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Best Tricks To Protect Your Online Privacy (Part 2)

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Continued from “Best Tricks To Protect Online Privacy (Part 1)

Introduction

Hello Explicit Facter!

Welcome to explicitfacts.com! A place where ignited minds come to get inspired! If you have not subscribed to our website, then you are missing out.

In this second part of the topic “Protection of Your Privacy On the Internet” compiled by Team Explicit Facts, the issues related to protecting online privacy will be explained.

Let’s dive into the topic, without wasting any time.

Third Compartment – Private Identity

The last compartment we’ll build today is for your private identity. This is where everything you do in private belongs.

Your general browsing, watching YouTube videos, reading news, and even your online purchases.

The best way to keep your browsing record is to become anonymous.

Tor Browser

The most competent tool for this is the Tor browser.

Tor is also available on android as a two-step solution with Orbot, to route traffic through tor network and our Fox to browse the web through Tor.

Any Android app can be rerouted through Tor via our boot if they support it.

An iOS version of the Tor browser is onion browser but it’s not a part of the official Tor project so be aware.

The implementation of tor is much safer on computer infrastructure rather than mobile.

You shouldn’t expect the same level of anonymity on mobile simply because your computer doesn’t connect to a cellular network or GPS.

There’s only one strict rule to never break while using the Tor browser and that’s to never change any default settings and never install plug-ins themes or extensions. Just use it like this.

The only two things you are encouraged to change are the tor network settings in case tor is blocked by your ISP or the government in security settings in case one too hard and your anonymity even more.

It is recommended that you gradually learn to operate in the safest security level. This will disable JavaScript by default.

Here you’ll have to learn how to operate no script to re-enable JavaScript, where you need it.

We have tutorials on both online anonymity and no scripts, so be sure to check them out if you want to learn more.

For starters, all you have to do to outbreak specific scripts is to move them from untrusted to trusted levels.

On more complex websites you might have to do that multiple times to regain needed functionality.

Online Anonymity vs Online Privacy

Online anonymity is a different concept than online privacy. But here we use tor to compartmentalize our basic searches like browsing and news reading.

We would also recommend using tor for preliminary research when you want to buy things.

When you choose a product you want to buy, just copy its link and open it in regular Firefox in finalizing your purchase.

As a side note avoid using your professional or social media email for online purchases.

Create a new account with Mailfence that doesn’t have your real name.

By creating a separate email address just for purchases, it will make it harder for advertising algorithms to crawl through your purchasing record.

Using tor with the real name identity is a waste of time and it gives you a little benefit.

If watching YouTube videos is a big activity for you, then I would recommend a Chromium based web browser.

This can be either brave or Vivaldi.

In our recent experience, we found that Vivaldi can be better configured for privacy protection using the exact same four horsemen of privacy extensions.

Under the privacy settings of Ivaldi make sure to opt-out of Google Safe Browsing and keep your browsing history for the session only so that all browser data is deleted after it closing.

Block third-party cookies and disable web RTC leaks.

The final step: Build the walls

Now when you built your compartments, the rest is a matter of building strong walls.

One key step is to secure your identities against hackers.

A good enhancement is to have a unique and strong passphrase for each online account.

I recommend using KeePaaXC to generate complicated passwords and store them securely.

If you want you can use it with a browser extension to manage your passwords and handle autofill.

Passwords are useless without two-factor authentication.

However, SMS verification is not secure anymore.

You need to use either Authenticator appS like free and open source and OTP or use an authentication key.

The best authentication solution is provided by Nitro Key.

You can use neutral key Pro for one-time passwords and natural keys for the universal two-factor.

Another way to make sure your walls are strong is the truce providers that are transparent and respect your freedom.

You should start migrating to free and open source software wherever you can.

Adobe Photoshop and illustrator have alternatives in GIMP and Inkscape.

Microsoft Office can be easily replaced with the Libra office. Best cloud storage and the syncing solution are provided by next cloud contacts, the calendar can also be synced with eat sync.

