Big brother is on the watch online.
Today, a week hardly passes without news of government spying, whistleblowers, cell phone hacking, or even private photos being leaked. Nobody wants to get followed online, tracked, spied on, or personal information being automatically gathered.
Unfortunately, data is being collected continuously all over the internet. For instance, information is collected by the NSA’s PRISM program almost always. It, in fact, is the most significant web spying program out there. PrivacySavvy.com has an extensive guide on it that’s worth reading.
Fortunately, there’re several ways that you can use to protect your online activities from the ever creeping eyes. Here are some of the top ways you can use to minimize big brother and the NSA from monitoring your internet traffic;
Or the best thing you can do is ditch the regular search engines and turn to private ones. One such search engine that I can recommend is DuckDuckGo.
Encrypt internet traffic
Another best way to keep off big brother is to ensure that your internet traffic is always encrypted. Ensure that you type https:// before a domain name in your URL field of a browser. That way, all traffic is encrypted, and all your activities online will be kept off the radar from big brother.
On the same note, you should check the encryption that the website you visit is using. It’s the first step to securely surfing the internet.
Also, try opting for a VPN subscription. There are many VPNs out there; just make sure you get only a quality one.
A couple of good VPN providers that I can suggest include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, and HideMyAss.
Encrypt the files
Once you upload your files to the internet, they are accessible to several folks that most of them may use to get back to you. Therefore, you need to control those who read them, and the best way is by getting a password for them.
You can encrypt all your emails and make them unreadable with only you can access them. You can generate public and private keys that those sending you messages can use to encrypt the messages.
Concerning encrypting your files and folders, the free plan of tools like www.axcrypt.net will do the job for you. VeraCrypt is another free encryption tool that you can try.
Check your privacy settings
Set your online privacy settings accordingly and ensure that you stay up-to-date with the privacy options.
The reason is that once a company changes its privacy settings as well as security contracts, the previous settings are not retained.
Therefore, ensure that you are updated all the time – in fact, you can even set a reminder for a monthly change to your password.
Secure your kit
In ensuring that big brother is not watching you, your computer should be free of the unwanted software, and the best way is to go for a read-only operating system.
Clear your internet history
The most common means that could be used to get to you are via your IP address or the emails.
Thanks to your IP address, you can be racked, and everything you did on the site can be monitored. Therefore, you need to actively clear your search history all the time and let your viewing patterns be set to private.
Everything you have is undoubtedly available on the other side, with some cloud services even offering syncing and accelerated uploads. That’s possible since they’re aware of what you’ve uploaded, and it means that they as well have the key which they can provide to the NSA.
Therefore, ensure that you encrypt all your files and never trust the provider’s encryption software. Instead, it would help if you used the open-source software to ensure that all hidden back doors are discovered.
The privacy should be entirely mean “private,” and ensuring you’re not caught in the NSA’s PRISM net is not an option. However, it would help if you kept in mind that even all the best ways to keep you anonymous online are not 100-percent foolproof. Still, it’s better than being reckless.
Ali Qamar is a privacy and cybersecurity enthusiast; his work has been featured in many major tech and security blogs, including InfosecInstitute, Hackread, ValueWalk, Intego, and SecurityAffairs to name a few. He runs PrivacySavvy.com currently. Follow Ali on Twitter @AliQammar57