7 Privacy Tools That Will Protect Your Anonymity
There was a time privacy involved shutting doors and windows. Now it’s evolved past that. The age of the internet has taken privacy to a whole new level. Today, the government, search engines, social media companies, websites, and even cybercriminals are mining data about what we do every day in cyberspace.
All around the world, especially in the 5-eye countries, one of these institutions monitor people through the internet. Getting off the internet is no option for the 21st century. The only way you can maintain anonymity is by depending on various privacy tools that allow you to stay anonymous and maintain your privacy.
In this article, we will share with you 7 privacy tools that can help you maintain your anonymity.
7 Tools for Online Anonymity
Before we dive in, it is important that you receive this note of warning: with these tools, you only get a certain level of anonymity. Total anonymity is close to impossible today. The real world and the cyber world have aligned. Geotagging on your mobile device and facial recognition in public places are just examples of the many ways in which your thirst for total anonymity can remain unquenched. These tools can only do as much as they can. With that said, let’s get to it.
The Onion Router, also known as Tor, is an open-source service created in the mid-’90s by the US Naval Research Laboratory. The intention of making the software was to use it as a layer of protection for U.S. intelligence communication online. Tor has grown to become a very effective method for protection against basic forms of internet surveillance, known as traffic analysis.
With Tor, it is impossible to detect whom you are communicating with over the internet. It also keeps the source and destination of your traffic. These pieces of information can be used to determine your behaviors and interests. Tor software works by bouncing your communication data around a vast volunteer network spread across the world.
With the Tor software, you can stop anyone from monitoring your activity, learning what sites you visit, and preventing visited sites from retrieving your location or IP address. Tor has a browser that works with the Tor interface, ensuring that your data is secure. It is available across a range of devices, and it’s free to use.
Signal has been termed as the gold standard of encrypted messaging. It is an open-source messaging app that keeps all your messages away from prying eyes by using its Signal protocol along with end-to-end encryption. This means messages can only be viewed at the sender and recipient’s end.
Unlike other messaging apps that have a unique private messaging feature, Signal is entirely a private messaging service and cannot function otherwise. It also allows you to make both audio and video calls. You can also send files across the signal platform. Signal supports the vanishing message function. With this function, your messages are programmed to get deleted automatically after a speculated period.
The only downside for Signal is that it cannot protect your metadata. It’s still very visible to prying eyes. People can know you are using Signal. The US and other 5-eye countries can tell you are using Signal. They can also retrieve other information, including whom you are talking to on Signal, when the conversation ensued, and how long it lasted. The makers of signals are working on getting Signal to a point where it’s metadata resistant. Until then, you could tighten things up a bit by combining it with Tor.
ProtonMail is an open-source mail service by the Swiss-based company, Proton Technologies AG, that lets you send encrypted emails. This company protects its servers physically and virtually; they are all in Switzerland and are located in a well-protected base. What’s more, its servers run on top-notch encryption.
With ProtonMail, you get an anonymous email address. You do not need to provide any private information to get your anonymous email address running. ProtonMail uses end-to-end encryption and zero-access encryption. This means that it encrypts all emails with a hight standard of encryption such that no one can decrypt them (not even ProtonMail). Also, ProtonMail doesn’t keep any IP logs. Thus, no information can be used to trace anything back to your anonymous email.
ProtonMail is free to use, easy to use, and compatible with other mail service providers. This means that you can send and receive emails from other email providers using your anonymous information account.
However, ProtonMail claims that “it can not” protect you against powerful adversaries like the US, EU, or the Five-eyes. Another downside is that it doesn’t encrypt the subject line of your emails. ProtonMail is available on Android, iOS, and the web. It is worth mentioning that ProtonMail offers a paid version for which you have to pay a monthly subscription. But the free version would provide you with adequate safety too.
