*previously posted on my Wordpress blog in December*
I've become quite the proponent for cyber security this year (driving some of my friends and family a bit nuts in the process), and firmly believe that every single one of us MUST make it a priority before January 20th, 2017. It's time to take charge of our safety, and not trust the big companies to do it for us, especially since they've shown themselves to be lacking in that department.
Below are 4 services that I use and highly recommend, and really, really hope more people use (I need to add to my lists!!).
First off, DuckDuckGo. The search engine that doesn't track you. Someone mentioned Bing today, and quite honestly, I'd forgotten about it, I've used DDG for so long!
For emails, I use Virtru. End-to-end encryption for those who use it, and it allows for the fact that some (too many) will opt-out, allowing you to use the service for everyone. (ETA: it doesn't work on Outlook for now due to changes Microsoft made)
Using Virtru locked:
When you send an email to someone not using Virtru:
My new favorite is Seald. You are able to encrypt part or all of a message...on a public site!!! So far I only have one friend using it, but believe me - especially all you FB lovers - you want to use this for all your sites. It doesn't work for Twitter (the encryption is too long), but I keep meaning to try it with TwitLonger and see if it works then. I'm using it on Outlook, and it's great!
Only the intended recipient (who, of course, must be using Seald, also) can click on that blue box and have the message show up; anyone else is just left hanging. It's brilliant! If I know you and you sign up for it (DO!!!), let me know so I can add you to my contact list. Also, if you have any questions on how to use it, feel free to ask, or you can go directly to the chat box on the website. They have exceptional customer service!
Seald can also be used in emails, too, so you can opt to use this instead of Virtru, but again, the recipient must use the service to read the messages.
Last, and almost most important of all, is Signal, an app for your cell phone (that you can also use on your desktop). You can make private phones calls to other users, and your text messages are private, also. I tried to take a screenshot of what it looks like on my phone, but Open Whispers has brilliantly made it SO private that it won't allow screenshots. You can use the service and still text to non-users, and it always asks if you want to invite them and let's you know it's an unlocked text. Seriously, gang, if you don't use any others, GET THIS. You know you live on your phone, and this prevents others from reading/listening in. I really wish more of my phone contacts would sign up.
Be safe, everyone. Don't regret later that you weren't, ok? This is really, really important. Even the most mundane text can be mined for information, and we all know everything online is receiving the same treatment.
©Pip Miller - December 2016