The Ultimate Online Privacy Guide

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The information we set free online needs to be protected. Keeping all your information safe from the cyber criminals as well as surveillance has become a major concern of the internet users. If all your communications and browsing habits are available online, have a chance of being tracked and exploit. Thus, online privacy protection is fundamental for every individual to ensure the security of the data that they upload online or the activities they do online.

Online privacy is at risk and we cannot deny it. Government, ISPs, advertisers and cyber criminals throughout the globe are keenly paying attention to whatever you do online. This guide will be a help for all the people who use their phones and computers for work or regular use. Individuals who want to lessen the probability of being hacked can apply these precautions and privacy measures. So have a look at the privacy risk and their solutions:

Mass surveillance

Mass surveillance is the indiscriminate monitoring of significant component of a group or population. It involves a system of interference in the privacy of people. Any system which is able to generate and collect data about the individuals without attempting to limit the data set to target the individuals who are well-defined is a form of mass surveillance.

The methods of mass surveillance are now capable of generating, collecting and processing the information about a large population, mostly without any concern to whether they are detected of illegal behavior. The governments and law enforcement agencies are now able to virtually look into all aspects of our daily online activities.

Mass Surveillance Program Around the World

Metadata retention

Metadata retention is the collection of data regarding your location, call duration, to whom are you talking and how often do you talk. This data can reveal much about you and can be exploited by the one who might use it for wrong purpose. One of the drawbacks is that encryption cannot also block it.

For example, messaging services that are secured with an end-to-end encryption include Whatsapp. Somehow your communications become protected with such services however, applications such as Facebook can reveal a lot of information like who are you talking to, how often do you message this person, the duration of your talk and many more things. These details can reveal a big amount of information about your private life.

Technologies such as VPN and TOR can make the collection of metadata difficult. For example, if a person who has installed VPN, his information cannot be collected by ISPs. All your browsing history gets anonymous.

However, the thing to remember is VPN that keep the metadata retention limited. Hence, it becomes necessary to stay quite vigilant when you are making a choice of VPN. Also, keep in mind that mobile apps you install, evade VPN that you are using and connect your device directly to the publisher’s servers.

Mandatory Data Retention Worldwide

What is encryption?

The conversion of the electronic data into a different form called ciphertext. This kind of text is unreadable by any unauthorized person which means that only parties with authorization can read it. Thus, it requires a special kind of key for a person or device to decrypt into its original form.

The main purpose of encryption is the protection of the confidentially stored data on your device that is transmitted through the Internet or any other network. Modern encryption algorithms play a very important role in the assurance of privacy of the IT systems and communications because they not only provide confidentiality but also the authentication, integrity, and non-repudiation.

Public key encryption

A public key encryption is known to everyone. A very interesting feature about public key encryption is that the public and private keys are connected in such a way that only public key is used to encrypt messages and only a related private key can be used to decrypt them.

Public key systems such as PGP (pretty good privacy) are becoming famous for transmitting information through the internet. These systems are secure and easy to use. One problem that can be detected while using a public key is that you need to know the recipient’s public key to encrypt a message for him.

Private Key encryption

It is a tiny code that is related to the public key to set off algorithms for encryption of text and for decryption. It is made as a part that is related to public key cryptography during asymmetric-key encryption and for the decryption and transformation of a message to a readable format. Example of public and private keys pair for a secure communication is email. A private key is also known as a secret key.

AES encryption

AES encryption is a web tool to encrypt and decrypt text that uses AES encryption algorithm. There is 128, 192 or 256-bit long key size available for encryption and decryption. The outcome of the process can be downloaded in the form of text file. It encrypts the text when you put the desired text into the text area and click the “Encrypt button”.

The result of the encryption will appear in base64 that encoded to prevent character encoding problems. For decryption, you will have to make sure that the text is in base64 encoded and is encrypted with AES algorithm. The U.S. uses AES encryption for the security of unclassified material so it can be said that it is enough to secure.

Advance Security Protocols

SSH

SSH (Secure Socket Shell) is the network of protocol that provides security to the administrators for accessing the remote computer. It is the suite of tools that implement the protocol. SSH gives strong authentication and secures encrypted data communications between the devices that are connected through the insecure network such as the Public WiFi. SSH is widely used by the administrators that help them to manage systems and applications remotely which allows them to log into the different computer over the network, execute commands and transfer files from one computer to another.

PPTP

Point-to-point Tunneling Protocol is a set of communications that allows corporations to extend their own corporate network through tunnels that are private over the internet that is public. A corporation uses the wide-area network as a single large local area network. Thus, a company has no longer a need to lease its own lines for wide-area communication and can use the public keys securely. This type of interconnection is called a virtual private network (VPN).

L2TP

Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is an extension of the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) which is used by the ISP in order to allow the operation of a VPN via the Internet. L2TP joins the exclusive features of two other tunneling protocols: PPTP from Microsoft and L2F from the Cisco Systems. The L2TP Access Concentrator (LAC) and the L2TP Network Server (LNS) are combined to make up L2TP. L2TP Access Concentrator (LAC) physically terminates a call and L2TP Network Server (LNS) that terminates and possibly authenticates the PPP stream.

SSTP

Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol, SSTP is a kind of VPN tunnel that uses an SSL 3.0 channel to transmit PPP or L2TP traffic. SSL enables the transmission and data encryption, also traffic integrity checking. This is the reason that SSTP is able to pass through most of the firewalls and proxy servers by the use of SSL channel over TCP port 443.

