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17 essential tools to protect your online identity, privacy

Roger A. Grimes | Nov. 1, 2016
From secure chips to anonymity services, here’s how to stay safe and private on the web

As for credit cards, you can buy and use temporary online (or physical) credit cards. Most credit card agencies offer temporary cards, often at slightly high fee rates, which can be used for a temporary set period of time or even one-time use. If a website gets compromised, exposing your temporary credit card, you won’t be at a loss because you’ll never use it again.

Secure file transfers. Probably the only class of applications that offer more alternatives than secure email is secure file transfer. Any program using SSH or SCP allows encrypted and secure file sharing, and there are dozens, if not hundreds, of commercial offerings.

Users who wish to securely share files while also preserving their anonymity have a myriad of choices. One of the most popular commercial services is BTGuard. It provides file anonymity services over the BitTorrent, a very popular peer-to-peer file sharing protocol.

Anything Phil Zimmerman creates. Phil Zimmermann, creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), cares deeply about privacy. He was willing to risk being arrested, imprisoned, and even potentially faced the U.S. death penalty because he strongly believed that everyone on the planet deserved good privacy tools.

Every good and experienced computer security person I know and trust uses PGP. To work with PGP, each participant creates their own private/public key pair and shares their public key with other participants for securely sending files, emails, or other content.

Symantec bought and has supported PGP commercially since 2010, but dozens of open source versions are available and trusted, including OpenPGP. If you don’t have PGP, get it, install it, and use it.

Zimmermann, who was also behind Hushmail, is a co-founder of Silent Circle, which offers secure solutions for a range of technologies. It even offers the Blackphone, which was designed from the ground up to be the most secure, generally accessible cellphone ever. There have been some hacks of the Blackphone, but it still is the cellphone that prizes privacy and security above all other features -- at least as much as one can and still sell the product to the general population.

Whatever Phil Zimmermann creates or promotes can be assured to be well thought out, delivering privacy and security in spades.

 

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