Ensure Your Peace of Mind Online by Installing These Tools

Another day, another data leak. 2022 is not much calmer than the previous year. Of course, there hasn’t been anything as big as last year’s Facebook data breach. But CRN reveals that there’s still work to be done. Even though the number of data leak victims decreased, the amount of breaches has increased. 

The last few years revealed a turn for the worse in cybersecurity. Ransomware gangs got more dangerous. They successfully targeted the healthcare, educational, and governmental sectors. Also, ransoms got larger. The renowned Colonial Pipeline attack cost five million dollars in ransom. 

According to NortonLifeLock, there were more than 330 million cybercrime victims in 2020. Hackers successfully exploited the Covid-19 crisis. Cyber attacks against WFH employees spiked. At the same time, governmental surveillance and censorship tightened in some regions. 

Cybersecurity and online privacy have become hot topics. Luckily, there are many professional security companies with excellent services. If you want to improve your online safety, we have gathered a list of tools you may find valuable. 

Private Messaging Apps 

Most direct messaging services boast privacy and security. But that’s far from the truth. For example, Facebook messenger is not end-to-end encrypted. Facebook can access and read your chats. They have also shared private message content with law enforcement. Of course, you shouldn’t do anything illegal. But for most Internet users, it’s an online privacy issue. Things are even worse in authoritarian countries like Russia

and China. They closely monitor their social networks and arrest political opposition. There, private messaging apps are critical. 

When picking a private messaging app, rely on research. All of them have different features. Some might be more applicable than others for your situation. However, there are general guidelines. 

The app should offer end-to-end encryption, guaranteeing your conversations are private. Also, message self-destruct should be on the table, and you should be able to clear messages from their servers. Telegram and Signal are the most popular private messaging apps. 

Virtual Private Network 

Many consider VPN an essential privacy protection software. Primarily designed for business data safety, they became a popular consumer product. According to statistics, one in three US Internet users has used a VPN service. 

VPNs work by encrypting your online traffic and rerouting it through one of its servers. Your original IP address is substituted with an alternative. What’s more, privacy protection-oriented VPNs follow a strict no-logs policy. It means that after the browsing session is done, the server is wiped clean. It’s a significant online privacy boost. During the unrest in Hong Kong, VPNs were the most downloaded software. 

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When picking a VPN, inspect server amount, global coverage, and connection speed. Luckily, most providers offer a free VPN trial, so you can try it out before purchasing. VPNs are excellent at avoiding censorship and surveillance and keeping your data safe. 

Private Browsers 

3.2 billion people use Google Chrome as their primary browser. But Google is known for excessive user data collection. Google has been scrutinized for shady data gathering

practices. The truth is, user data is their business model, and so far, nobody can do anything about it. 

But you can change your Internet browser. Firstly, the browser is your gateway to the Internet. It knows your social media accounts, stores cookies, and saves banking details for Amazon. You can use an alternative if you don’t feel like sharing this information with Google. 

The most prominent private browsers are TOR and Brave. TOR is for more advanced users that require online anonymity. This browser sends your requests through an anonymous node network. It will bounce between them, erasing any path to you. 

On the other hand, Brave is an easy-to-use, intuitive, Chromium-based privacy-protection-oriented browser. It will disable ads and trackers and offer various privacy customization options. 

Browser Extensions 

Whatever browser you choose, browser extensions can make it better. Moreover, there are tons of valuable cybersecurity extensions. 

Password manager extensions will help you secure your passwords. Most well-developed password managers offer Chrome and Firefox extensions. 

Extensions like Privacy Badger or uBlock Origin will disable ads and trackers. If you use Google Chrome, it tracks your every move. Facebook injects trackers via third parties. By blocking ads, you will also increase webpage loading speed.

Final Thoughts 

There’s a lot you can do to improve your virtual safety. We have only talked about software, but developing safe browsing habits is also crucial. Remember that online surveillance is at its very peak. Governments and BigTech corporations are gathering your data. With the discussed software, you will make their job harder and enjoy a well-deserved piece of mind on the Internet.

Eric

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