In the last couple of years, it was pretty difficult to avoid hearing about at least a few of the big data and privacy scandals that show just how reckless are some companies with our data.
But, the silver lining in these massive violations of our trust and data has an upside — more people than ever are aware of a need for increased online privacy. Even the heads of the biggest tech companies are speaking about the need to improve privacy protection.
But instead of waiting until regulations are forced upon the companies to get the acceptable level of privacy — you can take some action and protect your privacy. Here are four quick improvements anyone can make to increase their online privacy big time:
1. Instead of Google Chrome, use Brave
If you are like the majority of users out there, Chrome is your browser of choice. It certainly brings many benefits — it is fast, works well with virtually every website, and offers a massive number of extensions and themes to customize it.
But the bad thing about Chrome is that it enables Google to get even more data about how you browse the web and what you do on it. And there are no reasons to give Google even more data about yourself and your activities.
Instead, try Brave web browser. Brave looks and works exactly like Chrome and is compatible with every Chrome theme and extension imaginable. And since Brave is built with privacy in mind, it offers features Google doesn’t allow in Chrome.
2. Instead of Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, use Signal
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are some of the most popular messaging apps. Both are owned by Facebook, which already has way too many information about us. Although Whatsapp’s chat should be encrypted, Facebook still has access to many other data we use.
On the other hand, Facebook Messenger chats are not even encrypted by default, and though the company has promised that will change, it has no deadline set.
You can reclaim your messaging privacy by replacing these apps with the privacy-focused Signal. The Signal does more than mere encryption of your messages. It also hides virtually all of the metadata, including who sent the message. That means only the person who the message is being sent to can see who sent it to them. Signal has no way of telling who is sending you other Signal messages, nor does anyone else who intercepts a Signal message in transit. So it’s really secure.
3. Instead of Google, use DuckDuckGo
The main way for data collection for Google is search history and the links people click on in the search results. Google used to be the best search engine out there — its results were more relevant than the rest.
But ask people who have switched to the privacy-first search engine DuckDuckGo and they will tell you DuckDuckGo’s algorithms have improved to the point where their search results are just as relevant as the ones Google serves, and often times they are identical.
DuckDuckGo does not store any personal information about the users or their searches, nor does it track you around the web after you leave the website. That makes it a quality search engine you can use if you value your privacy. It takes just a moment to change your default search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo in most browsers, which makes switching the most straightforward and quickest change you could make to increase your online privacy radically.
4. Instead of your Service Provider DNS, use 188.8.131.52
Back in 2017, US Congress abolished the rules that prevented ISPs from collecting customer traffic data for marketing. This means that not only can ISP or mobile provider see all the websites you visit, but they can also now use the data to push ads at you or even sell that data to other firms.
So how to reclaim privacy from ISP? Use Cloudflare’s 184.108.40.206 DNS service.
The new app, from Cloudflare, is called 220.127.116.11 — the name of the internet server it uses. Cloudflare’s primary business is as a content delivery network that optimizes the speed of websites using it, as well as shielding them from cyber attacks.
But Cloudflare also operates what’s called a DNS service. This is the lookup service that translates a text web address like “google.com” to the four-part numerical IP address that internet routers use.
Forgoing the default DNS server that your ISP provides and using an alternate one like Cloudflare’s (or others) makes it a lot harder for your ISP to log all the sites you go to.
Besides these things we mentioned, there are many other ways you can keep your online activity private, but the above four steps are the quickest ways to get started. And given that you can accomplish them within a few minutes there is no reason to delay it. We hope this was helpful. If you need more tips and information about privacy do not hesitate to ping us. We are here for you.