Hide My Ass, Tor & CrapCleaner- Solutions To Lock Down Your Online Security
How To Stay Hidden Online
The National Security Agency, Google, cybercrooks – who knows who might be snooping on you?
These days, personal information that’s more sensitive than ever is being stored on computers, smartphones and tablets.
It’s important that you lock down your data to protect your privacy, and that includes data generated by Web-based activities, such as browser history, browser-tracking cookies and
Internet Protocol addresses.
There are plenty of applications and other software to help you hide your online presence. But before you get started with them, bear in mind that there are some downsides to hiding your identity online.
“In most cases, you should just assume that you’re being tracked, even if you’re running the software,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the San Jose, Calif.-based market research firm Enderle Group.
But if you use these tools more than once on certain sites, such as porn sites, there’s a good chance that you’ll be identified, Enderle said.
“They’ll put a piece of malwareon your box, or they’ll trick you into installing it yourself, and there’s a good chance you’re going to bypass any of your security information and once
You do that, they’ve got you,” Enderle said.
1. CCleaner (Crap Cleaner)
This optimization, privacy and cleaning tool for Windows removes unused files that are taking up space, such as browser caches, temporary downloads and all sorts of other stuff you
It also cleans out browser tracking cookies, erasing traces of your online activities so that advertisers won’t know where you’ve been.
CCleaner is a free download for consumers and costs $25 for business customers.
The open-source Tor networking software — short for The Onion Router — masks your online identity by anonymizing your Internet traffic.
When you implement Tor, part of your Internet traffic is encrypted and routed through a complex network of anonymous nodes until it reaches its final destination.
It’s not 100 percent secure — the traffic between your computer and the Tor network is not encrypted — but then again, no security solution is.
“The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world,” explains the Tor project website.
That means if someone is spying on your Internet connection, that person won’t know which websites you’ve visited or who you’ve emailed. Tor also prevents websites from
identifying your physical location.
There’s the Tor Browser Bundle, a stand-alone browser that automatically uses Tor; TorBirdy, an extension for the Thunderbird email client; and the Orbot mobile app, for Android
All of the Tor products are free to use, but the Tor Project will ask you for donations toward future development.
TrueCrypt, a free open-source encryption protocol for computers, can encrypt files on Mac and Linux machines, and encrypt entire hard drives in Windows.
For Android devices, there’s EDS, an app that uses TrueCrypt, and its free version, EDS Lite.
MORE: The 5 Best Android Security Apps
4. Hide My Ass
Thisfree Web proxy lets you surf the Web securely and anonymously. It hides your IP address, secures your Internet connection, hides your browsing history and protects your
With the paid version, Hide My Ass Pro, you can connect to Hide My Ass’s servers worldwide from a Windows, Mac or Linux PC, or an Android or iOS device. You can even use it to
access blocked content, such as TV shows from another country.
“There are a lot of others out there, like StrongVPN and SecuriTales, that you can use to mask your IP address,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group, a San
Jose, Calif.-based market-research firm.
“But you also have to have another layer of security,” Enderle said, “like a privacy product like Privacy Guardian.”
5. Silent Phone
You can use this iOS and Android app from Silent Circle to secure your cellular or Wi-Fi voice calls and video chats to other devices with the app installed.
It even enables you to make secure conference calls among devices with Silent Phone installed, and you can also securely send documents, files and texts — then delete them
whenever you want.
Silent Circle bases its servers in Canada and uses peer-to-peer encryption, which means the company can’t decrypt your communication, even with a court order or National Security
But the price is steep: $10 per month (down from $20, but still a lot for casual users). And Silent Circle recently ended its SilentMail encrypted email service, stating that it would be
impossible to properly secure email from government surveillance.
6. RedPhone and TextSecure
A free alternative to Silent Phone, Open Whisper Systems’ RedPhone Android app secures your voice conversations so nobody else can listen in.
The company’s TextSecure Android app, also free, encrypts your text messages over the air and in your phone’s messaging archive. So if you lose your device, your messages will
still be secure.
For Our Facebook Addicts: Facebook privacy Steps- Are You Protected?
