Data leak, Hacking, Data Protection, Identity theft- just some of the many buzz words we hear these days on the news, social media. The unfortunate thing is that these are not just words and have significance in the digital world.
The major eye-opener for the public was the Facebook-Cambridge Analytical data scandal in early 2018.
which took society by storm and there are data breaches happening in the world every hour which can be said, is also kind of a virus targeting everyone who is on the internet and the only way out is Digital Distancing which can be maintained in the ways that we are going to tell you in this blog. Let us make this clear that there is no way that can guarantee you 100% privacy it’s just that you need to use all the tools at your disposal to be as anonymous as possible.
- Use of VPN(Virtual Private Network)
The most popular and mainstream method of data protection and anonymization is VPN. Although the notion that the use of a VPN makes the user invincible on the internet is flawed. VPN only routes the traffic from your ISP to its server which means that the data is still getting stored somewhere which makes it kind of unreliable. That’s why it’s necessary to use a VPN service that has a no-log policy. Some of the best VPN services that are available are:
- ExpressVPN:A super secure VPN service that doesn’t compromise on speed and is recognized as the best.
- NordVPN: Well implemented encryption and a large choice of superb privacy features, a close second.
- PrivateInternetAccess: Extremely well-implemented OpenVPN and a no-logs policy at a low price
- CyberGhostVPN: is an easy to use and robust service for anyone new to VPNs
- AirVPN: is a VPN for expert VPN users with excellent security features and implementation.
2. Tor project:
Tor is free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication. The name is derived from an acronym for the original software project name “The Onion Router”. Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. You can also use the Tor browser directly which is officially available for android and unofficially available for iOS.
3. Use of Secure Encrypted Mail:
Industry 4.0 is here which means the Data is the new fuel and is going to run the whole industry. The mail services like Gmail, Hotmail, Rediffmail tracks e-mail and all of its content. Big data companies like these provide you with their free service which you actually pay by giving them your data which is far more expensive; And if these companies can track your data so can the government. Therefore you should use the secure mail which does not keep the log files of the account to ensure complete privacy.
One of such secure mail service is Proton Mail. ProtonMail’s servers are locked down under 1,000 meters of solid rock, in a Swiss bunker that can survive a nuclear attack. And its digital security is about as impressive. It began development by a team of CERN Large Hadron Collider scientists in the wake of the 2013 Snowden leak and has since become the #1 most-used secure email service with over five million users.
ProtonMail is designed with the principle of zero access and zero-knowledge, which means that the email servers and staff that work with them have no way of reading or sharing your emails.
Regulating App Permissions:
Regulating app permission is a major part of privacy protection and so permission should be granted carefully because malicious installed on the phone can leak the data causing privacy concerns. This is the list of data that your phone can leak to the companies:
- Body Sensors – allows access to your health data and step count, from paired heart-rate monitors, fitness trackers, and other sensors.
- Calendar – allows apps to read, create, edit, or delete your calendar events.
- Camera – taking photos and recording videos.
- Contacts – read, create, or edit your contact list, as well as access the list of all accounts used on your device.
- Location – access your location using GPS for high accuracy, and cellular data and Wi-Fi for approximate accuracy.
- Microphone – used for recording audio, including for video.
- Phone – access your phone number and network info. Required for making calls and VoIP, voicemail, call redirect, and editing call logs.
- SMS – read, receive, and send MMS and SMS messages.
- Storage – read and write files to your phone’s internal and external storage.
Avoid Social Media:
I know this is cliche advice. But its a cliche for a reason. Privacy is about autonomy, the notion that you choose to share what you want to share and to keep private what you want to keep private. If there’s something going on in your life you don’t want the entire world to know about, then posting about it on social media — for the entire world to see — may, ergo, not be the best idea.
There’s a striking generational gap on this topic. Older generations cringe at the idea of airing their dirty laundry in public, while the generation that grew up with a cell phone welded to their palm thinks over-sharing is normal. There are a time and place for everything. Deliberate sharing of things you want to the world to see clearly has value.
Consider also that sharing a particular detail about your life may not appear sensitive on its own but taken in aggregate with many other shared personal details can build up a picture that you might hesitate to put onto a hostile internet.
Use of AdBlock extension:
Tracking your every move online and, increasingly, in meatspace, is the business model of huge chunks of Silicon Valley. Google and Facebook are two of the largest players in this space, and they track you all across the web and into meatspace, even if you don’t have an account with either (though most of us do), and even if you aren’t logged in.
Installing an ad blocker is no magic cure, but a paper-mache sword is better than nothing at all when the enemy hordes invade. The Brave Browser blocks ads and trackers by default. AdBlock has a good reputation, and other extensions are worth exploring, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s excellent Privacy Badger extension.
You can also sinkhole ad network DNS requests at your local router level.
One can never be completely safe online but with proper measures and tools, one can minimize the threats. Use of proxychains, tor-browser, VPN can add many security layers that can be okay for people with most general use cases. With proper censoring of content before posting also goes a long way.
Written By: Abhishek Patil
IEEE Member No: 96143309