It’s more important than ever to make smart decisions about your privacy online.You don’t have to get carried away with it, but you could probably stand to use some of the same tools that security-obsessed folks use every day.
Here are some utilities to help keep your identity to yourself.
Tor stands for 'The Onion Router' and is a way to browse the web anonymously. Your computer's web traffic is routed through different servers around the world such that you can't be pinned down to one specific location or IP address.
We've previously reported on SafeShepherd, a company that makes it a snap to remove your personal data from the internet.
There are data collection agencies out there that maintain massive stockpiles of info on you. They sell this data to marketers or background checking companies, but with help from SafeShepherd, they'll remove it.
When you use public Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop, malicious snoops can pretty easily access your info. That's where AnchorFree steps in. Its Hotspot Shield app sits between your computer and a public Wi-Fi network to keep your data protected from the hands of people trying to access it.
Linux is one of the most versatile operating systems out there. It can even be squeezed down to the point where you can boot a machine with it from a thumb drive.
The same way you can boot from a thumb drive, you can run your own browser from one as well.
PortableApps offers an entire suite of free applications to run from a thumb drive, such as Firefox and Chrome, that make it a cinch to use a preferred browser on a different computer.
PGP has been a standard means of securing data transmission, such as email, since its introduction in 1991.
It uses an authentication system -- a party can't decrypt the data without the proper 'PGP key.'
Google rigorously keeps track of what you search for. While we personally think it's an innocuous practice, it rubs a lot of people the wrong way.
Use a search engine that doesn't record what you're looking for, like DuckDuckGo.
Bitcasa is a cloud storage system that encrypts your files before storing them on its servers. If its security should ever be compromised, you won't have to worry about someone finding sensitive files.
There are a number of proxy services out there, both free and paid. We like Anonymouse, which keeps your browsing history off-book.
By routing your traffic through its own servers, it can help conceal your identity and location.