5 Free Tools To Protect Your Online Privacy
Since the recent uncovering of the US government’s secret online surveillance programs like PRISM, internet privacy has become an even greater concern for everyone. It is quite pivotal for internet users to be conscious of their online privacy, whether they are surfing their favorite social media service or merely downloading a file. To help you in this endeavor, we have compiled a list of free, easy to setup online tools that will go a long way to protect your online privacy.
1. Use Tor Browser
Tor – short for The Onion Router – is one of the best free tools to protect your online privacy. It lets you browse internet anonymously by redirecting all traffic through a worldwide volunteer network of nodes or relays to conceal both your location and usage. So that your online privacy is protected from anyone keeping an eye on your online activities by conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Tor also works with many existing web browsers including Firefox and Chrome. Firefox users can also make use of Tor button which they can click to quickly enable or disable the browser’s use of Tor.
2. Use a VPN Service
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is another great tool to protect your online privacy. Using VPN has many advantages. For one, it keeps your privacy intact by providing a secured internet connection, and two, it allows you to browse the web anonymously across shared public networks and places with free hotspot Wi-Fi access.
Spoflux is an excellent internet security tool that encrypts your internet connection with a virtual IP address, which means you can use it as a proxy service. It also provides protection against malicious threats.
Alternatively, you can use a Windows app such as OkayFreedom which provides a limited amount of traffic in a month on free accounts. Users who need unlimited traffic can always opt for the paid plan which costs $69.95 / year.
3. Use DuckDuckGo
Google is a great search engine and we use it everyday. But if you want to protect your online privacy then you should really not be searching with Google. They store all your data for all the various reasons, such as customized searches and to serve related Ads that are displayed alongside those searches. Worse, they can hand over that data to any government agency as they wish.
We recommend using DuckDuckGo. It is a nice alternative with almost identical search results as Google but with an added bonus of complete online anonymity. They don’t store your online data like Google which means you can be sure that no government agency will look at what you’ve been searching for online.
4. Use Cryptocat
Cryptocat is an online chat service that encrypts all your conversations on the client side before sending them off to the receiver. Which means that the server only ever sees encrypted data. So that you can be sure that your online privacy isn’t at risk. It is also open source which means you can see the code and modify it as you wish. It is an excellent alternative to Facebook, Skype and other similar chatting applications.
5. Use Virus Total
Whenever you download any piece of software from the internet, you inevitably put your system at risk of attack by malicious code in the form of Viruses, Trojan Horses, Worms and other Spyware. Once they attain access to your computer, it can become very difficult to identify and eliminate them. So before you decide to run or install anything that you have downloaded from the internet, it is best to make sure that they are safe. One very useful tool for this purpose is Virus Total. It is a free service that lets you analyze and identify any such malicious software or URL so that you can delete it before it does any damage to your system.
Give the above tools a go. Each of the above mentioned tools are very easy to setup and use. Hopefully you will find them useful. Plus you will have an additional peace of mind that your online privacy is secured.