A practical guide to increasing online privacy and security (for non-techies, too)

Secure Communication

Mail Service

If you are skeptical about your mails being read by your provider, there is a solution for you. ProtonMail is an encrypted mail service, supports 2FA and each mail is individually encrypted before storing, so the provider has no way to open the mail and read it.

Considering this, using Proton is only useful if all correspondents in the conversation are using Proton as well.

ProtonMail was created by CERN scientists in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations. It is based in Switzerland, therefore outside the jurisdiction of all major players in shaping the internet’s practices.

It is worth noting that ProtonMail is not the only encrypted mail service in the market, but it is the mostly used and most famous one, thus we chose to present it. There are others and we encourage you to look them up.

Messaging Applications

When it comes to messaging, specifically on your phone, SMS is still the most reliable way to send a message, as it does not require the internet for message transmission. However, it is not a very secure way of sending messages, since it is not encrypted, meaning telecom providers and government officials could have access to messages if needed. In the past decade a number of messaging apps have been developed and they share very similar features but, when it comes to privacy, some are better than others.

Recommendation 1: Telegram – it is an open source application, with end-to-end encryption and currently the most popular secure messaging platform. It has mobile applications, web and desktop clients and even some unofficial builds for use from the command line.

Recommendation 2: Signal – while it’s less popular then Telegram, Signal is an open source application. It also has end-to-end encryption and a bunch of neat features, like self-destructing messages. It can also serve as a default SMS application.

Notable mention: Session – decentralized messaging application built on blockchain that does not require a phone number.

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