How to Secure Your Internet Privacy?
There are a lot of situations like the Edward Snowden leaks that make you wonder just how private your data is over the internet. With over 4 billion people accessing the internet every day, you need to take some steps to ensure that you maintain a good level of internet privacy. Online security threats vary and so it can be overwhelming for you to even figure out how and where to start tackling these possible threats.
Table of Content
1 . Achieving Online Privacy on Your Android Device
2. Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Online Privacy
Threats to your social media account or targeted ads that always pop up whenever you try to access a site are some of the reasons why you may consider keeping your online activities to yourself and as complicated and overwhelming as it may seem, it doesn’t have to be that way. In this guide, we will take you through tips that you can follow to make your online activities more secure.
Two Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication makes it more difficult for hackers and other attackers with malicious intent to have access to your online accounts as it is available for a number of popular sites and also services. It makes logging in to another level as instead of just providing your username and password to log in to a site or your account, you will have to provide additional information in form of a passcode that will be sent to your phone. This ensures that every login is done by you unless of course the attacker also has your phone.
An example of two-factor authentication is with your Gmail account. Usually, you would need just your username and password to log in, but with two-factor authentication, you would have to also provide a shortcode that would be sent to your phone by google before you can log especially if you are logging into your account from a different device. You can set up two-factor authentication for Facebook here, and for twitter here.
Two-factor authentication is not rock proof because your account can still be accessed, but adding this layer of protection makes it more difficult and inaccessible to just anybody.
Get Your Email Encrypted
Encrypting to your email prevents what you send from being understood by those who may hijack it except the intended recipient. It turns to gibberish when the hijackers attempt to read it and that is because the email can only be deciphered with the use of a key that is identical to that you used in encrypting. This implies that it won’t work except both parties make use of the same encryption software.
Mailvelope is a good encryption tool for Gmail users and it is a chrome and Firefox extension that can easily be set up.
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Encrypting your mails is unnecessary stress except you are sending sensitive and very private information. Such information includes bank details, credit card details, and even social security numbers. Encrypting your emails makes it safe as it prevents just anybody from having access to it. But it doesn’t stop the government from having access to your mails if the need arises.
Check out the Enigmail project for non-web based email encryption.
Make Use of a Password Manager
Just as its name implies, a password manager manages all your online passwords. It does this by allowing you to save them all behind a single master password, reducing the possibility of you forgetting your password. It helps you in maintaining strong passwords without fear of forgetting them as passwords are mostly being cracked because people tend to use weak passwords they can remember.
LastPass is one of the many password managers available online and it is very effective even though it can be a bit of trouble for new users. After signing up for a new password. You will also have to set up new passwords for all your accounts. If you make use of multiple computers, ensure you install the password manager on all of them to avoid being locked out of your account.
LastPass and other password managers provide security but they too need a strong password. Now you only have to remember one strong password rather than remember strong passwords for all your online accounts, so it is easier for you to secure your accounts.
Hide Your Internet Browsing Activity
Your internet browsing activity is being watched by a number of bodies like advertising companies and your internet service provider. This step helps you stay private and prevents prying eyes from knowing your every move. You can make use of a Disconnect browser extension to keep your browsing activity private.
Using Disconnect or any other browser extensions can help block your activity from prying eyes but there is a limit to how far they can go. If you want true anonymity, make use of a good VPN.
Encrypt Your Online Conversation
Most online chat platforms like WhatsApp have an end to end encryption feature available for users. It’s much like email encryption and it prevents a third party from seeing what you share with your contacts. This is especially useful when you are sharing sensitive information with your friends online as only the intended recipient gets to decipher the message.
If you use windows, the chat applet called Pidgin will be helpful in encrypting your conversations and you can follow this guide to set it up. For Mac OSX users, Adium is recommended for you. These services allow you to have encrypted conversations with your friends across all chat platforms in one place. For these services to be useful in encrypting your conversations, the other party also has to install the software you are using. Off-the-record messaging is a security feature that is built into Adium and is very secure and difficult to crack by a hacker.
Encrypt Your Backups
A huge chunk of data gets stored in the cloud daily to prevent loss and even though these cloud storage services are secure, their security is not absolute. That is why you will need to make use of features that provide you with additional security and ensure that your backed up data is safe.
