Since the Edward Snowden leaks internet privacy has become somewhat of a difficult subject to discuss. It has come to light that the NSA along with the other agencies (FBI, CIA etc.) have access to our personal lives, which in return has given us a big brother sense of insecurity. In order regain that sense of security we lost months ago I will briefly discuss 5 easy ways to keep your personal information private.
First, I would use an email address from a private domain and avoid using any of the email giants (Google, Yahoo etc.) because they have allowed the NSA to access your metadata. Once you have your personalized email address, for example email@example.com , the second step is to encrypt all the correspondence that is sent to and from that address. The easiest way to do this is to purchase an E-mail SSL certificate and install it on your server. It is a little frustrating to encrypt a network but once it’s done you can freely exchange private information without having to worry about it being intercepted. For a list of email SSL certificates please visit https://sslguru.com/offer/filter/all/all/Email.
Secure, Encrypted Web Browsing
Besides the government or hackers having access to your email they also have the capabilities to view your internet browsing history and even limit the sites that you can see. Google offers “Incognito” mode but the most secure way to surf is by using an “Onion Router”. One of the most popular is Tor or “The Onion Router” which basically is a piece of software that leaves you virtually unidentified because it channels your session with multiple other computer networks each with its unique level of encryption (much like layers of a onion). Thus, if your session were ever to be intercepted it would be very difficult to trace the IP address. Tor also allows browsers to overcome certain government firewalls that may be imposed against unwanted websites.
For all of you that are worried about big brother reading your text messages I would suggest using the application WhatsApp. All of the communication made between your phone and their servers are done so in an encrypted environment, furthermore they do not store your chat history on their servers “once delivered successfully to your phone, chat messages are removed from our system.” Keep in mind that if your phone or your friend’s phone is being used by someone else they may have access to your WhatsApp messages.
Online Shopping, Forms or personal information
When entering personal data online always remember to make sure that you are using a secure (https:// protocol) connection. You can easily tell if the session is secure by simply looking at the URL. If the URL has https:// before the domain name then the session is encrypted, if the URL only displays http:// then the session is not secure. Furthermore, if the session is secure you can also usually see a padlock icon displayed in the browser, or a Green Bar symbolizing the highest level of SSL security.
Bitcoin has had a lot of publicity lately but in a nutshell it’s an internet cryptocurrency, which means “that it is both created and distributed through cryptographic means” using SHA256 cryptographic hashing. By doing this it allows all the currency owners to remain anonymous and at the same time is relatively fast, cheap and effective compared to services like Paypal and the traditional banks that have transaction fees. Getting involved in Bitcoin is as easy as “installing a client program, downloading the block chain, and setting up a digital wallet.” However because its “mining theory” and the fact that it is a relatively new currency and there have been a lot of fluctuations, I would recommend testing the water before jumping in.
Hopefully this is helpful information. As technology changes it is important to stay ahead of the curve in order to reduce risk. If you have any questions about internet security or need help encrypting your network please feel free to contact us.