Some people call me paranoid; I say I’m realistic.
I employ a variety of methods in an attempt to make my online security and privacy somewhat “better.” Will any of these practices stop the NSA from reading my emails and perusing my search history (or prevent them from downloading the 16 million dick pics from OMWC and the Founders that are on my phone)? Highly unlikely. Will it stop the average neighborhood scammer or corporate marketing team from harvesting my info? Maybe. Do I feel better at least trying to salvage some remnant of privacy? Definitely.
Because I believe in learning from my fellow sufferers of PPD, tonight I’d like to hear about what the rest of the Glib community does and recommends.
Under the principle of situational awareness and not being the easy target, there are some basics that should be followed, but I acknowledge there can be exceptions to some things on this list.
- Securely password your home wifi connections.
- Don’t visit websites with “porn” or “pr0n” in the name.
- Don’t use Facebook or other social media, and for the love of all that is holy, NEVER use Facebook Messenger.
- Don’t click on HM’s links.
- Don’t visit websites that aren’t https.
- Turn off Siri and Google Assistant.
- Use long passwords.
- Don’t use a password on more than one site.
- Use two-factor authentication when possible.
- Don’t write your passwords down.
- Don’t let apps on your mobile devices or laptop track your location.
- Don’t store credit cards in apps or online profiles for rewards programs.
- Tape over your computer’s camera lens and disable the microphone.
- Never click on a link in an email from “your bank.”
- Use a separate, secure mailing address for financial purposes (ideally in a zip code different from your home).
- Don’t answer phone calls from Unknown Numbers. (In fact, I don’t give my real phone number to anyone. Or, actually, ever answer the phone.)
- Don’t hand out your credit card number to everyone.
- Buy stock in aluminum foil and learn how to fashion a stylish hat using origami techniques.
- Unplug, Faraday cage and cellphone block your IoT devices when not in use, if you must have them in your house. This includes your Amazon FireTV box.
- Don’t give your social security number and bank account information to Prince Adesola when he emails you offering a great deal in return for your help.
So, what else do I do?
1. I use a VPN at all times, whether from my home networks, public wifi, or on my mobile devices (even on data). I am currently using ProtonVPN from the ProtonMail folks. To me, it’s worth the small degradation in speed. I have a “Plus” subscription.
2. Tor browser.
3. DuckDuckGo for search.
4. ProtonMail for email. For my business, I route my domain email through ProtonMail, as well.
5. For basic Internet security, I use Bitdefender, on my laptop and mobile devices.
6. Blur from Abine. I use it for creating masked email addresses on the fly, generating secure passwords to go with them, masking my phone number, masking credit cards. Considering adding their Delete Me service because I don’t have time to track it all down and do it myself.
7. Burner phone for special circumstances. If you are going to the trouble of using one, do so from a location removed from your usual haunts, and nowhere near any of your other devices. While wearing a plain navy blue hoodie and Groucho Marx glasses (or Juggalo face paint), and not near your car or other people.
What do you do to enhance your online security and privacy?