SECURE YOUR PRIVACY ON THE INTERNET
Do you blindly trust the web services you use? Even without malicious intent, they can still track your activities, build detailed profiles or be prone to hacking. lists some of the secure alternatives you can use instead
Covering Your Tracks on the Web Popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox do not offer the highest level of security and privacy. If you want to securely surf the web, you need Tor ( https:/torproject.org) or Epic ( https:// epicbrowser.com). Tor anonymizes data and works over a network of ‘hidden’ relay servers — the flipside is that it often leads to a slower browsing experience. Epic on the other hand is based on Chromium and is loaded with security and privacy features including (but not limited to) one-button proxy, built-in ad blocking and auto deletion of cookies and trackers each time you close it. Any search done through the browser is nontraceable back to the original IP address.
Chats That Can Never Leak A few years ago, most users didn’t care about secure chats — WhatsApp, WeChat and others did not offer secure chats or encryption. However, WhatsApp now offers end-to-end encryption of chats by default. However, there are dedicated apps available that offer more advanced privacy features. We recommend Telegram, Signal and Chat Secure. These also offer end-toend encryption which means that the chat servers cannot access your messages and don’t store any of your data. Telegram offers 256-bit encryption and has a feature called ‘Secret Chats’ — all messages and media automatically get deleted from both parties in this mode.
Send Email Like a Govt. Spy Just like chat, the more common email services like Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo mail do not offer a 100% secure environment. Most services encrypt messages but they also hold the key to decrypt the messages. If you are concerned about email privacy, you should be looking at Proton Mail. Proton Mail offers a basic free plan which limits you to 500MB storage and 150 mails per day. The paid plan is ₹ 285 per
month and gives you 5GB storage, a limit of 1000 mails per day and support for use with your own domain name. Unlike other services, mails on Proton Mail account can be accessed only by the account holder using a secure password. Messages stored on Proton Mail servers cannot be decrypted by any government agency. Another service called ShazzleMail (free for individuals) converts your phone into a mail server — this means your mails are directly delivered to the recipient with no copies on any server.
A Secure Operating System If you’re paranoid about security, we’d understand why you don’t fully trust your operating system. Take a look at this secure operating system called Tails. Available as a free download from https:// tails.boum.org, Tails can be run from a USB drive or an SD card. While using Tails, all communications to the Internet go through the TOR network, making it completely anonymous. In addition, the
OS uses advanced encryption for your files, mail and chats. Based on Linux, Tails comes preloaded with various secure applications including a web browser, instant messaging client, email client, office suite as well as a photo and audio editor.
A Different Kind of Search Engine Almost all search engines track everything you do, including search history, building detailed (personal) profiles and storing of information for better targeting. This data is used to show you ads relevant to recent search termsor to offer personalized search results from the web. If you prefer not to have yo u r we b searches t r a c ke d a n d r e c e n t search history used, switch to www.duckduckgo.com. It has integrated WOT (Web of Trust) icons that appear in front of search results to show if the website is
safe to access or not. Another handy feature called Redirect prevents sharing of search results with sites you visit from the search page. Finally, you can save your privacy preferences securely on the cloud and sync them across devices.
Give Your Browser a Privacy Boost Granted, you’ve been using Firefox, Safari or Chrome for years — we understand the resistance to change. Secure browsers do not let you install third party plug-in for additional features. If you are such a user, you can continue using existing Chrome or Firefox browsers and just add plug-ins that improve the security. Ghostery is one of the best plug-ins available (Chrome, Firefox, Opera) — it lets you view websites and services that are tracking you and lets you block them with a click. Another plug-in you can check is Privacy Badger (Chrome, Firefox, Opera) — it detects ads as well as trackers. You can block them completely or find out whether they’re safe to use.
Get into the habit of changing passwords. KeePass, LastPass or LogMeOnce can help.