Internet surveillance phenomena have grown with the evolution of internet. It is the subjection of the citizens to indiscriminate monitoring. In this process, people’s privacy is interfered by the government. The government collects the data of all the online activities of the individuals and virtually all aspects of people’s lives. The data is generated, collected and processed disregard of whether this data collection is legal or not. Thus, this internet surveillance has led the internet users to find ways in which they can defend themselves from it.
However, developing protection against such surveillance that comes from a strong intelligence agency like NSA, it becomes hard to secure yourself. Yet, with some simple steps, you can make this internet surveillance difficult. To protect yourself from such online spying, you can employ following 10 steps that will make it harder for cyber criminal as well as NSA to sneak into your online activities.
NSA has always worked to undermine end-to-end encryption (E2EE) but still, It is the first step against internet surveillance. It encrypts all the data between you and the receiver, making it harder for the third-party to understand. For a completely secure transfer of data, it is important that you and your friend both have installed encryption on your devices. PGP is tricky to use, yet it can limit the snoopers to look inside your email inbox. Hence, an end-to-end encryption is the fundamental step against internet surveillance.
Encrypt all your communications
Not only end to end encryption is important but you can also encrypt all your internet traffic. For instance, HTTPS everywhere secures your web browsing by maximizing the protection of websites with encryption. For the use of internet publically, you can employ VPN which is the best for encryption of all your data.
Hard drive encryption
Your local storage can be encrypted in all the latest versions of Windows, Macs, iOS, and Android. You just have to turn it on. Contrary if you don’t then anyone who is able to get physical access to your computer, tablet or Smartphone can copy the contents, no matter if they have your password or not.
Generate strong passwords
The passwords nowadays are absurdly long to be secure against crackers. Which contain email accounts passwords and passwords to unlock devices and web services. A password manager is recommended for making stronger passwords and keeping them safe. Do not use short and repeated passwords. Write them done and keep them safe in a wallet at least it is safer than re-using a short memorable password for every account. If your wallet gets stolen, you will know it. Thus, creating a strong master password is vital for securing yourself against internet surveillance.
Tor is an open source program that anonymizes your identity online by data shuffling on a global network of volunteer servers. Your origins can be easily hidden from mass surveillance and corporate if you download and use Tor.
In two-factor authentication, you type your password and a regularly changed confirmation number, assists you to protect against attacks on web and cloud services. Google, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox all have two-factor authentication option. You just have to turn it on for the services you want. In case, a service does not have it, you can tell the company that you want it.
Do not click on attachments
The most common way to get a malware installed on your device is via email or through compromised websites. To protect you on the web, browsers are getting better and better; however, files sent via email or downloaded from the internet can result in the complete invasion of your computer. For this, you have to double-check the information sent by your friends in the text to confirm that they are really sent by them.
Phishing threats are also hidden in such suspicious links that apparently show that they are from some legitimate financial institution or popular and trusted brands or individuals. These attempts are designed to extract all your private information by a link sent to you in the message that directs you to a fake web location that is in control of the online criminals.
In order to know whether you are clicking a wrong link, hover the mouse over the link to watch if the link directs you to a legitimate location. You should never click if the link indicates “hfie077.net” and you are supposed to be directed to an online banking website but instead, you are directed to some fake website.
Update software and use anti-virus
Antivirus software is always a better option to have than leaving your system open to exploitation by attackers. Install a reliable antivirus product and keep it up to date so that the generation of malware does not cause any damage to your system.
You can detect if your device is infected by malware by:
- Slow running of applications
- Pop-up windows show every now and then
- A new toolbar emerges in your browser
- The homepage of the browser looks modified
- Changes in the search engine
- Appearance of error messages without warning
You can use these tips to avoid malware:
- Never click on suspicious links and pop-up windows
- Never answer unexpected questions and simply click No
- If you have suspected the email as spam then delete it without opening it
- Be extra vigilant in downloading free applications.
Extra security for secret information
Provide extra protection to the data that you think is private and needs to be encrypted. Choose a service that separately encrypts your USB flash drive. You can even keep the most private on a cheap netbook, which can be kept offline and later used for the purposes of reading and editing documents.
Windows operating system update
Cyber criminals are always in search of loopholes in the software which they can use to infect devices with malware. Everyone hates updating the device systems and this is what the cyber criminals wants you to do. Not updating your Windows operating system increases the chances of being hacked. If you feel lazy to update manually then turn it to automatic update. This will update the system as soon as new updates are available.
These practices will not only protect you from internet surveillance but also make your digital life easier and more secure. Internet surveillance has become a common phenomenon for the governments. They spy their own citizens in the name of protection and national security. Moreover, the cyber criminal is always looking for vulnerabilities in your system that they can exploit and gain profit from it. Thus, having some steps as preventive measures may not cause you any damage instead they will improve your security online.