The Privacy Guide: Simple tools to keep you better secured online in 2021

12 March 2021 | Opinion

Matthew Stern

WhatsApp did a great job of awakening the user privacy and security debate earlier in the year, with their controversial privacy policy which seemed to be taking away more privacy than it was protecting.
With that in the loop, it becomes important to discuss various approaches to maintaining and sustaining user privacy in times like this.
That leads us to the following tools to protect yourself online better.

Privacy-Focused Messaging Apps
The first on this list is the reason we are having this conversation to begin with.
If a chat platform does not care about your privacy, you are not stuck with them. Change to other options that keep your privacy in high regard.
Some of such platforms are:
Telegram – end-to-end encrypted, supports private messaging, allows you to import your chats from WhatsApp, and was early to the disappearing messages game
Signal – backed by the likes of Elon Musk, Edward Snowden, and Brian Acton. Need we say more about this open-source, not-for-profit platform?
Threema – doesn't require an email or phone number to sign up. Ensures full anonymity

Security Apps
Your devices might come with basic OEM security measures but those are not enough to keep you insulated against some common attacks.
This is where security apps come into the mix. Here, you need the following:
Password managers – to keep and securely store your unique passwords.
VPN – subscribe to a VPN service to hide your location and encrypt your internet connection and data traffic to maintain your online privacy.
Antimalware – antivirus software is the most common anti malware. Get one of those to check the files you interact with on the internet lest they harm your computer and data.
Email scanners – where your spam detectors fail, email scanners help you identify a possible scam, phishing attacks, malicious documents, and more.

Your choice of browser could also determine the safety of your data.
Some browsers are not engineered against many of the online threats you face when browsing the internet. On the other hand, there are browser tools (like the ones listed below) that will go above and beyond to keep you safe when surfing the web:
Safari – engineered against intelligent cookie tracking, blocks browser fingerprinting and ads
Tor browser – keeps user anonymous by obfuscating their IP address
Mozilla Firefox – ships with a ton of privacy and security configurations to help users stay safer online
Brave browser – setup against security and online privacy threats out of the box.
Note: Be wary of extensions and browser add-ons that you download as these could bypass your security settings. Always download from trusted sources and vendors only.

Final Words
Each one of the tools mentioned above addresses a different aspect of online privacy – and they are mighty good at what they do too.
For a chance at improved user privacy and online security, start implementing these easy-to-use tools today.
*Matthew Stern writes for The Tech Fools. contact him at [email protected]

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