Review of the Nets Top Privacy Apps
Securing your privacy online can be a daunting task. There are just so many gaps in security that need to be filled in. To help out, we’ve come up with a short three-item list that works as a sort of privacy starter kit. These are the absolute must-have privacy tools to get started:
VPNs allow you to skirt censorship, surveillance, hackers, and ISP activity logging. ExpressVPN is among the fastest and most-trusted VPN services on the market, and it’s also one of the easiest to use. All your internet traffic is encrypted with military-grade SSL encryption. Furthermore, ExpressVPN is completely logless. That means it doesn’t track your session activity or keep logs of your internet traffic. The company is registered in the British Virgin Islands, beyond the jurisdiction of snooping authorities from the US, UK, and the rest of Europe.
To get started using ExpressVPN, just sign up, download, install, input an authentication key, and hit the big green button to connect. You can choose from hundreds of servers across 78 countries to route your traffic through. On top of the privacy perks, you can also use VPNs to access content that’s blocked due to firewalls or geographic restrictions.
ExpressVPN is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Mailvelope is an extension for Firefox and Chrome that encrypts your email and only lets the intended recipient decrypt it. Email lacks a built-in encryption standard, making it vulnerable to hackers and snoops. Mailvelope uses PGP, or “pretty good privacy”, to encrypt emails. Whenever you compose an email, a button will appear in the composer that will open an external text editor. Type whatever information you want encrypted here, encrypt it, and transfer the encrypted text into the original email.
To take advantage of PGP, you’ll need to generate a key pair and upload it to a keyserver. A key pair is a combination of a public and private key, sort of like passwords, that ensures only the person you send an email to can decrypt it. A keyserver is a place where people can find your public key to send you encrypted email. Conversely, you can find other people’s public keys to send them encrypted email using Mailvelope. Mailvelope comes with a built in key generator and key ring to store previously used public keys.
Now your internet connection and email are private, but what about your files? Many of us utilize cloud storage and backup to store files online, but they often sit on unencrypted servers. Even if those servers are encrypted, there’s a good chance you don’t hold the key to decrypt your own files, which means the company itself and government authorities can still gain access. To encrypt files before they’re ever uploaded to the cloud, there’s Cloudfogger.
Cloudfogger is superior to competing products in that others require you to move files into a specified folder to encrypt them. Cloudfogger lets you select existing folders on your local hard drive that you want to encrypt before uploading them to the cloud, so you don’t have to completely reorganize your files and folders. You can still access your files on your local drive just as you always have without manually decrypting. This works great with any cloud storage or backup service, including Google Drive and Dropbox.
Cloudfogger is available for free on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.