TECH BASICS

Simple Steps to stay secure on the Internet

The year 2020 was unique, we saw the worst pandemic in Living Memory and stayed home more than usual. People all around the globe turned to the internet for all of their needs. Working from home, shopping online is new normal now and I feel that this is not going anywhere sooner. Internet traffic surged more than expected and threats on the internet too. This much internet activity has increased cybercrime incidents more frequently than ever. Cybersecurity breaches all around the globe have published millions of records each year and this frequency has gone up! I am not going to blabber on this anymore. Rather than that, I am going to give you some tips where you can work safely and stay secure on the internet.

Privacy | Anonymity

Browsers

Browsers are the first way to do anything on the internet. It’s vital to understand what browsers can do to your information. Neither all sites are safe and nor all browsers are trustworthy. I am not saying you should get worried immediately but safe practice provides security in a long run. Most of the browsers come with inbuilt security and privacy features but they can track your searching and spending behaviors all the time.

If you are uncomfortable with your browser’s tracking gimmicks then the following browsers are your best bet:-

  1. Mozilla Firefox
  2. Tor

In terms of user privacy both of the browser have strong base and if we consider anonymous browsing then Tor is the leader.

Search Engine

I can not imagine working on the Internet without search engines. We search and search a lot. This constant search cycle shares your data constantly to search provider. Most of the search engines available today are actually data collection tools for multiple usages, primarily for advertisements. A few years back there were no alternatives but now few user privacy-focused techs are growing rapidly.

Following search engines are your best bet:-

  1. DuckDuckGo
  2. StartPage
  3. Gibiru

Search Results are the primary benefit of using search engine, if you can not switch then try to use existing engines anonymously.

Email

Emails are the primary way of communication on the Internet and one of the easy targets for Cyber Criminals. Most of the email providers do not encrypt your messages end-to-end and do not take your privacy seriously. Considering privacy and security, 2 email services are really needed to be considered:-

  1. Protonmail (Free Email with Paid Professional Options as well)
  2. Tutanota (Free Email with Paid Professional Options as well)

I am not saying ditch the existing email services immediately, but you can transfer some of your important email communications to these services.

Chat

Everyone knows WhatsApp, I believe, one of the most famous Internet-based Chat Services. Recently they announce that they are going to share your data with Facebook. I am not surprised and neither should you, the difference is, they just announced! Most of the Chat services available on the internet use your chats or other data for their services. If you don’t want these organizations to get away with what they want, you should switch the services gradually. You have the following options to consider.

  1. Signal
  2. Telegram

In terms of user privacy, chat records are very private. Choice is yours.

Sharing tool

Most of the time when you share your file on the internet, it is not stored encrypted or can be tracked/hacked easily. If you want to share files of any size securely and anonymously, my recommendation is to use the following tools:-

  1. onionshare
  2. Resilio Sync

Keep Vigilant

Have I Been Pwned an internet website keep an eye on any potential security breaches. You can subscribe to that for immediate notifications.

Dehashed is a Security Website that retrieves data from publicly available hacked databases (made public on the internet). It allows you to search your data in those hacked databases, published by hackers for misuse.

End User’s world-famous argument: I don’t need privacy, I have nothing to hide!

I believe it’s your choice what to do, what not to do. But I think everyone needs some privacy. Nothing is full proof but good practice makes your internet usage safer and secure.

That’s all for this post. Keep Learning and Stay Safe and Secure :)

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