Ever since Edward Snowden leaked reports about NSA’s internet monitoring programs, people all over the world have been alerted to the fact that online privacy is at risk of being extinct. Monitoring one’s activity by finding their location using their IP address is becoming exceedingly simple. With each passing day ISPs are being pressured by governments all over the world to comply with their data retention and monitoring laws. Simultaneously – advertisers, several large websites and social sites are also doing their bid to track their user browsing patterns potentially sharing it with 3rd parties.
We list a number tools at your disposal which you can use to stay safe from trackers and browse the internet while maintaining your privacy.
The Onion Router, commonly referred to as Tor, is one of the safest ways to browse the internet anonymously. Tor is an open source browser that takes you to your destination browser through multiple nodes and hops. These nodes are remote computers of volunteers who form a network. Each website is accessed through a random network of nodes, making it difficult for anyone to trace your location.
Emails are one of the most common targets of attacks for hackers to gain access to your system and sensitive information stored in it. PGP has been the most trusted email encryption software in the market for over two decades now. Its new version, GPG, is open source and more user friendly.
Perhaps one of the most widely used ad blocking tools in the world, Ad-Block Plus is a great way to protect tracking cookies from being installed on your system. Although it does not protect you from malicious websites, it blocks ads and prevents them from installing tracking cookies on your system, which is quite helpful.
VPNs are arguably one of the best security tools at your disposal. They mask your IP address with one of their own server’s IP address and encrypt all traffic exchanged between the internet and your system. This enables them to help you browse the internet safely as well as anonymously. Additional features like Tor over VPN are great tools to ensure ones privacy online.
Tails OS is a Linux-based OS that is one of the best methods to truly be anonymous and safe while browsing the internet. Edward Snowden himself rated it quite highly, which more than speaks for its credentials in offering online security.
Developed by Open Whisper Systems, Signal is an encrypted instant messaging and voice calling application for Android and iOS users. It ensures that your messages and video calls are not monitored by anyone as it encrypts all data shared.
OpenDNS provides protection against malware and botnets. It simply switches your DNS settings to offer high grade protection while maintaining your connection speed.
SpiderOak is a cloud storage service. It differs from other services like DropBox and iCloud in that the encryption keys that the cloud storage service uses is handed to the customers themselves. Therefore, SpiderOak cannot be compelled to reveal them to the authorities should they want to do so.
Eraser is a file shredder. File shredders are used to delete sensitive data from your system for good, as normal delete operations still keep those files hidden in the memory.
Ghostery is an anti-tracking tool that lets you know which websites are tracking you and how they are doing so. It not only informs you when a website is trying to track you but also blocks close to 2000 tracking websites from having their way with your system.
A brain child of EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), who fight for internet freedom. Privacy Badger, based on AdBlocker Plus, keeps track of tracking sources. If as you browse the web, the same source seems to be tracking your browser across different websites, then Privacy Badger springs into action, telling your browser not to load any more content from that source.
Private Browsing allows you to browse the Internet without saving any information about which sites and pages you’ve visited and has an option for Tracking Protection in Private Browsing, which prevents companies from tracking your browsing history across multiple sites.
The secure browsing tools discussed in this article can help you browse the internet safely and anonymously. They are most effective when used in combination with one another. We urge you to find out more about these services and be on the lookout to maintain your online privacy.