8 + 1 tips for maximum security and privacy online
Our digital society has been developing at an extremely high pace over the last few decades. Technology is everywhere and we utilize smart devices each and every day, for a number of different tasks.
Because of this, it is not surprising that issues related to online privacy and security are becoming more and more prevalent. Hence why, in this article, we are going to be giving you some tips that you can implement into your routine that can help you protect your information security and data privacy in order to stay safe while being online.
Use a privacy-protecting browser
Our first tip recommends using a Web browser that respects your privacy. Examples of such browsers are Brave and Vivaldi. They are both created with the intention of keeping your data safe while surfing online.
Brave for example, blocks all ads by default - you don’t need to install any additional ad blocker extensions, applications or software. Additionally, the browser also restricts access for all types of tracking scripts such as Analytics and Pixels among others.
On top of that, Brave even has a direct TOR integration that you can utilize to surf the Web anonymously.
Finally, Brave also blocks any cross-site cookies in order to further protect your privacy, making it a very viable choice that you can utilize the next time you go to browse online.
Use a secure and reliable VPN
There are many advantages to using a VPN, the most important of which is that it can protect your privacy and identity.
A virtual private network (VPN) takes your traffic and reroutes it through another location, ultimately allowing you to divert your online traffic through another place, protecting your data, browsing history and above all - privacy from potential eavesdroppers, hackers and even your ISP!
However, it is important to choose a VPN provider that has a very good reputation for offering secure and reliable VPN services. Over the years, there have been multiple cases where user data has been leaked and even sold by VPN service providers who claimed that they were not logging user traffic and actions.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to deal with any third-party VPN services, you can create your own custom VPN server. All you need is a virtual server and a VPN protocol that you feel comfortable with using. For example, we have a step-by-step tutorial on how to install the SoftEther protocol on a VPS server that you can check out if you like.
Having a VPS-hosted VPN server is always the better choice as you can manually make sure that your activity isn’t being logged, as ultimately you are the owner of your VPN server, rather than a third-party having access to it, which will result in better overall privacy protection.
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Pay with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin & Litecoin
Paying with crypto has been on the uprise in the last couple of years. More and more ecommerce stores and service providers have begun to accept cryptocurrencies as an alternative payment method.
But why pay with such cryptocurrencies? Well, there are many advantages of paying with Bitcoin for example, each transaction is carried out anonymously as there are no third-parties involved. The entire payment process is just sending a given amount of BTC from one wallet or address to another, with the transaction being securely recorded into the blockchain for safe storage.
Additionally, with Bitcoin you can pay on the go from anywhere at any time, which can be seen as a substantial benefit for those users who don’t have access to any of the traditional payment methods such as PayPal, Revolut or bank transfers.
Use a privacy-oriented email client
Given that email remains amongst the most popular forms of communication, it is important to get an email client that will respect your privacy.
One such example is ProtonMail, which is specifically designed to protect your privacy, data and identity. It has a number of useful features that you can use to ensure that your privacy will be safe such as timed messages, 2FA, anonymous user messages and multiple levels of data encryption.
Use a secure messaging app
Staying on the topic of messaging, short text messages applications have become the standard when it comes to communication online regardless of whether you are scrolling through social media or being at work.
Because of this, it is important to protect your privacy while utilizing such texting apps. One such messaging application that specifically focuses on protecting your privacy is Signal. It is an open-source, completely free of charge app that utilizes message encryption to protect your data and privacy.
It is regarded as one of the most secure messaging apps, having a very strong built-in security. So if you are interested in staying safe when texting, you should definitely give it a try!
Enable 3DS protection
If you constantly pay with your card online, make sure to enable your 3DS (3D secure) protection.
This is an extra layer of verification that usually requires you to input a dynamically generated code received from another location such as email, text message or external application.
Having this 3DS feature enabled will substantially increase your account’s levels of security and prevent any possible fraud that can happen with your card even if it were to fall into the wrong hands.
Secure your devices
Regardless of whether you use a computer, a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone or any other smart device like a watch or a home appliance, it is crucial to ensure that you do everything to protect your devices on a software level.
For all devices that run on an operating system, make sure to always keep it up to date. Some say that Linux and Mac OS are unhackable, however, that is not the case, it is just more difficult to do so.
Always install system updates and keep your applications to the newest release. Don’t run outdated software versions just because you are more accustomed to using them as they might have glaring security faults which newer patches and versions have already addressed or fixed.
Make sure to enable your antivirus protection. Operating systems tend to have very secure antivirus protection already built-in, so be careful when considering whether you should be using any third-party protection.
Beware of phishing attacks
Unfortunately, phishing attacks are becoming more and more popular. This means that we as users need to be a lot more vigilant and aware of the websites and pages that we visit and the information that we are requested to provide.
Although most browsers are capable of immediately identifying phishing websites, there are still some that might get undetected.
Because of this, make sure to always check whether a given website has an active SSL certificate and be weary of providing any information, especially banking credentials and personal data.
Bonus tip - use TOR for maximum web security
We already briefly touched upon TOR, short for The Onion Router. It is an open-source software that is designed to allow you to search the Web anonymously, with the intention to protect your privacy.
However, the browsing experience is not the greatest and the speed is not the fastest, but it will ultimately protect your privacy better than just using a normal browser.
Overall, these are only a handful of examples that you can implement in order to protect your privacy. We have also created another article featuring 15 ways to protect your privacy online, which you can also check out for some more useful tips and tricks when it comes to protecting your security and privacy in the digital world.