As technology advances, trying to maintain privacy on the Internet has become increasingly difficult. Nowadays there are so many different ways to be tracked online. Many everyday activities now involve computers and the Internet. Cell phones, emails, web browsers, search engines, and social media sites are just a few examples of technologies that produce digital footprints as a natural byproduct of using them.
While it’s relatively easy to be more secure than you are right now, it often feels like it’ll take a lot of work. Lifehacker shared a few of the most popular security and privacy measures, from chat encryption to secure backups, to help you find the easiest ways to make your online life secure without causing too much inconvenience.
Encrypt Your Email
What It Does: Encryption turns your email into a code that can only be deciphered with a key, then sends it to the recipient, who can only read it if they have the same key.
Set Up Time: 5 minutes.
Encrypt Your Chat Conversations
What It Does: Most chat clients use an encryption called Off-the-Record Messaging to encrypt your messages. This makes it so that in order to read an IM conversation the recipient needs authentication by you.
Setup Time: 30 Seconds.
Chat encryption is actually super simple and doesn’t really have a lot of downsides. The only real downside is that you also want to get rid of chat transcriptions, which can be helpful if you need to revisit conversations.
Use Secure Backups and File Syncing
What It Does: Encrypts your data so third parties don’t have access to your files. This ensures that if a backup or file syncing site is hacked, your files can’t be accessed.
Setup Time: 15 minutes
Hide Your Web Traffic
What It Does: Between your ISP, advertisers, and the NSA, everyone’s watching everything you do online. Hiding your web traffic ensures that corporations (and people) can’t spy on what you’re doing. You have a ton of options here to cover your tracks, from the nuclear option of a completely private OS to the slightly less cumbersome privacy protecting extensions. I opted for the less intrusive browser extensions.
Setup Time: 5 minutes.
The bulk of the privacy extensions don’t cause much trouble and are actually pretty helpful. In reality, it’s something everyone can set up. It takes a few minutes and for the most part you won’t even notice they’re running.
Use a Password Manager
What It Does: A password manager randomly generates all your passwords for web sites and locks them behind a single master password only you know. This means you only have to remember a single password.
Setup Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Once they’re set up and going, a password manager is fantastic, but it takes a lot to get to that point. In fact, for a password manager like LastPass, Lifehacker has both a beginner’s guide and an intermediate one along with supplemental tips as well. Which is to say: password managers are confusing for most people. Any password manager is only as secure as your password, so you’ll also need a strong password no matter what.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
What It Does: Two-factor authentication is available on a ton of services these days. Essentially, it’s a simple feature that asks for more than your password. It requires something you know (like your password) and something you have (like your phone).
Setup Time: 15 Minutes.
Two-factor authentication is one of those solutions that sounds way more annoying than it actually is in practice. Once you get it set up on all your devices and services, it pretty much disappears into the background. Two-factor authentication is incredibly secure because hackers always need at least two of your devices to get into your account.
Like anything with privacy, it’s really about picking and choosing your battles. Certain aspects of privacy and security, like passwords, effect all of us, and everyone could stand to benefit from implementing things like two-factor authentication. Others, like encrypting your data backups, are only important for a small subset of your files, but it’s well worth the few minutes it takes to ensure they’re locked away safely.
To learn more of the tips and tools to help keep your information private and secure, read the full article on Lifehacker here.