OPENVPN

It is an open source software application which implements virtual private network techniques for the purpose of creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in the bridged configurations and access facilities that are remote. It employs a custom security protocol that uses SSL/TLS for exchanging the key. Also, it is capable of traversing firewalls and network address translators. It enables peers to authenticate each other by using a pre-shared secret key, certificates, username or password.

Secure Browsers for Safe Internet Activities

Tor Browser

Tor browser is the perfect solution for those who want to remain anonymous. It uses a scattered network of computers to route the internet traffic by using numerous layers of encryption which makes its origin hard to understand. Anyone who wants to share information anonymously such as political dissidents can definitely apply Tor browser. What only you have to do is to download it and start using it with privacy enhancements. Also, while using it, you have to change your behavior and try to remain anonymous as much as possible. However, nothing is a perfect solution and may contain flaws.

Epic privacy browser

It is a Chromium-based web browser that provides protection of privacy and browsing history. Epic encrypted proxy is a free built-in VPN which provides protection to your browsing history from ISP’s intrusion and other data collectors. It also secures you on public Wi-Fi.

Comodo Dragon browser

Comodo Dragon is a freeware web browser, based on chromium and produced by Comodo group. It supports a similar interface to Google Chrome. This web browser does not implement Chrome’s user tracking and also some more features that are capable of compromising privacy, it substitutes them by their own tracking implementations and also provides additional privacy measures for instance indication of authenticity and the relative length of a website’s SSL certificate.

Browser Extensions

HTTPS Everywhere

These days, the trend of applying encryption has grown. However, many websites using end-to-end encryption for more than last 15 years. Websites such as online shopping and banking would not have been possible if these would not have employed encryption. The protocol of encryption that these websites use is HTTPS which is short for HTTP secure. Websites which need to protect user’s communications use this protocol to determine internet security.

However, a website with unsecured HTTP transfers all your unencrypted information which means anyone can see your activity, whatever you are doing online. For instance, transaction details during payments. There is a chance of alteration of data between you and the web server. With HTTPS, a cryptographic key exchange takes place when you connect to a secured website. All your activities are encrypted and hidden from the spying eyes while you connect to a secured website. Anyone observing the website can see which site you have visited but they are unable to see what you are actually doing on the page.

For instance, the website you are currently using is secured with HTTPS. ‘S’ in the HTTPS is for encryption due to this your ISP is able to see the website you have visited but cannot look at the specific article that you are reading on that particular website.

Privacy Badger

It is a browser add-on that blocks advertisers and the third party trackers from tracking your activities, includes internet browsing, communication through apps and software. If you detect that any advertiser is tracking you across multiple websites without your consent then privacy badger blocks that particular advertiser from loading any more content on the browser. However, to the browser, it is like you suddenly vanished.

uBlock Origin

It is a free and open-source, a cross-platform browser extension for the purpose of content-filtering which includes ad-blocking. This extension is compatible with numerous browsers such as Safari, Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Opera. The uBlock Origin has received consideration from technology sites and is recognized as less memory-intensive compared to other extensions. Its purpose is to give the users a means to enforce their own choices.

Delete Google Search History

Google stores your history however they promise not to use it for their own benefit. You can see the information Google gathers about you by just signing in to your Google account. Now visit My Activity, from here you can delete the desired topic or product that you want to erase. Because you are reading this online privacy guide, it is recommended to delete -> All Time.

If you want to stop Google from collecting information about you then visit Activity Controls. From here, you will be able to stop Google from collecting information about you when you make off Google services. However, these instructions will not prevent the one who is intentionally spying your information such as NSA. Yet it can prevent Google from profiling you. Keep in mind that deleting or stopping Google from collecting information about you can cease some basic functions.

Anonymous Payment Methods

Bitcoin

It is a payment method which adds an extra layer of security, makes your transaction anonymous from monitoring by bank and surveillance agencies. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency; they are used in the same way as the other form of money. They can be traded, invested, bought and used for purchasing different goods and services. It is an open source virtual currency which operates on peer-to-peer technology.

The idea of bitcoin is appealing and different because it has no one as a middle man, for instance, state-controlled bank. It is a widely used currency however it is also changing rapidly. Bitcoin is an open source virtual currency that works on peer-to-peer technology. The Bitcoin is particularly valid in the realm of VPNs like services. Bitcoin is not an anonymous service however it can be made into by using following ways:

  • Use disposable and anonymous email addresses
  • To avoid any traces, use a new Bitcoin address every time for every new purchase
  • Avoid revealing your name, address and phone number
  • Use a mixer service

Gift Cards

The Gift Card is a prepaid payment card that has a particular amount of money. It can be purchased by anyone and used, despite what their credit score is. They are used for the same purposes as credit cards however they do not include taking dept. they do not need a credit check. They are a modified version of the paper gift but with advance and new features.

Email security

Email services provides large number of HTTPS connection. An email can reveal much information about you if it gets hacked or attacked. The best solution for email security is end-to-end encryption. For this, the sender encrypts the email and the receiver has the power to decrypt it. However, a major drawback of encryption of email services is that both sender and receiver must have encryption. It is not a unilateral system.

Conclusion

Now you would have realized how much endangered your privacy protection is. Establishing a complete privacy is hard but it is not something impossible. Privacy is a valuable but threatened property. By implementing the ideas covered in this guide, you will able to protect your own privacy and give an important contribution to saving it for everyone.

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