Tuesday, April 22, 2014

8 ways to keep your data secure (part 2)

Use a secure browser

Internet Explorer has its problems, but it excels in one relatively surprising way – it offers the most substantive anti-tracking feature of any major browser.

Despite Microsoft's significant revenue stream from targeted ads, the company's flagship browser features something called Tracking Protection, a suite of features that goes far beyond Do Not Track headers, actively blocking many (though not all, of course) efforts to leech personal data from Web surfers. This is an opt-in process, though, meaning another trip through your preferences.

Use a really secure browser

WhiteHat Security's Aviator browser has its drawbacks, from the spare interface to very occasional fits of bugginess. That's the (small) price you potentially pay, however, for a free and fully security-minded browser, that comes with features like Do Not Track already turned on, uses DuckDuckGo as its default search engine, and is bundled with Disconnect. Aviator is completely devoted to squeezing off tracking data, going so far as disabling auto-play Flash elements, and making you click to start them (Flash being a prime way of both loading malicious software, and grabbing your information).

Use Tor (via Safeplug)

Perhaps you've heard of Tor, the non-profit anonymizing service that routes its users' internet activity through a winding chain of international data connections, confounding nearly every attempt to identify the source of that activity. As effective as Tor is, it requires sacrifice, and discipline – you must use the Tor browser, which is aggressively clunky, and any number of actions, from opening a downloaded document while online to using a browser plug-in (like a video player), can undo your attempts at remaining anonymous. Luckily, there's an easier way to harness Tor's data-bouncing network, with PogoPlug's $49 SafePlug, a box that attaches to your internet router, and automatically redirects all internet activity through Tor. Pages and files load more slowly with SafePlug, but you can use any browser, and set specific, less-vulnerable devices (such as an internet-connected TV) to bypass it.

Buy a Blackphone

Spies, corporate executives, and serial cheaters have a built-in reason to spend $629 on an ultra-secure Android-based smartphone. The Blackphone is private by design, with a modified version of Android, called PrivatOS, and an array of preloaded apps that encrypt texts, calls, and file transfers. Most of these features are meant to thwart active surveillance and espionage. For those of us more concerned with data brokers, it's PrivatOS that's most relevant – it prevents data from being shared in a variety of ways, including automatically limiting the permissions of newly loaded apps (rather than forcing you to manually denying their ability to share or track data). It's a steep price to pay, but even if you aren't willing to invest in a Blackphone, here's hoping that its modded OS, and obsession with privacy, filters down to more mainstream handsets.

article taken from Men's Journal (original link)



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