You might assume your online activities are anonymous and secure, especially if you’re using some sort of firewall protection or encryption. However, in the past year, the National Security Agency alone has had 2,776 privacy violations on individuals’ personal Internet and phone usage, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. That’s not counting what hackers and other malicious users are doing to get at your data, whether they want to spy on your personal activities, or try to steal credit card and identity information. Instead of giving up on online anonymity, learn how you can protect yourself and your browsing activities from government agencies going too far, your nosy neighbour and the script kiddie down the street.
TOR, known as The Onion Router, uses a layer security system and encryption to make sure the data you send through TOR cannot be retrieved or used. It allows people to be completely anonymous, which is useful for political activists in countries who don’t support that kind of thing. The browsing capabilities of TOR are rather limited, as you are unable to use plug-ins, some social networks and most video viewing sites.
Identity Theft Protection
If you do end up getting your identity compromised through the NSA taking a joyride through private data or a hacker making their way onto your system, identity theft protection helps to mitigate or prevent any damage from happening at all. Even if the hacker gets your personal information, they aren’t going to be able to use it to open up credit cards in your name.
Walking Away from the Cloud
ZDNet recommends resisting the allure of cloud services. They are certainly convenient, whether you’re using software as a service products such as Gmail or complete infrastructure technology, but they also hold your data in a third-party location that does not use the same methods of privacy protection as you do.
Move to Blackberry Messenger Service
Most email and instant messenger services do not do a good job at encrypting your data as you send it around the Internet. One service, Blackberry Messenger Service, uses its own servers specifically to keep all of the data completely encrypted and safe. While Blackberry mostly intended this for keeping business secrets safe, it works just as well for sending off your mom’s family recipes to the rest of the family. It’s a bit more difficult to rely on this instead of standard text messaging, but it’s worth it.
HTTPS Everywhere is a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that uses encrypted browsing for every site you browse. It works with many websites you visit on a day-to-day basis, although it can’t always stop websites from trying to get you to unsecured browsing. It’s not the level of protection that TOR offers, but if you need scripts and media viewing, this is a good compromise that helps keep you safe.
Cynthia Tyson Cynthia is a stay-at-home mom with a backround in social media and public relations.