What haunts you back in the cyber world?
Google (for knowing you more than your spouse), Facebook (for being controversial in extracting users’ info.), ISP (for spying netizens’ moves), or else.
Interestingly, all the cyber actors (legal and illegal) seeking nothing but our data; we are no longer living under a rock, where data and privacy scandals were rare. Thanks to massive violations of our trust and data for expanding our online privacy consciousness and needs to improve online security and privacy.
Not only users, even the CEOs of the tech companies are publicly speakingabout the need to improve the privacy of user data.
But, are only tech giants just need security and privacy regulations? What about you and me? How we can improve our online security?
We shouldn’t wait until regulation is forced upon tech companies to avail improved privacy; we should also take a proactive stance to increase our online privacy asap.
When I make this statement to people, they sometimes gaze over, they say they’re “not a tech-geek” or wouldn’t have the time and/or enough knowledge to take the required measures to increase their online anonymity.
But that’s just one thing: you don’t need to be a techie or have unlimited free time to make some simple changes that will protect your private data close to 100%; some simple changes to the apps and/or services you use.
Here are just four quick changes that can drastically increase online privacy:
1.Use 22.214.171.124 instead of ISP’S DNS
In 2017, Congress abolished ISPs from collecting customer data for marketing; means your ISP or mobile provider cannot only see all the websites you visit, but also use that data to push ads at you, or even sell your data to third-parties.
One of the best ways to block your ISP from the sites you visit is to use a VPN; most best providers cost you money. Since everyone cannot afford or don’t like to be VPNized, so reclaim your privacy using Cloudflare’s 126.96.36.199 DNS service.
Cloudflare’s main business is a content delivery that optimizes the speed of websites, as well as shielding them from cyber attacks.
But Cloudflare also operates a DNS service, translating a text web address like to the four-part numerical IP address to re-route your internet traffic like routers does.
Forgoing the default DNS server provided by your ISP provider and using an alternate route like Cloudflare (or others) makes it harder for your ISP to log the sites visit (They dig a lot deeper to get the info.)
The best thing is changing your DNS doesn’t require extended technical knowledge; even on a smartphone, you don’t need to mess with the network settings.
2. Use FACEBOOK MESSENGER or WHATSAPP instead of SIGNAL
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are world’s most widely-used messaging apps – approx1 million people register on WhatsApp daily, Facebook Messenger is the leading social network with more than 2.3 million downloads.
Both are brainchilds of Facebook, which already has too much information about users. I know, I know: WhatsApp is already encrypted and Facebook has no way to read our WhatsApp messages. But one kid can siphon other data about us when we feed the other kid; when use WhatsApp, Facebook accesses contacts, giving the company information about who you know.
As for F. Messenger, chats aren’t even encrypted, though the company has promised that encryption will be incorporated, but when? God knows! I understand Facebook isn’t throwing ads based on your chats, but still see who you contact the most to get a huge amount of information about your social circle.
You can easily reclaim your messaging privacy by replacing either app (or both) with the privacy-focused Signal.
As far as the people you want to message with are on Signal, there’s no reason to use messaging apps from a data-miners that has been using and abusing our data for years.
3. Use DUCKDUCKGO instead of GOOGLE
You write anything on the Google search bar and forget, but Google won’t, rather you will start seeing ads accordingly. The number-one search engine – Google, sucks up our data through search history and the links we click. It used to be the best search engine with the more precise results than the rest.
If it’s the best, then why people have switched to the privacy-first search engines like DuckDuckGo? It’s privacy; algorithms of DuckDuckGo have improved a lot, even their search results are just as relevant as the Google, and many at times they are identical.
The best thing about DuckDuckGo is – neither it stores personal information about our searches, nor does it track us around the web once you’ve left the website. If privacy is your cup of tea, then spend just five seconds and change your default search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo; this simplest yet quickest change radically increase your online privacy.
4. Use BRAVE instead of GOOGLE CHROME
If you’re the majority, Chrome must be your browser, with benefits: it’s fast, virtually works with every website, and offers the largest number of extensions and themes for you to customize as per your likings.
But being from the same data-sucking search engine – Google, Chrome follows the similar data-mining practices; isn’t this reason enough to say goodbye to Google and its extensions?
The most frequent objections you will hear is its extensions craze, which are exclusive to Google’s browser.
But no more! Thanks to the Brave web browser; if you like Chrome, you’ll love Brave – they both looks and works exactly the same and are compatible with every theme and extension. Since Brave is all about privacy, though Chrome is also planning to improve its security measuresbut can’t offers features that Brave is offering.
So, what you’ve decided? or have changed already!
There are other things you can do to keep your online moves secure and private, but these four steps are the quickest yet easiest ways to get started.
Given that you can get these things done within a few minutes, is there any reason left not to start doing it today?