So we’ve looked in Part 1 of this series the basics and what you should be looking out for when exploring your online security and privacy options. Let’s deep dive into two very simple examples. These are actually tools that I use for a while and I trust. In a later article, I will explore based on my usage, experience and final thoughts – the top VPN and Security platforms you may consider.
To Stay Secure:
Install a Firewall and Antiviral (all in one) tool. For example, I highly recommend Norton or products by McAfee. This will protect your device(s) from unauthorized access and will protect you from viruses, trackers, malware and spyware. Additionally, use a service that has been independently verified on the number of viruses or intrusions it detects. Don’t take the provider’s word for it.
Products I recommend:
Symantec Norton Security 360 – starting from $99.99 annually
McAfee Total Protection – starting from $39.99 annually
- Yearly subscription that is cost effective
- Protects several devices across your PCs and Mobiles
- Install and Go for easy use (minimal to know adjustments)
- Superior firewall and antivirus, malware and spyware protection
- May include some privacy tools bundled as a bonus
These are the very best in my opinion. While there are many more, I highly recommend these out of over 15 years of use and experience. BitDefender is another good one, but less intuitive to use and more geared for pros. Pricing varies but to get the best, you need to pay for the service. DON’T SKIMP and go for freebies. Nothing, including security is free!
To Stay private while Browsing:
A VPN is the route to go. A VPN (or Virtual Private Network) is simply an extra layer of protection that sits between you (origin) and the destination address (the site you want to access).
By adding this extra layer, this will:
- Encrypt your data thus making it difficult to know what you are accessing
- Allows you to hide your IP address and remain anonymous
- Makes it harder for trackers and ad codes to monitor your activities
- Access content that is geolocalized (eg Netflix US or others)
There are over 24,000 VPN services today and yet not all are created equal. May are also rebranded resellers of existing providers. I will dedicate an article on this as it demands a clear view on what a VPN is and which you can use to truly keep you private and anonymous as best as possible. But for now, the ones I would highly recommend are:
Express VPN – starting from $8.32 per month
- Cost effective protection
- DNS Leak protection
- Protect multiple devices using one subscription
- Flexible to include root files for routers
- 256bit AES encryption
- Multi-layered protocols
- High Quality server locations
- No logging policy independently verified
Relax, I will provide full details on the above and more, but for the eager puppies, these are the two I use and would recommend. Another notable mention is Tachyon VPN which uses a new decentralized server base.
So to sum up, you would need a robust firewall, a solid antivirus / protection tool and a VPN if you want to get the basics going. Naturally, there is also a lot you will need to do to minimize your digital footprint and potential digital hazards. This would entail changing your browsing software, habits and even taking a few extra steps to further strengthen your security and privacy. For example:
- Leveraging 2FA (2 factor authentication) which doubles your security access to sites, cloud based services and even your digital mobile accounts. This also protects your accounts from unauthorised access, warning you via a secondary device or email account.
- Using password generators and limiting the use of simple common passwords and codes
- Changing your browser to a more secure one
- Using Ad blockers and DNS Leak protection scripts
The above is just a simple view but for a more complex look at how I try to protect myself as much as I can without sacrificing the online enjoyment of the web, be on the lookout for my articles on:
- The Great Wall of Fire – A look at the best firewall and protection tools you need
- Now you see me, now you don’t – VPNs and why you need one now!
- Securing your Digital life – Why, how and the tools you need
- WIFI and ISPs – not as advertised
What I explain and show is based on over 15 years of tried and tested experience and I hope that for the less techy, these articles will help you gain a quick and better understanding of what you need and how to live a secure digital life.