Online Privacy Tools

Privacy Tools: Encryption Against Mass Surveillance

Web Browsers for better Internet Privacy
Firefox: Reliable, fast and privacy friendly
It’s recommended to install additional browser addons to strengthen Firefox even more. Firefox is able to sync accross all your devices on different platforms. Firefox is not the perfect out of the box solution but It’s definetly worth it to take the extra time and setup Firefox properly.
Check for WebRTC & DNS leaks and learn how to fix them with the connection check at
Hardening & Tweaking: The default settings of Firefox are not the best choice to be a privacy respecting browser. Use Firefox Profilemaker to adjust the settings. An alternative is to download the hardened Arkenfox’s – Place this in your Firefox’s directory and it will fix everything for you. You can also do it manually.
Tor: Encrypted out of the box for extra privacy and anonymity
Tor Browser is your choice if you need an extra layer of anonymity. It’s a modified version of Firefox, which comes with pre-installed privacy add-ons, encryption, and an advanced proxy. It’s not recommended to install additional browser addons. Plugins or addons may bypass Tor or compromise your privacy.
Brave: Fast, cross-platform and block ads & trackers
Not a popular choice within the privacy community but it offers a complete package out of the box on all platforms and is suitable for beginners or if setup time is a factor at the given situation. Wikipedia offers more information about it’s controversies.
Privacy related browser checks:
A wide range of security testing tools that will show you what kind of personal identity data can be leaked, and how to protect yourself from this.
LocateJS: Predicts your location by analyzing your connection and system data. This scan allows you to understand how your location can be pinpointed even while using a VPN, location spoofer or private mode.
Supports checks for WebRTC leaks, DNS leaks, Geolocation, Torrent Address detection and more.
Cover Your Tracks by Test your browser to see how well you are protected from tracking and fingerprinting. It shows your browser’s most unique and identifying characteristics. Less unique is better.
Open-source tests of web browser privacy. A useful resource for comparing browsers.
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“We should not be comfortable or content in a society where the only way to remain free of surveillance and repression is if we make ourselves as unthreatning, passive, and compliant as possible. ” ― Glenn Greenwald
Browser Addons to improve your internet privacy even further
HTTPS Everywhere: Secure Connections
This plugin is already included in Brave (Desktop & Mobile), Tor (Desktop & Android) and Onion Browser (iOS only). It can be installed for Firefox on Android. Most browsers support HTTPS already after activation.
We are not linking to the plugin directly anymore, instead straight to the Tutorial of on how to activate HTTPS in every browser. After the end of this year, the extension will be in “maintenance mode. ” for 2022.
Decentraleyes: Block Content Delivery Networks
Emulates Content Delivery Networks locally by intercepting requests and injecting it into the environment. Automatically, and no configuration required. Can be installed for Firefox on Android.
“You shouldn’t change your behavior because a government agency somewhere is doing the wrong thing. If we sacrifice our values because we’re afraid, we don’t care about those values very much. ” ― Edward Snowden
The best and most reliable VPN Services for your Privacy
We have compared 185 different VPN providers, but our strict criteria left only the three best providers. Our recommended providers are operating outside the USA or other Five Eyes countries, use a strong encryption, accept Crypto currencies or cash payments, support OpenVPN, have a no logging policy and have a long history of operating.
Mullvad: 60 Euro Yearly
Based in Sweden. Operating since 2009. Accepts Bitcoin, BCH and Cash. Native desktop and mobile clients are available for Android and iOS and are easy to use. Money back guarantee for 30 days.
Amount of servers in Oct 2021: 763 VPN servers, in 38 different countries. Source
ProtonVPN: Limited free version available, otherwise 48 EUR Yearly
Based in Switzerland. Operating since 2016. Accepts Bitcoin, but you need an existing account or contact their support team in advance. Easy to use native desktop and mobile clients are available for Android and iOS.
Amount of servers in Oct 2021: 1200+ VPN servers available in 55 different countries. Source
IVPN: 60 USD Yearly
Based in Gibraltar. Accepts Bitcoin, Monero and Cash. Money back guarantee for 30 days.
Amount of servers in Oct 2021: 139 VPN servers available in 32 different countries. Source
×Friendly reminder
Using a VPN will not keep your browsing habits anonymous, nor will it add additional security to non-secure (HTTP) traffic. If you are looking for anonymity, you should use the Tor Browser instead of a VPN. Don’t replace good security practices with a VPN service. If you’re looking for additional privacy from your ISP, on a public Wi-Fi network, or while torrenting files, a VPN may be the solution for you.
“My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them. ” ― Edward Snowden
Private Email Providers
ProtonMail: Secure email for the independent professional
Based in Switzerland, founded in 2013. Free and paid plans include all security features, including end-to-end encryption, zero-access encryption, anti-phishing, anti-spam and 2FA. Own Android, iOS Apps and web interface. Paid plans enable custom domains. Accessible via Tor Network.
Tutanota: Easy to use and private by design
Based in Germany, founded in 2011. Native cross platform apps available. No third-party email clients are supported, users need to use the wide range of native apps.
Disroot: Secure email for your desktop client or via a web interface
Free Plan
Based in The Netherlands, founded in 2015. Free plans support custom domains. Users can choose between their web client or third party desktop clients like Thunderbird. Disroot allows for encrypted emails to be sent from their webmail application using OpenPGP.
