The Best Online Privacy Tools to Use Today, Protecting Online Data from Tracking
There is no mistaking the fact that online privacy is becoming a bigger and bigger concern as more online businesses expose themselves as being in the business of exploiting user data. Facebook, Twitter, Google, and many others are all culprits.
While even the best online privacy tools cannot offer 100% protection, they can go a long way to helping Internet users have more privacy. Keep reading to discover the best types tools for various needs, and find the right protection.
Best online privacy tools: Password managers
Password managers allow users to create a wide variety of passwords, even making it possible to create a unique password for every login that a user has. This is one of the most essential privacy steps than anyone can take. Hackers have tools which can guess passwords, and if they get hold of one password and crack multiple logins it can end the online privacy of the most careful user in the worst ways.
The three best tools for this are:
1Password: This tool allows for the easy storage of a wide variety passwords. Not only that, but it can also store bank details, loyalty rewards programs, web forms, and other important information. A handy password audit function also highlights weak passwords and creates new ones to replace them.
LastPass: This password manager has all the features of the one above, with the handy secure notes section as well. They did have a well-known data breach back in 2015, but they’ve since added end-to end-encryption at the device level. This makes it so even LastPass is unable to see user passwords.
Dashlane: This browser extension works for Mac, PC, Android, and iOS devices. The free version only allows you to have it on one device, it cannot be synchronize across devices using the free option. The free option does have a useful automatic password changing feature, and a password strength report. Something unique about it is that it has the ability to capture shopping receipts.
While there are a number of other password managers out there, these are the three most prevalent. They offer everything that anyone could need to protect their passwords and accounts from the worst of intrusions to online privacy.
Best online privacy tools: Proxies
These online privacy tools help hide IP addresses. IP addresses are the piece of information which identifies each device online. If someone finds the IP address of a device, they can then track online activities of that device with the right tools. A proxy obscures IP address, and offers greater online privacy.
While there are many proxies out there, including notoriously poor-performing free ones, only the best offer true online privacy. Here are four to consider, be sure to click their names for full reviews on the features of each one:
ProxyKey: Quite possibly the most high-quality proxy provider on the market today, they offer clean IP addresses, fast speeds, and unlimited bandwidth. For those who live internationally, and those who travel, the chances are very good that they will have a server near them thanks to ProxyKey’s global network.
Proxy-N-VPN: Another high quality provider with very fast speeds, they also have a user-friendly dashboard which makes it easy for new users. They have built their service with gaming and social media in mind. Gamers will use it so that they’re all on the same server for online gaming, and it’s handy to have it for social media when in countries which do not allow it.
ProxyHub: This is one of the more popular proxy providers, they always have high traffic numbers. They offer everything that the two above offer, while also having special features for social media and online gaming.
Best Proxy And VPN: This proxy service boasts being being the host of their own servers, allowing from quick diagnosis and solutions of any problems. They are based in the UK and have a historical 99.98% uptime.
A hidden IP address is an important aspect of online privacy. This is the single most important piece of identifying information, and when it is exposed the user is exposed. Anyone doing any sort of online research that they want to hide, from journalists to those with some sort of medical ailment, will benefit from this. They’re also useful for unblocking blocked websites, such as YouTube, in a variety of situations.
Best online privacy tools: Spyware removal
Perhaps one of the worst offenders of online privacy is a computer with spyware on it. This malware collects information about the computer that it is installed on and sends it along to a hacker for nefarious purposes.
How spyware gets onto a computer varies. Often, it is downloaded as part of what looks to be legitimate software, other times it comes in email attachments. The worst iteration of spyware monitors keystrokes, which allows it to find out passwords. Here are three tools that will help:
Malwarebytes: This is a familiar name in the online privacy industry as they offer a wide variety of online security tools. Their anti-spyware removal tool is also high quality. It allows users to scan an entire hard drive, individual files, or specific folders. This is great for those who are frequently given thumb drives that they want to scan.
Comodo Antivirus: This is an entire online security suite which has anti-spyware as part of it. Perhaps the best thing about it is that there is a free option. What most people are going to want to use it for is how it instantly scans anything downloaded from the Internet.
SUPERAntiSpyware: Yes, that is actually how they write their name. Despite the childish name, this is a highly recommended spyware removal tool. It is free, and is able to remove spyware which is already on a computer. It offers a lot of control over what is and is not scanned, and has a unique ‘Scan Boost’ feature which allows for faster scans.
There are, of course, other spyware removal tools out there. They’re all going to do the same basic thing as those above, but they have been around for a very long time and are trusted in the online security industry.
