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A Simple Guide to Online Privacy

Staying safe online is one thing, but what about online privacy too? Surely the two go hand in hand. Well, it’s not always easy to protect yourself these days, short of stepping away from the computer and pretending the internet just doesn’t exist. Data breaches and hacks will always be a thorn in your side, but you can take a few steps to safeguard your data while you browse.

Incognito… ish.

Well, it’s an obvious one, the incognito mode on your browser will hide your data, but only from the next person to use your computer. The browser doesn’t cache, and it won’t remember addresses visited. If you’re hiding your adult material viewing or even just sites you’ve visited to shop for gifts, that kinda thing, Incognito is enough. However, keep in mind it doesn’t hide your data from your ISP and may not even hide you from the website you’re on.

Encrypted Storage

You could use things like Google Drive or even OneDrive. However, Nextcloud is software for you and your clients to install on your own servers to create your own private cloud. It’s all open-source, and you don’t have a corporate overlord (potentially) snooping on anything. However, you could always resort to Mega.nz, which still offers hefty encryption for cloud storage too.

DNS

It’s pretty much impossible to fully hide your IP address and traffic from your provider, but you can make it a lot harder, and also protect against DNS hijacking with an encrypted DNS. Some offer services to block out ads, trackers, dodgy websites, etc too. You’ll have to Google for one in your region that you’re happy with, but there’s plenty of good options out there.

VPN Routers

There’s no shortage of great VPN routers. However, as easy as it can be to set up VPN software on your devices and mobiles, why not just throw the VPN job directly to your router? That way your entire network is protected as the point of entry! Check out this amazing guide on how to choose the best VPN router.

Search

Don’t want our Google overlords scanning your search history for advertisement purposes? Well, there are a few alternatives. Such as “searx” which is open-sourced and aggregates other search engines, without tracking you or ads of course. Or DuckDuckGo, another non-tracking search engine that’s proving quite popular.

Social Media

Well, as much as there are alternatives to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with a focus on safety, they’re all a bit crap really. Sure, they may have open-source ideals, privacy, etc, but typically, none of your friends are on them either… so it’s a bit of a tough battle. I suggest, if you truly don’t trust social media privacy (what little there is), then maybe keep off the platforms or really push to alternative ones.

Passwords

It’s a simple one, but an obvious one. People more often than not lose their privacy online through a crappy password. It’s OK encrypting your life, but if you leave that one site profile full of banking information, passwords and more with “hunter2” as your password, it’s a prime target and you’ve undone all your hard work.

Source: xkcd 936
Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's (but not for long), I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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