Carnegie Mellon University

Browser Privacy

Last Updated: 05/12/2020

Businesses, organizations, and governmental agencies who store personal information about their users have a responsibility to securely protect that information. However, as more personal information is being collected and exchanged—and as technology becomes more sophisticated, invasive, and complex—it is also becoming more difficult to protect that information from an increasing number of targeted cyber threats. 

You can add extra layers of security to protect your privacy when on the web by following the tips on below.

Update Your Privacy Settings

Most websites, browsers, and other online services will frequently change their privacy settings. It is important to periodically check the privacy settings for the websites and services for which you have an account. To view a comprehensive list of how to change your privacy/security settings on popular devices, websites, and online services visit the National Cybersecurity Alliance StaySafeOnline: Check Your Privacy Settings which provides direct links to update your privacy settings as well as additional privacy information.

Browse More Securely


Consider using your browser's private-browsing or do-not-track features when you do not want information saved to your device about the sites and pages you have visited. 

Note: Although your browsing information is not saved on your device, these methods of private browsing are still visible by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and do not anonymize your traffic.


There are tools available to help facilitate anonymous browsing.

  • TOR: Tor is a free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication and web browsing.
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): CMU currently has a VPN through CISO AnyConnect which will help to anonymize your network traffic and connections. 

Private Web Searching


Consider using a search engine that does not track your search history and does not store your personal information such as one of the following:

Add Privacy Protections


Installing the right browser extension is an important step in protecting your privacy while online. Extensions such as ad-blockers can help prevent malicious ads from infecting your computer with malware. Other extensions can inform you of a website's trustworthiness, block scripts, or enforce secure network protocols.

  • uBlock: A secure ad-blocker
  • Ghostery: Intercepts and blocks thousands of third-party data-tracking technologies 
  • Web of Trust: Performs safety checks on any website

  • Privacy Badger: Blocks invisible trackers
  • HTTPS Everywhere: Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites

Additional Privacy Resources