Don’t Get Hacked: Tools You Can Use To Protect Your Online Identity
Hacking is on everyone’s mind to some degree lately—especially with the recent WikiLeaks/CIA fiasco. If you’re worried about how events like this potentially impact your security and privacy, you’re not alone. Protecting yourself from hacking is an ongoing challenge, so you might as well take the necessary precautions now.
Below, you’ll find a list of 15 tools that will make you less vulnerable to tracking, hacking, and other shady internet shenanigans. Even if it takes some time to integrate these tools, it’s worth the effort if it keeps you and your information safe.
Browse safely on public WiFi with this VPN for iOS.
Cloak keeps you safe on public WiFi with no hassle. There’s an auto-secure feature that makes this app turnkey; you don’t even need to remember that you have it on your phone. All you have to do is connect to a network, and you’ll be automatically protected. Cloak also knows which networks you trust, automatically securing your connection whenever you use an untrusted network. This is a painless way to safeguard against unwanted monitoring or DNS poisoning, and the clean UX makes it much easier (and more intuitive) to use than most other VPNs out there.
A minimalist open source password manager.
As maker Martin Kleinschrodt puts it, “a password manager (or a comparable tool) is something that basically everybody needs but almost nobody uses.” The reason? Many view password managers as a tool for power users and paranoid consumers. Padlock exists to make using a password manager more accessible to the average person. This tool focuses on simplicity and usability, so you won’t see many of the complex features found in other password managers here—just a secure storage space to keep your passwords safe via encryption, protected by a single master password.
Padlock is also completely open source, so anyone can inspect the code and offer contributions. This is meant to make the tool as transparent as possible–and allows you to double check that the code is free from unintended vulnerabilities. If you’re new to password managers, this is a straightforward, simple option to help you get started.
Protect your private data from being sent out.
Whenever you connect to the internet, various applications can send whatever information they want about you, wherever they want to send it. Sometimes, they do this upon your request—but other times they don’t…which is super shady. Little Snitch was created to intercept any unwanted connection attempts so you can decide how you want to proceed. You’ll be alerted whenever an application tries to connect with a server, giving you the opportunity to decide whether to deny or allow the connection. This helps you prevent any sensitive data from leaving your computer without your approval.
You can choose to put the app on “silent mode” when you don’t want to see connection warnings for a while. There’s also an inbound firewall, which helps you keep the same level of control for incoming connections. If you’re worried about the security of sensitive data on your devices, Little Snitch is a useful tool that will help you keep your information protected.
Get a new virtual card for every transaction.
Well, this is cool. Privacy gives you a brand new card number for every transaction you make online, which is meant to protect you from card fraud, identity theft, and data breaches. The process is simple: download the Chrome extension after you sign up, and when you check out on any website, the Privacy icon will appear in the card form. Just click on it to create a new card, and the rest of the form will autofill. Once the “card” is charged, money will be withdrawn out of a funding account of your choice. There are a bunch of fancy details about Privacy’s policy (which you can find here). The most important, though, is that this tool is PCI-DSS compliant, which means you can expect the same security standards your bank has.
Lock and unlock your Mac automatically with your iPhone.
This cool app will lock your laptop as soon as you walk away from it, and then unlock it when you return — magic! Here’s the idea: you carry your smartphone with you basically all of the time, so why not utilize this pre-existing behavior to keep all of your digital files and private data safe? Of course, the catch is that you actually have to have your phone with you for Tether to work properly. But if it secures your privacy and takes a step out of your workflow (no more manual computer log-ins!), then it’s worth trying.
End-to-end encrypted email.
ProtonMail is an encrypted inbox, making the emails you send completely invisible. The automatic end-to-end encryption means the company cannot decrypt and read your emails—so they can’t be shared with third parties. You don’t need any personal information to secure your email account, and ProtonMail doesn’t keep any IP logs that could be linked to your anonymous email account, either. Even better? The inbox itself was designed for maximum productivity so you can read, organize, and send email efficiently. If you’re worried about your email privacy, this is the solution you’ve been waiting for.
A list of websites and whether they support 2FA.
Many security experts argue that 2FA should be a norm on every site that requires you to log in. Unfortunately, many websites don’t require two factor authentication. What you’ll find on the Two Factor Auth (2FA) site is straightforward and simple: a list of websites, along with information about whether they support 2FA. Use this site to utilize 2FA on your own accounts whenever possible—from your bank to gaming applications to entertainment websites. This is also a great resource if you’re choosing, say, a hosting service and want to make sure you pick a company that utilizes 2FA.
