To stay safe online, you need to protect your privacy first. This may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are five free privacy tools that can be used on any platform and sync across devices.
If you want to stay safe online, you must use a secure and private browser. Mainstream apps like Edge and Chrome are simply not up to standard. Brave, though.
An open source browser based on Chromium, Brave has a ton of built-in privacy features. For starters, it automatically blocks trackers, ads, and cross-site cookies that are used to monitor your online activity. Brave also blocks fingerprints, making it impossible to be identified and tracked by advertisers and data collectors.
In addition, Brave changes all connections to HTTPS. It’s a secure protocol (more secure than HTTP) that uses strong encryption, making it harder for attackers to attack your device. The browser also automatically bypasses privacy-infringing AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) sites, or rather de-AMPs each page.
Unlike some private apps, Brave has no performance issues. In fact, it is faster than the vast majority of existing browsers. And since it’s based on Chromium, it can easily integrate any extension available in the Chrome Web Store.
It’s also very easy to sync Brave between different devices. When using the app on your desktop, click the three small bars in the upper right corner and select Synchronize from the drop-down menu and scan the QR code with your smartphone.
Download: Brave for Windows | Mac | Android | iOS
You can’t expect privacy if you use regular messaging apps because they collect a staggering amount of data. For example, Facebook Messenger collects information about your location, contacts, purchase history, device data, and more.
But you can keep your privacy if you ditch your favorite messenger for Signal, an open-source app developed by the nonprofit Signal Foundation. All communications made with this software are end-to-end encrypted using a strong signal protocol, and user privacy is always protected.
Signal does not use invasive scripts, trackers or anything similar. In fact, the program does not collect any data. It knows nothing about you; it only needs your phone number to work. In short, Signal is as secure and confidential as possible.
Other than that, Signal works like any other messaging app. You can use it to send text and disappearing messages, call other people (you can make both video and audio calls), share pictures and videos, and more.
To sync the mobile version of Signal with the desktop version, open the app on your smartphone and go to Signal settings > Paired devices. After that, tap the plus sign or Pair a new deviceand scan the desktop QR code with your phone.
Download: Signal for Windows | Mac | Android | iOS
No privacy protection model is complete without a quality virtual private network (VPN). But there are a few problems with VPNs. First, there are so many providers that it can be difficult to choose the right service. Also, the best VPNs are paid and the free ones are either not good enough or can’t be used on multiple devices.
Windscribe is probably the only VPN service that meets all the important security and privacy parameters, and it’s free to use on multiple devices (10GB of data per month if you verify your email address, which is enough).
Importantly, this VPN software has a fairly large network of servers in dozens of different countries and cities, uses military-grade AES-256 encryption, does not track or identify users in any significant way, has port forwarding, and can block domains and IPs. addresses
Windscribe clients are minimalistic and very intuitive, so even people who have never used a program like this should have no problem getting used to it. All you need to do when you want to enable VPN is to select a server location, click on the “enable” button, and that’s pretty much it.
Download: Windscribe for Windows | Mac | Android | iOS
4. Avira password manager
If you use the same password everywhere, it only takes one hack to compromise all of your accounts. At the same time, no one has to remember dozens of different passwords. This is where password managers come in.
One free password manager that can be used on any platform is developed by Avira, a German cybersecurity company known for its antivirus software. Avira’s password manager can be synchronized across devices, generate strong passwords independently, and store user data both locally and in the cloud.
Avira’s product has several powerful privacy-enhancing features, such as Touch and Face ID, two-factor authentication, and bank-grade encryption. It has a pretty strict data policy, which means the company never sells your information to third parties. It should be noted that there is also a paid version of the product, but the free version still has all the important features.
Avira Password Manager has special applications for Android and iOS platforms. It doesn’t have a proper desktop client, but has extensions for every major browser. So, if you download Brave as recommended, you will be able to add Avira to your browser via the Chrome Web Store.
Download: Avira Password Manager for Android | iOS | Chrome | Firefox | Edge | Opera
We are all under surveillance in one way or another, whether by Big Tech or the government. Some people don’t have a problem with this, but those who do realize how important it is to use secure email instead of relying on Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and other similar services.
ProtonMail is one of the best secure email providers out there. In the free version, you get one email address, 1 GB of storage and can receive up to 150 messages per day. That should be more than enough for most people — if you’re really getting more than 150 emails a day, you should probably unsubscribe from a few newsletters or change the settings of some programs.
But what makes ProtonMail different from other email providers? All messages are end-to-end encrypted, the platform uses a zero-trust security model, has two-factor authentication with hardware security keys, and boasts built-in PGP support. Additionally, ProtonMail is based in Switzerland, which has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world.
Most importantly, you can use ProtonMail on any device. There are apps for both major mobile platforms and a web client that can be accessed from any browser.
Download: ProtonMail for Android | iOS | Internet
Increase your privacy to stay safe
To implement a proper online privacy strategy, you need to take a multi-pronged approach; which works on different devices and platforms.
A secure web browser and messaging app with the right password manager and encrypted email can be the backbone of this strategy. Add a good VPN to the mix and you’ll be nearly untraceable.
In the meantime, make sure you read up on common myths about online privacy and why they can be so harmful to your overall security.