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. ” ― George Orwell, 1984
Anonymous Email Forwarding with Aliases
SimpleLogin: Hide your existing email address
Emails are forwarded to your real email address. If you reply to a sender it will use your alias, too. It is designed to be user friendly and available on many platforms.
“Nothing to hide, but nothing to show either. ”
Email Clients for better Internet Privacy
Android – K-9 Mail: Advanced Email for your phone
K-9 Mail is an open source email client focused on making it easy to chew through large volumes of email. Designed for both novice and power users and offers lots of features for everyone.
Web Search without being tracked
“Surveillance is the business model of the Internet. ” ― Bruce Schneier
The Best Privacy-Friendly World Maps Alternatives
Avoid: Apple Maps, Bing Maps, Google Earth and Google Maps.
Organic Maps: Offline hike, bike, trails and navigation
Huawei AppGallery
Organic Maps is an Android & iOS offline maps app for travelers, tourists, hikers, and cyclists based on top of crowd-sourced OpenStreetMap data and curated with love by MapsWithMe () founders.
Secure Password Managers
Spectre: Generated passwords, no storage needed
Formerly Master Password. Passwords aren’t stored: they are generated on-demand from your name, the site, and your master password. No syncing, backups, or internet access needed. The Windows version requires to install Java. Same principle like LessPass, but LessPass is more convenient to use because of the Browser Addons.
“The US government still has no idea what documents I have because encryption works” ― Edward Snowden
Privacy Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Tools
Avoid: Authy or Google Authenticator.
“I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act. ” ― Edward Snowden
File Sharing and Synchronizating
OnionShare: Anonymous file transfer via Tor
OnionShare is an open source tool that lets you securely and anonymously share files, host websites, and chat with friends using the Tor network. Share files, host websites, and chat anonymously via a new tabbed interface for maximum productivity.
Syncthing: Continuous file synchronization
Synchronizes files between two or more computers in real time, safely protected from prying eyes. Your data is your data alone and you deserve to choose where it is stored, whether it is shared with some third party, and how it’s transmitted over the internet.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under. ” ― Edward Snowden
File Encryption Software
VeraCrypt: On-the-fly Disk Encryption
Raspberry Pi
It can create a virtual encrypted disk that works just like a regular disk but within a file. It can also encrypt a partition or the entire storage device with pre-boot authentication.
“2 + 2 = 5” ― Ministry of Truth
Encrypted Cloud Storage Services
Avoid: Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud.
Nextcloud: Self-hosting or choose a provider for your data
Nextcloud is functionally similar to Dropbox, Office 365 or Google Drive. It can be hosted in the cloud or on-premises. It is scalable from home office solutions based on the low cost Raspberry Pi all the way through to full sized data centre solutions that support millions of users.
If you’re not able to switch your cloud service immediatly, consider encrypting with Cryptomator.
“We watch our own people more closely than anyone else in the world. ” ― Edward Snowden
Secure Web Hosting & Domain Provider
“The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. ” ― Edward Snowden
Buy Cryptocurrency
“You can’t assume any place you go is private because the means of surveillance are becoming so affordable and so invisible. ” ― Howard Rheingold
Monero: A privacy-enhanced cryptocurrency for anonymity
Privacy-enhancing Bitcoin Wallets
CoinJoin is a trustless method for combining multiple Bitcoin payments from multiple spenders into a single transaction to make it more difficult for outside parties to determine which spender paid which recipient. Unlike many other privacy solutions, coinjoin transactions do not require a modification to the bitcoin protocol.
Samourai: Android Wallet
Built-in trustless CoinJoin. Full offline mode. Designed to keep miner fees as low as possible.
BitLox: Hardware Wallet
Fully secured cryptocurrency wallet with the mind of keeping your Bitcoin transactions anonymous. Their Bitcoin Block Explorer is accessible over the Tor and I2P network.
Wasabi: Desktop Wallet
Non-custodial, privacy-focused Bitcoin wallet for Desktop, that implements trustless CoinJoin.
More information:
Crytpo DeFi Swap on a Decentralized Exchange (DEX)
Cryptocurrency exchanges which allow for direct peer-to-peer cryptocurrency transactions to take place securely and without the need for a third party to oversee transfer of assets. DEX are more anonymous than commercial exchanges which implement know your customer (KYC) requirements. This list is sorted by trading volume.
Telegram Channels are targeted by scammers, don’t share your key phrases with anyone. Admins of the official channels are not sending private messages to users. Beware of anyone reaching out via private message.
Encrypted and Secure Instant Messaging
Avoid: Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, LINE, Telegram, Snapchat, Tencent QQ, Viber, WeChat, WhatsApp.
Threema: Centralized, encrypted messaging for mobile
No native desktop apps available yet, but there is a web version for your browser. No phone number is required to signup but there is a payment involved to get the app. Fortunately the Threema shop accepts Bitcoin.
“A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. ” ― Edward Snowden
Encrypted Video & Voice Messengers
Avoid: Skype, Zoom, TeamSpeak, Discord and Ventrilo.
DNS Network Level Ad Blocking for better Privacy and Speed
NextDNS: Blocks security threats, ads and trackers
Easy to Setup
The major advantage of NextDNS over AdGuard DNS is to be able to configure the service to your needs via parental controls, website restrictions or block whole categories of websites and apps. Easy to setup within minutes. Comes with setup guides for all systems. 300, 000 queries/month for free, after that it will just work like a classic non-blocking DNS service.