It is easy to encrypt your data on different cloud storage services. If you are using CrashPlan, encryption is usually automatic. For Dropbox, you should opt for an encryption service like SafeMonk and it encrypts your file before upload. If you have a little amount of data that you would want to encrypt, you can choose to use TrueCrypt. Note that with TrueCrypt you can only have access to your files from one computer.
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Using these backup services for the encryption of your files will provide you with good security but it is wiser if you opt for cloud storage services that are themselves secure, like Tresorit and SpiderOak. These are also the ideal services you should use if you have the need to backup sensitive information to the cloud.
Achieving Online Privacy on Your Android Device
In this section, we will go further to point out the biggest threats to your online privacy and how you can ensure that your online privacy is secure.
The Greatest Threats to Your Online Security
1 . Government Intelligence
The 14-Eyes Alliance is one of the biggest threats to your online privacy as due to past occurrences you can safely say that no data is private especially if it has passed through any one of the Fourteen-Eyes Alliance countries. This and others are why you need to go further in encrypting your data so as to maintain your privacy.
Being that some of the popular encryptions algorithms are created by NSA amongst others, does the use of such encryption keep you safe from the eyes of the government? Knowing how encryption works will help to answer that question.
How Encryption Protects Your Information
The basic understanding of encryption is that it is a math equation that is in combination with a secret key or password. A cipher is an algorithm that encrypts plain data and it works by a unique key that is known only by the two parties involved.
Let’s use this scenario to get a basic understanding of how encryption works. Let’s say you encrypt and send a number; 2387 to your friend and you tell him you multiply two numbers to get 2387. It’s clear to him that you used the cipher; X * Y to get the encrypted number.
Using just the cipher and the encrypted number your friend will have options of possible combinations that could produce the number 2387, but there won’t be any certainty as to the exact one you used. What your friend needs is the key you used with your cipher so he can decipher it. So if you and your friend agreed that the Y in the equation represents 7, it is now clear that:
X * 7 = 2387
At this point, it won’t be a problem to know that the other number is 341.
This scenario is, of course, a very simplified version of the real thing and what you need to know is that the cipher is a piece of the encryption and the key is also very important.
Your Data and Government Surveillance
The question of how well encryption can protect you from government surveillance is not one that comes with a fixed answer. In simple terms, using good modern encryption methods can protect you from the prying eyes of the government, but also using such sophisticated methods for data encryption can attract the attention of the government to you.
A negative aspect of using sophisticated methods of encryption is that government intelligence organizations take note of it as it stands out and NSA, for instance, can keep documents for as long as 5 years before being deleted. They also reserve the right to keep documents for as long as it takes them to decode it so having heavy encryption is both good and bad.
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If you use very good and modern ciphers however, it wouldn’t matter for how long NSA keeps your files and tries to decrypt them because it just won’t be possible.
2. Browsing and Website Data Sharing
Web browsers observe your activity online and save information on these activities and your connection. The aim of doing this is most times not for malicious reasons but for better user experience like faster page loading, ease of login, and to help the websites to format correctly.
You may be aware that your web browser saves information about your activities, but what you may not know is that this information may be made available to the websites you visit for better experience of course. This information individually makes no sense and can’t do you any harm, but when put together the data can give your browser a unique fingerprint that could be used to identify you. Just as unique lines that make up a human fingerprint are specific to an individual, the information that servers store about your browser and the device you use can be used to identify you specifically.
When compared to other forms of tracking, browser fingerprinting makes it easier to track you when you try to improve your privacy by changing your browser settings, turn off HTML5 web storage, or blocking cookies. Browser fingerprinting is, however, great to prevent fraud. This can be seen when your bank gives you an alert when you log in from a strange device or a new location. Your bank’s website doesn’t recognize the activity as the fingerprint is different and so sent you the alert to be sure that it is not an attempt of theft.
Advertisers also take advantage of browser fingerprinting. They gather information about your web browsing habits and use this to create ads that are more specific to you.
Your web browser stores and also give out your information gathered from the websites you visit. The stored information is in the HTTP cookies format. Cookies are small-sized files that websites store on your device to improve and customize your browsing experience according to your preferences, and to make page loading faster.
An example can be seen in a shopping website which stores HTTP cookies on your browser so that whatever items you add to your cart will load automatically the next time you visit the website. This saves you from having to search for the items all over again. Such websites would have third party partners like those in advertising and analytics and they can place third party cookies in your browser which will monitor your internet activity and likes and send targeted ads your way.
Two unique types of cookies also exist and there are; Flash cookies and HTML5 Web Storage.
