More privacy in your online life

Standard

Clickbait is everywhere. This time it is privacy clickbait called “How to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour“. The article is mostly not about encryption but enhancing your privacy. The tips in short:

  •  Use 2 Factor-authentication
    You want this. If someone gets their hand on your password, they still need the second factor to open up your account
  • Encrypt your harddrive
    Even with computers you never move, you might want this. Just had a case in the family were a computer got stolen out of the home. With encrypted data at least the thief won’t be able to take advantage of them
  • Turn on your phone’s password protection
    Yep, 4 digits are worthless. Biometrics like your fingerprint can be easily copied1. Watch this talk to understand why:
  • Use different passwords for each service
    When someone opens up one account of yours, they have all your accounts if you always use the same password. Use a password manager to make your like easier. I use Enpass but Keepass and 1Password are good, too.
  • Send private text messages with Signal
    Signal trumps Whatsapp etc. I prefer Threema though. And in the end I still use Whatsapp for some contacts of Jabber with OTR or OMEMO depending on the contacts. Jabber with OMEMO is actually quite good. But on an iPhone Jabber is not that great. Thus stick with Signal or Threema, both are available on Android and iOS. Signal is free and open source. Threema is independent of your telephone number, costs a few bucks and isn’t open source2
  • Your browser’s incognito mode isn’t actually private
    Yeah. That just hides you from other users using your browser. There’s a reason why it is called porn mode.
  • Use Tor
    Yup, Tor will hide anonymize you better than most other stuff. The original article has tips how to use it on Android. On iOS there is Tob. If you want to improve your privacy further on your computer use Tor in Whonix. Or go a step further and use Tor in Whonix on QubesOS which gives you far more security than your OS or even Tails for even more privacy.
  • Use DuckDuckGo
    Yes, DuckDuckGo improves your privacy but unfortunately I have to switch too often to Google 😐

You see, most of the stuff isn’t actually about encryption. Thus some further tips.

You might want to think about e-mail-encryption with S/Mime or GPG. It is a PITA either way. But unencrypted mails are like postcards. And there is still the metadata…so e-mail is actually not that good. But if you have to use mail and want to send sensitive material, use GPG or S/Mime. Btw. if your doctor’s office wants to send you something about your case via mail, it probably breaks the legal requirement concerning confidential medical communication. And this can mean jail time in Germany for example.

In addition: when you use backups, encrypt those as well. It is great when your harddrive is encrypted, when your backup isn’t. Same for USB-sticks you carry around. For those you want to use something like VeraCrypt

Are you using Dropbox? Think again, loads of unencrypted data. Use something like SpiderOak instead. I sync personally nowadays with my own Nextcloud-server and do encrypted online-backups with CrashPlan. And I think about using Tarsnap.

  • And some more privacy-hints at the end:
    pay with cash and don’t use some card that will collect points for your shopping – those track you better than your credit card
  • when you use a Kindle know that Amazon knows what your are reading when and where you are in the book. I guess Kobo et al. are similar when connected to their service
  • Netflix and Spotify (et al) know the same about your movie and music-taste. But I guess books are more dangerous than movies and music. You rarely watch a several movies about how your government is a bad thing, how to topple it or convert to religions that several mad men are using for their cause.
  • log out of Facebook and Google or use an extra browser for them.
  • Use an ad-blocker. More privacy and digital self-defense against malware delivered by ads. I am using UBlock Origin.

I could go on depending on your level of paranoia. But that’s enough for thinking a bit about it. Oh, and read Little Brother3 by Cory Doctorow for the reasons you want more anonymity in your life. Btw. I do not follow all of that advice by myself but I try to improve.


  1. I am at fault here as well. The fingerprint-thing on the iPhone is sooo convenient

  2. But it is audited and there is a way to verify your messages

  3. available for free on that site

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