YouTube Alternatives
Decentralized Social Networks
Redact: Delete your digital footprint
Allows you to automatically clean up your old posts from services like Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Discord and more all in one place. Delete by key word, sentiment and content type.
“Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be” ― Edward Snowden
Encrypted Digital Notebooks
Productivity & Collaboration Privacy Tools for Work
LibreOffice: Complete desktop office solution
LibreOffice consists of programs for word processing, creating and editing of spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams and drawings, working with databases, and composing mathematical formulae. It is available in 115 languages.
Privacy Friendly Operating Systems
Privacy and Security Tools for Windows 10 and 11
“FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. ” ― Ministry of Truth
Privacy Friendly Mobile Operating Systems
“IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. ” ― Ministry of Truth
Android Keyboard Alternatives That Respect Your Privacy
“The reason you’re reading this book is that I did a dangerous thing for a man in my position: I decided to tell the truth. ” ― Edward Snowden
Open Source Router Firmware
“Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented” ― Julian Assange
Privacy Friendly Translation Tools
“The solution to government surveillance is to encrypt everything” ― Eric Schmidt
Self-Contained Anonymizing Networks
Tor: Most popular, biggest and cross-platform network available
Tor, short for The Onion Router, is for enabling anonymous communication. It directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network, consisting of more than six thousand relays, for concealing a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis.
I2P: Censorshipo-resistant peer-to-peer network
The Invisible Internet Project (I2P) is an anonymous network layer that allows for censorship-resistant, peer-to-peer communication. Anonymous connections are achieved by end-to-end encrypting the user’s traffic, and sending it through a volunteer-run network of roughly 55, 000 computers distributed around the world.
ZeroNet: Uses existing Bitcoin cryptography and the BitTorrent network
ZeroNet is a decentralized web-like network of peer-to-peer users. Instead of having an IP address, sites are identified by a public key (specifically a bitcoin address). The private key allows the owner of a site to sign and publish changes, which propagate through the network. Sites can be accessed through an ordinary web browser when using the ZeroNet application, which acts as a local webhost for such pages.
IPFS: Protocol and P2P network for storing and sharing data
The InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a protocol and peer-to-peer network for storing and sharing data in a distributed file system. IPFS uses content-addressing to uniquely identify each file in a global namespace connecting all computing devices
GNUnet: Software framework in support of a free and open society
Linux (official)
Win (unofficial)
Mac (unofficial)
For decentralized, peer-to-peer networking and an official GNU package. The framework offers link encryption, peer discovery, resource allocation, communication over many transports (such as TCP, UDP, HTTP, HTTPS, WLAN and Bluetooth) and various basic peer-to-peer algorithms for routing, multicast and network size estimation.
Open Source Torrent Clients without Ads and Tracking
Your IP address is exposed while using any Torrent Client. Consider using a VPN provider to hide your IP. If you are using µTorrent that includes ads and tracking, select your alternative here.
“Society develops a type of self-censorship, with the knowledge that surveillance exists – a self-censorship that is even expressed when people communicate with each other privately. ” ― Julian Assange
Disk & File Cleaners with Privacy Features
ExifCleaner: Privacy metadata removal tool
Removes metadata for the most popular image and video formats. It also supports PDF files and comes with batch-processing to process multiple files at once. Drag and Drop interface, easy to use.
Secure Whistleblower Tools
Briar: P2P encrypted messaging for activists and journalists
Briar doesn’t rely on a central server – messages are synchronized directly between the users’ devices via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Online sync via the Tor network is possible, too. Protecting users from surveillance.
Worth Mentioning:
Freedom of the Press Foundation: Protects, defends, and empowers public-interest journalism.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Online Anonymity: How I learned to start worrying and love privacy anonymity.
Known Privacy Related Incidents & Gag Orders to Date
2021, ProtonMail: ProtonMail logged IP address of French activist after an order by Swiss authorities. Source
2021, WindScribe VPN: Servers were not encrypted as they should have been allowing MITM attacks by authorities. Source
2021, DoubleVPN: Servers, logs, and account info seized by law enforcement. Source
2017, PureVPN: Forced to disclose information of one user to the FBI. Source
2014, EarthVPN: User was arrested based on logs provider to the Dutch Polic because of a bomb hoax. Source
2013, Lavabit Email: Secure E-Mail provider Lavabit shuts down after fighting a secret gag order. Source
2011, HideMyAss VPN: User was de-anonymized, and logs were provided to the FBI in a labeled “LulzSec fiasco”. Source
What is a Warrant Canary?