Create a recipe and forget your passwords.
Password Chef is a clever approach to password management. The app will help you design a “recipe” (i.e. personal algorithm), which generates complex and unique passwords for each of your accounts that you can remember even without sticky notes and password managers. Even though security breaches are becoming more commonplace, many of us still don’t take the precautions we should, like using a completely different password for every site. The result? It becomes much easier for a hacker to gain access to your most valuable accounts — banks, email, file hosting, social media, and more. Here’s one example of a recipe via Password Chef (clever name):
Give this one a try — especially if you’d prefer not to keep your passwords stored somewhere on the Internet, and would rather remember them instead (without the mental load required to memorize dozens — or hundreds — of unique password combinations).
Once you get to know the product, it isn’t surprising that 1Password is revered by many individuals and companies. With this app, you’ll only ever need to remember one password. No more trying to memorize autogenerated passwords like “4ndO23bC0q8Nm6Z.” No more using your birthday or your mother’s maiden name over and over again. And definitely no more searching for a sticky note somewhere in your office where you keep your Gmail account information. All of your other passwords and important information will be protected behind your master password, which only you know. This is a great—and most importantly, super easy—way to keep your information safe.
Securely share information with your team.
…Oh, hey! There’s a team version, too!
There’s nothing worse than trying to hunt down a password to a team account at work. Which, of course, you often end up getting via email or chat (the internet security police are pissed right about now). Sometimes, keeping track of team accounts and passwords can feel like an extra job.
1Password for Teams works like the individual version, but features emphasize password sharing. You can also share more than just passwords; use it to manage sensitive finances and documents, as well. This is definitely worth integrating into your team’s set of tools — especially if you find yourself needing to share secure documents and account information often.
Browse the internet anonymously.
We know Google is the holy grail for search, but if you’re looking to browse the internet anonymously (like, really), Tor Browser 6.0 is a great option. The software protects you by “bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers around the world.” In other words, it prevents anyone who may be monitoring your internet connection from learning what site you visit—and it also prevents the sites you visit from finding your location and other information about you. This is the ultimate search tool if you want to protect yourself from unwanted traffic analysis and network surveillance.
Team password manager, cloud identity, and access management.
Meldium is a super simple tool that gives you secure access to all of your apps. The best feature? You’ll automatically be logged into your favorite websites and apps without needing to type in usernames and passwords. This tool (which the Product Hunt team uses) also makes the onboarding process much easier. When someone new joins your company, Meldium will automatically create their accounts on every web application your team needs. No more spending a ton of time getting new teammates set up with all of the necessary accounts; now it’s easy to share website and app data without ever exchanging a password.
Control who can send you email.
If you’re tired of the barrage of unwanted newsletters, sales emails, and updates from companies you aren’t interested in hearing from, check out Throttle. This tool is a dream if you’re drowning in unwanted emails. You can control what emails make it to your inbox, find out who sells or steals your address, and combine all mass mailings into a single digest.
How does it work? Whenever you sign up for something online, you’ll see a little thunderbolt next to the form field. Click that, and a random email address is generated and filled into the form. Any emails from those companies will automatically go into a daily digest so you can view it whenever you want without having to deal with a ton of individual emails in your inbox. If a sender is emailing you too frequently, you can revoke their access and they can no longer email you. You’ll also be alerted whenever someone tries to sell or steal your email address, and revoke that sender’s access, as well. Finally—your inbox is actually yours again.
Quickly scan your cloud for exposed sensitive data.
Marshal is a cloud-based data scanning tool that goes through your files on various cloud storage platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box to identify sensitive information. You do have to grant the company access to your cloud services first; then Marshal will create a temporary copy of each scannable file. It will identify credit card numbers, phone numbers, email addresses, and Social Security numbers so you know the number of threats found in your documents—and can act on each one as you see fit. This is a useful resource if you’re looking to keep your cloud storage services safe.
An iPhone app that blocks ads, tracking, and malicious content.
Better truly lives up to its name. The creators make it a point that this app is not an ad blocker; it’s a behavioral ad blocker. The goal? “Make the web safer, lighter, and faster in line with the principles of ethical design.” This is a really thoughtful app, designed to protect you from sites that track your behavior online (which feels like it happens all the time these days). So why this content blocker? Better goes beyond an app; it’s an educational resource with in-depth research and documentation on trackers and editorial spotlights. This blurb says it all:
We hope you found something on this list that you can use to keep yourself and your data safe. Looking for more products to keep you from getting hacked? Check out the comprehensive list here on Product Hunt: