These data breaches are absurd. It needs to be said. Almost 150 million Americans had their Social Security Numbers divulged. Hackers with access to these numbers and the right know-how can create false identities: stealing assets, creating new lines of credit, and altogether absconding with your hard earned money. What to do about it?
Today, as soon as something is digitized, whether it be a Snapchat message, a text message, a Google search, or an email, it’s gone. Someone, somewhere, has the ability to access it. That is, unless you take the right measures to reduce its likelihood. Firstly, I must say that, despite how much I appreciate the technological marvels Silicon Valley has produced, it has created somewhat of an ethical dilemma. The ability to connect us in ways we never thought possible has also yielded a commensurate increase in ways to damage us. Sure, electronic banking is ludicrously convenient, but it also lends itself to the idea that our funds can be taken without breaking into some vault underground.
Many firms have tremendous databases as to our person and can therefore algorithmically derive very accurate constructs as to our personalities and desires. Google searches are collated and fed into a machine learning script to more accurately determine what types of things we look for when we search for something. Facebook obviously has an elephantine record of our private communications with others. Our purchasing history on Amazon paints a perfect picture of our hobbies and home interests. And, none of this actually accurately reflects what these enormous corporations actually do. Google is much more than a search engine and email client, Facebook is much more than a social media platform, and Amazon is much more than an online warehouse. There’s a whole trail of mergers and acquisitions and other esoteric operations that these companies perform at massive scales. They may not necessarily hold your SSNs, but this information is certainly just as valuable.
Here is a list of some of the great services out there to keep your information as private as possible. They use utilities like end-to-end encryption, anonymity clustering, and are stored in data centers that prohibit extradition.
- DuckDuckGo – A search engine that doesn’t track data.
- ProtonMail – An email client that is tremendously secure and has a beautiful graphical user interface to boot.
- Tor – A powerful anonymity network that also possesses a constituent browser
- WhatsApp – a messaging utility that uses end-to-end encryption. However, it can be identified to whom a message is sent. The contents are encrypted with a private key that only you can access.
- Signal – a messaging utility that encrypts even beyond WhatsApp; recipients cannot be seen either.
- Paypal – a payment client that adds an extra layer of security between your bank details and a transaction