The guide to the best applications to protect your privacy on the Internet
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Today, as the world becomes increasingly connected and our lives are more and more intertwined with the Internet, privacy has become an increasingly important issue. With the increase in data breaches, identity theft and other malicious activities, it is essential to protect your privacy and identity on the Internet. It is difficult to think about this on a daily basis and to get out of data-intensive applications such as those of Google or Meta. Fortunately, there are a variety of applications and services that can help you do this.
In this guide, we’ll look at the best applications and services that can help you protect your privacy on the Internet.
Introduction to privacy on the Internet
When it comes to protecting your privacy on the Internet, the first step is to understand what privacy is and why it is important. Privacy is the right of an individual to control access, use and dissemination of personal information. It is important because it allows people to maintain a certain level of autonomy, freedom and control over their personal information.
On the Internet, various threats can compromise your privacy. Malware, phishing, data breaches and identity theft come to mind. Suppose you have an account that got hacked with your personal data. If someone impersonates you online by creating an account on a social network with your name and profile picture, they can use that account to post false or harmful information about you.
This can cause damage to your online reputation. Even if you lose the trust of your friends and family.
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But this is nothing compared to the fact that the impersonator can also use the account to request money or financial information from your contacts ! This can lead to a financial scam. Or even pretend to be you at your bank and steal your money directly.
You should know that the saying “if it’s free, you’re the product” is real on the Internet. No service is really free. Behind the free service is often hidden the use of your data for resale for advertising purposes. At its best.
The tools we will talk about here are often paid, or with a very limited free version. This is the price of peace of mind.
What is encryption, zero-knowledge and its advantages ?
One of the most important tools to protect your privacy on the Internet is encryption. Encryption is the process of encoding data in such a way that it can only be decrypted and read by the intended recipient. It’s an effective way to protect data. It makes it impossible for anyone other than the intended recipient to access the data. Encryption relies on a key to decrypt data, as the name suggests.
However, the question arises as to who owns this key.
That’s where zero-knowledge will come in. This type of logic is based on the concept that no one, not even the service provider, is able to access the data or read the contents of encrypted messages. This ensures that your data is totally secure and no one can access it without your permission.
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Using encryption to protect your data has several advantages. First, it ensures that your data is secure and only the intended recipient can access it. Secondly, it ensures that your data is not shared with others without your permission.
Finally, it ensures that your data is not vulnerable to malicious actors who might try to access it.
On the other hand, to use this technology, you must not lose your private decryption key. If a user forgets his private key, he will not be able to access his encrypted information. This can lead to a permanent loss of data.
Therefore, it is important to store the private key securely and keep it to avoid losing or forgetting it.
Protect your privacy by securely storing your data in the cloud: Tresorit, iCloud, PCloud
When it comes to protecting your data, one of the best options is to use secure storage services. These services offer a variety of features that can help you protect your data, such as encryption, secure storage and access control.
One of the most popular cloud services is Tresorit. This service offers end-to-end encryption, zero-knowledge and secure storage, as well as access control. It ensures that only you can access your data and that it is safe from malicious actors.
Tresorit, based in Switzerland, is therefore not able to access your data.
Also based in Switzerland, PCloud is another cloud service that offers advanced data protection. Equally reliable, it offers life-time subscriptions that are regularly discounted. However, encryption is sold as an option.
Don’t hesitate to subscribe to it in order to benefit from the maximum protection possible.
Finally, it would have been absent in these lines before the update of iOS and iPadOS 16.3 of January 2023. But since Apple’s iCloud is another reliable cloud service in terms of data protection. More expensive, but perfectly integrated into the Apple universe, it now offers end-to-end encryption.
So by activating the advanced data protection feature, you now have zero-knowledge storage.
Secure private messaging applications, end-to-end encryption and metadata: Signal, Telegram, Threema
Private email applications are another important tool to protect your privacy on the Internet. These applications allow you to communicate securely with others without having to worry about your conversations being intercepted or monitored.
One of the most popular secure messaging applications is Signal. We had said all the good things about it here. And that hasn’t changed since ! Signal stores almost no information, everything is encrypted… all for features equivalent to the Meta ogre Whatsapp. Why not go for it ?
Other challengers to iMessage, Facebook Messenger and Whastapp include Telegram and Threema. The first is Russian, the second Swiss, but both offer secure and encrypted exchanges. However, Threema just like Signal does not keep anything on its servers, unlike Telegram…
Protect your privacy by protecting your email: Mailfence, Protonmail, Tutanota, SimpleLogin
Secure email systems are another important tool to protect your privacy on the Internet. These systems are designed to provide secure email communications. They offer a variety of features that can help you protect your data.
Typically, the big web behemoths (Microsoft, Google…) provide a free offer… but they make the most of your data and sell it for advertising.
These other mail providers often have a limited free offer. But once you agree to pay even a minimum (because as the saying goes, if it’s free, you’re the product), the services are very similar to what you find elsewhere.
Recommended by Edward Snowden himself, Mailfence is one of the most popular secure messaging systems. Based in Belgium, the messaging offers end-to-end encryption. This ensures that your emails are secure and that only you and the intended recipient can access them.
Protonmail based in Switzerland and Tutanota based in Germany offer equivalent services (at equivalent prices too). Depending on the advanced features you prefer to use !
Finally, for the more adventurous, why not use an alias manager that will allow you to have a different email address per service ? Fully compatible with the different providers above (it has been bought by Proton), a tool like SimpleLogin will allow you to create disposable email aliases. This will protect you from spammers (if an address is compromised, just delete it). It also allows you to easily manage your login information for multiple websites using a single login and password. Coupled with a password manager like NordPass, Bitwarden or 1Password, it is an unstoppable tool !
VPNs as a bulwark of identity on the Internet
Virtual Private Networks (or VPNs) are another important tool to protect your privacy on the Internet. They allow you to create a secure connection to another network. Their services can help you protect your data.
Among the most popular VPNs you can avoid NordVPN or ExpressVPN. In both cases, these services work on your computers (Windows or Mac) as well as on your phone. Paying, they allow you to secure your internet connection by creating an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a remote server. Each one offers the possibility to connect to several thousand servers in dozens of countries.
The point of using a VPN is to secure your internet connection by hiding your IP address and encrypting your internet traffic. This thus protects your privacy online. And especially secure your connection when using public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
Finally, they allow you to bypass geographical restrictions to access censored or restricted content in your region.
Protecting your privacy on the Internet is an essential part of keeping you safe and independent online. Fortunately, there are a variety of applications and services that can help you do this. In this guide, we’ve looked at some of the best applications and services that can help you protect your privacy on the Internet, including storage with encryption and zero-knowledge, secure private messaging applications, secure email systems and VPNs.
By using these applications and services, you can ensure that your data is more secure and protect your privacy. But beware, this is good, but it doesn’t prevent you from staying on the lookout for dangers !