Flash cookies are similar to normal HTTP cookies as they too are of small size and are stored on devices that make use of flash. They make use of the flash elements on a site to monitor and store your information.
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On a computer, the location of flash cookies is different from that of regular HTTP cookies as they are stored in different Adobe files. So when you clear cookies, only the regular HTTP cookies get cleared, and not the flash cookies. If you have to delete flash cookies, then you need your Adobe flash player settings. In some cases, flash cookies respawn HTTP cookies even after they have been deleted and it makes third parties track you easily. So instead of just deleting regular HTTP cookies, also delete flash cookies to be sure that your cookies stay deleted.
If you’re using android 4.1 or any of the higher versions, flash is no longer supported so you don’t have to worry about flash cookies. But for users of older versions, it is possible that flash is still installed and so to uninstall it, go to flash player settings and choose to never have flash cookies saved.
HTML5 cookies also behave like regular HTTP cookies, with the difference being in the storage location. Regular cookies are stored on your device, but HTML5 cookies are stored on your browser and you can turn off web storage from your browser settings.
ETags are short for Entity Tags and they are a validation method for web caches as used by web servers. To speed up page loading, your browser saves some data when you visit a website so that subsequently it doesn’t have to load them again.
Your web browser can save data like copies of large images from the homepage of a website so that when next you visit, time and bandwidth won’t be wasted in loading the page again. This saved data is what is referred to as a web cache.
ETags are a type of HTTP header and their inclusion in a website allows them to assign a unique value to each cache element. This helps the website make a choice on the cached files that need to be re-downloaded when you visit the website again.
The effect of ETags on your online anonymity and privacy is that the unique identifiers assigned to cache resources can be used to trace you. It is hard for you to detect them or avoid them as they are a part of the site’s HTTP response header.
3. Search Engines
If you think about it, search engines are very often used by everyone with internet access and that is why search engines like google are able to store a lot of information about you. Search engines collect basic information about you and they include; your IP address, the time and date you used the search engine, the keywords you searched, and the unique identifier that is usually stored in cookies and is referred to as cookie ID. The saved data is shared with advertisers and websites who then use it to tailor ads to you and to personalize your browsing experience.
In some scenarios, government or law agencies request for your stored data from search engines if it is needed during an investigation. This is legitimate and the thought of all your online activities being reviewed by a third party can be alarming. Some searches that are borne out of curiosity could be used as evidence against you and you may have a hard time explaining why you made them in the first place. Say you are being investigated for or questioned because of a murder incident, and you had searched for how to get rid of a dead body out of curiosity on the past. It will be difficult having anybody believe that it was just an act of the moment.
Search histories have their uses in different cases such as in divorce, custody, and also in criminal court.
4. Non-Secure Websites
Secure websites aim to prevent interception of data exchange between the user and the server, and so they make use of HTTPS encryption protocol. HTTPS is short for HTTP security, which is also known as HTTP over Transport Layer Security (TLS). It could also be as HTTP over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which was made before TLS.
The HTTPS encryption protocol is very secure and most websites make use of it to ensure the security of data traffic. To check if a site is using HTTPS encryption, you will see a green closed lock at the address bar, and the URL will begin with “HTTPS”. Most browsers will also notify you if you are on an insecure website.
An example can be seen below after using google chrome to visit a secure website:
And this is an example of what to expect after visiting a non-secure website also with google chrome:
To be safe, you have to be vigilant and it involves watching out for websites that are not secure and to be careful when sharing data over such connections. When on a non-secure website, you have no form of privacy and so your internet service provider or any spy can view whatever data you exchange. So whatever credentials like passwords, usernames, credit card details, social security numbers, and personal information like your house address can be accessed if you submit them to such websites.
Malware is malicious software that aims at damaging your device or spying on your device, server, or network. Different types of malware exist and they can harm your android device or even steal your stored information. Common types of malware include a virus, adware, spyware, worms, and ransomware.
A malware can go a long way to take away your security and privacy by creating a backdoor, which leaves you vulnerable and allows third parties with malicious intent to have access to your system without being stopped by the already existing security features. A backdoor that is as a result of malware will allow the attacker to have access to your device and its commands, like having remote control over your device, alter your files or even steal your personal information.
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It can be difficult to detect malware and that is one of the reasons why they are hard to deal with immediately. For instance, a Trojan horse is a type of malware that feeds on your tryst and tricks you into installing it or providing it with sensitive data. It comes disguised as a trusted app and so you easily install it and readily provide the details it asks of you.
