The web has managed to become a necessity soon after its introduction to the world, due to the multiple benefits that it offers and the innumerable options that it can help you out with. Be it for business or for personal reasons, be it for recreation or information, the Internet is a depth-less ocean that is always able to hand over what you need so generously. The vast majority of people nowadays make daily use of the web towards facilitating their lives any way possible.
No matter where you are physically located in the world, you can reach out to digital encyclopedias or get the news feed from half the globe away; you can ask anything and get accurate, up-to-date pieces of information within a heartbeat about anything you may inquire. Even if you have never heard of something before in your entire life, you can become an expert simply by clicking on the right buttons. This is just a fragment of how powerful the web has become for us and especially for modern, technologically advanced societies of the world.
However, the Internet is not a risk-free environment. On the contrary, it is packed with dangers and therefore thorough online protection is of paramount importance at all times. Never should we sit idle and just pray for the proper tools to be installed and activated for giving us the security layering that is required on the Internet. There is not a minute to lose, as digital dangers can crawl behind us when we least expect it. In case you have not yet been persuaded as to the damage that can be done when it comes to security flaws, below we have gathered the reasons why you need to protect your online identity and privacy by all means!
Why You ought to Protect Your Online Identity
As you may know by now, the Internet is not only a great breakthrough that has made our life much easier; instead, it can cause severe harms and it can deteriorate your overall user experience. To be more specific, you need to preserve your online identity intact at all times and without any exception, in order to avoid the following negative consequences:
- Data Leakage: Imagine that you make use of BYOD (which stands for Bring Your Own Device) at work. How awful would it be for you to suddenly realize that the top classified documents that you have stored on your computer are no longer kept secret? Pretty frustrating, don’t you think so?
- Personal Information: Besides professional purposes, you obviously need the Internet for your own, personal recreation. Nevertheless, being forced to share information that you would not normally share with others on the web is not a pleasant thing to do. Without strong online protection, though, this stands much closer than what we would have hoped.
- Malware: Malicious software of various sorts can be found on the web. If you do not have the proper protection to keep it off your navigation, you can expect to experience something really bad not too far in the future. You cannot mess with statistics and malware has been increasing rapidly over the past few years online.
- Phishing Attempts: Phishing is another threat that you need to keep an eye for, as far as online protection is concerned. Redirecting you to a different website that appears legit but is not should scare you – what should scare you even more is the fact that the whole process can be completed and never go noticed!
- Hackers: Of course, behind all these attacks and all other malicious threats lie hackers. With the right kind of online protection, you will never have to think twice as to how to tackle with hackers. In a different situation, however, things are not that great and hacking attacks can damage your overall experience on the web from one moment to the next.
Now that we have all fully comprehended why it is of such great importance to be kept thoroughly protected online, it is high time to find out how we can enhance our overall online privacy. Behold some simple and yet efficient guidelines that every single one of us can follow:
- Make Use of Great Passwords: You should feel free (it would be better to use, ‘must’ here) to use solid passwords, consisting of a lengthy complex of letters (both upper and lower case), symbols and letters. Only in this way can you rest assured that the password of yours is never going to be guessed or cracked (at least not easily!). And of course, consider making use of password managers that truly care about your credentials’ security.
- Beware of Clicks: When you click on a doubtful source, you risk getting infected with some sort of virus of malware. You must avoid all types of Malware online! This is definitely not a risk worth taking; so, think twice prior to clicking on any link and only do so when it comes to trusted sources.
- Wi-Fi and Risks: Publicly shared Wi-Fi hotspots are certainly not the best protected places in the world. So, if you do need to use such Wi-Fi hotspots, do so with caution. Needless to remind you that you ought not to share content that is private via these unprotected networks.
- No Digital Footprints: It is crucial to know how to cover your tracks online. This means that you should remember to delete the cookies and your browser history, as well as log out whenever you are done using every specific service on the Internet.
- Shop Safely: You may have heard about security protocols by now. This is the alpha and the omega of safe shopping online. When you are about to purchase something online, you should first check whether or not the site is SSL protected and whether or not they have got a legit reputation.
- Make Prudent Use of Emails: No matter if you are tempted to send top classified docs to your colleagues or click on a suspicious email link, you should be conscious of your actions and remain vigilant online. Engage in email accounts that are safe with two-factor authentication and use a different (not your personal/primary) email account, should you need to make an online purchase or sign up for newsletters.
- Online Gaming Details: We all love online gaming. Still, no matter how fun this is and no matter how much time we spend gaming on the web, we should always remember that we should do so in a safe way – no personal info sharing and no linking to untrusted sources.
- Monitor Kids’ Online Habits: The online activities of children can reveal a lot; so, it is only fair that you proceed with caution and still with effectiveness towards keeping an eye on your youngsters.
And now that we have covered this as well, it goes without even questioning that a list with the best free tools to protect you should follow. So, let’s get started with the top tools that will add to our overall online security!
How to Protect Yourself Online for Free
As you will come to realize, online protection is not necessarily costly and instead you can come up with some truly great tools that do not require any fee on your behalf. Let’s have a look at the top 10 free online protection tools available for you to have your pick from, shall we?
- Virus Total: Quoting their official website, Virus Total is a free service that analyzes suspicious files and URLs and facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware. It is really easy to use and it helps you to scan any file or URL with the pressing of a button.
- Last Pass: Another free tool that enhances your protection online is Last Pass. This enables you to store all of your passwords, in avoidance of using the same plain password that you can recall at all times. All your files are secured and the only thing that you are expected to remember is the password to LastPass.
- LongURL: Speaking of free protective tools available for you online, we should not neglect referring to LongURL. Instead of risking to visit a suspicious URL that appears too short, you can check it out here with the click of a single button. In this way, you can see where each URL truly directs you too.
- Cryptocat: If you are seeking advanced encryption while you are communicating with others online or sharing files, Cryptocat is a cool tool that can be used for free. It is open source and it has been designed by encryption professionals to help you out stay off the radar.
- Privacy Badger: It is directly linked to EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and it is an add-on that helps you out a great deal. In its core, Privacy Badger prevents all ads and third-party trackers from spotting you online and benefiting from your online identity details.
- HTTPS Everywhere: Another free protection tool online is that of HTTPS Everywhere. Due to its special features, you can now rest assured that you only visit websites that have got the HTTPS security protocol enabled. This is definitely a wonderful advantage, to say the least!
- The Guardian Project: Creating open source apps that are safe and secure for you to make use of, the Guardian Project promotes private communication. You can chat perfectly secured and without any problem emerging, which is of unique importance in a constantly threatening environment on the web.
- Wickr: This next free tool is called Wickr and it has been named top secret messenger. You can download it on your Android, Apple phone or on your computer and stop worrying about communication leaks all over the web.
- Signal: Signal is a free tool used on iPhones, with an equivalent of RedPhone for Android devices. It makes use of phone call encryption and therefore it allow you to remain protected while sending or receiving SMS and MMS. This is a pretty handy tool for all the people who frequently use their smartphones and connect online.
- GPG: Last but not least, we suggest using GPG (which stands for the GNU Privacy Guard). This is a free tool that allows the user to secure his emails and enable encryption online. You can encrypt and sign your data, which can come in really handy on the Internet towards safeguarding your privacy.
Make sure that you check these free tools out and that you put them to the test, in order to come up with the top free online protection that is suitable to meet your very own needs and demands. Technology is making huge steps of progress on a daily basis and so we should under no circumstances be left behind, should we?
Top/Featured Image: By Olivier Bresmal (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons