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Top 10 Privacy Tools: Protect Your Data, Be Secure

We are sharing more about ourselves, our lives and our habits online than ever before.  With that in mind, it’s becoming more and more critical for us to protect our data each and every time we browse.  This has lead to rising concerns about global surveillance, and it’s no wonder privacy tools exist.

 
Tools and programs such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and proxy servers are widely used to sidestep prying eyes.  What’s more, countries such as China censor the websites and services their citizens can use online.  Thankfully, there are more than a few ways through which you can prevent your data from being intercepted.  While you may already be using a VPN, there are other strategies that you can use to keep yourself safe and private online.

Whether you want to avoid malicious ads or to sidestep censorship, here are 10-brilliant ways to protect your data online.
 

VPNs
 
 
VPNs are widely used as the first option in the fight against snooping.  Services such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN will allow you to connect to hundreds of speedy servers in complete privacy.  That means that you can bypass your internet service provider and anything you browse, view or do online will only be known to you.  Subscriptions are becoming more and more competitive and it’s worth looking at the best deals while you can.
 
 
Private Browsers
 
You can now browse and use the internet more privately than ever before.  The best option to take if this is high on your list, is to stay away from popular standards such as Google Chrome and Internet Explorer or Edge.  Browsers such as Brave and Firefox can be tailored to your own privacy needs which are well worth looking into, as your go-to programs.
 
 
Browser Add-Ons
 
In addition to secure browsers with significant privacy controls, you can build up your own program. Just go shopping for free and well-reviewed browser add-ons!  uBlock Origin for example, is widely regarded as one of the best blockers of pop-up ads and malicious content.  HTTPS Everywhere  is also well worth using, to force websites to always keep you secure.
 
You should also consider looking at uMatrix and Cookie AutoDelete if you’re interested in taking further control.
 
 
Private Search Engines
 
 
Yes – even search engines can track what you’re looking for. Google may be the biggest name in searching the internet, but they keep all sorts of information about you!  Look to move to a search engine that doesn’t log.  Logged data can be shared with advertisers which can make things more frustrating for regular web users.
 
Look at search engines such as DuckDuckGo, StartPage and Searx, all of which put privacy first.  DuckDuckGo and StartPage in particular, are great at removing tracking and logging from the equation altogether.
 
 
Encrypted Routers
 
Your wireless router can also prove to be a bit of a security leak without you even realizing it.  With this in mind, it’s worth either purchasing a router with a VPN installed or configuring one along the way.  VPN-activated and encrypted routers can protect your entire home against hacking and privacy intrusion.  Encrypted routers can also be assets in the fight against intrusion, and it’s well worth swapping out your existing model if you’ve not already considered it.
 
 
Spyware Removal
 
While antivirus software can vary from case to case, it’s still worth looking into spyware removal programs.  These can do much of the hard work for you as far as removing malicious and uninvited visitors are concerned.  It can be hard though, to tell the difference between legitimate and fake software these days – so make sure you do your research.
 
Read user reviews and look closely at what tech experts are saying too.  Malwarebytes  for example, is one of the most well-regarded online brands right now – and it’s available for free.  Great to scan and to protect in case of future attacks, it’s worth kitting out your device as soon as you can.
 
 
Password Managers

It’s getting harder and harder to remember super-secure passwords.  Some believe that passwords will die out altogether in a few years!  Before then however, it’s worth locking down all of your most essential passwords and security phrases with a specific program.  After all, it’s just not worth the risk of writing everything down on a notepad.
 
Programs such as 1Password are getting more sophisticated as they allow fingerprint access to all phrases contained.  You can also audit your passwords to make sure they are as secure as they can be, just in case you’re unsure of your password-writing abilities!
 
 
Firewall Monitors
 
Firewalls are fantastic at protecting devices.  They can be annoying when they don’t whitelist the programs we need to access, but they’re used for a reason.  However, some apps can actually transmit your information to third parties.  You will typically have to consent to such data being sent. However, it’s perhaps worth auditing your firewall outright.
 
Programs such as Little Snitch will help you to monitor all the connections coming in and out of your device and network.  This way, you can start to tighten up on which data leaves your system to a variety of sources.  Why not block these requests as and when they occur?
 
 
Private Email Systems
 
Even web-based emails are at risk of being intercepted.  If you use services such as iCloud and Gmail, you run the risk of sharing a fair amount of data with the world.  What’s more, they’re prime to getting hacked too.  It’s worth looking at private email services wherever possible.  Mailfence, Kolab and Tutanota lead the way in terms of useful and practical private email systems.  Tighten up your communications as well as your browsing!
 
 
Secure Messaging
 
While WhatsApp may lead with encrypted end-to-end messaging, there are more secure options available.  Why risk any of your information going rogue?  Look into programs such as Threema, Signal and Keybase – Wire as well, is also a great free option for mobile.
 
 

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