Tools for Online Security and Privacy
Everyone should be aware of how closely our digital lives relate to our actual ones, and how the things we do and share online can affect real life. Being careless about data privacy brings risks, while ignoring security recommendations may warrant very unpleasant and expensive consequences.
For instance, a string of recent mega-breaches demonstrated just how easily personal information can be stolen online. Users who recycle their passwords for different accounts face enormous risks every time one of the major platforms gets breached. However, this threat can be significantly reduced by using a reliable password manager.
Effective and comprehensive security and privacy tools can help enjoy your digital life safely. From encrypted instant messengers to secure browsers and IoT firmware, these privacy-enhancing products and services can protect you both online and offline.
These days, antivirus programs have morphed into all-round security suites. They protect your data and your devices against viruses, botnets, Trojans, rootkits, ransomware, rogue security software and all kinds of malicious software.
McAfee AntiVirus Plus
McAfee AntiVirus Plus blocks viruses, spyware and other online threats from infecting your devices, at the same time safeguarding your identity and online transactions. One subscription provides trusted security for multiple PCs, laptops, smartphones and/or tablets.
BitDefender Antivirus Plus
BitDefender Antivirus Plus offers advanced protection against the most dangerous online threats keeping your data, online transactions and privacy completely safe. It detects and instantly blocks even the newest threats without slowing down your connection speeds.
Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus
Fast and lightweight Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus keeps your sensitive information safe when shopping, banking or simply browsing. While automatically scanning and blocking malware, viruses and fake websites, it does not slow down your device or interrupt ongoing operations.
A VPN is a useful service, which becomes essential if you travel with a laptop computer, tablet or smartphone. It creates a tunnel of strong encryption, which protects all the network traffic entering or leaving your device. It also replaces your IP address, obscuring your identity online and keeping you private.
Panama-based NordVPN is well-trusted for its military-grade data encryption, wide selection of super-fast servers and a strict no logs policy. NordVPN’s features include double data encryption, DNS leak protection, and ability to connect up to 6 devices simultaneously under one account. Compatible with major operating systems, NordVPN is easy to setup and use.
Based on OpenVPN, which is considered as one of the most secure security protocols currently available, AirVPN uses strong data encryption and has many extra security features. AirVPN runs on most popular platforms and allows connecting up to 3 simultaneous connections.
EarthVPN is one of the most affordable VPN service providers, offering a wide range of servers and reliable security protocols. EarthVPN allows its users to connect a total of 3 devices with one account and enjoy fast transfer speeds with no bandwidth limits.
Password managers can make handling numerous accounts a lot easier. Once you've entered your data, you need to memorize only one password: the one that unlocks the program. They also allow storing other types of data securely, from credit card details to Social Security numbers.
Unlike many other password managers, Master Password does not store, synchronize or encrypt your passwords. It simply generates them on demand each time you login to a particular site. Since none of your passwords are saved or backed up, they simply cannot be stolen.
KeePass is an open source, easy-to-use free password manager, compatible with majority of your devices. KeePass stores all your passwords in a strongly encrypted database, locked with one master key. All you have to do is to remember this one single master password.
This is a free, user-friendly and highly secure application which keeps your passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive information safely encrypted in a zero-knowledge cloud storage. You are the only one having the access to this information from any of your devices.
A secure messaging application will let you safely exchange private information with friends and co-workers, without being anxious about your data getting compromised. A truly secure messaging service has no access to your communication and never stores any of your data.
Signal is an open source instant messaging and voice calling application, available for both iOS and Android. By using advanced end-to-end encryption protocols, it allows its users to chat in real time and share high-quality media content with complete privacy, avoiding SMS and MMS fees.
It is a free and open source encrypted messenger app for iOS, that features strong Off-the-Record (OTR) encryption over XMPP. Meaning that all messages, sent via ChatSecure to any other OTR compatible instant messenger, stay private and cannot be intercepted.
Ricochet (desktop only)
Ricochet is an open source experimental instant messaging software, which uses the Tor network instead of messaging servers. By hiding IP address and using strong end-to-end encryption, it allows its users to send anonymous messages and avoid any kind of monitoring.
Conversations (Android only)
Easy to use, free and open source messenger for Android, allowing users a wide number of trustworthy XMPP servers to choose from. All communication between Conversation and server is TLS encrypted, making it impossible for attackers to spy or intercept your metadata.
When choosing a cloud storage provider, encryption is the key. You need a service that offers encryption or other security tools to keep your data safe from anyone but you. "Zero knowledge" services are worth considering, as their encryption process takes place locally, which means they have no access to your data.
This is an open source highly secured private server where you can keep, sync and share your personal data. Thanks to strong SSL/TLS and additional AES-256 encryption, all the files, photos, contacts and other information you keep or transfer via Nextcloud stay private and perfectly safe.
Seafile is an open source file sharing platform with wide variety of awesome teamwork features and and high data protection. While your files are secured with HTTPS/TLS encryption and two-factor authentication, they can also be organized into password-secured libraries.
SpiderOakONE is a reliable data hosting and backup tool, that allows its users to store, synchronize and share their files using a secured cloud-based server. All information is encrypted end-to-end which means that you are the only one having complete control over your privacy.
Tresorit is an end-to-end encrypted cloud storage solution for businesses with its’ Tresorit Solo edition being available to individual users. Tresorit Solo offers 1,000GB of encrypted cloud storage space for keeping confidential documents and files. Enhanced safety features, such as password protected encrypted links, expiration dates and download limits, enables secure sharing.
