In this day and age the ever increasing concern about personal internet security is more than valid. If you do not take your privacy, security, personal identity and data on the web seriously, you’ve got problems – Seriously. And hey, if you do not care about any of the things I listed above, how about your money? I’ve got your attention now I’m sure.
I’ve been trying to spell it out for everyone I know for years. Data is currency. It used to be a smattering of statements in the press from influential individuals. The fact that data is the new currency is common knowledge today. Just because you may not know it does not negate this FACT. Of course we will still have those among us that will deny reality, even though the organizations of influence are openly admitting this to the public.
For those of you that care about Freedom, Liberty and Justice (not just-us), here are some tips to take control of your data and privacy. Many of these may be applicable to mobile devices as well. I do not recommend “smart” devices.
Internet Security On Your Device
If you use Windows, macOS, Android, Iphone, etc. your device will come will all sorts of creepy settings that equate to your consent to share your data. Turn these off. I am not saying that this solves the problem, but you don’t have to be all tacit about it.
What you will want to do is take a look at, and adjust, the following settings:
- Camera & Microphone
- Cortana / Siri
- Data collection / sending
These will vary from OS to OS and device to device. Just do a search on your OS and/or device.
Personal Privacy Online & Data
I am an advocate of taking responsibility for your own safety and security. Do you have some data that you do not want stolen or shared over the internet? Then don’t post that personal information on platforms, public or private.
Do not store private data on devices with constant internet access. Store this data on encrypted external hard-drives. It may even be practical to have a computer that is never connected to the internet in it’s entire existence. Basically, how can someone access, steal or distribute something that is not there to access?
Software For Internet Security
I’ve started with the hard part, that is, the things we are personally responsible for. Luckily we have some friends in software development that have our back. There are a few options out there aimed at improving our overall online safety. Let’s take a look.
Tails is a live operating system that you can start on almost any computer from a USB stick or a DVD.
It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to:
use the Internet anonymously and circumvent
all connections to the Internet are forced to go through the Tor network;
- leave no trace on the computer you are using unless you ask it explicitly;
- use state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your files, emails and instant messaging.
Tails is free and open-source.
The goal of onion routing was to have a way to use the internet with as much privacy as possible, and the idea was to route traffic through multiple servers and encrypt it each step of the way. This is still a simple explanation for how Tor works today.torproject.org
Tor Browser is also free and goes a long way towards increasing your online safety and security. I recommend ditching glue-gle all together. At least go with something like DuckDuck Go. For total anonymity Tor is the way to go, especially when combined with Tails.
A VPN basically redirects your web traffic through servers at other locations. This increases your security by reducing the likelihood of determining your physical location. This is especially important for people in countries with more censorship as you could choose a server in a country with looser guidelines. FYI – cognitiveconcurrence.com is not available in Ireland.
When it comes to VPN’s I’ve done as much research as I could. There are some options out there that did not seem to cut it for me. NORD was a full package deal with tons of amazing promises and very few limitations. And the best thing: they do not store your data. This is really what sold me on NORD as my personal VPN provider.
I have been using NORD for several months now without a single complaint. At the cost of a cup of coffee per month, their pricing is extremely reasonable. Nord can be used on any device.
Tutanota is a free encrypted email provider with the option for a paid account. I have been using the free service for almost a year now and am very happy with the privacy and literally zero spam.
They offer secure encrypted communication between Tuta account holders without a password and password protected emails to insecure addresses. Why are people still using gee-mail? (Gee, I don’t know)
In closing, there are many ways we can take our privacy and security back. Of course there may be no fail-safe method, or combination of methods, regarding internet security. But hey, I’m at least going to make it difficult for potential violators. And don’t forget to support the open-source guys! If we want to see improvements in development we’ve got to back them!
Be sure to check out the Video Show page for episodes of Cognitive Concurrence, the Cognitive Conversations page for guest perspectives and my Video Links page for links to videos from some researchers promoting Truth and Freedom for Humanity.