A term for a regularly published statement that a service provider has not received legal process that it would be prohibited from saying it had received, such as a national security letter. Transparency reports and warrant canaries have an important role to play in the fight against illegal and unconstitutional national security process, including National Security Letters and other secret court processes. Wikipedia
“What state surveillance actually is is best understood by the NSA’s own documents and own words, which I think as you know I happen to have a lot of. ” ― Glenn Greenwald
11 Essential Apps for Ironclad Online Privacy | PCMag

11 Essential Apps for Ironclad Online Privacy | PCMag

There used to be a saying, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. ” But in truth, websites and trackers know exactly who you are. Some make their money serving ads targets to your profile. Others package up your data for sale. Worse, your online information can be misused by stalkers and identity thieves. It’s tough to be totally anonymous online, but there are many ways to enhance your online privacy, from using a VPN to engaging a service that deletes your data from information aggregators. These handpicked utilities and services implement a broad spectrum of privacy protection techniques so that you can choose one (or more than one) to defend your online Email Nightmare, Part 1Like the internet itself, email was invented by optimists and academics who never dreamed that anyone would misuse it. Read someone else’s mail? How rude! Fill up inboxes with unwanted junk mail? They had no idea what was coming. Encrypting your email is one obvious way to protect the privacy of your messages. It’s a significant and effective technique, one that merits its own, separate roundup, The Best Email Encryption. See that article for a deeper dive into these snoop-fighters. Here’s a brief eveil, Private-Mail, ProtonMail, and StartMail let you lock down your communications using a technique called public-key cryptography. All but Preveil use a protocol called PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) to generate a pair of keys, one public, one private. To send me a secure message, you encrypt it with my public key, and I decrypt it with my private key. Simple! Using Preveil is even simpler, though. A high-tech system involving what the company calls wrapped keys means you never deal with a key, public or private. It does also mean you can’t connect with users of other PGP-based services, but few consumers know how to set that up.
This public key technology also lets me send you a message that’s digitally signed, guaranteeing it came from me, with no tampering. I simply encrypt the message with my private key. The fact that you can decrypt it using my public key means it’s totally legit. ProtonMail and StartMail automate the key exchange process with other users of the same service, while Private-Mail requires that you perform the exchange yourself. With any of these, you can exchange secure messages with anybody who provides a public course, not everyone has embraced public key cryptography for their email. With Tutanota, StartMail, and ProtonMail, you can send encrypted messages to non-users, though you don’t get the same level of open-source security. The service encrypts the message using a simple password, and you transmit the password via some avenue other than email, perhaps a secure messaging offers email encryption for free, but only if you use Gmail, and only in Chrome. Like Preveil, it handles key management internally, though it doesn’t use public-key cryptography. You send an encrypted message, and the recipient clicks a button to read it—without either of you entering a password. SecureMyEmail is likewise free provided that you use it to protect a single Gmail, Yahoo, or Microsoft account. ProtonMail offers a free tier, but with some that these tools have their own roundup, we’ve removed them from this article’s product lineup. The Email Nightmare, Part 2With the contents of your email conversations encrypted, no hacker can sniff out just what you’re saying. However, your email address itself is exposed any time you send a message, buy a product online, or sign up for any kind of internet-based service. That might not sound problematic, but your email address is typically your user ID for many sites. A hacker who finds your email and guesses your weak password now owns the account. And, of course, having your email address floating promiscuously around the web just invites how can you communicate without giving a merchant or service your email? The solution lies in a simple technology called a Disposable Email Address, or DEA. The DEA service provides and manages these addresses, ensuring that mail sent to them lands in your inbox, and that your replies seem to come from the DEA. If you’re done dealing with a particular merchant, or if one of your DEAs starts receiving spam, you just destroy Mail, Abine Blur, and ManyMe are among the services offering DEA management. ManyMe is unusual in a couple of ways. First, it’s free, which is uncommon. Second, unlike most such services it doesn’t make you register a new FlyBy email (as it calls them) before using it. Say someone at a cocktail party asks for your email. You can make up a FlyBy address on the spot, without giving your actual email Blur takes the concept of masking your actual identity online to the next level. Besides masking your email address, it offers masked credit card numbers, different for each transaction. You load the masked card with exactly the amount of the transaction, so a sleazy merchant can’t overcharge you or use the card again. It even lets you chat on the phone without giving your actual ‘s worth noting that Private-Mail and StartMail also offer a modicum of DEA management. StartMail lets you manage up to 10 permanent DEAs, and an unlimited number of DEAs set to expire within two weeks or less. Private-Mail offers five alternate email identities, without full DEA management. Tutanota’s email aliases are even more the Trackers Off the ScentAs they say, if you’re not paying, then you are the product. You can surf the internet endlessly without paying a fee to visit specific sites, but those sites still work hard to monetize your visits. Advertising trackers plant cookies on your system, taking note when a tracker from an ad on a different website encounters that same cookie. Through this and other tracking methods, they form a profile of your online activity, a profile that others are willing to pay years ago, the Internet’s Powers That Be, recognizing that many users prefer not to be tracked, ginned up a simple Do Not Track message to be sent by the browser. This DNT system never became a standard, but all the top browsers adopted it anyway. It had no effect, because websites were and are free to ignore the place of the ineffectual DNT header, many security companies started devising active systems to identify and block ad trackers and other trackers. You’ll find this feature as a bonus in many security suites and some privacy-specific products. Abine Blur, IDX Privacy, Ghostery Midnight, and ShieldApps Cyber Privacy Suite offer active DNT. Unlike most such implementations, Midnight deters tracker requests in any internet-aware trackers, in turn, invented a different technique for identifying individuals across different websites, relying on the ridiculous amount of information supplied to each site by your browser. This ranges from your IP address and browser version down to minutiae like the fonts installed on your system. There’s so much information that trackers can create a fingerprint that’s almost sure to identify you, and only, what can you do? Make a liar out of your browser, that’s what. Avast AntiTrack mixes up the data sent from your browser so it’s different for each website. Cyber Privacy Suite also scrambles your fingerprint. Important info still reaches the site, but not in a consistent way that could be fingerprinted. Steganos Privacy Suite once included a component to foil fingerprinting, but the latest edition has dropped that feature, along with its active Do Not Track a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, disguises your IP address but leaves plenty of data unchanged for the fingerprinters. Even so, keeping your internet traffic encrypted and having your IP address hidden are valuable ways to protect your privacy. In addition to their other privacy components, IDX Privacy, Ghostery Midnight, and Cyber Privacy Suite include VPN, Passwords Aren’t Going AnywherePasswords are terrible, but we don’t yet have a universal replacement. For security, you must use a different non-guessable strong password for every secure site. The only way anybody can accomplish that feat is by relying on a password manager. Unless you use a different strong password for every website, a data breach on one site could expose dozens of your other accounts.
