Tech

Cheap Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy

You can’t really put a price on privacy, but let’s be honest – nobody actually wants to spend hundreds of dollars (if not more) to secure their personal data.

Don’t worry – you don’t need to put up with advertisers, ISPs, governments, and hackers snooping on your online browsing and preferences just because you’re short on cash. There are tons of great ways to protect your privacy without breaking the bank. We’ll show you the best and cheapest ones in this quick guide.

Top Cheap 4 Ways to Secure Your Online Data

According to our research, these are the best tools to use:

1. VPNs

VPNs are online tools that hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic. Here’s how they work:

  1. You use a VPN app to connect to a VPN server.
  2. The two establish an encrypted connection. Nobody can spy your traffic (which passes through it) anymore.
  3. When you browse the web, all your traffic is routed through the VPN server. Due to that, websites and malicious actors won’t see your IP address, just the VPN’s IP.

That sounds good, but what exactly does it mean for your privacy? Well, here are some perks:

  • Sites and advertisers won’t see your IP address and associate it with your online browsing (what you like and dislike). Translated, that means no more targeted ads creeping you out everywhere you go online.
  • ISPs won’t sell your browsing data to advertisers. They won’t be able to gather any of it since the VPN encrypts it end to end (only the VPN app and server can decrypt it).
  • You won’t need to worry about cybercriminals abusing weak public WiFi to eavesdrop on your traffic. Or using MITM attacks to accurately redirect you to phishing sites, for that matter. VPNs encrypt your traffic, so they won’t know what sites you’re browsing. Also, most top providers offer firewall—like features that block connections to malicious domains.
  • Wannabe hackers won’t be able to ruin your fun with DDoS attacks that force you offline. They can’t see your IP address anymore, so they can’t target your network. They can target the VPN server, sure, but most providers use anti-DDoS protection.

If you pick monthly plans, VPNs aren’t really cheap since you pay around $10-$13 per month. Long-term subscriptions is where it’s at since the monthly price averages $5. And if you go the extra mile and take advantage of the best VPN deals for Black Friday from ProPrivacy, you’ll be able to save even more money.

WARNING: As tempting as it is, don’t use free VPNs. They offer weak security, suffer leaks (everyone can see your IP even though you’re using a VPN), log your data and sell it, and expose you to malware.

2. Script Blockers

A script blocker is an online tool that prevents background scripts from loading on the sites you visit. They can only run if you give whitelist them.

Blocking scripts is pretty useful because you never know when you might land on a site that has malicious scripts which can take over your browser. Before you know it, you’ll see an endless stream of pop-up ads on your screen, and you won’t know what to do!

Or you could end up on a malicious site that runs cryptomining scripts in the background. While you’ll be browsing the website, those scripts will use your device’s CPU to mine cryptocurrencies. If that goes on for too long, the CPU might overheat and suffer damage.

To prevent any of that from happening, you should use the two following tools:

  • uMatrix – The extension is available on many browsers and can easily block most harmful scripts. It can be a bit daunting at first, so here’s a guide that should help you get familiar with it.
  • uBlock Origin – A cool browser extension that can block some scripts, trackers, and malicious sites. It also acts as a really good ad-blocker, so you have another way to protect your privacy from advertisers (on top of just using a VPN).

Both extensions are open-source and free to use.

3. Antivirus Software

Antivirus programs are software that protect your device from malware infections (and viruses too; they’re a type of malware). Browsing the web without antivirus protection is like going hunting without a gun. If the worst is to happen, you have nothing to protect yourself with.

Most people avoid using antivirus software because they’re worried these solutions are too expensive. But that’s not always the case. Take Malwarebytes, for example – the premium plan only costs $3.33 per month for one device.

And just like VPNs, antivirus providers also run Black Friday deals. So you can slash those prices and save big with ease!

4. Secure Emails

Gmail and Yahoo! are still the go-to options when it comes to email for most people. While they are great email platforms, they’re not doing your privacy any favors – unless you consider Google reading your emails an example of a company respecting your privacy. Not to mention neither one of those providers offers end-to-end encryption.

So if you want to protect your emails, you should use a more secure solution. We personally recommend ProtonMail. It’s a very popular secure mail platform that offers end-to-end encryption, is open-source, and provides true privacy (it doesn’t log your IP or request any personal information to set up an account).

Best of all – ProtonMail has a free plan. If you need more storage and a bigger limit for daily messages, you can upgrade to the Plus plan which only costs around $4-$6 per month. 

What Other Cheap Tools Can You Use to Protect Your Privacy?

Please tell us what solutions you use in the comments below. If you can, please tell us why. Oh, and if you found this article useful, we’d really appreciate it if you’d give it a share on social media.

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