People use VPNs to protect their privacy from hackers, ISPs, and data thieves. But do VPNs themselves collect your browsing data and sell it to third parties? Here’s what you need to know. Here’s the main point: You’re placing an immense amount of trust in the VPN provider you use. Choose carefully! Do you trust your VPN provider more than your internet service provider? VPNs Can Track You, and They Might The main selling point of using Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs , is to protect your privacy. They prevent attacks from malicious hackers, stop your internet service provider (ISP) from peeking at your traffic, and mask your information to websites that may collect your personal data. While these claims are generally true, there is one party that you should still be cautious about: the VPN companies themselves. Before we get into how a VPN may track your browsing data, we’ll explain how a VPN works . A VPN essentially routes your internet connection, provided by … [Read more...] about Do VPN Companies Track Your Browsing Data?
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By default, Google Chrome does not run extensions in Incognito mode because they could potentially compromise your privacy. But, if you’d like to give an extension permission to work in private browsing mode, it’s easy to do. Here’s how. First, open “Chrome.” Click the “Extensions” icon in the toolbar, which looks like a puzzle piece. When a menu pops up, select “Manage extensions.” If you don’t see a puzzle piece button in the menu bar, click the vertical ellipses button (three vertical dots) and select More tools > Extensions from the menu. When the Extensions tab appears, locate the name of the extension you’d like to enable in Incognito mode and click the “Details” button beside it. On the extension’s details page, scroll down and locate the “Allow in incognito” option. Click the switch beside it to turn it on. Warning: Extensions you enable in Incognito Mode may record your browsing history or other private details and could potentially share that data with … [Read more...] about How to Enable an Extension in Chrome’s Incognito Mode
Unlike Signal, Telegram chats aren’t end-to-end encrypted. You only get server-side encryption by default. But if you want full encryption, you need to enter a separate Secret Chat mode. Here’s how to start an encrypted Secret Chat in Telegram. What Is Secret Chat in Telegram? When it comes to security and privacy, Telegram is much better than popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Telegram is open-source, and all of its code is available online for verification by security experts. But by default, Telegram only offers server-side encryption. Telegram syncs your data (messages, media, and groups) between all your devices and uploads it to its servers by default. All the data in Telegram’s server is encrypted. This means that you are safe from your internet service provider, Wi-Fi router interception, and other third parties. But Telegram itself might still be able to access your data (if they really wanted to). According to Telegram, its … [Read more...] about How to Start an Encrypted Secret Chat in Telegram
You might think that switching from Facebook Messenger to old-fashioned text messages would help protect your privacy. But standard SMS text messages aren’t very private or secure. SMS is like fax —an old, outdated standard that refuses to go away. Your Cellular Carrier Can See Your SMS Messages With SMS, messages you send are not end-to-end encrypted. Your cellular provider can see the contents of messages you send and receive. Those messages are stored on your cellular provider’s systems—so, instead of a tech company like Facebook seeing your messages, your cellular provider can see your messages. Cellular carriers store the contents of those messages for various amounts of time . Messages are often only retained for several days, but they store metadata (which number sent a message to which number, and at what time) for even longer. These records could be subject to subpoena in legal proceedings—for example, text message records are a common form of evidence in divorce … [Read more...] about Why SMS Text Messages Aren’t Private or Secure
Most people back up their iPhones or iPads to iCloud, but it’s not completely private: Apple always holds the key so it can help if you forget your password. If you want a truly secure device backup and you have a Windows machine, you’ll need iTunes . (Mac users can back up from Finder.) Here’s how. How to Make Encrypted Local Backups in iTunes First, install iTunes for Windows if you don’t have it already. You can download it for free through the Microsoft Store for Windows 10. When it’s installed, launch iTunes. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Windows 10 PC using the appropriate USB-to-Lightning cable. When you’re asked whether you want to allow the computer to access your device, click “Continue.” When your device asks for it, enter your passcode on your iPhone or iPad screen to trust the computer. After your PC recognizes your device, you’ll see a small device icon (that looks like an iPhone or iPad) up in the toolbar. Click it. You’ll see an iTunes … [Read more...] about How to Encrypt Local Backups of an iPhone or iPad on Windows