Who would have ever thought that that marvelous invention, the smartphone, as well as your tablet and PC, would give you cause for concern about hiding from spies? And when I say spies I mean anyone who has a vested interest in your information whether that is governments foreign or domestic or a spouse, employer, marketer or just some freaky weirdo.
Today’s technological conveniences also act as portals through which the spies can gain access to your personal information. As a security analyst, I’ve come up with the following:
Easy Ways You Can Hide Your Data from the spies
- Use a VPN (virtual private network) such as Hotspot Shield VPN when online. This way your data traffic is encrypted—and thus difficult to detect by spies or any hackers, whether you use a phone, computer or tablet. Data transmission may still occur due to ads, but the VPN will put a stifling effect on it.
- Use Tor. You can hide from mass and corporate surveillance with a Tor installation—which the National Security Agency does not like—because it works.
- While playing games put your mobile device into airplane mode (which suspends data transmission). You don’t need to be online to play all games. Being offline means your personal data can’t be transmitted.
- HTTPS! Install HTTPS Everywhere, a browser plugin for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. It’s free, though currently not available for smartphones. HTTPS means security on the visited web site.
- Post on social media only when you’re connected with your password-protected, secure workplace or home Wi-Fi. And in some cases you may need to post via computer, not your smartphone!
- Hard drive encryption. A person who uses your computer or mobile will not be able to copy its data if you have an encrypted hard drive. Local storage can be encrypted on the latest versions of Windows, Macs, iOS and Android.
- Turn off cellular data connections. Unless you absolutely must know every single e-mail that’s coming in when you’re out and about, switch off the cellular data. Check your e-mail only when you’re on a secure network.
- Turn off the GPS and Wi-Fi on your mobile device. GPS, Wi-Fi and geolocation can pinpoint your location fast. Keep them off unless you need them (lost in the wilderness?). To turn off geolocation, start with your apps that take photos, then do the rest. Then you won’t have to worry about government agents finding you.
- Dumb down. Your phone, that is. If you’re really concerned about privacy, ditch the smartphone and use a “dumb” phone also known as a “feature phone”. Though even a simple cellphone can be used as a tracking device, it makes it hard for anyone to get your location and data since you can’t get on social media or play online games with a dumb phone.
- Never open e-mails with a blank subject line. Though your spacey friend may neglect to type into the subject line, a blank subject field can also mean a virus waiting to make its move. If the sender is familiar, send them a newly created message asking if they just sent you something with a blank subject line.
So there you have it: 10 ways that pretty much work to keep hidden from the spies and all other snoops.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.