Best online privacy tools: Privacy browsers
Pretty much every browser claims to be private, especially with their incognito and privacy modes, but there are just so many differences between what actually is and isn’t truly private. Everyone loves to use Google Chrome, or Microsoft Edge, but they simply are not as private as the following three browsers:
Firefox: The main benefit of Firefox is that it does not depend on tracking its users to get funding. This offers a layer of privacy, but that is stripped away when people sign up for third party services. Using ad blockers can help get around this. With Facebook being in the news for privacy issues, Firefox responded quickly with this extension:
Epic Privacy Browser: With its minimalist approach, the Epic Privacy Browser is favored by many users for its simplicity. The privacy function is that it claims to delete all cookies and trackers at the end of every session. They also proxy all browser searches through their servers. On top of these two things, they have encrypted connections for pretty much completely secure and private browsing.
Comodo: This is listed as a single browser, but Comodo actually has two browsers to choose from. The first is called Comodo Dragon, it is based on Chromium browsers. The other is known as Ice Dragon, and it is based on Firefox. The two most notable features are its SecureDNS servers, which allows users to bypass their ISPs infrastructure, and the browser’s virtualized mode which isolates the browser from the host system.
It is reasonable to continue to use privacy and incognito modes on any browser, but the level of privacy offered by these three browsers is far above anything else available.
Best online privacy tools: Search engines
They are incredibly useful, but search engines are not free out of the goodness of their hearts. They do more to collect data, violating the privacy of as many users as possible, than perhaps anything else online today. Anyone not taking any privacy steps online who uses any Google product is practically giving away their entire life. The primary reason for this is advertising.
There are three privacy-focused search engine of note:
DuckDuckGo: The best feature offered with DuckDuckGo is their ‘Search Leakage’ feature. This blocks sites being visited from knowing other search terms used by the searcher, while also not sending the IP address of the searcher. It has an encryption-focused feature which automatically send users to the encrypted version of a website where available.
Oscobo: This search engine is based on results from Yahoo and Bing, with some indexing of its own in the US. It does not record IP addresses, or any other data from users. The founder of it claims that no traces of any search are left behind.
Search Encrypt: This search engine uses local encryption on all searches. Searched terms expire at the end of each session making it more private even if someone else uses the browser afterwards. A word of warning is that this is very advertisement heavy, with a side bar and sponsored links. The ads make for a rather cluttered experience.
We all know how easy it is to search for things on Google. In the same vein, Google has made it very easy to take the private information of nearly everyone online for themselves.
Best online privacy tools: Miscellaneous utilities
The online privacy tools listed above are going to do a lot to increase the privacy of anyone online. There are still other ways to get more online privacy using additional utilities. It’s easy to mix and match them in order to get the specific privacy required:
Two-factor authentication: This is something which can be enacted on individual tools. A wide variety of different tools use two factor authentication, such as Twitter, Google, Dropbox, and Skype. It requires users to enter a code that is sent to them after they have entered their password. This code is usually received through email or as an SMS message. For those who want to set it up for a tool which doesn’t have it, try Authy or FreeOTP.
Backup: Any data which is being synchronized across multiple devices should be kept in an encrypted state. Every provider, such as Google or Dropbox, has settings which must be checked to be sure that the data is backed up on an encrypted server.
Ad blocking tools: Ad blocking tools aren’t just about blocking annoying ads, it’s also about blocking ads which serve harmful material. Hackers love to hide malicious code in advertising, including privacy invading malware. Adblock and Ghostery are two popular options.
Panoptoclick: This confusingly named tool from the Electronic Frontier Foundation is designed to determine how unique a browser is in comparison to other browsers. The idea behind it is that a browser can easily be ‘fingerprinted,’ or identified, the more unique that it is. Those which are found to be exceptionally unique will have a harder time making the above tools as effective as possible.
While these online privacy tools may seem frivolous, they are in fact quite useful in a variety of situations. The use of two factor authentication is becoming commonplace, and nearly everyone has some sort of ad blocker on their browser.
Using the best online privacy tools available today
Reading about online privacy tools is nice, installing them as even better, but using them effectively is the only way to truly gain benefits from them. In order to have any true online piracy, it is recommended to choose one provider from each of the headings above, and all of the choices in the miscellaneous section. To review those choices:
Password managers: Allow users to create unique passwords for each login and stores them.
Proxies: Online tools which hide IP addresses, limiting tracking.
Spyware removal: Able to remove spyware which invades online privacy through techniques such as keystroke tracking.
Privacy browsers: Able to stop tracking through cookie blocking and deletion.
Search engines: Will stop active tracking, and not store data about searches.
Miscellaneous utilities: Various tools to cover specific online activities.
Using these tools as they are intended will cover every aspect of any online experience that anyone cares to have. Choose the best online privacy tools for the application, and rest easy knowing that there is a way to counter all of the cybercrime and data collection going on in the world.