Whether it’s North Korea, Russia, the NSA or criminal hackers, there’s been a lot of news lately about organizations wanting your personal information. Often, however, enough isn’t said about what you can do to protect your private information.
We want to help change that and today we have some tips to help you protect your privacy online.
The topic of Internet security often turns people off because they’re afraid it’s going to involve complicated settings located deep within the inner-workings of their computer, smart-phone or router.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth because it’s usually basic measures that we can all take that stop would-be cybercriminals from gaining access to computers. Here are some things you can do today to help secure your privacy:
Secure Your Passwords
We often use easy-to-remember passwords, which are usually easy to guess as well. Using computers to guess passwords until the right one is found is the most common way hackers gain entry into computer systems.
The problem is that secure passwords are nearly impossible to remember. You can free yourself from remembering all of those passwords by using a free service like LastPass. LastPass can help you secure your accounts by remembering your long and complex passwords for you and automatically filling in login forms for you. LastPass encrypts your passwords as well, so snooping eyes can’t read them.
My favorite feature is the password generator – with the click of a button LastPass will generate a password with random numbers, symbols and mixed case letters, and I don’t ever need to remember it!
For a measly $12 per year you can use LastPass across all of your devices, so logging into your bank from your smart-phone will be breeze too.
Secure Your Text Messages
Text messages have become a part of our daily lives. We send text messages from our smart-phones to our loved ones, and we use them to communicate with our coworkers. Sometimes the messages we send can be a little personal, or may contain private business information, and you may not want Joe-Hacker reading your conversation. Enter TextSecure for Android by Whisper Systems!
TextSecure is a free app replaces the native text messaging app on your smart-phone and will encrypt text messages between you and other TextSecure users. TextSecure works just fine with standard unencrypted messages too, so you can still chat with people who don’t use TextSecure, but if you want your messages to be encrypted both users must be using the app.
Secure Your Phone Calls
The same people who brought you TextSecure to secure your text messages offer another app that will encrypt your mobile phone calls as well. Similar to TextSecure, RedPhone replaces the dialer app on your phone and works with standard phone calls. For encrypted phone calls, both users must be using the RedPhone app.
Secure Your Email
Email messages are sent across the Internet in plain text. That means that a hacker listening in on the wire could possibly read those messages without much effort. You can secure your email communications with add-on programs like PGP, or use a free service like ProtonMail.
ProtonMail not only encrypts your messages when sending them, but even messages stored on the server are encrypted. You can still send normal, unencrypted email to people using other email services, or you can send the encrypted message where they will get a link to a secure web page with the decoded message from you.
Secure Your Identity
If there’s one thing that hackers really want, it’s to be able to be you. By stealing your personal data they can impersonate you to get credit cards, drivers’ licenses and cell phones. They can do even more devious things like buy guns and commit crimes using your identity, leaving you with the responsibility of cleaning up the mess they leave behind.
While not a free service, LifeLock will keep a watchful eye on your data to help protect you if your information is ever stolen. If something ever does happen, they even have expert staff to help you get your life back to normal.
There are always more things you can do to protect your privacy online, but using simple tools like these will go a long ways to help you protect your digital identity, your real assets and your good name.