2018 was eventful!
A quick Google or DuckDuckGo search would reveals more than 20 times in 2018, when a million users or more of a website, or a service or an app got their private information stolen. And that are the ones that we know of. In a world where everything is connected to everything else and where social media companies, search giants and governments are more than ever, keen to gather as much data about you, as possible, Privacy has become more important than ever.
The best way to protect your privacy is to be completely off of the internet, having said that it’s not a solution that can be implemented. Internet has bought us more good than bad and staying off of it ,is not a possibility.
In this article I list down 10 tools that you can use to protect yourself and your data online,
Irrespective of what we do on the web, browser has remained its gateway from the very beginning. Though fact of the matter is more than 90% of the browser users use a program owned and run by corporate organisations whose only aim is to collect as much data about you as possible. The very first tool that we as consumers and users of the web should change is the browser we use, here is a list of 2 that I think are the best in terms of data privacy.
Firefox is an open source browser run by Mozilla foundation, its fast, easy to use and the best part it gives us access to control what we can and cannot share with the websites/apps we visit. Plus it comes with a laundry list of privacy add ons to protect your from almost any kind of unauthorised access to your data.
Tor was developed for United States Naval Research Laboratory to protect military communication, as such its one of the most secure web browsers out there. Tor browser is part of the Tor project, the secure browser comes preloaded with privacy add-ons, encryption and proxy. Tor isolates each website that you visit on the web, making it nearly impossible for third party trackers to access browsing data and any associated data.
One of the easiest ways to protect your data online is to have a really good password or rather pass phrase unrelated to anything that’s personal or any information about you that’s available on the web, for instance your pets name and your date of birth are really bad choices for a password. So are 1234, qwerty or ABCDEF.
Dashlane in its research last year, found patterns and a list of most used passwords in the world, here is a list
How do we make sure that we don’t use these or any other password for that might be just too easy to crack. The most obvious way would be to create random pass-phrases with 12 or more characters. Alternatively, we can use a password manager, which not only saves your passwords in its secure database but also are usually capable of suggesting completely random and strong passwords for your accounts.
Following are the 2 I’ve used and recommend,
LastPass along with Dashlane is one of the most popular password management tools on the web. With a very generous free account and $2 price tag, combined with end to end encryption and ability to share secrets with others as and when required on a secure networks makes this my top pic for a password management and suggestion tool.
Dashlane like Lastpass is one of the most used password managers in the world. It’s end to end encryption and its native password generator tool makes our privacy and data protection its top priority. Though from a price point perspective the it is more expensive than its peers, the real time security monitoring feature makes up for it. Real time password monitoring keeps a check on the password as soon as it is created for threats or security breaches and informs you as soon as it finds one.
When it comes to privacy products a VPN is as important as your browser. They help protect you and your information by rerouting your connection to the internet via multiple “virtual” networks, making it more difficult for websites track you and your demographic information.
ExpressVPN is a virtual private network service offered by the British Virgin Islands-based company Express VPN International Ltd. The software is marketed as a privacy and security tool that encrypts users’ web traffic and masks their IP addresses. Backed by its policy of not even giving access to their customers data to themselves, it’s one of the most reliable VPN providers on the web.
It’s the easiest to implement and completely encrypted VPN service providers and like ExpressVPN the NordVPN team does not store any user information in their system. That means even if someone wants to hack into or steal your browsing information from NordVPN servers , there is nothing to access. And the best part all of this comes at a nifty $5 per month.
Using messaging apps present on the web be it Facebook Messenger Hangouts, most companies retain the data and some time scan it to monitor threats and abusive behaviour on the web. But they monitor these conversations nonetheless, Cambridge Analytica data scandal is the proof of what this data can be used for.
My recommendation is to use Telegram instead of any other messaging application present in the market. The best thing about Telegram is it does not allow anyone to access to your messages or data and has a bunch of nifty features to make sure your private messages remains private.
If telegram doesn’t cut it for you, Signal is the best alternative I can think of.
Finally, be aware of what you share online. There is no need to put in our personal details on social media unless your livelihood is dependant on it. Once on the web there is no gaurantee that you would be able to remove any of it anytime soon.