In a perfect world, you already have an effective password manager in place, and you’ve taken the opportunity to fix any weak or duplicate passwords. On the chance you aren’t already equipped, some privacy products have taken to including password management as a bonus feature. Abine Blur, for one, offers a complete, if basic, password manager. It even rates your passwords, giving extra credit for those logins that also use a masked email can get Steganos Password Manager as a separate program or as part of Steganos Privacy Suite. Either way, it’s not a standout. You’re probably better off with a top-notch free password manager. Cyber Privacy Suite seeks passwords stored insecurely in your browsers and moves them to encrypted storage, but doesn’t do any password management beyond that protective Privacy doesn’t help you manage passwords in general, but it does offer a tool to identify passwords you shouldn’t be using. Enter a password in its Password Detective tool to check if that password has been compromised. Spoiler: if it’s a simple password it almost certainly has. Don’t worry; IDX Privacy transmits a hash of the password for its database check, not the password ExposureThe first sign that your privacy is in danger may be the appearance of your private data on the dark web. Hackers who breach online data troves are quick to put what they’ve found on the market. The free Safe Me mobile app scans the dark web and reports any exposures of your email address, along with breached passwords and other personal data. As you work through the report, updating compromised passwords, you raise your privacy score. Configuring your device’s security properly also raises the score, as does working through dozens of short security awareness Safe Me specifically seeks data associated with your email address, IDX Privacy collects a variety of other personal information that it then seeks on the dark web. For each exposure, it offers advice on just what you can do to minimize bad effects on your security and tdefender Digital Identity Protection also scans the seamy side of the web for your private information, but it goes deeper with its searching than IDX Privacy. It uses connections between found data to come up with data that might relate to you. As you review these possible exposures and either verify or discard them, it fine-tunes its dark web search. Many Other ModesJust as your private data can be exposed in many ways, software companies find a variety of ways to protect it. One unusual service comes from Abine DeleteMe. Rather than create disposable email addresses, this service attempts to clean up your existing email and other personal data. It searches dozens of websites that legally aggregate public information. Wherever it finds you, it sends an opt-out request to remove your data. This process can’t be fully automated, so DeleteMe is relatively a malefactor steals your laptop or otherwise gains access to your PC, your private data could still be safe, provided you’ve encrypted it. We’ve covered numerous products solely devoted to encrypting files, folders, or whole drives. Some privacy products broaden their protection by including encryption. Steganos Privacy Suite, for example, includes the Steganos Safe encryption tool, also available as a standalone ivate-Mail goes beyond the usual features of encrypted email by giving you an online area to store encrypted files. You can encrypt files using PGP or using a simple password, and you can even share your encrypted files with others. ProtonMail’s ProtonDrive also lets you share encrypted files, though officially this feature is still in Preveil, storing essential files in your encrypted cloud is a snap. You just treat that cloud like any other folder. Sharing with other Preveil users is also easy. Virtru doesn’t offer cloud storage, but it gives you unusual control over your messages and attachments. You can set messages to expire, disable secure forwarding, and add a watermark to some kinds of attachments. You can also convert attachments into a protected form that only the recipient can view, just like a Virtru addition to all of its identity and privacy protection features, IDX Privacy promises recovery if identity theft happens to you, including remuneration for associated costs. We’ve determined that we just can’t test identity theft remediation, but it’s nice to know that if a thief slips past the protective layers, you’ll have help with unusual feature in Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection is detection of social media impersonators. This tool doesn’t ask for your social logins or require you to install a special app. Rather, it scours dozens of social media sites looking for profiles that are either yours or pretending to be you. Once you claim your actual accounts, any that remain must be otect the ProtectorsWhen you set up an encrypted email system or a disposable email address manager, your account password is a potential weakness. If you use an easily guessed password, or if a stranger shoulder-surfs your login, you could lose control of your privacy protection. That’s where two-factor authentication comes concept is simple. With two-factor authentication, logging requires at least two of the following: something you know (such as a password); something you have (such as an authentication app); or something you are (such as a fingerprint). Quite a few of the privacy tools examined here offer a two-factor option, specifically Abine Blur, Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection, Burner Mail, IDX Privacy, Private-Mail, StartMail, Steganos Privacy Suite, and these products work with Google Authenticator or another Time-based One-Time Password generator. To get started, you use your authenticator mobile app to snap a QR code provided by the privacy program. Enter the code generated by the app and you’re done. Now, your password alone doesn’t grant access to the privacy program. A password thief won’t be able to enter the code from your authenticator app, and hence won’t get in. Tutanota also supports using a Yubikey or other U2F (Universal 2nd Factor) authentication eveil also provides a degree of multifactor authentication by the very nature of its encryption. Connecting to your encrypted mail is easy and automatic provided that you have access both to the email account and to a trusted device. An evildoer who cracks your email account still won’t gain access to your encrypted mail and files. And if you lose a trusted device, you can cancel your for Virtru, it doesn’t require a password and doesn’t offer multifactor authentication. You prove your identity by logging into your Gmail account. That being the case, you’d do well to protect that Gmail account using two-factor aren’t the only programs for protecting your privacy, and this isn’t an exhaustive list of privacy-cloaking techniques. However, all these programs do their best to keep you safe from advertisers, spies, and creeps online.