Some software you knowingly download and that have legitimate purposes could also contain bugs that invade your privacy without permission and without the user’s knowledge of the existence of such privacy-invading features. This type of software is referred to as grayware.
6. Cloud Storage
Some cloud storage services come with encryption features that keep your files protected and ensure they remain private even in the event of a hack. The cloud storage service providers also have the key to unencrypting the files and so the privacy of your files isn’t absolute.
Most cloud storage services add to their terms and conditions that they reserve the right to share your files with government authorities. So if there is a court order requesting for your files and data, they will corporate. NSA can have access to your files stored in the cloud and if they can do this, then your data cannot be said to be truly private.
Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Online Privacy
When the talk of ensuring tight internet security comes up, most people focus more on the security of their computers and often neglect the security of their mobile phones. Neglecting your mobile phones still leaves a very large hole that can be exploited by an attacker.
With your mobile device, a lot of information is shared in various ways including texts, phone calls, voice calls using voice over internet protocol, your use of Google or other search engines, visiting websites, emails, visiting and posting in social media, storing files on cloud storage, and also your use of mobile banking. Several pieces of information are shared via a mobile device frequently and so it would be very wise to include the security of your mobile device in your plan to have tight internet security.
There are a lot of internet threats to your privacy and combating them can be overwhelming to you. There are a lot of approaches you can take to ensure that you are protected, and as effective as they are a lot of these methods are also easy to do. Below are methods that can help you greatly in ensuring your internet security.
1 . Make Use of A VPN
The use of a VPN is a very easy but effective method of giving you online protection. Many VPN services for your computer can also be used to provide protection for your android devices like mobile phones and tablets.
VPNs are relatively easy to set up on your mobile device and are sure to keep you anonymous and safe from most of the threats to your privacy that exist on the internet. Some methods of protecting your privacy work by correcting the already done damage, but what a VPN does is to prevent security breaches from occurring on your internet connection. It is after all better to prevent a security problem than to try and fix one.
The use of a VPN combines different layers and techniques of protection to give you a secure, anonymous, and private connection. Below are some of the features of a VPN service that are used to give you tight protection.
1 . Encryption
The strength of the encryption depends on two main pieces; the cipher, and the encryption key length.
The cipher is also known as the mathematical algorithm used in the encryption. Different ciphers exist but the most secure and popular one at the moment is AES. This is the same cipher that is used by the US government.
The most common encryption key lengths you will most likely come across with an AES encryption cipher are 128-bit encryption and 256-bit encryption. Good VPN services that offer you security and privacy encrypt your connection using 256-bit encryption.
For encryption and decryption to happen, a unique and shared key is needed. This key enables the receiver of the data to understand it and third parties can only read the encrypted data without using the unique key if they try out every possible combination and outcome until they guess correctly. This method is called brute force and it is a very long and exhausting process with no promises.
If an 8-bit encryption key is used, for instance, the number of possible combinations of the ciphers and outcomes is only 256 and so it is easy to decrypt data that has this type of encryption with brute force. The number of combinations and possible outcomes in a 128-bit encryption key is going to be significantly higher and it will be even more for data encrypted using a 256-bit encryption key. Even with the use of the most advanced supercomputer, it would take several lifetimes to use brute force in cracking data encrypted with 128-bit encryption, let alone 256-bit encryption.
2. Open VPN
Open VPN is open-source software that provides a secure protocol that many VPN service providers use. What open VPN basically does is to route your VPN connection through the secure channels it creates so that your data remains protected and without risks of leaks. It is an effective added layer of protection for your internet connection.
3. Perfect Forward Secrecy
This is also a very good method of encryption. Normal encryption methods make use of a single encryption key to secure your data and as long as the key is not compromised, your data remains secure.
Perfect forward secrecy takes your encryption to another level by encrypting your data with constantly changing encryption keys which are of course temporary. This provides greater security for your data and secures your data even if one key were to get compromised. The worst that could happen in such a scenario is that only a small piece of data would be revealed while the rest would remain secure.
4. Escape 14-Eyes Alliance Spies
VPNs are a great way to stay anonymous on the internet and even though this is almost perfect, your anonymity can be breached if the authorities ask for your information from the VPN service provider. This is only an issue if your VPN service provider keeps logs and so to remain truly anonymous, only opt for VPN services that have and enforce a strict no logs policy, and also operate beyond the powers if the 14-eyes alliance. This way there would be no data to hand over, and the VPN service provider would be under no obligation by law to comply with the government and hand over your data.
