Edward Snowden Divulges the 5 Easiest Ways to Protect Yourself Online

Edward Snowden lists services that will protect your privacy with just a few downloads.


In a recent interview with The Intercept, Edward Snowden offered some advice for what average citizens can do to reclaim their privacy. Because the sharing of information should be a conversation, not an enigma buried in a site's 'Terms of Service.'

1. This includes Signal, an easy-to-use app that encrypts your mobile phone messages, as long as the person you're calling or texting also has the app installed. Developed by Open Whisper Systems, the app is available for both iOS and Android.

2. The next easy step is to enable two-factor authentication on your accounts. This way an attacker needs not only your password, but also a physical device, like your smartphone, to get the secondary code that opens your account.

3. A password manager, like KeePassX, will ensure your passwords are diversified across all accounts. So, if one account becomes compromised, they won't all become compromised.

4. The next step is Tor — install it, use it. It looks very much like your browsing in Firefox, only your traffic will be bounced all across the globe, covering your physical location and identity (to a point). A nice side effect is Tor comes with a JavaScript blocker, which disables ads. 

5. “Everybody should be running adblock software, if only from a safety perspective,” Snowden said.

By using these programs, people have already changed the conversation about security and privacy. Apple took note adding DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track, as one of the available options on its Safari browser. Earlier this year at CES, a “personal privacy” section made its debut. Even DARPA is working to create services that “[enable] safe and predictable sharing of data in which privacy is preserved.” The ability to take control of your privacy has become more attainable than ever.

The trick is getting more people to adopt these programs (think of it like herd immunity). That's how we'll create lasting change.

“I think reform comes with many faces,” Snowden told the site. “There’s legal reform; there’s statutory reform more generally; there are the products and outcomes of judicial decisions.”

The sharing of information should be a conversation — not an enigma buried somewhere in the Terms of Service of a site.

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Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

Photo Credit: ADAM BERRY / Stringer/ Getty

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