Abine Blur Premium
Your subscription to Abine Blur Premium brings a veritable smorgasbord of privacy-enhancing features and services. Its masked emails feature automates the process of using a different disposable email address for every transaction. If one of those masked emails starts getting spam, you can just delete it, and you know which merchant sold you ‘s the use in masking your email when you’re giving the merchant something even more sensitive—your credit card number? Blur masks card numbers, too, and each masked card only has enough value to pay the particular transaction. No shady merchant can charge you extra, or fake another transaction on your can have all the masked emails you want, but masked cards require a small payment, because Abine expends resources processing the payment. Masked phone numbers are still more limited; you get just one. But when you use that masked phone number, you can be sure your contact won’t benefit by selling it to robocallers or text ‘s a small step from tracking your disposable email addresses to tracking your logins for all those websites. Blur includes a complete, if basic, password manager. Most password managers praise you for using a different password at each website; Blur gives you extra credit if you also use a masked email address for securely syncs your password and payment data across all your PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. Its browser extensions offer full access to program features and include an active Do Not Track component that foils advertisers and other trackers. On top of all that, Blur spells out how it handles your data in clear, simple detail. It’s a cornucopia of privacy protection.
Abine Blur Premium Review
IDX Privacy pulls together a diverse collection of tools for protecting your online privacy. For starters, it scans the dark web for your personal information, reporting any breaches via email and notification within the app. Once you’ve worked through its initial findings, it keeps scanning in the background in case of a new breach. In a similar fashion, the Password Detective component looks for exposures any password you enter, without actually causing an exposure itself. And it does its best to remove your personal from legitimate data aggregation Privacy also offers secure search through the well-regarded DuckDuckGo service. Its simple VPN protects your online communications, while also hiding your real-world IP address. It can block online trackers, and its unusual Social Media Sentry keeps watch for any social media activity that might indicate you’ve been top of all that, IDX Privacy offers an identity theft remediation guarantee, including a million-dollar insurance policy to cover lost funds and expenses of identity theft recovery. Of course, we couldn’t test this guarantee.
IDX Privacy Review
Advertisers really care what you do online. The better they can profile you, the more they can target ads. A nice juicy personal profile is also a commodity they can sell. With the proliferation of active Do Not Track systems, some trackers have switched to a technique called browser fingerprinting. And Avast AntiTrack stands square in their way, ensuring that your browser does its job without painting a target on your time you visit a website, your browser sends a ton of information. It has to send your IP address, to receive the requested pages. But it also sends the browser version, OS details, even the fonts installed on your PC. Nominally, this information helps the website fine-tune your browsing experience. But there’s so much data spewing from the browser that trackers can easily create a unique fingerprint, and thereby recognize you when you visit a different site. AntiTrack doesn’t suppress the info coming from your browser, as that could cause problems with some sites. It just mixes things up a little, presenting a slightly different fingerprint to each website. It does cost $49. 95 per year, but that’s fine for some tracking-sensitive souls.
Avast AntiTrack Review
Abine DeleteMe
Some DEA services require you to create a new, pristine email account to receive the mail from your disposable addresses, while others feed directly into your existing inbox. The latter approach is more convenient, but it comes with a problem. Your email address, along with other personal information, is already scattered across the interwebs. Completely wiping that information from the web is impossible, but Abine DeleteMe does everything that is possible to minimize your leteMe scans websites for dozens of information aggregating websites. These sites legally collect public information and make it easy to find. They also legally must remove your info if you so request. DeleteMe automates the opt-out process as much as possible. However, automation isn’t possible in some cases, so Abine retains a staff of human operators to handle those. Every six months, you get a report of what DeleteMe found, and what was automated opt-out algorithms, those human operators must be paid. That’s why DeleteMe costs more than most privacy services, $129 per year. You can often find discounts, or deals to add a family member.
Abine DeleteMe Review
The first thing you do after installing Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection is fill in forms with your personal, financial, and medical information. The product combs the dark web for breaches where any of your information appeared, but it goes deeper than most similar scans. It also turns up exposures that might be your personal information. As you verify or discard these, it refines the app also seeks your personal data on legitimate data aggregator sites, though it doesn’t attempt automated opt-out the way some competing products do. The last thing you want is some hacker impersonating you on your favorite social media site, trolling your friends and trying to install malware. Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection doesn’t ask for access to your profiles. Rather, it scans dozens of social sites for profiles that seem connected with you. Once you claim your actual profiles, any remaining ones may be impersonators.
Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection Review
Burner Mail
In the movies, spies use burner phones to communicate, destroying the phones after an operation. Burner Mail applies the same concept to email. Its browser extension (for Chrome or Firefox) detects pages that prompt for an email address and offers to swap in a burner address instead. Messages still reach your regular email inbox, and your replies seem to come from the burner address. If one of those addresses starts getting spam…burn it! Burner Mail gives you more flexibility than some competitors. As noted, it doesn’t require you to create a new email address to receive your messages. You can even change the recipient for a particular burner, or assign more than one Mail sticks to the task of providing and managing burner addresses and for $29. 99 per year, it does that one job well.
Burner Mail Review
In one sense, you get most free webmail services by paying with your privacy. It only makes sense that if you want to preserve your privacy, you’ll have to shell out cash. Not with ManyMe. At present, the DEA service is entirely free, with plans to make money on a feature-enhanced paid noted, ManyMe differs from many competitors in that it doesn’t require you to register DEAs (which it calls FlyBy addresses) before using them. Start with your account name, append a period and any phrase, and you’ve got a FlyBy, something like [email protected] service does have a few limitations. In testing, we found that its security precautions prevented communication with certain email systems, including PCMag’s own. Your main account email address can never be changed after the initial signup. And it doesn’t offer two-factor authentication. Still, you can’t beat the price!
ManyMe Review
Safe Me
Safe Me is a free mobile app that takes a threefold approach to improving the privacy and security of your Android or iOS smartphone. It searches for private data exposed on the dark web, directs you to correct any security configuration problems, and walks you through dozens of security awareness courses. A prominent Safe Me Score represents your progress toward better security. As you work through the dark web exposure incidents, changing compromised passwords and marking the problem as remediated, your score inches upward. Taking the product’s security configuration advice also boosts that of the over two dozen security awareness courses consists of a short video (around three minutes) followed by a set of quiz questions, usually four or five. If you miss no more than one answer, you pass. And each passed course ratchets up your score. Any smartphone user can benefit from running through this app’s activities.
Safe Me Review
Ghostery Midnight
Ghostery has long offered ad and tracker blocking in the form of browser extensions. The new Ghostery Midnight works below the browser level. In fact, it can block ads and online trackers for any internet-aware application. Midnight also incudes a basic VPN, with no configuration settings and a very limited set of server locations. It costs significantly more than any of our Editors’ Choice VPNs. In our speed testing, it had a massive effect on latency but didn’t slow downloads much. And it has the unusual advantage of no cap on the number of simultaneous connections.
Ghostery Midnight Review
ShieldApps Cyber Privacy Suite
ShieldApps Cyber Privacy Suite includes many features aimed at protecting your privacy. Among other things, it moves exposed passwords from your browsers into encrypted storage, finds and deletes personal information stored in your browsers, and cleans up browsing history and cookies. If it finds documents containing sensitive personal data, it lets you move those to protection includes active Do Not Track for browsing, as well as a component to scramble browser fingerprints. A component devoted to steering you away from malware-hosting websites works for any browser, but proved ineffective in testing. While a tech-savvy user could perform some of this suite’s tasks by hand, it’s a convenient collection for the user with more interest in privacy than tech suite also incudes a basic VPN, with no configuration settings and a somewhat limited set of server In our speed testing, it had a larger than usual effect on latency but didn’t slow downloads much. Note that you just get three simultaneous connections, where most standalone VPNs give you five, and many give you even more.
ShieldApps Cyber Privacy Suite Review
Steganos Privacy Suite
When a privacy product must continuously offer its services, whether to encrypt email messages, manage disposable addresses, or store passwords online, it makes sense that users pay a yearly subscription. Steganos Privacy Suite does include a password manager, but its encryption solution resides and works entirely on your local PC. It’s no big surprise, then, that you pay a one-time fee for this suite, rather than an ongoing most impressive component of this suite is Steganos Safe, a multi-faceted file encryption system. It used to include an active Do Not Track browser extension, and the ability to tweak the information sent by your browser to prevent tracking via browser fingerprinting. However, those two features are absent in the current edition, and we weren’t terribly impressed with the password privacy elements that have been dropped include: a shredder utility to securely delete files beyond the possibility of recovery; a tool to hide encrypted files within image or video files; a simple webcam privacy system that just disables the webcam; and an all-or-nothing ad blocker.
Steganos Privacy Suite Review
How to Protect Your Privacy Online: Tips | Norton

How to Protect Your Privacy Online: Tips | Norton

Worried about how much of your private information is on the internet and vulnerable to theft or misuse? You’re not alone. Online privacy is an important issue.
But there are steps you can take to help manage and protect your financial and personal information while you visit your favorite social media, news, and entertainment sites.
Tips for internet privacy
Here are some ways you can boost your online privacy.
Limit the personal information you share on social media
A smart way to help protect your privacy online? Don’t overshare on social media. Providing too much information on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram could make it easier for cybercriminals to obtain identifying information, which could allow them to steal your identity or to access your financial information.
For example, could an identity thief determine your high school mascot or your mother’s maiden name from digging through your Facebook account? This information is sometimes used as security questions to change passwords on financial accounts.
Unfortunately, many people don’t take this advice. In a 2018 study, the Identity Theft Resource Center found that approximately 52 percent of respondents shared personally identifying information through social media sites.
