Web browsers and the Internet

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A web browser is a type of software that allows you to find and view websites on the Internet. Even if you did not know it, you are using a web browser right now to read this page! There are many different web browsers, but some of the most common ones include Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox.

I am also be introducing Tor a browser that is owned by Mozilla Firefox and is becoming popular to go to sites including the dark web and it can go to the deep dark web.  I will explain the different as we go over Tor in the class later.

No matter which web browser you use, you will want to learn the basics of browsing the Web. In this lesson, we will talk about navigating to different websites, using tabbed browsing, creating bookmarks, and more.

You can use any browser you want. Keep in mind that your browser may look and act a bit differently, but all web browsers work in basically the same way.

Why are there so many browsers and why are they free.

The link below shows how web browsers make money.  We do not cover this, but it is good reading, the answer is advertising revenue.    Everything you click on in a browser makes money for that company.

Names of some popular browsers

  1. Microsoft Edge and Bing (same search engine)
  2. Chrome (In chrome you can enable duckduckgo as an extension for private browsing)
  3. Firefox
  4. Opera (you can enable vpn and duckduckgo in settings)
  5. Apple Safari
  6. Internet Explorer
  7. EPIC
  8. Tor

URLs and the address bar or how to get around the internet

Each website has a unique address, called a URL (short for Uniform Resource Locator). It’s like a street address that tells your browser where to go on the Internet. When you type or click on a URL the browser’s address bar and press Enter on your keyboard, the browser will load the page associated with that URL.


Bookmarks or links to pages you go to on a regular basic or for special pages you might want to see again without searching the internet.

To mark a document or a specific place in a document for later retrieval. Nearly all Web browsers support a bookmarking feature that lets you save the address (URL) of a Web page so that you can easily re-visit the page at a later time.  This is useful so you do not have to type the address just click on the link

How do I create an internet favorite or bookmark? 

Link to instructions below


How do I manage internet favorites or bookmarks? 

We will do a show and tell in class. 

This is also where the bookmark manager is, and the manager lets you make folders and move bookmarks around.


What are cookies?

An HTTP cookie (also called web cookie, Internet cookie, browser cookie, or simply cookie) is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing. The main purpose of a cookie is to identify users and possibly prepare customized Web pages or to save site login information for you.

How cookies are used

Upon each return visit to that site, your browser passes that cookie back to the server. In this way, a web server can gather information about which web pages are used the most, and which pages are gathering the most repeat hits. Cookies are also used for online shopping.

How to delete cookies


What happens when you delete all your cookies

You will have a hard time finding a web page and you have to resign in as the site will not know or remember you.

Just remember that if you choose to clear your browser’s history or browse privately, you’re on your own to find a Web page again. That could haunt you when you’re looking for that ONE recipe you saw the day before for chocolate cake that was the most delicious thing you’ve ever seen. Good lucking finding it out of the other 10,300,000 recipes for chocolate cake.

The Tor browser and why is it different from other browsers

Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication. The name is derived from an acronym for the original software project name “The Onion Router”.  Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult to trace Internet activity to the user: this includes “visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms”.[11] Tor’s intended use is to protect the personal privacy of its users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.

What is Tor? Tor is a free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business -activities and relationships, and state security.

Why Anonymity matters

Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.

This link is what happens when people search for Tor.  It shows a lot of browser and some good tools that can be used

This link is to a manual on using TOR browser


There is a new battleground in the browser wars: user privacy.

Firefox just made its Enhanced Tracking Protection a default feature, Apple continues to pile privacy-focused features into its Safari browser, and people are more aware than ever before of the sort of information they can reveal every time they set a digital footprint on the web.


What is a Browser History?

Every time you go online from your computer, your browser saves a copy of every page that you visit. That’s right: Your computer and Internet browser—whether you use Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or something else—keep track of where you’ve been and a history of what pages you’ve seen.

That’s not something they’re hiding from you and it’s not a conspiracy or invasion of privacy. It’s there for your convenience. And unless you are doing something you don’t want someone else to see, such as planning a secret birthday, it makes your online experience easier.

On all browsers, “History” is one of the drop-down menu choices across the top of the page, along with other choices such as File, Edit, View, Bookmarks and a few others. The History feature keeps tabs on your Internet browsing for as long as you’re online.

Browser application designers realized that people needed a way of knowing where they’d been and what they’d read or seen online over a long Internet session. And over time, they added helpful features to the History feature.

