Even the savviest of Internet users can benefit from tools other than a Web browser and its addons, and the contents of this kit has changed as the Net has evolved. For example, we no longer requiremore
Even the savviest of Internet users can benefit from tools other than a Web browser and its addons, and the contents of this kit has changed as the Net has evolved. For example, we no longer require third-party download managers or online activity erasers, but VPNs (virtual private networks) and encrypted cloud data backups are no longer just business services. Let's give you an overview of which Internet software you need, and which you don't.
A snoop-free browsing experience can be difficult to achieve, but apps like the Tor Browser make it possible. The browser is a modified form of Firefox with built-in support for the Tor network. This is a network of encrypting relays between you and the Internet that makes it difficult for nosy people to intercept your private online communications or record your whereabouts. The Tor Browser works similarly to a VPN, but it's more decentralized, and it's free. The Android version is called Orfox and is used in combination with the Orbot app to connect to the Tor network. iOS doesn't have an official Tor option, but there are third-party Tor-aware browsers such as Art Fusion's VPN Browser.
VPNs provide an encrypted tunnel between you and your online destination, greatly reducing the chance that people in the middle can snoop on you and potentially collect sensitive personal information. There's usually a compromise in connection speed, and some websites will not let you connect if they detect that you are reaching them via a VPN tunnel. But most VPN services offer a money-back guarantee, so you can test them out commitment-free. (We generally don't recommend free VPNs, since their monetization methods may include your user data.) iVPN has a good reputation.
Google Drive is easy to use and very accessible, but it's technically not private. Any data you put in there that's not encrypted can be viewed by Google or a third party with the necessary legal paperwork, because they keep a copy of your decryption keys. If you don't want someone digging into tax records or other sensitive materials that you've uploaded to Google Drive, you'll have to manually encrypt your own files, which can be a hassle -- or you can sign up for a cloud data backup service that does not keep a copy of your decryption keys. This is called client-side encryption (CSE). The tradeoff is that non-shared keys cannot be reset. So if you lose or forget your password, you can no longer access these files. SpiderOak is a reputable choice.
It can be difficult to find a trustworthy-looking personal VPN service. NordVPN ticks pretty much all of the important boxes. Its sales pitch doesn't promote legally dicey stuff like downloading torrents or watching region-specific versions of Netflix. It doesn't overstate how much your privacy and security are increased by a VPN. Its prices are reasonable, but not so cheap that it looks like corners are being cut.