Want to know the best ways to protect your personal information online? Are you sick of your online activities being tracked by sites, browsers, and your Internet service provider? Does the web seem to track you down no matter where you go?
Oh, I see. Such is the modern era in which we find ourselves. Yet, with just a few mouse clicks, you may make yourself almost invisible.
Not even the NSA, the biggest of the big brother agencies, will be able to keep tabs on you (unless you really piss them off, bad.)
So, let’s restore your right to personal solitude.
Get a Virtual Private Network
VPNs should be at the forefront of your mind whenever the term “digital privacy” is spoken.
There is no other way for the internet to identify you as a specific individual but through your IP address.
Because of this, your IP address can be used to track and locate you. It’s also used to track your online actions and provide context for them.
Your IP address is easily viewable by almost everyone (including the websites you visit, the apps you use, your browser, your Internet service provider, and even other members of some chatrooms) without the need for any special software or knowledge.
A person’s physical location can be determined from their IP address. Furthermore, if a hacker obtains your IP address, they can target your machine directly.
To cut a long story short, obviously you shouldn’t give out your IP address. Luckily, that’s where a virtual private network (VPN) comes in.
It’s a program that hides your true Internet Protocol address. In layman’s terms, it provides you with a fresh batch of IPs to use.
This new IP address is now visible to any websites, browsers, or groups keeping tabs on you. Additionally, no one will be able to trace your online activities back to you because they will have no idea that it is “you” using this new IP address.
Which Virtual Private Network Should You Use? Okay, so here are the essentials to remember while picking a VPN service: Not all VPNs are trustworthy. However, not all VPNs are quick or secure.
That’s why I spent a lot of time compiling a comprehensive list of the top VPN services on the market today.
Stop using Google.
Um, hold on a second. What you describe sounds like the most powerful and comprehensive search engine in the world. In a word, yeah.
However, if you value privacy, you should avoid using Google. It’s at least aware of and keeps track of the specifics of your search terms.
Your online movements are then monitored and recorded. Some 75% of all websites have been found to employ Google trackers.
Google also keeps track of your private data (such where you go and what you buy!).
Click the “more results” link at the bottom of any Google search. Your precise position would be displayed for all to see!
The obvious answer is to start using DuckDuckGo instead. It’s a powerful search engine that protects your anonymity. Your movements and searches are not tracked by DuckDuckGo.
Put in place robust password protection.
The most common vector for hacking attacks? Passwords that are “too simple” to hack.
Many of you probably use passwords like “1234,” right? “Google”? Perhaps your date of birth? Who is your other half?
I recognize the significance of this. You don’t have a secure password since complex ones are difficult to remember.
In such a situation, a password manager such as NordPass proves invaluable.
Password managers are useful because they can save your passwords securely and auto-fill them when you need them.
There’s no limit to the length of the password you may use with the manager; it will remember all 500 characters and automatically fill them in when you login in to the same sites where you originally used that password.
It also protects you from phishing scams. Unlike manual password entry, password managers like NordPass simply require you to enter the password into the original website.
An additional benefit of using a password manager is the ability to safely store sensitive information such as credit card numbers, bank account information, and other financial records. Most password managers encrypt data from beginning to end, so neither the company nor any other parties can decipher what you’ve stored.
You can use the same really complicated password for a thousand different websites and still remember them all.
The idea is that you can use the same difficult password on a thousand different websites without having to remember or type in each one individually.
Typically, password managers will also synchronize your passwords across all of your devices. What this implies is that you may use the same password on several devices, including your cell phone, laptop, and other devices provided they are compatible with the password manager.
What’s even better? No payment is required to use NordPass. You’re free to hire whatever manager you like. However, the security of NordPass has been verified by an independent auditing firm. Most other password managers can’t say that.
Conceal your identity by using a private browsing mode (and not Google Chrome).
In the same way that using Google’s search engine can be a privacy infringement, so can using Google Chrome. Those interested in the finer points can scroll below for an expanded breakdown.