Many VPN companies allow you to personalize your configuration so as to suit your specific privacy needs. A VPN on its own is effective, but can also be used in combination with other methods of ensuring online security for an even better result.
2. Make Use of the Tor Network
The Tor network is widely popular as an effective method to have online security and anonymity while on the internet. Android users can also benefit from the Tor network.
Tor is short for The Onion Router and it has several advantages and disadvantages when compared to a VPN.
Proper connection to the Tor network guarantees complete anonymity. So whatever you do online stays private and can’t be traced back to you.
Tor also encrypts your data and your IP address several before sending your traffic through random nodes or relays. These nodes are run by volunteers but you have nothing to worry about as they can’t detect your data or even tell your connection’s path. This is because a layer of encryption gets removed with every node your reach. The removal of a layer of encryption from the multiple layers with every new node reached is the reason for its name; The Onion Router.
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Connecting to Tor using android is by its Orbit package. The package allows you to connect to instant message services, the web, and your email too without your internet service provider or other third-party spies having access to your data. With Tor, you are sure of a secure and anonymous connection.
3. Create and Use Secure Passwords
Creating and using secure passwords is a very easy yet effective way of ensuring your privacy is protected. For users of android devices, this step involves creating and using a password to lock all mobile devices that you own.
You must have been told at one point or another that it is wrong and a very bad idea to use a single password for your different accounts, and for what it’s worth, we are re-emphasizing this point. You can use this tool to generate very secure passwords.
Here are some good and bad habits for secure passwords that you should know:
- Make it a habit to change your password regularly, especially if there has been an attempt or a breach in security.
- Make use of two-factor authentication also known as multifactor authentication. It is easy to set up and is very effective as an additional security layer.
- Using a pin to secure your device is pretty good, but the use of an alphanumeric password gives you more security.
- Make use of long passwords, as the length of your password, is more important than the complexity of your password. With every character that is added, you make your password more difficult to crack.
- Do not create passwords using your information like birthdays, pet’s name, spouse’s name, father’s name, mother’s name, and so on. It may seem convenient for you but you should know that cracking such a password is very easy.
- Do not use the same password for your different accounts. It is very risky because if one account gets hacked, then all your other accounts will suffer the same fate.
- Do not make use of an easy way out such as the use of simple terms or characters like ‘12345’ or ‘password’.
- Do not make use of security questions for password recovery that are easy to guess.
The use of a fingerprint to unlock your device has become the new big deal because it allows you to unlock your device conveniently and faster, unlike passwords. The downside to this method of providing security for your device is the possibility of law enforcement officers compelling you to unlock your phone or tablet with your fingerprint, which would be relatively easy compared to a password. Another disadvantage is the possibility of having a faulty fingerprint sensor at any time which could allow anyone access to your device. The best way to be sure that your device and data stored therein is safe is by the use of a strong password.
If you use a simple password for all your accounts because you are scared that you will forget new ones or the old ones, then you need to make use of a password manager. Password managers are software that encrypts your passwords and stores them for you in a database. The password gets automatically filled in the appropriate text box when you need it. If you are using a computer you can find a password manager as a browser extension. Some good examples of a password manager are NordPass, LastPass, and also Dashline.
Mobile phone browsers like chrome also have password manager features built-in. browser password managers are good at securing your passwords, but it is safer to make use of third party password managers as those of browsers could be more easily hacked into. Cybersecurity research of recent years has suggested that it is not totally safe to make use of auto-fill features as used by mobile phone browser password managers.
4. Only Use Secure Payment Methods
Online shopping is very common now and if your payment method isn’t secure, you leave yourself at risk of credit card and identity theft. Providing payment information to secure websites only will not sufficiently protect you and so you need to subscribe to the use of additional techniques.
Making payments to a secure website through a VPN connection is a good first step. It encrypts your data transfer and keeps you anonymous. If you want to take this security even further, then consider paying with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. It is easy to purchase and use bitcoin and you can even purchase it anonymously if you really want to guard your credit card information. Some options you can consider are paying for the bitcoin with cash or a prepaid credit card.
Some banks give you additional security when you shop online. For example, Bank of America generates temporary credit card numbers for your use for online payments so that you can protect your real credit card numbers. Citi protects users’ online data by giving out fake account numbers. France’s Societe Generale offers users one-time use CVV numbers.
