21st December will be remembered as a dark day for the netizens of India. Privacy has been made into a joke when 10 government agencies were given the right to carry out “interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”.
Giving the government agencies such extreme level of power is unheard of. Any one who possesses the computer resource and has been deemed dangerous by these agencies, if they fail to comply with their demands and doesn’t co-operate with these agencies can be jailed for up to seven years.
Luckily there are still ways in which people who are concerned about their privacy and want to protect their online identity from these government agencies and the private firms that are dying to get the data of the consumers you can carry out these steps to protect yourself from the prying eyes of intelligence agencies.
Steps to protect yourself
To keep your online and offline information secret you will have to make a few changes to the way you use the internet as very soon the services that you use now to connect to the world and freely present your views will turn into the very tools that can be used against you. You can read them here, my rant on twitter.
So let’s start digging in one after the other after which tools we need to work with and ditch the other tools that you might have been using.
In regards to the email services that you might be using right now, I recommend you to straight away start using the ProtonMail .
Gmail, Yahoo mail and the others are services that people generally use these days. The problem with using these services are that they haven proven to be unreliable in the past and have co-operated with the government agencies whenever they have been asked to give the data about the users.
For instant messaging use Signal . It offers you high security as the messages that you send have end-to-end encryption and is really great as it offers you all the services of Whatsapp & Telegram with the added level of security.
People generally ask me this, even Whatsapp have its end-to-end encryption, so why not keep using it? The answer is it might secure but all your chats are being stored in your google backup and if a Google agrees to share your information with the officials you will have all your Whatsapp chats leaked straight away.
This is really important, to chase the browser carefully that you use to browse the internet, you should use Firefox / Tor , don’t use chrome or browsers based of chromium as they are less secure when compared to these. Use Firefox focus, for mobile users.
The chromium or chromium based browsers are regarded as unsafe. Browsers like Chrome is maintained by Google one of the companies you want to stay away from if you respect your security to any level.
The best thing about Firefox is you can configure it to be extremely more secure with the help of add-ons that you can add to it and enhance your browser security.
File sharing is one of the places where you really need to keep information between the people it is intended to be shared with.
Virtual Private Networks
Use VPNs to keep your communication secure between two point, it is a secure and encrypted connection between two points so that malicious hackers can’t just carry out a man-in-the-middle attack and gain access to your data. These are definitely recommended keeping in mind that snooping is one of the reasons I am writing this article.
Hard Disk Encryption
I can’t give enough emphasis to this as the agencies are allowed to get access to your devices as well so go ahead and encrypt all your data right away. Use Bit Locker for windows and MacOS has inbuilt feature to encrypt the files and folders using Disk Utility.
Get, Set, Secure
To get more recommendations regarding how to keep yourself secure and enhance your privacy please visit PRISM Break and you can get options particular to your mobile or desktop OS.
It’s high time for us to keep security in the center and then build our lives around it, we do have to give up a little bit of ease of usage but at the same time there is a lot at risk if we don’t use these services right away.