5 Beginner Privacy Tips for Lockdown
As the Covid-19 is forcing us to stay in our homes, there has never been a better time to improve our privacy. Here are 5 points to help get you started:
Given the alternatives, there is no excuse to use Goolge Chrome (or Safari, for that matter).
Maintained by Mozilla, an organisation that genuinely cares about privacy, Firefox can perform all the same tasks as the aforementioned browsers. It is also secure and open-source, and, with a few tweaks, a great privacy respecting browser.
Email providers such as Outlook and GMail are notorious offenders when it comes to privacy. Switching to a more privacy respecting service like ProtonMail or Tutanota, or any other provider recommended by PrivacyTools, may be a little inconvenient, but will help you take back your privacy. This blog contains a dedicated article on email, if you are interested.
Most mainstream instant messengers are just as bad. Signal, in contrast, provides a very similar interface, on the surface, with the added benefits of end to end encryption. Both Dan Arel and Niek de Wilde have written good guides to help you consider other options.
Password Manager/2 Factor Authentication (2FA)
We've all used a weak password in the past, and it is possible that you are using a weak one now. Perhaps you share the same password for multiple accounts? Whatever the case may be, passwords are the single point of failure for your security, so any improvement is welcome. Password managers, like BitWarden, help generate strong passwords/passphrases that could take computers years to crack. As a bonus, they are all stored in one place, allowing for copy and pasteing at will, meaning you only have to remember one password. ThePrivacyGuide has a good article on password managers to help you choose the right one for you.
While 2FA isn't the most fun process, for just a little effort it adds a lot of privacy and also increases security. Even if you have 'bullet proof' passwords, adding an extra layer of protection is always sensible. ThinkPrivacy has a helpful list to chose the best option for you.
Do you really need... ?
We all probably have too many apps in general. Take a look at your apps and ask yourself why did you install this and do you still need it? If the answer is no, then delete it. The aim is to minimise your digital footprint as much as possible. If the answer is yes, then try to look for open source alternatives.
Being private online takes time and effort. Now that you've got that time why not try and go the extra mile when it comes to privacy. PrivacyTools.io and ThinkPrivacy are both great resources for people of any technical ability. (This blog is cool too!)
Most importantly stay safe. In these testing times it is important that we all try our best to stop the spread. Remember that we will get through this crisis, and that life will eventually resume normality.