Online privacy is a concern for every internet user, and no one understands this better than the former NSA (National Security Agency) contractor-turned-whistleblower, Edward Snowden. He now speaks out regularly on privacy issues and has shared some important tips for every internet user. Here’re a few of his greatest online privacy tips.
Edward Snowden offered some information and advice on what average citizens can do to reclaim their privacy.
1. Encrypt Your Text and Calls
For encryption, Snowden highly recommends an app named Signal, developed by Open Whisper Systems is a free and easy-to-use app that encrypts your mobile phone messages, as long as the person you’re texting or calling also has the app installed. Both the creator and Snowden call this app “Low Friction” which means it’s easy to use and won’t disrupt the way you text or call.
2. Use Two-factor Authentication
The next easy step to protect yourself online is to enable two-factor authentication on your accounts like email and other sites. If you enable two-factor authentication, an attacker (hacker) needs not only your password but also needs a verification code that will be sent to your physical device like your cell phone, tablet, or another device to access your account.
It’s currently available on Facebook, Google Mail, PayPal, and several other sites.
3. Use Tor for Online Web Browsing
Tor stands for ‘The Onion Router’ and was so named because of its multiple layers of security. It’s a network that promises anonymity. It basically bounces your communications around a network of relays making it tough (if not impossible) for any person to track your online activity.
4. Encrypt Your Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
“Encryption is the ‘Defense against the Dark Arts’ for the digital world,” said Edward Snowden at SXSW 2014 in Austin, referencing the classy Harry Potter took during his Hogwarts years.
For example – If your laptop is stolen and is not encrypted, then you’re giving hackers unrestrained access to each and every email, bank statements, and rest all the files and information present inside your HDD. So, encrypting hard disk on your computer or laptop ensures personal information is secure, even if your device id is stolen or seized.
All the latest versions of Windows and Mac operating systems come with inbuilt disk encryption tools like BitLocker in Windows, FileVault in Apple and Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) for Ubuntu. And for those with older operating systems, TrueCrypt is the solution. It’s free to download software for encrypting your hard disk.
5. Use Longer and Secured Passwords
The more characters you have, the strongest your password will be. More character doesn’t mean that you’ll have to include a bunch of asterisks and ampersands. To make your password longer, stronger and more unique, think in full phrases rather than a single word.
Edward Snowden gave an example, “MargretThatcheris110%SEXY.” It includes capital letters, small letters, numbers, and symbols, but the key is that it should be unique enough to remember and not so easy that it’s in the dictionary.
Edward Snowden on Passwords
So, how so you stay safe and protected online? Share your tips not your passwords in the comment section below!