CLOAK AND DATA

Maxim - - CONTENTS - by CORINNE IOZZIO

Fly un­der the radar with im­pen­e­tra­ble snoop-proof­ing apps.

Say there’s this woman. You went out twice. (Or was it three times?) Maybe you’re just not feel­ing it, or per­haps she has an un­set­tling fond­ness for ob­scure emo­jis. What­ever the case, things didn’t work out. But she’s al­ready neck-deep in your dig­i­tal busi­ness—thumbs-up­ping your Face­book sta­tuses, send­ing you Snapchats of her par­ents’ en­gage­ment pho­tos. This used to be un­avoid­able. But breathe easy, fel­las: There’s a new crop of pri­vacy apps built for the sole pur­pose of keep­ing snoop­ing exes, se­rial over­shar­ers, and even the pry­ing eyes of the NSA at bay. Here are four down­load­able ways to watch your back.

cy­ber dust

PRO­TECT YOUR MES­SAGES

The last thing you want is for your out­go­ing cor­re­spon­dence—be it top­less ex-girl­friend self­ies or im­por­tant busi­ness de­tails—to be stolen. Send texts through Cy­ber Dust

(Free, IOS and An­droid).

The app au­todeletes mes­sages,

Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble– style, roughly 20 to 45 sec­onds af­ter they’re read, de­pend­ing on your op­er­at­ing sys­tem. Even bet­ter, it lets you re­tract mes­sages and, if you’re an An­droid user, block re­cip­i­ents from tak­ing screen­shots to use as black­mail.

burner

GIVE OUT FAKE DIG­ITS

Stop giv­ing ran­dom women (and Nige­rian princes) your real num­ber. In­stead, use Burner

(Free, IOS and An­droid)

to gen­er­ate dis­pos­able—but still work­ing—dig­its. They’ll ring on your own phone, but you can ditch them when­ever you like. The first num­ber is free and comes with seven days or five voice calls of talk time and 15 text mes­sages; ad­di­tional texts, time, and new num­bers start at $2— a small price for re­main­ing anony­mous.

cloak

CUT THE DIG­I­TAL TIES

How do you avoid that spe­cial some­one you don’t want to talk to, let alone see, ever again? Our fa­vorite op­tion is Cloak (Free, IOS). The app syncs with your Face­book, Twit­ter, Foursquare, and In­sta­gram con­tacts and plots each per­son’s cur­rent lo­ca­tion on a map. Flag those you’d pre­fer to avoid and the app pings you when they’re nearby so you can plan your es­cape ac­cord­ingly.

sig­nal

EN­CRYPT YOUR­SELF

As govern­ment of­fi­cials and madams know, phone calls are eerily sus­cep­ti­ble to in­ter­cep­tion, too. Cel­lu­lar providers are re­quired to let Big Brother tap in at a mo­ment’s no­tice, and a sim­ple hack on a sec­ond­hand phone can do the same. Sig­nal

(Free, IOS and An­droid)

lets you make calls over an en­crypted con­nec­tion that snoops can’t pen­e­trate. So even if she’s crazy enough to put a P.I. on your dig­i­tal tail, your se­crets will re­main safe.

En­crypt e-mails, avoid so­cial me­dia stalk­ers, and keep texts con­fi­den­tial: These new apps make it easy to main­tain your dig­i­tal pri­vacy.

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