The Internet was once considered a luxury. Today it is an integral part of our daily lives.
It’s something that many of us simply cannot live without. If you don’t believe me, take an Internet hiatus for the next 24 hours and let me know how you feel. There are only two possible outcomes:
You’ll either complete your Internet sabbatical and feel completely normal, or you’ll simply go nuts due to your craving for social media and staying connected. The chances of the latter possibility are quite high!
The Internet is so deeply entrenched with our daily lives that sometimes we completely ignore the dark side of it. For instance, online privacy.
We enjoy spending time online, but often we don’t think about the personal privacy threats that come along with it. Take a look around. You are surrounded with devices that are always-on, like your mobile phones, tablets, laptops, app-enabled home and office security devices etc.
Every single time you surf the Internet, you leave your digital footprints across different mediums and platforms. Different websites record your interests, social media websites know your birthday and the name of your friends.
The Ashley Madison data breach is a big example of eminent threats to privacy, where the hackers leaked the sites’ data online which caused people to commit suicide and resulted in many divorces. Identity theft is another big issue.
So, it’s better to be safe than sorry. These four tools can help you regain some anonymity.
Search Engines are a huge part of our daily online sessions. Your interests, demographics and psychographics can be analyzed by the searches you make. And if this data falls into wrong hands, it can really be disturbing.
While some search providers are taking precautions, search has become an increasingly customized experience, so it’s important that the personalized search results you receive are protected.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn’t track you. It aims to provide a superior search experience with smarter answers, less clutter and real privacy. It will not give you personalized results, so you’ll see the same results that others see when they search for a particular phrase. DuckDuckGo can be used with any browser. Its app is available on iOS, Android and major computing platforms.
(Disclaimer: I am sharing these online privacy tips on behalf of Ivacy).
How can we not talk about VPNs (virtual private networks) when it comes to online privacy and security. A VPN is the ultimate online privacy tool used by millions of Internet users around the world. For those who don’t know what a VPN is; it is software that makes you anonymous over the web by masking your IP address and encrypting online communications.
Ivacy is a top-tier VPN service provider, which protects your online privacy, and ensure that you stay anonymous at all times while you’re on the web. While there are a ton of free VPNs out there, in duel between free vs. paid VPN’s, a paid VPN will always be the victor.
There are many reasons for this outcome, the most major one being that many free VPNs sell bandwidth of their users, reduce speed, allow adds, log activities and do not offer support. So if you do not want to compromise on your privacy, a paid VPN is the best choice you have.
Have you ever wondered, “Is it possible to delete my identity trail since the time I started using Internet?” The answer: there’s an online tool for that!
Safe Shepherd pro-actively removes your personal information from the Internet and marketing databases. This site works by scanning data harvesting websites and search engines and then returns with a list of spots where it found your credentials.
You can subscribe to their monthly service and Safe Shepherd will remove the data on your behalf. You will also be notified if your information gets shared on any new platforms, and it also monitors every social platform vigilantly.
Web of Trust (WOT) is a free website reputation, rating and review tool that helps find trustworthy websites and protects against online scams, untrustworthy links, and more. The browser add-on works by changing its display icon or “reputation icons” in accordance to the perceived safety level of a particular website you are visiting.
Web of Trust also allows you to rate the websites yourself, which is highly useful because the site ratings are all decided through a consensus of the online community. Web of Trust also works within search engines too. The displayed search results in a search engine include the Web of Trust color code.
I know I’ve missed out on many, but if you know any good privacy tools in particular that will outshine any one of them, then feel free to mention them in the comments section below.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Brad Haddin is a tech savvy blogger, who loves to explore the new happenings of the tech industry. After completing his Masters Degree in Computer Sciences from the University of California, he worked for a number of IT firms. Currently, he is associated with Ivacy VPN, a top-tier VPN service provider, as Community Manager. He loves to write about technology-oriented businesses, with a nice flair of authenticity. Connect with @IvacyVPN on Twitter.