Founded in 2003, I2P is a free open source privacy network used for secure communication. With it, information travels through tunnels identified by easy to use I2P addresses created by both sender and recipient. The most incredible feature that the I2P has is its inbuilt end-to-end encryption system. It uses end-to-end encryption to hide your communication from ISPs. It also uses the onion router to hide your metadata.
Other privacy tools use egress points where your data leaves their network to transverse the regular internet. These points can give your ISP a chance to see your metadata. This is why these other apps do not keep logs. I2P doesn’t use these egress points. This means only your computer and your recipient’s computer can view your metadata. The only downside to using I2P is that you cannot access regular websites as they do not have I2P addresses.
A lot of people save their data on a lot of cloud space online. An example is Dropbox. Most of these cloud services are neither private nor secure. It takes little to nothing for hackers to access your information. Leave out the hackers, and you still have a problem. Even these cloud service providers are accessing your data. That is why you need a service that can keep your data while offering safety and security. Tresorit is such a service.
Using the best of blockchain and encryption technology, Tresorit offers you the best security and privacy for your files on the internet. You can work on your files wherever you are. Also, you can share your files safely and securely. Only those you give access would be able to see your files. To help you appreciate Tresorit’s high level of security, you should know it passed a security test involving 1000 professional hackers and a bounty of $50000. That’s the kind of privacy you can get if you use Tresorit. Do take note that Tresorit is a paid service.
6. Ad-blocker Pro
Nobody likes the ever-intrusive ads that pop up when we are surfing the web. They make your time online really frustrating. With Ad-blocker Pro, you can bid all that stress goodbye. Ad-blocker Pro is a web browser extension that offers you a clean browsing experience devoid of ads.
It also blocks all malicious downloads that are triggered by themselves. Another great feature of this web extension is that it equally blocks off all malicious domains, giving you that pristine internet experience that you’ve always desired. What’s more, the plugin is free and can be installed from the Chrome store. It can also work on tons of browsers.
7. Brave Browser
It’s no news that most web browsers out there are part of the snooping. The browser you use goes a long way in determining your privacy and anonymity. Brave Browser tries its best to provide a safe internet environment for its users. That is probably why over 19 million users worldwide have it as their goto browser. It is fast and consumes less battery. Brave Browser helps to shield you from the surveillance economy. It believes that you are not a product.
This is why its team of conscious programmers created this browser to offer much-needed security. The surveillance industry runs mostly on ad targeting. Whatever activity you perform online is monitored by your browser and used to serve you ads. For Brave Browser, this doesn’t happen. Instead, the company shields your information and ensures that you are protected from all malicious and intrusive ads. Unlike other browsers, they do not save your private information. According to them, they claim they “do not want to know you that well.” They also block all kinds of trackers that are allowed on other devices. With Brave, it’s a whole new world of privacy for you.
Why a VPN Is a Necessity
While all these tools may offer you a certain level of anonymity, your best bet is a VPN. This is because a VPN encrypts your data using the best encryption standard (AES 256-bit) along with top-notch security protocols like OpenVPN. This ensures that your data is not leaked or decrypted as it passes through cyberspace.
Most VPNs also have a security feature known as the Kill Switch. It halts all data transfer if the VPN connection ever drops. With a VPN, you can mask your IP address entirely. The VPN will assign you a new one, which, of course, has no bearing on your real location. It also operates a no-log policy, ensuring that it doesn’t store any of your data, including metadata. This makes it impossible to get to you.
With a VPN, you can have a greater deal of anonymity. There are numerous VPNs on the market, so ensure you go for a reliable provider that is well-known for impenetrable privacy and security.
Privacy and anonymity is almost a fairy tale in today’s world. However, using these tools will significantly limit the amount of data that can be sourced from you on the internet. Remember that the fight for your privacy is a lifelong one and must be engaged carefully and thoroughly. Also, these tools may not be able to provide the ultimate solution for your privacy. They can only do as much as their features and services would permit. It is still your responsibility to stay safe and private out there.