As the number of hacking attacks and identity theft attempts continues to increase, people around the world are gaining a greater and greater appreciation for, and understanding of, the need for privacy. In addition to that, with the NSA making the headlines on an almost daily basis recently for spying on ordinary citizens who have done nothing to warrant it, people are beginning to feel increasingly uneasy.

It’s not a crime to want your privacy, it’s a right. You don’t have to be doing anything nefarious in order to want to exercise that right, you just want to be left alone. Here’s how you can help make sure you are.

HTTPS Everywhere

Let’s start with the simplest thing you can do. There is an extension available for all the major web browsers that enables every page you go to to be protected by a secure socket layer. If you’re not sure what that is, let me assure you that you’ve seen it before.

Every time you log onto your bank, if you look at the upper right hand corner of the web browser screen, you’ll notice a little icon in the shape of a padlock. You’ll also notice that the web address starts with ‘https’ rather than just ‘http.’ That is the secure socket layer. It’s a form of encryption that secures your data. Most of the time, it is used on eCommerce sites to encrypt your financial and transaction data, but with HTTPS everywhere running, you can encrypt every bit of data, no matter what website you’re on. It’s absolutely fantastic, and it’s free. There’s literally no reason not to use this, unless you just want to make it easy for others to snoop on you.

TOR

You may have heard of TOR. It made the news recently when the NSA announced that anybody who did web searches for TOR and how to use it would be flagged for closer scrutiny. That’s disturbing, because again, you don’t have to be doing anything bad to want to exercise your right to privacy. I’m not sure what the NSA doesn’t understand about that, but that is neither here nor there. In any case, you’re in luck. I’ve already grabbed the address for TOR, and included it in this article, so you don’t have to search on it and get yourself placed on some NSA watch list for not wanting other people to mind your business. TOR does require a little work and behaviour changes, but, it may be worth it to you topreserve your privacy online. To start using TOR, just click this link: https://www.torproject.org/

TOR is like the Underground Railroad of the internet. It’s a network of virtual tunnels that allows you to slip around the internet undetected. Coupling that with the HTTPS Everywhere extension above gives you fairly bullet proof protection. There’s no such thing as unbreakable or unbeatable protection. Give someone enough resources and time, and any defense can be breached. Any wall can be ripped down. Having said that, if you combine the two tools mentioned here, you will make it more trouble than it is worth, by far, to try and see what you’ve been up to. With all the easier targets in the world, you’ve essentially guaranteed that you’ll be left alone.

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