To find more open source alternatives f-droid is a fantastic replacement of the Google Play Store for a free software repository.

Use it to find privacy enhancing apps or just look for free software alternatives to replace your proprietary apps.

Two Pending Dots

Now that you have properly separated your identities from your online presence and carefully selected and segregated your service providers, there are two things that connect the dots about you. Your IP address and your device.

Partially we’ve already addressed the IP problem with Tor Browser.

Tor network makes your IP address untraceable.

Virtual Private Networks (VPN)

However, tor is not useful with online accounts high media content like watching YouTube videos and can be harmful for online banking in financial activities.

This is where the VPN threat model becomes after you had taken steps to compartmentalize your digital self.

A reputable Virtual Private Network can be helpful at masking your IP address and hiding your browsing habits from your internet service provider.

Courtesy: Youtube

Unfortunately using a VPN requires a lot of trusts so there is no single provider to recommend.

You should make your own research and choose from what works best for you as a general rule don’t use free VPNs and don’t subscribe to providers from the five eyes surveillance Alliance countries.

A good source to scale different VPN providers is that one privacy site dot net all of your compartments are still carried by a single boat.

Technically you have at least two internet enabled devices but one is usually just a copy or an extension of the other, like mobile and personal computers.

For more details on the importance of VPN, please click on the link mentioned below:-

How Virtual Private Network (VPN) Protects Your Online Privacy? (Part 1)

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With strong compartmentalization, you’ve eliminated your attack surface to your devices.

Chances are you’re either using Windows, Mac OS Android or iOS.

Your next big goal should be to replace these ecosystems with platforms that are open and respect your freedom of fully owning your software and having total control of your data.

This is easier to do on desktop than mobile.

Linux has come a long way over the past few years it is becoming a viable choice for an increasingly wider scope of people.

Black magic Design is killing Adobe’s grip on creators by porting versions of their fusion and DaVinci Resolve software to Linux for free.

Light works also provide a professional video editor for Linux.

GIMP, Inkscape, Fraida all work flawlessly on Linux and can powerfully replace mainstream proprietary creative software.

Steam is supporting Linux with more and more Triple-A games releases every year.

Linux is a diverse platform providing one unified operating system, but a plethora of different combinations of kernels, desktop environments and application packages.

It makes a healthy digital environment that’s sustainable long into the future. The sooner you migrate to Linux the more advantage you can take from its system.

The easiest way to start experimenting with Linux is to use a virtual machine.

Just download Virtual Box from Oracle and play around with Linux, Mint, Ubuntu or any other disordered piece of interest.

Linux scoop is a YouTube channel that features all major releases of popular desktop environments and Linux distros.

I would recommend starting with Linux Mint cinnamon.

Just download the ISO file and create a new VM.

Select the Linux and choose Ubuntu 64, because that’s what Linux Mint is based off on.

Allocate around 2 gigs of RAM or more if you have the resources.

Hit start selects the ISO file and lets it boot.

You can safely install it within the machine without affecting your system at all.

As you get familiar with virtualization, you can actually move your compartments to different virtual machines.

Even better compartmentalization solution is to use WHONIX inside a virtual machine.

WHONIX automatically routes your traffic through tor and makes it much harder to track you outside of the tor browser.

The ultimate tool for compartmentalization is cubes OS.

An operating system built with compartmentalization baked into its core.

Cubes create a virtual machine for every application you run inside it, which significantly reduces the attack surface and makes your device so much more resilient even if the attackers have physical access to your device.

Mobile OS doesn’t really have such alternatives the closest thing to it, is to install custom ROM like a lineage always and run it without any Google Apps.

Purism is going to start shipping Libran five phones in April.

It’s the first truly free secure and privacy focused Smartphone with true mobile integration of Linux.

I highly recommend getting your hands on one.

Encryption of Devices

One last advice is to encrypt your entire devices.

All major platforms offer device encryption to take advantage of that.