Still, a surprising number of people (more than you’d think) have never explored their browser’s history menu or learned about some its special features. And some people are a little leery of having their Internet history on display.


Whenever you see a word or phrase on a website that is blue or underlined in blue, it’s probably a hyperlink, or link for short. You might already know how links work, even if you have never thought about them much before. For example, try clicking the link below.

Hey, I’m a link! Click me!

Links are used to navigate the Web. When you click a link, it will usually take you to a different webpage. You may also notice that your cursor changes into a hand icon whenever you hover over a link.

If you see this icon, it means you have found a link. You will find other types of links this way too. For example, many websites use images as links, so you can just click the image to navigate to another page.

Navigation buttons

The Back and Forward buttons allow you to move through websites you’ve recently viewed. You can also click and hold either button to see your recent history.

Tabbed browsing

Many browsers allow you to open links in a new tab. You can open as many links as you want, and they’ll stay in the same browser window instead of cluttering your screen with multiple windows.

To open a link in a new tab, right-click the link and select Open link in new tab (the exact wording may vary from browser to browser).

Downloading files

Links do not always go to another website. In some cases, they point to a file that can be downloaded, or saved, to your computer.

This is a link to this file to download


If you click a link to a file, it may download automatically, but sometimes it just opens within your browser instead of downloading. To prevent it from opening in the browser, you can right-click the link and select Save link as (different browsers may use slightly different wording, like Save target as).

Saving images
Sometimes you may want to save an image from a website to your computer. To do this, right-click the image and select Save image as (or Save picture as).


Plug-ins are small applications that allow you to view certain types of content within your web browser. For example, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight are often used to play videos, while Adobe Reader is used to view PDF files.

If you do not have the correct plug-in for a website, your browser will usually provide a link to download it. There may also be times when you need to update your plug-ins

Revising history.

The history feature on our browsers is there to make our online experience simpler and to provide convenience. But it can feel a little strange, knowing that someone can peek into your browser history to see what you’ve been up to. Most of us would not like that.

Still, it does not happen that often. Also, it is only an invasion of your privacy if someone gets access to your computer and actively (or accidentally) searches your history. If you have nothing to hide, then it does not matter.

Still, if your privacy is a concern, regardless of what you look at, there are a couple of things you can do, by exploring two options in the browser’s History menu.

Clear Recent History. This allows you to clear the history record and start browsing with a clean slate. If you do decide to clear your history, all your website visits will be wiped from your browser’s memory, and after you hit “Clear,” it’s gone. You’ll even get a warning before you hit “Clear Now” button that says, “This action cannot be undone.”

Private Browsing. When you select New Private Window, you are turning off the history feature—that means whatever you look at won’t be tracked or won’t appear on the list of websites on your history list. Private browsing is not just about being sneaky online. It offers special benefits:

  • Private browsing is helpful if you use a shared computer, bank online, check medical records, or look at personal or private subject matter you want to keep private.
  • Security experts say that websites will not be able to use “cookies” to track your behavior when you use private browsing.
  • You can prevent Facebook and other social media websites from tracking your online activity while you are on their websites.

When a website places a cookie on your computer, oftentimes part of what they do is track your history to see what you are interested in. That is why it is not a coincidence when you look up an article about France and then see an ad for Air France show up when you visit another website.

Change this one browser setting to book a cheaper vacation or buy things without the price jumping up. Go to INCOGNITO MODE or change to a different browser such as Opera or Tor.

This is the trick that most people never think of. Most airfare tips have to do with the airline itself, and the way these fares change over time. But this trick has to do with your browser, and how it communicates with flight-booking websites. When you upload a page, the website remembers that you visited before. Many bargain-hunters believe that this awareness causes the prices to steadily climb because you have already expressed interest in each itinerary.

Browsing incognito

Google Chrome: There are a few ways to open an Incognito browser if you are using Google Chrome. The first is to right click on the Google Chrome icon before you launch the application. This will bring up a menu with the option, “New Incognito Window.”

The second option is easy to use if you are already browsing in Google Chrome. Simply open a new tab, then hit (and hold) the following keys down: Control, Shift, N (Command, Shift, N for Mac users).

Firefox: In Firefox, this private browsing option isn’t called “Incognito Mode,” it’s called “Private Window.” To access this, just open a new browser and click the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner. There, you’ll see a drop-down menu that lists an option called “New Private Window.”

Safari (on desktop): When using Safari on your Mac, you can open a Private Window in the same way as Google Chrome. Just right click on the icon, and select “New Private Window.”