PayPal is another good option with which to make online payments. It isn’t anonymous, but its security measures are good and will protect you. To keep payments and user information secure, they find weaknesses in their services and strengthen them immediately. They also have a bug bounty program that gives rewards to anyone who can discover vulnerabilities in their system.
5. Review Your Browser Settings
Internet browsers use different approaches to store and share your information, but they are ways in which you can limit the amount of data that your browser stores and shares to the websites you visit.
Clearing out your DNS cache and cookies will reduce the chances of you being fingerprinted and tracked using your browser. You can search online for a guide that is specific to your browser and device on how to clear out cache and cookies. Some browsers also have features you can use to limit the number of cookies you accept.
The disadvantage of clearing out your cache or turning it off completely is that pages will take longer to load and your browsing experience won’t be specific to your preferences anymore.
It is totally worth it to take out some time to properly review and configure your browser as doing this will provide you with good protection from tracking. Panopticlick is a website that can tell you how much protection your current browser settings are giving you.
Below is an example of what a panopticlick result for browser security looks like:
You should also carry out the test for your browser and if you fail on multiple counts, you can improve your results by doing the following:
- Clear all cookies
- Block all cookies
- Clear web cache
- Tap on “send a do not track request with your browser traffic”
Note that doing the above will not help to improve browser fingerprints. Trying to limit online tracking will however make your android browser be more unique to the websites that you visit. If you want to reduce the risk of browser fingerprints, make use of the Tor network.
6. Change Search Engine
Most search engines, particularly google store your data and share some of them with third parties. There are however other search engines that you can use without having to give up much of your privacy.
A popular search engine for both PCs and Android devices that don’t save user data is DuckDuckGo. It doesn’t also share your browsing history, or make use of it to personalize your search results.
7. Secure Your Cloud Storage
If you patronize cloud storage services to back up your files, then choose a provider that encrypts your files before they are uploaded. As good as this sounds, it also has its associated risks. The cloud storage service provider who ensures your files are encrypted before being uploaded also has the key to decrypting your files. This means that they can have access to your files, and can hand the decrypted files over to government agencies upon request. It kinds of defeats the whole purpose of encryption.
To ensure that your files remain private, it is wise that you encrypt them yourself before uploading it to the cloud. This way you alone can decrypt your files as only you have the key to decrypt the files. Be careful though not to upload your encryption key together with your files as it is meant to be private and accessed by you alone.
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How to Encrypt Your Data
Here you will be guided step by step on how to encrypt your files by yourself before uploading it to the cloud storage, to ensure that they are not tampered with.
#1 Choose an Encryption Program
There are different apps that you can use to encrypt your data even if you have no prior knowledge of encryption. Compatibility is an aspect you should consider when choosing an encryption program as not all programs are compatible with different cloud storage services. So before you encrypt your files with an encryption program, be sure that it is compatible with the specific cloud storage service that you are using.
In this guide, we will make use of the mobile app, Boxcryptor to show you how to encrypt your data. You can choose any software you like but make sure it meets the following specifications:
- Is compatible for use with your cloud storage service
- Works with your Android device
- Makes use of end to end encryption. This ensures that your files are encrypted before they leave your device and can’t be decrypted except by you.
- It doesn’t store your password.
Your use of a program that doesn’t store your password is very important because you alone should have access to the data encryption password. Boxcryptor lets you know that they make use of zero-knowledge paradigm with the following message:
#2 Create a Secure Password That You Can Remember
After you download and open Boxcryptor for the first time, you will be required to create an account. Choosing a password is a part of the account opening process.
Your password is the key to encrypting and decrypting your files and so it should be a strong password.
You also need to ensure that you do not forget your password because since Boxcryptor doesn’t save your password, there is no way to recover it and forgetting it could lead to loss of access to your own files.
You should consider saving your password with a password manager or write it down somewhere safe.
#3 Add a Cloud Storage Service Provider
Boxcryptor will also ask you to set up a cloud service provider of your choice.
After connecting to a provider, you can now have access to your files and storage folders.
It is important to note that the free version of Boxcryptor allows you to add only one cloud storage service provider.
#4 Create an Encrypted Storage Folder
If you want to store your files in different encrypted folders, click on the + sign that is located at the bottom of the screen.
Now enter the folder name and click on “create”
Your encrypted folder will have a screen lock sign. Adding any file to this folder will encrypt the file before storing it to the cloud.
