address and still provide some level of protection, albeit at a reduced level.
Why Use it?
What the Mullvad Browser offers isn’t unattainable by other software projects, especially if the user is willing to use third-party extensions and plugins that enhance their privacy. However, by baking everything into the browser itself, the need to install and maintain add-ons is eliminated.
Moreover, considering that Mullvad Browser’s code is open-source, there can be no hidden mechanisms that collect user browsing or behavioral data. Hence, it can be trusted much more easily than vague claims made by vendors of proprietary solutions.
Ultimately, users who prioritize anonymity and privacy might opt for a VPN over the Tor Network, as it generally offers faster browsing speeds with minimal associated risks. In many countries, access to Tor has been restricted or banned, so clearnet solutions that provide enhanced online data security could be extremely valuable.
If you want to try Mullvad Browser on your system, make sure to download it from Mullvad’s official download portal to avoid downloading trojanized or fake apps.
It is based on Firefox and it looks hopeful. I hope they will develop a search engine.
Firefox’s problem is Firefox itself :)))
It needs a lot of hardening. (Search in Google for: Firefox Hardening Guide or Firefox Privacy and Security Hardening Guide)
Firefox is close to Google and plays a lot of datas to Google (see Firefox > about:config and look for: crash reports, s.c. safebrowsing, Google, remote downloads, remote wifi scan, remote desktop behaviors, Geolocation etc)
This Mullvad browser is nice, but it needs a VPN and you have to buy it for 5 EUR/mont 😉
It’s possible to configure a browser like FireFox, which Mullvad browser (and the Tor Browser) is based on, to have similar protections. However, doing so would require at least some level of technical savvy, as you have to know which switches to flip and have the confidence that you’ve caught everything.
The idea with Mullvad is to take care of all of that for you; you can just open it and feel reasonably confident that you’re not particularly easy to track. “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,” said Isabela Fernandes, executive director of The Tor Project.
The Mullvad Browser is a privacy-focused web browser developed in a collaboration between Mullvad VPN and the Tor Project. It’s designed to minimize tracking and fingerprinting. You could say it’s a Tor Browser to use without the Tor Network. Instead, you can use it with a trustworthy VPN. The idea is to provide one more alternative – beside the Tor Network – to browse the internet with more privacy. To get as many people as possible to fight the big data gathering of today. To free the internet from mass surveillance.
Our goal was to give users the privacy protections of Tor Browser without Tor. For instance, the Mullvad Browser applies a “hide-in-the-crowd” approach to online privacy by creating a similar fingerprint for all of its users. The browser’s ‘out-of-the-box’ configurations and settings will mask many parameters and features commonly used to extract information from a person’s device that can make them identifiable, including fonts, rendered content, and several hardware APIs. By default, Mullvad Browser has private mode enabled, blocks third-party trackers and cookies, and makes it easy to delete cookies between visiting pages during the same session.
The Mullvad Browser is another option for internet users who are looking for a privacy browser that doesn’t need a bunch of extensions and plugins to enhance their privacy and reduce the factors that can accidentally de-anonymize themselves. And unlike other browsers on the market, Mullvad Browser’s business model does not rely on capitalizing on users’ behavioral data.
I would agree HOPEFUL because it’s not of a chromium browser variant.
A. It’s designed to minimize tracking and fingerprinting. You could say it’s a Tor Browser to use without the Tor Network. Instead, you can use it with A TRUSTWORTHY VPN. Not necessarily the Mullvad VPN. (BlackFriday is the time to pick a new VPN anyways.)
B. Mullvad Browser applies a “hide-in-the-crowd” approach to online privacy by creating a similar fingerprint for all of its users. The browser’s ‘out-of-the-box’ configurations and settings will mask many parameters and features commonly used to extract information from a person’s device that can make them identifiable, including fonts, rendered content, and several hardware APIs.
Good points out of the box – Yeah?
Chanson de Roland
I been auditioning the Mullvad Browser and have found it to be what the DuckDuckGo Browser (Duck Browser) promised to be but wasn’t and doesn’t have the problem of serving two masters, as does Brave. Unlike Duck Browser, which doesn’t work against Microsoft tracker, because DuckDuckGo has an agreement with Microsoft that prevents it from blocking the trackers of Microsoft and its subsidiaries, Mullvad is a true privacy that contains all of the privacy and security protections load as the default configuration and that is designed to work against all trackers, including those from Microsoft and its subsidiaries and that doesn’t preserve anything, once you quit it.
Unlike Brave, the Mullvad Browser just does its job of maintaining privacy without trying to build a business model.
Hey, I was wondering if this browser needs to be modified once again or just leave it as it is with the Mullvad settings?
Hi Kodok, just leave it as it is by default, in order to benefit from Mullvad’s configuration.
This looks like a better Firefox fork than Ghostery Dawn.
Mullvad is doing a great job. However, I am testing it and by default your security level is set as Standard. Another concern about fingerprinting is when using https://amiunique.org/fp I do not if other users had the same results. Even with this incredible browser, it still shows I am unique among the 1596133 fingerprints in their entire dataset. I am sure Mullvad will continue working on that. A great future for this app.
If you’re unique every time you check on https://amiunique.org/fp , it means your fingerprint is constantly changing thus you can’t be pinpointed.
Thanks a lot! for your clarification Jessica, I thought it was the opposite.
Long time Mullvad user here, writing this on a laptop running the Zorin OS distro of Linux.*
Now I don’t have the knowledge to evaluate Mullvad’s claims of anonymity, I haven’t compared their speeds, and I haven’t tested it in any way other than through online (non-Mullvad affiliated) IP and DNS leak tests–which it always passes. (They have had two audits; the first I’m told wasn’t comprehensive, but my understanding is that the second audit was comprehensive; link at the bottom).**
But, I’ve been very pleased. While I’ve had many instabilities with Nord on Windows 7/10/11 (had to reinstall it on Windows 11 just this evening), I’ve never really had a snafu with Mullvad; it always starts working smoothly a few seconds after the OS loads. And speaking as someone who’s not yet proficient with Linux command line, I’ve had an easier time installing and running Mullvad on Linux than Perfect Privacy, OVPN, or Nord. The GUI is the best I’ve seen for Linux (I admit I haven’t tried SurfShark yet), which resembles Nord on Windows. And while it’s been years since I used Mullvad on Windows, I had a good experience on that OS as well.
I also love how Mullvad still accepts cash through the mail (a method I’ve used several times with no issues other than taking two+ weeks to process when mailing cash from the USA), and you don’t even need an email address to sign up! And since they charge a flat monthly fee, I don’t feel a need to pay for years in advance.
Possible downsides: I don’t get the impression that helping you get around geo-blocked streaming content is a priority. (I wouldn’t know, as that’s not part of my use-case). They don’t offer dedicated IP addresses on the grounds that isn’t “…aligned with privacy since it somehow has to be linked to a user.” (I appreciate their reasoning, but sometimes I want a dedicated IP address). I don’t see any support for torrenting, and overall it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, though it does have split-tunneling.
But for my needs—a smooth, non-technical experience on Linux– Mullvad has worked well. And their new browser just confirms in my mind I’m with the right company.
*Zorin is derived from Ubuntu, but modified to be more friendly for those of us coming over from Windows.