Tools To Keep You Safe Online

The web gets more dangerous all the time. Hackers are getting much better at stealing your personal information and using it to hurt you. I’m very interested in cybersecurity, the study of keeping safe online. Some ways that you can use to stay safe are a little bit difficult… But here are some basic ways you can keep your privacy online, and stay away from hackers and people trying to watch your online activity. Some of these are very easy to do, and some of them require you to know a little bit about computers before you dive in.

VPN

The first thing anyone worried about online safety should get is a VPN. I’ve talked about these before, but I can’t stress enough how much you need one today. In the US, laws recently got passed that allow internet companies to sell your internet history to ad companies. A VPN keeps the company from seeing what you’re doing online, so they can’t track you or target ads for you. TunnelBear is a great VPN for beginners; it’s just an app that you download on your phone or computer and it hides your internet from anyone trying to spy on you. You can also build your own if you know how; it just takes a little bit on configuring. I recommend using port 443 when you configure your own; it makes it impossible for your ISP to block the traffic. A VPN is a like a safety helmet from Risky Head; you may not need it, but you want it there when trouble happens.

ScriptBlocker

ScriptBlocker is a program for web browsers that allows you to stop most ads. Javascript is one of the most common internet languages today, and it is how pop-up ads are able to exist. If you turn it off, you will find that fewer ads are able to show themselves. It will protect you from malicious downloads like a horse helmet protects you while you’re out riding. The only problem with this is the compatibility; some sites (Like Facebook) run on Javascript so you have to be careful. You will also not be able to use Google Drive if you disable all scripts. What I recommend is enabling the ScriptBlocker, then whitelisting sites one at a time as you go to them. But the default should be “off.”

Clearing Your Cookie Cache

Cookies are sometimes useful. They allow you to save your Facebook password so you don’t have to login every time. But they can also hide in your computer, reporting to ad companies that want to sell you something. They can also drain your bandwidth, because they are connected to the internet and feeding your info to another server. Even if they are not taking any confidential information, they are still parasites on your network. About once a month, go through and clear your cache of cookies. You will have to login again, but you will shake off any invaders that came with it.