8. Secure Your Email
It is highly likely that your email provider is a secure service that provides you with a safe HTTPS connection and some providers even go further to ensure that you don’t experience data leaks. Major email service providers create robust security features and quickly fix vulnerabilities in the system.
As much as they try to protect you, they always comply with the government and will hand over your information when asked. If this knowledge is new to you and it makes you uncomfortable, then you need to go the extra mile to protect your privacy.
The challenge you are most likely to face is that most of the available methods of encrypting emails are not practical. End to end encryption, for example, is one of the methods of encrypting your email but can only work if the other party is also down with the idea, and participates in it. After all, the recipient will have to decrypt the message to be able to read it.
Another method and most likely the most secure method of encrypting your email is Pretty Good Encryption (PGE). The problem with this method is that setting it up is very complicated.
Using a privacy-oriented service provider is the only practical way of ensuring that your privacy is secure. Prontomail is a recommended option and although it is not completely user friendly, it gives you extra protection by encrypting your email’s metadata and contents.
9. Make Use of Antimalware and Firewall Software
Antimalware and firewalls have always been associated with computers, but that is not the case anymore as your android devices can also benefit from these technologies. Advancement in technology comes with malicious apps, processes, and programs that aim to steal your information, identity, and your money and so it is important that you stay protected at all times.
Your use of antimalware ensures that your device is constantly being scanned for suspicious or harmful files. Your antimalware will also block websites that try to redirect you to a dangerous site, compromise your security, or try to download a malicious file to your device.
The importance of using firewall software is that it monitors your internet traffic. Apps once downloaded can even take over your device as you have little control over them at that point, and so firewall helps to keep them in check. They monitor the apps on your android device and ensure that no data is being stored or shared without your permission. The action of the firewall depends on your settings as a firewall can block traffic automatically and also help you monitor the traffic that you allow.
A one-way firewall will adequately protect your device from malware attacks, but a two-way firewall stops unwanted traffic from getting to your device, and they also ensure that the apps on your device have no internet connection without your permission. This way malware cannot steal your data.
10 . Be Knowledgeable About Social Media Privacy Policies and Settings
You may think that nothing can be known about you from the information you give out on social media platforms because you feel they are not private details. Individually, the information may be nothing, but when all of them are put together you’d be amazed at how much of your life can be known. The information gotten is enough for an attacker to threaten or harm you with. They have been situations in which burglars and scammers took advantage of the little details available on social media to commit crimes.
Some posts you make can tell your location through geotags and you won’t even know that this information is available to the public. Note that the more people can learn about you, even with the smallest information, the higher your chances of being a victim of identity fraud or other malicious attacks.
Being on social media puts you at risk but you do not have to delete your accounts altogether. There are two things that can help you stay safe:
Firstly, read a lot and do your research on the privacy policies of the social media platforms you are on. Platforms that regularly share your information with third parties are a cause for concern.
Secondly, you should constantly check your privacy settings, review it and limit the number of followers who can view your posts. Deny the permission to share your location and regularly checking your settings will ensure that there are no changes.
11. Download Trusted Apps Only and Review App Permissions Regularly
There are a great number of apps available for download and just like anything else on the internet, apps can be a source of malware or other forms of security risks. And so before you download an app, you need to make some considerations.
Make it a habit to download apps from trusted sources only. Even if they could still contain malware or other security risks, it is far less likely to happen with these types of apps.
Before you download an app, check its reviews so you can know what other users before you have to say. In general, avoid suspicious apps.
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Review app permissions and only grant permissions if they are really necessary to the proper functioning of the app. A game app that requests access to your email is obviously up to something suspicious. Regularly check the permissions settings to be sure nothing changes.
If the app doesn’t need to know your location to function properly, disable the location access to the app. This will keep your location private. Some apps also monitor your movements to know where you visit and how often you book flight tickets and your other activities. Such information is shared with advertising companies so they can send you targeted ads.
Internet privacy is very important as much of your safety depends on it. A lot of information can be gotten about you off the internet and this information in the wrong hands could ruin your life. Ensuring that your private information stays private and that your online activities are also private takes a lot from you but it is achievable. With this guide, you can now ensure that your data is safe even in the cloud, and whatever information you send or receive remains private. A good VPN plays a very important role in providing you with good anonymity and privacy. Providing you with multiple geo-locations to choose from, and 256-bit encryption, Limevpn will ensure that all your internet connections remain private and secure.