Here’s some tips on how to improve your privacy on the net! Disclaimer: This is by no means expert-level information; this is just a random collection of useful tips gathered from the web.
- USE SECURE PASSWORDS!
- Never use the same password for multiple websites.
- Generate and store passwords with a password manager when possible.
- Do not use proprietary or cloud-based password managers.
- pass is a good password manager for Linux. There are open source Android applications for it as well.
- KeePassXC is also a great option.
- Your password manager should itself be encrypted with a password.
- For passwords you aren’t generating without a password manager, ensure they are memorable and use letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using names of pets, family members, or anything else that could be traced back to you.
- Use 2FA whenever possible. Do not use SMS, though! Use an OTP authenticator if available.
- Give fake answers for security questions, and store them in your password manager.
- Absolutely do not ever use Windows.
- Linux is a great alternative; seriously recommended.
- If you do decide to use Windows, you should look for one of the many tools available to harden it. Note that even with these tools, Windows is still a security nightmare and should not be used.
- Don’t use Google Chrome/Chromium.
- Firefox is good if you harden it. Here’s a guide from PrivacyTools.
- Brave is a good alternative to Google Chrome if you need to access a website which doesn’t support Firefox.
- Tor Browser is great, but remember that Tor is rather slow.
- Note that many applications are written using Electron, which is built on top of Chromium.
- Avoid proprietary software when possible (open source rules!)
- Avoid web browsing when possible.
- Do not use Google services. Delete your Google account if you have one.
- Review all permissions granted to mobile apps; do not grant permission which are not needed.
- Delete accounts you no longer use.
- Do not give information to websites or services that do not need it. For example, you should not set your phone number or address on any social media platform.
- Don’t use SMS; it has no support for encryption whatsoever.
- Use a VPN or Tor. Note that using a VPN does not automatically make your connection more secure; you need to ensure that your VPN provider can be trusted not to log your traffic. Tor is a much more reliable option, albeit slow.
- Use secure email.
- Do not use a web email client. Download an open source client to your device.
- Ensure that your client is connecting to servers securely (eg with imaps and smtps).
- Use OpenPGP/GPG encryption when possible.
- Use disposable email accounts, such as Guerrilla Mail, for services you don’t care about.
- Do not use biometrics. Face recognition and fingerprint scanning is convenient, but not good for security.
- Full disk encryption should be used if available.
- Ensure your camera app does not save location tags.
- Strip EXIF metadata from any images you upload.
You may not want or be able to follow all of the above rules, but you should follow as many as you can in order to ensure your safety on the internet.
Alternatives to proprietary services