Hiding your personal information from the NSA has never been a better choice to make. I made the ultimate guide to protecting yourself from the NSA. This guide is for the most privacy-sensitive people. You don't have to adopt all of these things, of course, if you are not so sensitive. Instead, one may opt for a more semi-anonymous route.
Anyway, this is a great way to defy the NSA! You'll still be able to do what you want, but make it harder for the NSA to get your info keeping your values intact yet sticking it the National Security Agency!
If you don't already use Linux, then you may want to consider it. Windows is tied to a large corporation (Microsoft) who already have ties to the NSA through PRISM. That's not exactly the best environment to be in if you're planning on keeping them away from you.
Luckily, there are a plethora of great Linux distributions for you to choose from. We even wrote a review of what we think are the top 8.
Avoid Popular Web Services:
Most popular web services nowadays will have a backdoor for the NSA. Facebook, Twitter, Google, they all have ties with PRISM. If you want to stay anonymous, don't put anything you don't want the NSA looking at.
If you do not want the NSA or someone else peeking into your private information, then encryption is an easy solution. These days, especially with the looming threat of the NSA, encryption has become easier every passing day.
Encrypting Your Phone
Before starting to encrypt your phone you may want to set a better passphrase on it beforehand. On IOS, you can do this by going into your settings and disabling the "simple password" option. If you have an Android, there are a bunch of great security options, so it is definitely worth taking a look at your settings and doing what you think is right for you.
There already exist a bunch of great applications to encrypt the data on your phone. My personal favorites are ChatSecure and WhisperSystems(RedPhone). Though many other options exist as well so it may be worth looking through the app store for an application that fits your specific needs. You will want something that encrypts Texts, Email, and other messaging systems you use on your phone. On Android, general data encryption itself already exists on many new phones, as well as the newer Iphones.
Passwords are super important. Though I believe John Oliver and Edward Snowden made an amazing segment on it, so here it is:
Basically, you will want something that's more than 8 characters long, and contains both letters and numbers. Unusual characters such as exclamation points and hashtags are great added security, but they make the password harder to remember.
It's also a great idea to keep a number of passwords for different services you use. For instance:
- A throwaway password for sites you don't really care about, you don't think you will ever visit again, or in general don't need any security
- A secure password for things you use regularly, but may not need much security. For example, a forum you frequent once every week or other week. You want something that's easy to remember, and you won't forget easily. If you do forget, then you will have to go through the trouble of resetting it. If this service is hacked, it won't cause you much harm other than maybe some lost insignificant reputation on the service.
- A Secure Password for your Social Networks. This password should be secure, but remembered easily. You don't want someone hacking into these services, since you use them daily and manipulation of them could lead to the loss of real life reputation, misunderstandings, or loss of sensitive information.
- Your email password and password for such things as DropBox or storage services. You need this one to be secure, since so much of your sensitive information is kept there, getting it hacked/looked at could mean the loss of so much sensitive information
- Your Bank Password. The absolute most secure. This is where I would suggest using hashtags and other unusual characters. You do not want to be losing money because you set your password to "password".
(Available for All OS unless stated otherwise)
TOR is a godsend for browsing the internet anonymously. If you don't yet know what it is, you can read up on it here. TOR not only encrypts your information, but it passes it through anonymous nodes scattered around the world. This is why the browser seems slow at time, but also why it's so secure! All these anonymous nodes makes it extremely hard to track where information is coming from. If you are on Android, then you can also use TOR! Orweb is a great app that allows you to route your traffic through TOR for Android. iOS users don't despair! Onion Browser is available for you Apple Fanatics as well.
I eagerly await the time when Megachat is released. Until then, however, Tox is a great alternative to Skype. It's Open-Source which means it's not tied to any major corporation and all the code is freely available online. Tox is secure through the encryption it uses. Everything about it is encrypted, and it is currently the most anonymous way to chat with your friends or others. For extra security, however, use a VPN.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a server through which all your traffic is routed through. Depending on which service you use, this traffic will be deleted and protected by the service. If you don't know what a VPN is, we have a great informative article on it here. I personally recommend Private Internet Access. It's available for a small monthly fee, but it gets the job done very well!
Mega is the best Cloud Storage Service I have ever used. Not only are the things you store on there all encrypted, but they give 50GB starting off--for free! If you haven't tried this service yet, I would definitely try it soon. Mega is available for all platforms--(Desktops + Android + iOS).
Enlocked is for encrypting your email. It exists in the form of a Chrome/Outlook/Android/iOS application that encrypts all your emails with PGP encryption (one of the best encryption methods out there). PGP encryption means no on can see your email except for the sender and receiver.
If you don't want a browser which constantly collects your preferences (Chrome/Firefox/IE, pretty much any major web browser out there) You are looking for DuckDuckGO. This is a browser which objectively displays your search results, and does not collect any information regarding your browsing habits.
I hope you have a clearer understanding of how to hide your communications from other people, including the NSA. Best wishes in your encrypted endeavours!
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