Identity thieves, hackers, scam artists and con men, are all smart people; no doubt about it. They are on the constant lookout to develop programs that can retrieve sensitive information for personal gain. Even Government agencies and investigative authorities utilize the latest data mining technologies to keep tabs on suspects and ordinary citizens.
In simple terms, security should be as easy as protecting sensitive information by means of a password. But passwords can no longer make the cut due to the advanced data logging tools available as a malware that can be easily installed on any computer. And it is not strange to note that people often use easy to remember passwords that allow the average hacker an opportunity to crack the password and retrieve information.
We understand that free resources are great for average users, and even though paid subscriptions are clearly more advantageous than free subscriptions, most internet users stick to free resources that are readily available. To protect your online identity and online privacy, here is a list of free internet security tools that can be used in conjunction with each other for maximum online security, or use them individually according to your online privacy needs.
It is wise to always check the address bar to ensure that the website you visit supports HTTPS. There will be a padlock sign and the URL will star with HTTPS, instead of HTTP. Most trusted websites such as social networks, financial websites and other similar online resources that require user related information make use of HTTPS.
However, you can utilize this secure protocol for every website you visit by installing the HTTPS Everywhere extension available for both Chrome as well as Firefox. This extension will start encrypting all of your data from the browser itself; therefore, no website can track your online information.
This is not a full-fledged anti-virus program, but is a tool to analyze whether a particular URL or a small file that you intend to download is associated with any known viruses or malware. It is always a good idea to run any website URL, file or search keyword through VirusTotal to ensure that the destination website or file is safe.
We see an increased amount of short URL usage, especially on the Twitter platform, and even if we do trust the tweeter, we can’t trust the contents of the URL or the ultimate destination. Modern day data thieves and hackers utilize short URLs to lure internet users into malicious and potentially harmful websites. To increase security and to reveal the complete URL, it is a good idea to enter the short URL into LongURL and display the full address.
The best way to protect your information is to keep it under a lock and key, and in online platforms, the lock and key takes the form of passwords. Therefore, passwords are still the most vital form of data protection. The problem with passwords is that people have lots of different accounts at different websites, even for financial purposes. Therefore, the easiest way to remember passwords is to choose a single password for all platforms.
This is a risky strategy, and one that could backfire in the event that somebody steals or gains knowledge of the password. To prevent this from happening, it is essential to generate different passwords for different individual accounts and store them somewhere safe. This can be done by utilizing password management tools such as LastPass, which will help both, generate the password and store them at a secure location. You will only have to remember the master password for the LastPass account.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) acts as a go-between between your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the Internet. A VPN can hide your actual physical location and help you encrypt your internet data to properly secure all of your personal information that you transmit through online websites. Here is a list of VPN service providers many of whom offer free VPN services with certain limitations.
Blocking Flash, Tracking Scripts, Java & Cookies Using Browser Add-ons
We’ve written extensively about how browser add-ons which will help you block unwanted flash ads and pop-ups that are major sources of malware. There are lots of similar tools, plugins and add-ons available for download, but make sure that you don’t go overboard with this, as you will end up using more system resources, which will ultimately affect your online browsing experience.
Other Convenient Internet Security Options
Websites such as Google and Facebook now offers different convenient internet security options such as a two-step verification process, which should be utilized to the fullest extent. Two-step verification process usually involves logging in using a password and a unique code generated and sent to a mobile number at the instant, which will ensure that only one user has access to the account. This will help prevent any instances of data theft or online fraud for social networks, email accounts, online payment gateways and banking websites.
This is the best tool for internet security and online anonymity, as internet users should be extremely careful about the online resources they use and visit. Always take precautions before downloading a file or visiting an unknown website that doesn’t support online security.