How To Chat With Friends On-line Without Being Tracked By The NSA

The latest scandals with Edward Snowden, news about Internet users were spied on by law enforcement agencies in a number of countries and the rumors regarding the fact that many large Internet companies leak confidential information on network users are a wake-up-call to the users who require reliable, private and state of the art security services. Any downloading software, as practice shows, can be equipped with the so-called “backdoors” for data interception. The phones also ping cell towers all the time as there’s no other way for them to function. Pinging means those cell towers know the phone’s location which, essentially,  makes it a tracking device.

All those events made us think of searching for an alternative and safe channel of communication with friends and business partners, anonymous web surfing and file sharing solutions.

So is there any way to stay anonymous during the age of the Internet?

An obvious answer to that would sound something like this: ‘Throw your phone, laptop, desktop out of the window, pay for everything with cash and don’t talk to strangers’. Of course, that approach (even though it’s actually the safest option) wouldn’t work for most users which leaves us with extreme to-be-or-not-to-be types of choices. This article explores ways of preserving both: your digital life and your privacy.

Choose your software carefully

You may find many recommendations on-line on how to tune your PC to protect yourself from viruses and phishing scams. They all may or may not achieve the same goal but the primary question is, “can you really trust the software that you are protecting you from viruses and can you be sure it’s not a major tracking virus itself?”

There’s a lot of info on the web about ‘how famous software companies report all the bug-fixes to the NSA’; which sounds like a scary thought.
This, of course does not mean there’s 100% assurance that all systems do not give info away. It is a fact that alternative OS’s do not have as many viruses as the most popular ones.  Therefore, if you’re a security geek it is a good idea to consider shifting to a different OS. One great example is Qubes OS, a Linux distribution that runs its programs inside dedicated virtual machines reducing the amount of potential vulnerabilities.


Browser Wars

This time it’s not about speed, it’s about security. Having the concept of an OS tracking should make you avoid private web-browsing on native browsers such as Internet Explorer or Safari. The latest versions of all four major browsers including Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Safari, were hacked at Pwn2Own Hacking Competition 2015. To save your private life online you can use alternative browsers, like the Midori Web browser, which, by the way, features the anonymous search engine ‘DuckDuckGo’ by default, Epic browser or open-source project Chromium. It’s just so happens that Firefox started “safe internet” and still epitomizes it.


Use a VPN

Virtual Private Networks are getting more popular. The popularity of these services is justified by the level of anonymity they’re able to provide. A VPN server encrypts all of your traffic. They will hide your IP address and location by giving you their own IP address. Surf securely without footprints and leave your online privacy untouched. You can choose to be a resident of South Africa, Argentina or Belize if so desire. If your VPN provider has decent encryption there’s no way to track where you really are.
The conversion itself, however, can easily be logged by chat services, like Skype or Google Hangouts, so it is a good idea to review secure alternatives.


Most chat services work by using a central server. This means that all of your text or audio words and sent files are stored on the server of the provider. If the NSA wants to gain access to this data, it will have no problem.

There are a great number of services offering secure and anonymous encrypted chat rooms.

Privatoria offers a bundle of web security and anonymity services including secure data transfer, anonymous e-mail, Proxy/VPN and of course secure chat.

The peculiarity of this service is the absence of a central server. Their chat technology is based on WebRTC; meaning there’s a direct connection between browsers without transferring data or logging information on the servers unlike traditional chat solutions like Skype, Google Hangouts, etc… So, no one can access your different ways of communication.
You will be able to communicate with all of the advanced features like text messaging, voice and video calls, file transfer, etc…
  • Cryptochat is an app for Android users for secure chatting that allows end-to-end password-protected encryption.
  • CryptoCat offers group chat, file sharing and provides encryption for doing so. Extra features include Facebook integration and the ability to send photos.
  • Surespot is an open source mobile messaging app with 256 bit end-to-end encryption. It does not require registration and allows sending voice messages from multiple accounts on a single device.

The Choice is yours

Trying to sum it all up, we can firmly state that the world of technology is constantly evolving and that the government wants to control this process. There are no guarantees that you are not being tracked while reading this article or watching Youtube videos.

There are ways to preserve your privacy or at least give Uncle Sam a hard time when he tries to spy on you. To secure yourself you may want to try using a VPN, alternative OS’s, secure chat solutions to transfer your encrypted messages or even set up your own private server machine with cloud storage, a chat server and other useful stuff.
Ehacking Staff
With more than 50 global partners, we are proud to count the world’s leading cybersecurity training provider. EH Academy is the brainchild of Ehacking, which has been involved in the field of training since the past Five years and continues to help in creating professional IT experts.

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