10 Easy Ways to Protect Your Digital Privacy

It is no secret that the privacy of our digital lives is under increasing threat. What follows are ten simple and legal steps you can take to protect yourself from hackers, spammers and government agencies.

  1. Encrypt your smartphone chats and phone calls with the free Signal app.
  2. Use a Virtual Private Network like IPVanish. A VPN is a small application that hides your internet activity and physical location from your internet provider and your government.
  3. Avoid using public computers such as at a hotel business center or a library.
  4. Do not use public wifi — like at Starbucks or in an airport — without using a VPN (see #2).
  5. Cover your webcam with a piece of tape. This recommendation comes from the FBI.
  6. Use different passwords for different services by using a password manager or a password algorithm. No memorization needed!
  7. Use two-factor authentication or authentication apps whenever possible. Here’s how to set it up for Facebook, Google, Microsoft products, and more.
  8. Encrypt your hard drive with VeraCrypt, which is free.
  9. Lock down your social media accounts. Here is a wonderfully detailed step-by-step guide.
  10. Encrypt your email with ProtonMail. Email is an inherently insecure communications medium. If Hillary Clinton can have her email hacked, so can you!

[This article is excerpted from a longer one originally published on Medium.com.]

Chuck Beretz is a software consultant based in southern California. Follow him on Twitter @ChuckBeretz. Views expressed are his own.