Boxcryptor is a free-to-use encryption software that protects personal data when using cloud storage. With Boxcryptor, files are secured with AES-256 and RSA encryption before they are synchronized to the cloud. Synchronized content is kept in full confidentiality due to zero knowledge standard. Software is compatible with Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and other cloud storage providers.
If you wish to avoid excessive advertising and intrusive tracking, you need to look for a secure, encrypted, privacy-focused email provider. End-to-end encryption is crucial, but there are other important details such as no scanning of emails, no data mining and, preferably, no third-party servers.
ProtonMail is an open-source email service provider, based in Switzerland. End-to-end encrypted messages are stored in several company-owned servers located in Switzerland where users’ data is protected by strict Swiss privacy laws. No personally identifiable information is required to register. ProtonMail also has option of setting an expiration date to emails, after which they will be automatically deleted from recipient’s inbox.
Tutanota offers free, end-to-end encrypted email service. Both ways encrypted communication is available among Tutanota users and with external recipients, for whom a temporary account is created and previously exchanged password needs to be entered in order to access and reply to the message. Tutanota servers are located in data centers in Germany, where data is subject to German privacy protection laws.
CounterMail is a Sweden-based privacy-cautious email service provider. It uses OpenPGP encryption protocol to protect users’ data and offers secure communication with any other OpenPGP-compatible email user located anywhere in the world. CounterMail server does not log IP addresses, keeps email headers in anonymous form and ensures that email data, including body and attachments, is stored encrypted.
Hosted in Belgium, Mailfence offers web-based email service with end-to-end email encryption, digital signatures and two-factor authentication for enhanced security. Based on OpenPGP encryption protocol, it enables secure communication among any OpenPGP-compatible email service providers. Contacts, Calendar and Document sharing functions are also available on Mailfence.
Mailbox.org provides encrypted email service and office tools, including address book, calendar, task planner and file manager. Services are only accessible via secure protocol and email traffic is being encrypted with TLS and secured with PFS. Eco-powered Mailbox.org servers are located in Berlin, Germany. Anonymous registration and payment are available.
Posteo is an open-source, ad-free and privacy-focused email service provider. No personal information is required to sign up and fully anonymous payment methods are available. Posteo offers TLS-encrypted data transmission, inbound encryption of newly incoming emails and two-factor authentication (TOTP) for securely accessing an email account. Mail storage, calendar and address book can be encrypted as well.
The security market for ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) devices is still emerging. However, that doesn’t mean your Internet-connected cameras and smart TV sets need less protection -- quite the opposite. New-generation security systems can protect your smart devices from various attacks and excessive tracking.
CUJO is a firewall that protects home network of smart appliances from hacks and web threats. Based on machine learning, CUJO connects to the router, locally analyzes traffic data in real time and blocks malicious activities targeted to smart home devices: laptops, smartphones, TVs, baby monitors, smart alarms, etc. Parental control feature is also available.
Dojo offers an intelligent technology for keeping data of all home devices connected to Internet private and secured without collecting any personal data. Dojo solution includes a device connecting to a home network, a mobile application, which serves as the main interface, and Dojo intelligence - a cloud based security engine that detects and prevents cyber threats.
F-Secure SENSE is a security system for smart homes. Consisting of a physical router and a software app, it creates a safe network of devices connected to Internet and protects them from online threats, data profiling and tracking. Due to machine-learning algorithms, F-Secure SENSE is able to recognize cyber threats based on their behavior and reputation.
On wireless networks, any computer within the range of your router's signal can potentially connect to the network, using bandwidth and accessing your personal data. Using latest security protocols and strong passwords is vital, but adding strong encryption is recommended for extra protection from more skilled hackers.
FlashRouters provide upgraded routers with out-of-the-box setup for secure premium level Wi-Fi network. Routers come with enhanced firmware to increase wireless network stability and Wi-Fi range. FlashRouters also has a VPN service integrated, which keeps Internet traffic encrypted, safe and anonymous, and provides access to geo-restricted content.
OpenWrt (open-source firmware)
OpenWrt is a free and open-source firmware for wireless routers. Based on Linux operating system, easily modifiable operating system enables having fully customized application for a network traffic routing device, as opposed to being limited to already pre-set configuration by vendors. OpenWrt is optimized to fit the limited storage and memory of home routers.
Luma (smart Wi-Fi router)
Luma is a home Wi-Fi system designed to expand the Wi-Fi coverage and put extra safety measures on the private network. It automatically locates where routers should be placed in order to avoid Wi-Fi dead zones. Also, it has a built-in hacker protection that neutralizes threats to keep all devices secured and offers a access limitation feature for a full network control.
There’s big money in your private information - no wonder most browsers track every move you make online. To reduce your information footprint, look for a browser that limits fingerprinting, collects as little data as possible and allows no third-party tracking.
Fast, free, open source and managed by non-profit Mozilla Foundation, Mozilla Firefox is one of the most privacy-focused browsers. Privacy add-ons for ad blocking, cookie handling, website traffic encryption and other more advanced solutions are available, which, if combined with additional privacy tweaks, add a strong layer of security to Internet browsing.
Based on Chromium, Brave browser is free, open source and dedicated for safe and fast browsing. It automatically blocks intrusive and malicious ads, website cookies, tracking pixels and redirects sites to HTTPS. Due to eliminating third-party trackers, Brave delivers faster browsing speed by loading the actual website content only.
Tor Browser is pre-configured and self-contained browser, developed for accessing The Tor Network (anonymity network). Tor Network operates by hiding user’s identity by routing traffic across different Tor servers, so it comes out from random nodes. By using encryption and advanced proxy, Tor Browser enables anonymous web browsing in the Tor network.