To put it another way: Google Chrome (and most other browsers) follow and record your online activities.
Conversely, Tor Browser is a free and publicly available alternative. The Tor browser’s main purpose is to protect your anonymity online.
When you use the Tor browser, your data is sent through a series of relays, or “nodes.” These nodes are also operated by unpaid volunteers and are not owned by any corporation or single person.
Similar to a virtual private network (VPN), Tor can hide your IP address from prying eyes.
What this means is that when you use Tor, your connection will go through one of these nodes before arriving at the destination website. As a result, the “node” is misrepresented to the websites as the visitor.
Moreover, Tor allows access to hidden or underground web spaces. This is totally up to you, but unfortunately Google Chrome doesn’t support it.
However, Tor slows down the process (due to all the routing). So, the Brave browser is an option as well. To put it simply, it’s a lot like Google Chrome, but without the tracking and other privacy issues. Therefore, it’s also quicker (less background scripts).
Create a fake email account
If you’ve found this article while searching for ways to safeguard your digital life, you almost certainly communicate with friends and family via Gmail or Yahoo. There, all your personal space vanishes.
In case you didn’t know, Gmail can actually “read” your electronic mail. In addition, I am not referring about mere “timestamps,” metadata, or sender details. Oh, I’m referring to the message body itself!
You do realize that you need to discontinue use of them, correct? And then what would you recommend? You should switch to proton mail immediately.
Protonmail is an open-source email service that prioritizes user anonymity. End-to-end encryption is used, which is a major plus. This means that not even Protonmail or its employees can read your messages.
Additionally, Protonmail does not provide user information to government agencies or other third parties. The reason they don’t is because Protonmail is based in lovely Switzerland and doesn’t have to worry about such things. The emails are secure even when information is transmitted in rare circumstances.
And it doesn’t keep a record of your IP address either. Google? Google’s whole business model relies on tracking and associating user actions.
Tutanota is another option for sending encrypted email incognito. It’s free as well, but I’d recommend Protonmail instead.
Utilize a secure online cloud service to store your data.
When discussing methods to protect one’s online privacy, “cloud storage” often comes up. Everybody uses the internet to save information these days.
Google Drive is not to be used at this time, so please do not try. The same logic applies: Google owns it. Since Dropbox also isn’t “end to end encrypted,” it’s also unreliable.
Consequently, they may be able to access and even distribute your actual data if the need arises.
Why not? Both Tresorit and pCloud are solid choices. They provide free plans and full encryption. Nobody one can access your data but you.
Enhance your Google account’s safety
Oh, I see. Not everyone is quite ready to give up Google just yet. In addition, I share your sentiments. In general, Google is a feature-rich and indispensable program that everyone should have.
Then, you should disable “Personalized Ads” in your Google preferences. But that’s only part of the answer.
Disabling “Web and Activity” and “Location History” on your “Web and Activity” page is recommended.
When you wear one of these, Google can track your every move and learn intimate details about your life.
Google can still learn a lot about you, even now. You are still using Google goods if you utilize Google Sheets, Google Drive, or YouTube.
As a result, the alternatives to Google presented previously in this paper should be considered.
Summary- Methods to protect one’s privacy and anonymity online.
Don’t think “Google” is the only issue here. Facebook, too, has come under fire for alleged privacy violations.
The point is that if you use the internet in any manner, shape, or form, you are subject to the will of these colossal corporations. Do you realize that Facebook also owns the popular messaging apps Whatsapp and Instagram? And I think we can both agree that both play significant roles in our daily lives.
Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to minimize your online activity. Keep your social media posts about hotels, restaurants, and cafes to a minimum, and avoid using the “location-tag” feature.
Email, cloud storage, and IM should only be used if they offer end-to-end encryption (Whatsapp is E2E encrypted.)
However, a virtual private network (VPN) is still your best bet for protecting your anonymity online. I agree that there are other ways to protect your privacy online. However, these are the simplest, most elementary building blocks available.