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How to protect yourself on the Internet: advice from Edward Snowden


Nadezhda Verbitskaya

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Now even schoolchildren know that browsers, social networks and many different programs collect information about users. Such awareness is not least the merit of the former employee of the US National Security Agency (NSA) Edward Snowden, who told the whole world about the surveillance of American intelligence agencies over Internet users. And now we know about it, but not everyone knows how to deal with surveillance on the Internet. If you want to make Internet surfing and data storage safer, then you should heed the advice of the same Snowden. They were collected by the publication

Encrypted connection

Many people think they have nothing to hide. They are sure that intelligence officers are indifferent to information about where they have been, what they have posted on their Facebook page, and what they have bought on Ebay. And they are right. But this position touches the other side of the problem.

“When you say ‘I have nothing to hide’,” it means “I don’t care about my right to internet security, I agree that I am being followed,” says Edward Snowden.

He advises not to scatter your rights and visit only those sites that use an encrypted connection. These are the sites that start with https. If a site starts with http (without s) it is not secure. On such sites, attackers can steal your documents, work correspondence, family photos.

In order not to check every time whether your connection is secure, you can install a special plugin that will automatically encrypt all the sites you visit.

On the subject: More than 300 New Yorkers will get free Internet access

Secret of correspondence

If you are mailing information that could be of value to scammers, it is best to encrypt it. Install special encryptor extension for your browser. It works very simply: you send a letter, and the recipient receives it in the form of encrypted characters. To decrypt the message, he must enter a special key.


To get started, use instant messengers that automatically encrypt correspondence: Telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Signal Private Messenger, etc. If suddenly someone intercepts encrypted correspondence, they will see only a set of characters, which will take a very long time to decrypt. At the same time, the companies themselves that created these messengers, as a rule, have keys that allow them to read your correspondence.

If you want to protect yourself from this as well, use a messenger with a plug-in for encryption when sending a message. Such a plugin is often referred to as OTR: off the record.

About insecure "clouds"

Cloud data storages - Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud - are vulnerable to attackers who can pick up a password or take advantage of a vulnerability in the system itself. To keep your data private, use a program that encrypts it. Such programs create a folder on your computer where you place the files, and they are automatically encrypted and sent to the cloud storage. For example, you can install the Boxcryptor program, it is free for personal use.

Secret Browser

If you have to use unsecured Wi-Fi in a public place, encrypt all traffic (not just browser traffic). To do this, you should use a VPN, such as VPNbook or Freevpn. You can also install the TOR browser. When set up correctly, no one will be able to know where you are and who you are.

Broken phone

Encrypt flash drives, phones and other gadgets that you might lose. To do this, use the simplest coding programs - they can be downloaded on the Internet. Usually such programs work invisibly for you. And if the encrypted device falls into the hands of an attacker, he will not be able to extract anything from there.

Private Conversations

Almost any phone can be tapped. But there are also special applications that protect your private conversations from prying ears, such as EAGLE Security. Such applications track and remember the location of all base stations. If they detect that some base is moving around the city or the signal disappears from its location from time to time, then they mark it as false and suspicious, which they notify the owner of the phone about. Even in such programs, you can usually see which of the applications installed on the phone have access to the video camera and microphone, so that if something happens, turn them off.

A good password is the key to success

Come up with complex passwords. Simple words, sequences of numbers, date of birth, your name and pet's name are the most insecure passwords. A good password consists of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. It is also important to come up with different passwords for different sites. Otherwise, when your account is hacked, the password can be used by attackers on other resources.

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