For millions of people, Facebook is the Internet. Its apps, games, instant-messaging abilities and constant postings take care of all their needs.
Yet many Facebook fanatics fail to realize how much information about themselves they’re giving away, and how easily unscrupulous app makers and identity thieves could exploit that data.
Here are 11 things you should do (or not do) to protect your privacy on Facebook.
Don’t share identifying information about yourself, such as your address, date of birth or telephone number, on your profile pages.
Users who insist on sharing some of their personal information should be sure to at least make their pages private so that only people they trust can see them.
“Facebook privacy settings have multiple layers in them,” said Steve Schwartz of Intersections Inc., a provider of consumer and corporate identity risk-management services based in Chantilly, Va. “You really have to go into the depths of Facebook to ensure that you’ve set it up so only people that you know and have accepted as friends are allowed to access your information.”
Tim Armstrong, a Boston-based malware researcher at the Russian security firm Kaspersky Labs, agrees.
“The first thing everybody should do is visit the privacy settings,” Armstrong said. “There’s an awful lot of customizability in there that people don’t take advantage of. You should really look at your account settings and your privacy settings and go through every single one.
“You can control how apps connect to your Facebook account and whether or not they can post things on your wall,” Armstrong said. “You can set it up so if someone tags you on something, you have to approve it before it posts. That’s the No. 1thing — just going through all the settings and seeing if they fit what you’re doing.”
Be wary of messages, wall posts or Tweets from anyone — even friends.
Scammers might hack your friends’ accounts and send enticing links that could lead you to an innocent-looking page, but could transmit harmful malware to your computer and allow the criminal access to your data, Schwartz said.
“If a post from a friend looks odd, maybe you want to contact that person and ask, ‘Did you just do this?'” Schwartz said.
If your child participates on Facebook, talk to him or her about identity theft in the same way you would talk about drugs or safe driving.
“Be sure they understand what privacy means,” Schwartz said. “Especially with child identity theft on the rise, it’s really important that parents make sure that if they’re setting up Facebook accounts for kids, they make it as private as possible.”
Social-media users looking for fraud protection need to have robust passwords.
“Use capitals, numbers, and, if possible, symbols, in passwords to make them harder to crack,” Schwartz said.
If you must access your Facebook account from a remote location, be sure your browsing session is secure.
“If you’re on another machine, you want to be sure there are no cookies being saved and that there’s no way for the information to be kept on the machine,” Schwartz said. “If you’re in an Internet café or a place where there’s free Wi-Fi, Facebook offers HTTPS, so you can always go in through a secure browser session.”
Keep your browser, operating system and anti-virus software up to date.
“When your anti-virus software tells you it needs to update its definitions, you have to do that,” Schwartz said. “Be sure you have anti-spam software and anti-malware software, so that if someone does try to attack your computer through social media, you have something on your machine that can catch it and shut it down.”
Make your social circle more selective.
Be selective about who you have in your network.
“Only accept friend requests if you’re confident they are genuine,” Schwartz said.
Do not broadcast personal information about travel plans.
“Thieves could be patrolling your social network and use that information as an opportunity to target your home while you’re away,” Schwartz said.
Never share your password with anyone — even your friends or family.
Not all relationships end up happily ever after, and once you start sharing passwords with friends, they can tap into basically anything you have that’s private to you, according to Schwartz.
Change your password often.
“While it may be tempting to just use the same password because it’s easy to remember, changing your password at least once a month can help minimize the risk that somebody can use your password to access your account,” Schwartz said.
Consider removing apps that you’re no longer using.
“We all love Farmville as much as the next person, but why give third-party developers and advertisers access to your profile if you don’t have to?” Schwartz asked.
“Throughout its history, Facebook has collected a lot more personal information,” said Sarah Downey, an attorney and privacy analyst at Boston-based online-privacy provider Abine. “If you track the kinds of information that was public by default back when Facebook launched in 2004, things were mostly private by default.
“But Facebook has now taken the stance that you want to share everything by default. So it all comes down to: If you’re on Facebook, you are the product, not the customer.”