Safari (on mobile): On mobile, opening a Private Window is a little bit different. While in the browser, tap the Pages icon in the bottom right-hand corner. This will show you all of the windows you have open, and at the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the + sign to open another window. Tapping the + sign will open a regular browser. If you’d rather browse privately, be sure to tap “Private” right beside it.

Android: To prevent the website from recognizing your IP address, Android users can employ their “incognito mode.” To use an incognito window on your Android device, open Chrome, then click More (the three vertical dots), then hit Incognito Window. When the new window opens, you’ll see the incognito icon, which looks like a face with a fedora and glasses.

Not every device or browser has an incognito-like feature, but there’s another way to get a similar effect: Most websites recognize your returning visit because of the cookies they install on your computer. Just delete all your cookies and browsing history, and these online services won’t recognize you.

There is some debate on whether using Incognito Windows and eliminating cookies don’t have a substantial impact on airfares. Each website works differently, so it’s hard to say. But feel free to tinker with a regular window and an Incognito Window and see what happens. When it comes to travel, it isn’t the destination but the journey.



Increased state surveillance, countless security breaches and widespread concern about data sharing have spooked many of us into wanting to protect our privacy more than ever.

Despite bubbling almost under the radar for nine years, anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo is now finding its stride in this current climate. In January, it announced it had passed ten billion searches, with four billion occurring in 2016.

What is DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo describes itself as “the search engine that doesn’t track you”. It promises not to use cookies to follow users and says it doesn’t collect any personal information on those who use it. Even your IP address is hidden.

DuckDuckGo’s ambitious plans to be more than a search engine

How is it different to Google and Bing?

DuckDuckGo’s ambitious plans to be more than a search engine

When you click on links from Google and Bing, even in private mode, the search terms are sent to the site you’re visiting in the HTTP referrer header. When you visit that site, your computer automatically shares information, such as your IP address. This information can be used to identify you.

DuckDuckGo calls this “search leakage” and prevents it happening by default on its search results. Instead, when you click on a link on the site it redirects that request in such a way to prevent it sending your search terms to other sites. The sites know that you visited them, but they don’t know what search you entered beforehand, nor can they use personal information to identify you.

DuckDuckGo additionally offers an encrypted version that automatically changes links from a number of major sites to point to the encrypted versions, including Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.

Private browsing is not totally private.

Private browsing is not the same as secure browsing. And it is not completely private. It simply hides your activity from being viewed on your computer through the history feature.

  • If you use private browsing on a computer at work that is connected to a network, the network administrator can always see what sites you’ve visited (if they want to).
  • If there is spyware on your computer, your online activities could still be tracked.
  • Internet protection software, used by families to filter and monitor Internet content, can track even “private” viewing sessions.
  • Your Internet Service Provider also has access to your online history, but they could search it and report it only if they were directed to through a legal action.

How to clear your history in any browser


One last thing.

Just remember that if you choose to clear your browser’s history or browse privately, you are on your own to find a Web page again. That could haunt you when you are looking for that ONE recipe you saw the day before for chocolate cake that was the most delicious thing you’ve ever seen. Good lucking finding it out of the other 10,300,000 recipes for chocolate cake.

Pushing back against online tracking

If you want to push back against online tracking, you have got several options to pick from when choosing a default browser. These are the browsers that put user privacy high on the list of their priorities.

DuckDuckGo (Android, iOS, browser extension)

You might know DuckDuckGo as the anti-Google search engine, but it’s also branched out to make its own mobile browsers for Android and iOS. Not only do they keep you better protected online, they give you plenty of information about what they are blocking.

DuckDuckGo starts by enforcing encrypted HTTPS connections when websites offer them, and then gives each page you visit a grade based on how aggressively it’s trying to mine your data.

To keep you anonymized online, DuckDuckGo blocks tracking cookies that are able to identify you and your device, and even scans and ranks sites’ privacy policies. You can clear tabs and data automatically at the end of each session, or you can wipe this data manually with a single tap. You can even set a timer to automatically clear out your history after a period of inactivity.

The browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox do a very similar job, so you don’t have to abandon your favorite desktop browser to take advantage of DuckDuckGo’s tight privacy controls. Again, the extensions rank sites for their privacy features, and block attempts to track your activities online.

What really appeals about the DuckDuckGo apps and browser extensions is how simple they are to use. You do not really need to do anything except install them, so it’s a good pick for getting maximum protection with minimal effort.

