Staying Safe Online: The Basics

It can seem complicated, so hopefully this will make it easier for you.

Last night I did a webinar introducing people to a powerful online service called Privacy.com. I’ve been using Privacy.com for a couple years now, and it’s awesome. During the Q&A section, I had a lot of questions about other privacy and security services, and I realize that it can be quite complicated. Yes, there are a lot of different things to think about, but hopefully I can simplify matters somewhat.

COVER YOUR WEBCAM.

It’s so simple, yet so important. Before you read another word, go get a Post It note, cut off the sticky part and stick it over your webcam.

USE DUCKDUCKGO INSTEAD OF GOOGLE.

Google tracks everything you do and everything you’ve ever searched for, and they have compiled a huge database about you. They can then do whatever the hell they want to with this info, including modifying your search results. Sometimes Google may be your only choice, but avoid them as much as possible. Use DuckDuckGo.com, and make it your default search engine.

USE A GOOD VPN.

Your internet connection is not encrypted, so your internet provider can keep track of every single thing you do online and sell this data or provide it to the government. Yes, this is a huge infringement on privacy and security. Instead use a VPN, which is like an encrypted tunnel between your computer and the website you are visiting. But, you have to trust the VPN company. I use an recommend Private Internet Access (PIA), but ProtonVPN is good too.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Most people mistakenly think that when they open up a “Private Window” in their browser (see image) that this keeps them private online, but that is not what a private window is. A private window simply erases your activity from your computer, so it won’t save your history or cookies. But it does NOT keep you anonymous online. It is not the same as a VPN.

DON’T USE GMAIL OR HOTMAIL.

Gmail is a free email service provided by Google, but why is Google providing this free service? Because they track you, spy on you and use your data against you. Hotmail is the same thing, but from Microsoft, and I don’t think you should trust them either. Instead, use Protonmail. They have a free version of their email, but I recommend the version that you pay for.

USE FIREFOX.

Most people don’t know that they don’t have to use the default web browser that comes with their computer or phone. FireFox is a really good browser that is focused on privacy. For your phone, you can use the DuckDuckGo browser.

USE A PASSWORD MANAGER.

A password manager is an absolute must! This is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself safe online. I did a whole webinar on password managers recently, and this webinar is available to all of my premium subscribers.

USE PRIVACY.COM.

Privacy.com is a very powerful privacy and security service. Just as a password manager creates a unique password for each site you log into, Privacy.com creates a unique credit card number for every site you buy from. It’s awesome, it’s free, and I’ve got a great instructional webinar about it (I also have a more extensive version of this webinar for my premium subscribers).

Questions? Ask in the comments.

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