Linux enables you to easily encrypt your entire operating system upon installation.

The best file encryption software currently available as free software is Veracrypt.

It’s very easy and straightforward. You can use it to encrypt individual files, your home folder or entire partitions storage drives or even your operating system.

Remember privacy is a process, so you always have to update your knowledge and remain eternally vigilant about your data.

The good YouTube channel for more privacy tutorials is Techlore.

He makes great tutorial series called “go incognito”, where he’ll hold your hand through the entire process. He’s got a very educational good teacher approach, while my approach is more akin to.

How to disable Geotracking in your apps, photos, and operating systems

To keep your whereabouts as private as possible, you need to disable geotracking on all your apps, photos, and devices. Here’s how to do so on the most used apps and operating systems:

Apps

Firefox: In the address bar, type in “about: config” without the quotes. Click the “I accept the risk” button if required. Scroll down the list that appears until you see “geo.enabled.” If it says “false,” in the Value column, then Firefox is not tracking your location. If it says “true,” then you can double-click the word “true” to change it to “false.”

Safari: Select “Safari” in the upper-left corner and then “Preferences…” Then, in the Privacy tab, under Website Tracking, ensure that “Ask websites not to track me” and “Prevent cross-site tracking” are checked.

Chrome: Select the Menu button (⋮ or ≡), then “Settings” and “Advanced.” Under Privacy and Security, select “Site Settings,” then “Location.” Then select “Ask before accessing.” On the mobile app, you can choose “Never” and “While using the app.”

Internet Explorer: Click “Internet Options.” This will open a window with multiple tabs. Select the “Privacy” tab. Make sure the box marked “Never allow websites to request your physical location” is checked, and while you’re at it, click “Clear Sites.”

Google Maps: You may be surprised to learn that Google stores a detailed history of all the places you’ve ever been to. To disable this feature, go to myaccount.google.com and select “Data & personalization” and then “Location history” under Activity controls. From here, you can toggle the switch to turn location tracking on and off.

Operating systems

Android: Select “Settings” and then “Security & location.” Look for the Privacy subhead and click “Location.” Click the “Use location” feature to toggle it off.

iOS: Open “Settings,” and “Privacy,” and then click “Location Services” to disable all tracking. You can also turn off the location sharing one app at a time.

Photos

One of the most common geotagging formats for photos is called EXIF. Fortunately, this is generally easy to remove from photos. Search for “exif” in the app store for your phone and you should see several free options for deleting EXIF data prior to posting.

What else can you do to keep your location data safe?

Beyond disabling location tracking on all your devices and apps, you should follow these tips whenever you are online to reduce the chances of revealing your location:

Keep your friend list small: When using any app that shares locational data, make sure that only people you really trust have access to your information.

Frequently cull your friends list so that it includes only active users whom you know in real life. Casual users who rarely check-in can threaten your electronic privacy because they make easy targets for hackers.

Make sure that your profile uses the site’s maximum-security settings: This won’t stop a court order or a skillful hacker from accessing your locational data, but it will make the job harder. Nosy individuals shouldn’t simply be able to Google your exact whereabouts.

Avoid sharing scheduling information like your commute: Posting your daily schedule in a public forum is one of the most dangerous things you can do.

Even simple updates like “Going to work” posted on a regular basis provide a lot of information.

Similarly, you probably shouldn’t “check-in” or post a selfie with your smartphone at the café where you stop for a bagel on the way to the office every morning.

Never post about extended absences: Don’t share details of your trip until after you’ve returned, and avoid using location-based services away from your hometown.
Status updates like “Gone to Hawaii for two weeks” tell thieves that they can take their time cleaning out your home.
Similarly, if you normally check into businesses only where you live in Chicago, avoid doing the same while you’re in Miami for the week, as this tells thieves that your home is potentially unattended.

Remove your personal data from the Internet: Your physical address is a key piece of information for would-be burglars. Locational services are much safer to use if you remove your personal information from people-finder services like Spokeo and PeopleSmart.

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