Ghostery (Android, iOS, browser extension)

Get Ghostery for Android or iOS installed, and straight away it gets to work blocking adverts and tracking cookies that will attempt to keep tabs on what you’re up to on the web.

Like DuckDuckGo’s mobile apps, the Ghostery browser tells you exactly which trackers it’s blocking, and how many monitoring tools each website has installed—if you find certain sites that are well-behaved, you can mark them as trusted with a tap.

Or, if you find a site that’s packed full of tracking technology, you can block every single bit of cookie technology on it (for commenting systems, media players and so on), even if the site might break as a result.

Ghostery also develops an extension that works with just about every desktop browser out there—again, you can view the trackers on each site you visit, then take appropriate action on them or let Ghostery decide and its AI smarts decide what needs blocking.

Ghostery’s tools are a little more in-depth and advanced than the ones offered by DuckDuckGo, so you might consider it if you want to take extra control over which trackers are blocked on which sites.

Tor Browser (Android, Windows, macOS)

Tor Browser stands for browsing “without tracking, surveillance, or censorship” and is worth a look if you want the ultimate in anonymized, tracker-free browsing—unless you’re on iOS, where it isn’t yet available.

The browser app for Android, Windows and macOS is actually part of a bigger project to keep internet browsing anonymous. The Tor Project routes your web navigation through a complex, encrypted network of relays managed by its community, making it much harder for anyone else to work out where you’re going on the web.

As well as this additional layer of anonymity, Tor Browser is super-strict on the sort of background scripts and tracking technologies sites are allowed to run. It also blocks fingerprinting, a method where advertisers attempt to recognize the unique characteristics of your device across multiple sites, even if they can’t tell exactly who you are.

At the end of each browsing session, everything gets wiped, including cookies left behind by sites and the browsing history inside the Tor Browser app itself. In other words, private browsing mode is the default.

Because of the extra encryption and anonymity measures, Tor Browser can run slightly slower than other browsers, but in terms of staying invisible on the web, it is the best there is. It can even help you get online in countries where the internet is blocked or censored.

Brave (Android, iOS, Windows, macOS)

Brave is a project from Brendan Eich, once of Firefox developer Mozilla, and its mission includes both keeping you from being tracked on the web and finding a better way to serve you advertisements. It is a dichotomy that doesn’t fully fit together just yet.

There’s no doubt about the effectiveness of its tracker blocking technologies, though. The browser apps block ads by default and put tight restrictions on the information sites can gather on you through cookies and tracking scripts.

You can block trackers, scripts, and fingerprinting technologies—where sites attempt to identify your particular device—individually, but unlike DuckDuckGo and Ghostery you don’t get a detailed breakdown of what’s been stopped.

Brave also tries to block phishing attempts over the web, and will force HTTPS encryption where it’s available. It’s a comprehensive package that strikes a well-judged balance between simplicity and power.

Time will tell whether Brave’s attempts to create a new privacy-respecting ad platform are successful, but it’s testing the idea of paying users to watch ads and splitting the revenue with content creators. You can also give micropayments to sites you like directly, though all of this is completely opt-in.

Firefox (Android, iOS, Windows, macOS)

As we mentioned at the outset, Firefox now blocks third-party cookies by default—those are the bits of code left by advertisers that try to piece together what you’re doing across multiple sites to build up a more detailed picture of who you are.

It also gives you a ton of information on each website you visit regarding the trackers and cookies that pages have attempted to leave, and which ones Firefox has blocked. Permissions for access to your location and microphone can be easily managed as well.

All this is on desktop—the mobile apps haven’t quite caught up yet—but whichever platform you install Firefox on, you’ve got a raft of privacy-focused features to take advantage of. On mobile, you can again take control over tracker and cookie blocking, and clear out stored data every time you close the app.

For even stricter tracker protection and ad blocking to boot, there’s Firefox Focus for Android and iOS. It is a stripped-down version of the main browser, without all the bells and whistles of the full Firefox, but if speed and privacy are your main priorities, it’s definitely worth a try.

The main Firefox apps for desktop and mobile hit the sweet spot as far as balancing privacy and convenience. There is plenty to please those who want to take more control over how their data is collected, along with having all the usual browser features (like extensions and password syncing) as well.

Safari (iOS, macOS)

Apple continues to add anti-tracking tech to Safari with each successive release on iOS and macOS, though this isn’t an option for your browser of choice if you’re on Windows or Android of course.

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