Search engines, messengers and social media are good at satisfying our information and communication needs. However, there is a price to pay: private data.
Below, you will find some tips on how to protect your business communication from unwanted eyes.
Tip #1: avoid any messages
Ideally, messengers and chat platforms should have end-to-end encryption. In this case, the message gets deciphered only upon reaching the recipient so that no service provider can read it. Furthermore, a messenger should have open-source code to let anyone see whether any data breach occurred.
It is believed that the most secure messengers are:
Nevertheless, if someone has access to the device you use, this person has access to the messages and the history.
To avoid this, you can use platforms where it is possible to delete messages. Where possible, write the messages in a way that third parties cannot draw conclusions and if possible, use secure services to talk without writing.
Tip #2: make the most out of emails
For secure communication, install separate email accounts.
To ensure message encryption, you can use an open-source email platform with end-to-end encryption (for example, Mailvelope). Keep in mind: metadata (sender, receiver, object, time) are not covered by PGP encryption, and thus can be obtained.
As an idea, you can communicate with someone without sending emails. If you share the credentials of the same account, you can log in there at the agreed time and collectively modify the same email draft.
Lastly, make sure your emails are not being backed up and stored on a cloud service, if you want to erase them from your post forever.
Tip #3: find alternative ways to communicate
You may use services like One Time Link, 1TY.ME, Privnote, SafeNote, or Yopass to share your sensitive messages or files. In this case, the link can be opened only by the very first recipient, with no traces left thereafter.
Still be careful what information is stored on such platforms. When you write a message, keep it rather vague. When you answer such a message, use another service, so that the communication is not stored on the same platform.
Alternatively, you may chat from a social media or dating profile that does not disclose your personal information and use code words or a cipher, which you previously agree on with your partner.
Tip #4: use anonymous browsing options
Although browsing in an incognito tab does not record the browsing history, it still retrieves IP information. The ways to overcome these privacy concerns include:
- VPN – there are applications that allow connecting to the Internet via an encrypted tunnel, with the possibility to hide the IP address. This is useful to watch foreign TV-shows, too.
- Tor – an anonymous web browser
- DuckDuckGo, an untraceable search engine
If you are using a VPN service or Tor, make sure you do not log in to personal accounts from the same device or network. Unlike browsing history, exit nodes and types of devices can be traced and matched after a couple of coincidences.
Tip #5: protect your devices
It is not sufficient to simply install an antivirus app and use password protection to keep your PC or smartphone away from unwanted eyes. Sometimes phones get lost or stolen. What if they end up in someone’s hands who will access your private data and use it against you? Therefore, keep an eye on what you store there.
If you want to have a confidential conversation, you can remove the battery or use a Faraday bag to block any electromagnetic fields.
Protecting your business secrets and private life requires special attention, since so many things can be collected by smartphones and alike. We hope that these tips will help you enjoy more privacy and security on the Internet.