Long time followers of mine know I’m in to online privacy and internet freedom. It was a big challenge for me to figure out how to stay secure while traveling. You’re using someone else’s wifi all the time, there are different internet laws in every country you visit and what if your mobile phone or laptop gets stolen? I collected my favorite tips to stay secure at all times. And yep, unfortunately my iPhone got stolen on the road! But thanks to my preparations I didn’t lose any photos! From secure browsers, encrypted messengers, and password managers, here’s how you stay secure online and offline during traveling.
TOR – my all time favorite for anonymous browsing
No, I’m not up for a single trip to Silk Road-a-like websites, but I’m all about staying secure myself. You might have read about the dangers of using an open wifi, if not, please do. Browsing with TOR keeps you a little bit safer than using the good ol’ Chrome for example, so why not? With TOR you browse the internet without leaving your activity open for prying eyes. Tor’s network of bouncing your traffic through multiple relays makes it nearly impossible to track a user’s identity or activity. You can access almost every website anonymously. Yes! No more hacks or spies! Download for free Tor Project.
Next in this list should definitely be a VPN, a tool to ‘hide’ your real IP address. Make sure you get a paid version of a VPN to stay safe, as free version slow your computer down and often tend to sell your information/details. I recommend ZenMate as it’s very user-friendly for people who don’t know anything about VPN’s!
AdBlock Plus (ad-blocker)
An adblocker is not a privacy saving tool, but by blocking ads, you reduce the number of tracking cookies on your computer. And believe me, life is better without miss matching ads. AdBlock Plus.
PGP – secure & encrypted email
Funny how Google is reading all your Gmail email? No? I know. I use my own email client and also a safe one, but it’s good to install PGP with all your email accounts. PGP, or “Pretty Good Privacy,” first released in 1991, remains the favorite tool of tens of millions of users worldwide, thanks to its apparently uncrackable encryption. Unfortunately, PGP is not very user-friendly, it’s kinda hard to install if you’re not super into computers. Please ask your local nerd to help you with this if it’s too much for you because it’s important! Even when you have nothing to hide (I believe most of us don’t) it’s still important to keep things private. It’s worth the hassle. Download for free Gnu Privacy Guard.
FileVault – disk encryption
Horror, what if your laptop gets stolen while traveling? You’ll probably never see it again. So make sure that if that horrible thing happens, at least your disc’s are encrypted so the bad guy can’t access your personal stuff. Windows and OS X systems come with built-in software to encrypt your disks. Search on Windows for BitLocker and on Apple for FileVault. And btw, don’t forget to encrypt your USB’s and external hard drives!! Very important, because it’s so easy to lose them, I would lie if I’d say it never happened to me.
Never trust Google. There I said it. Ha! Sorry guys, but I just can’t trust a business that built its business model around serving ads against the user. The better the data, the better the ads. The better the ads, the more money it makes. And Google makes a lot… DuckDuckGo does not store your data or send your search terms to other sites. Every user gets the same results. That’s what we need! DuckDuckGo.
HTTPS Everywhere (secure-site switcher)
The HTTPS Everywhere plug-in aims to force your browser into loading the secure version of a site over a page that doesn’t contain a security certificate. In normal people language? The plug-in makes browsing more secure by encrypting everything from your computer to their server. The plugin is designed for Chrome, Firefox, Opera and is also available for Firefox for Android. Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Ghostery (anti-tracking tool)
Ghostery is a tracking tool that can be added to your browser to show you how you’re being tracked online — and by whom. Scary? A little, but at least you know. Ghostery.
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