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With all the news of how NSA and other such agencies, and hackers too perhaps are checking on your online presence and activities every day, we thought you could do with some simple tips and tricks to keep you off the radar to get you some much needed online privacy. It doesn’t promise a 100 percent anonymity but sure makes their work harder than usual.
Read on to find out 6 ways how you have an additional layer of security over your online privacy:
1. Go Anonymous
The most common and famous method used is TOR. It is free to use. TOR offers anonymity, not a complete secure communication. Once the data leaves your system, instead of choosing the regular path to reach the destination, TOR routes that data to its various random and numerous nodes before reaching the destination. This makes it difficult to trace the data back to the system the data was originally sent from. TOR is an almost perfect tool for online privacy.
Although a few days ago, there were reports that even if you use TOR, NSA would still be able to read some of the encrypted data. TOR is the best software out there, and there are no possible alternatives that you could trust. Nonetheless, you could still use TOR if all you need to do is casual surfing. Here’s another option called Anonymouse.
2. Encrypt the Important Data
Use trusted encrypted software to encrypt all your important data and upload it over cloud services. Many cloud storage services also proactively encrypt your data first before actually uploading them to their servers. This results in your data being doubly encrypted.
You can use AES Crypt software, which is comes in handy. AES Crypt works on all platforms; Windows, Mac and Linux. You can encrypt your files by simply right-clicking on it or via the command-line applications (for Windows), and your file will be encrypted with an aes extension. To decrypt and access the file, enter your password.
Another good option is TrueCrypt. TrueCrypt creates a virtual disk on your system wherein all the saved files are encrypted. It is a free open-source application. Many people use TrueCrypt with Dropbox, which enhances the security of online privacy even further. Check the instructions here to know how.
3. Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) makes your communications safer by creating a tunnel between your machine and the destination over a public network. All the data transmitted and received to/from your machine is encrypted.
There are loads of Free and Paid VPN software’s available to download, but be sure about the company’s integrity and security it offers and go with the one you feel suits your needs. The VPN does not allow torrent downloads and depending on the software and the plan you choose, it may/may not block other websites like social media, illegal music/video sharing sites and pornographic websites as well, obviously. Using a VPN does not mean your machine is completely secure but then again, it dramatically increases the security compared to the local connection.
4. Carry your Internet
The easiest targets for hackers are the ones who gorge on free internet in café’s and malls. Buy and carry your own USB Data Card (Internet Dongle). It will provide you much faster and safer connectivity. If you use a laptop, using your own Internet and running a VPN on your system makes your system a difficult one to mess around with.
5. Curb Social Media activity
For governments and hackers like, the easiest way to profile a person is to check its online presence and the online privacy invading information, particularly through the Social networking websites. What you choose to share is nobody’s business, but understand what a stranger doesn’t need to know about you, and create/edit your profile accordingly. Keep the information generic, not too specific.
Also, do not use your social networking websites as sign-up or login for other third-party websites. If you have stopped using certain website, revoke the permissions for that website from your profile. If you wish to remove your profile from certain social networking which is not in use anymore, use websites like justdelete to delete your profile
6. Activate Multi Factor / Two Factor Authentication
Many popular Social Networking and Email websites now offer Multi Factor Authentication mechanism for login. It requires you to enter a code the website sends via text on your phone (at the very instant), along with your password in order to access your account.
The procedure if followed every time you use a different device, system, browser or an operating system. This way, the intruder won’t be able to access your account even if they know the password.
Following these steps doesn’t mean your system is 100 percent secure, no machine ever is, but you can be rest assured that it is much safer than your colleagues and friends and strangers nearby (unless a hacker is someone who really loves challenges). Online privacy is highly under-estimated.
If you wish to take extra measures to secure the information on your system, do read the 14 ways to protect your System against the Information Security threats.