And that’s just the start of the oversharing. The same study found that about 48 percent of respondents shared information about their children, while nearly 33 percent shared information about their location. A total of 42 percent of respondents shared information about their travel plans through social media.
To protect your online privacy, ignore the “About Me” fields in your social media profiles. You don’t have to let people know what year or where you were born — which could make you an easier target for identity theft. Explore different privacy settings, too. You might want to limit the people who can view your posts to those you’ve personally invited.
Create strong passwords, too, for your social media profiles to help prevent others from logging into them in your name. This means using a combination of at least 12 numbers, special characters, and upper- and lower-case letters. And never use personal, easy-to-guess information — such as your birthdate or pet’s name — as your password.
Browse in incognito or private mode
If you don’t want your computer to save your browsing history, temporary internet files, or cookies, do your web surfing in private mode.
Web browsers today offer their own versions of this form of privacy protection. In Chrome, it’s called Incognito Mode. Firefox calls its setting Private Browsing, and Internet Explorer uses the name InPrivate Browsing for its privacy feature. When you search with these modes turned on, others won’t be able to trace your browsing history from your computer.
But these private modes aren’t completely private. When you’re searching in incognito or private mode, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can still see your browsing activity. If you are searching on a company computer, so can your employer. The websites you visit can also track you.
So, yes, incognito browsing does have certain benefits. But it’s far from the only tool available to help you maintain your privacy while online. Anonymous search engines and virtual private networks can bolster your online privacy.
Use a different search engine
If you’re like many web surfers, you rely heavily on Google as your search engine. But you don’t have to. Privacy is one reason people prefer to use anonymous search engines. This type of search engine doesn’t collect or share your search history or clicks. Anonymous search engines can also block ad trackers on the websites you visit.
Use a virtual private network
A virtual private network (VPN) gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs mask your Internet Protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable.
Using a VPN is especially important when you’re on public Wi-Fi at a library, coffee shop, or other public location. A VPN will make it more difficult for cybercriminals to breach your online privacy and access your personal information.
You can find many free VPN solutions, but it could make more sense to pay for a service from a trusted security provider if you want the maximum amount of privacy protection while online.
Be careful where you click
One of the ways in which hackers compromise your online privacy is through phishing attempts. In phishing, scammers try to trick you into providing valuable financial or personal information. They’ll often do this by sending fake emails that appear to be from banks, credit card providers, or other financial institutions. Often, these emails will say that you must click on a link and verify your financial information to keep your account from being frozen or closed.
Don’t fall for these scams. If you click on a phishing link, you could be taken to a spoofed webpage that looks like the homepage of a bank or financial institution. But when you enter in your account information, you’ll be sending it to the scammers behind the phishing attempt, not any bank, credit union, or credit card company. Before clicking on suspicious links, hover your cursor over the link to view the destination URL. If it doesn’t match the financial website you use, don’t click.
Also, remember that banks or other financial institutions will never ask you to provide account or financial information through an email. If you receive such an email and you are wary, log in directly to your financial provider’s online account portal. You can then check to see if there are problems with your account. Or call the financial provider yourself to ask if there are any problems with your account — using the customer-service number from one of your statements or the provider’s website, not the one included in the suspect email you received.
Secure your mobile devices, too
Many of us spend more time surfing the web, answering emails, and watching videos on our smartphones than we do on our laptops. It’s important, then, to put as much effort into protecting our online privacy on our phones and tablets as on our computers.
To start, make sure to use a passcode to lock your phone. It might seem like a hassle to enter a code every time you want to access your phone’s home screen. But this passcode could offer an extra layer of protection if your phone is lost or stolen. Make sure your passcode is complex. Don’t use your birthdate, your house number, or any other code that thieves might be able to guess.
Use caution when downloading apps. These games and productivity tools could come embedded with dangerous viruses. Only buy games from legitimate sources.
Use the same caution, too, when searching the web or reading emails on your mobile devices as you do when using your laptop or desktop computer.
Don’t ignore software updates, either. These updates often include important protections against the latest viruses. If you continue to ignore them, you could be leaving your smartphone’s operating system and programs vulnerable to attack.
Use quality antivirus software
Finally, always install antivirus software on all your devices. This software can keep hackers from remotely taking over your computer, accessing your personal and financial information, and tracking your location.
And once you install this software, don’t forget about it. Manufacturers frequently update their virus protection software as a defense against the latest malware, spyware, and other viruses. Install updates as soon as they become available.

Frequently Asked Questions about online privacy tools

How can I do privacy online?

Tips for internet privacyLimit the personal information you share on social media. A smart way to help protect your privacy online? … Browse in incognito or private mode. … Use a different search engine. … Use a virtual private network. … Be careful where you click. … Secure your mobile devices, too. … Use quality antivirus software.Mar 21, 2021

What is a privacy tool?

Privacy software is software built to protect the privacy of its users. The software typically works in conjunction with Internet usage to control or limit the amount of information made available to third parties. The software can apply encryption or filtering of various kinds.

What is the best privacy software?

Best privacy software 2021CyberScrub Privacy Suite: Best privacy software overall. … Privacy Eraser Pro: Best value privacy software. … East-Tec Eraser: Best for third-party software. … Smart Privacy Cleaner: Best for file storage. … Iolo Privacy Guardian: Best for web browser privacy.More items…•Mar 22, 2021

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