The odds are about 7% that your online identity will be stolen this year, according to the Dept. of Justice.
When that happened to your editor here, he lost a bit of dignity.
You, however, might lose a lot more.
Around $25 billion more, which is what identity theft cost in 2012, according to the most recent DOJ survey (note: it’s not getting any better).
Besides finances — which are recoverable — your credit can be harmed. New accounts under your name could be opened. That’s harder to fix.
And anything you sent, shared or stored online?
So read on: these 13 programs and apps will help you find a perfect password, surf the Interwebs anonymously, text and call with military-level encryption, and even blow up your social media faux pas.
Happy browsing. Feel safe.
An InsideHook favorite. Once you sign up with Dashlane, your need to write down or remember passwords will go away. The service generates, manages and stores strong passwords — securely. It also offers online shopping receipts and an encrypted note-taking service to boot. Small drawback: when your browser updates, it sometimes takes a day or two for Dashlane to play nice again.
LastPass is a browser add-on that allows you to search and manage passwords. Good for individuals or large work teams, the app also allows two-step authentication and can perform a “Security Challenge” on your passwords, showing you where your online security is weak.
Duck Duck Go
A search engine that doesn’t save or share your search information. Bonus: they cut the ads and clutter out of the search process to provide the cleanest possible interface.
Tor takes encrypted searching one step further and prevents “traffic analysis” by directing your Internet traffic through several hard-to-follow pathways, making eavesdropping that much more difficult.
A browser add-on for Chrome and Firefox that detects — and then blocks — advertisers that track your online activity across web pages without your permission. No custom configuration required here: if it looks like someone is tracking your activity, they get the axe.
An ad-free message platform that allows you to exchange messages, pictures and videos without being tracked or monitored. Military-grade encryption, plus you can set an expiration date indicating when you want messages and media to be deleted.
An iOS end-to-end encryption service by the same company that makes the Android app RedPhone and the secure text service TextSecure. Simple to set up (you even get to keep your own phone number), this app encrypts the data about your phone calls and messages, and offers a host of bonus options (free messaging and calls, open source code, etc.).
A private chat service for Chrome users (Did we mention you should use Chrome?). It has a fairly solid rep: the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave it a perfect score for security, and it was used by journalists during the recent Swissleaks investigation.
Silent Text/Silent Phone
An unlimited worldwide messaging and call service for your phone that also won a perfect score from the EFF (if you use a Blackphone, it’s already baked in). Relatively new: Silent Contacts, an encrypted contacts/call log for Android users.
A Chrome add-on, Snapmail offers self-destructing emails. The recipient receives a link to your encrypted content in an email. Once they hit the link, the message is destroyed on SnapMail’s servers ... and the reader has 60 seconds to read the message before it scrubs itself.
SAVE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA REPUTATION
DSTRUX gives you control over the content you share on social media. You determine who has permission to see your content, and how long they can see it. Nothing can be printed, copied or saved.
If you’ve read excerpts from So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, you know a few people who could have/should have used a Twitter history wipe. Tweet Delete is a free service that automatically deletes tweets older than whatever time frame you specify.
WI-FI AND NETWORK SECURITY
Security across your whole network, straight from the cloud. OpenDNS protects any device on your network (business or personal) from fraud, phishing and identity theft.
Meet the Tweet-Deleters: People Who Are Making Their Twitter Histories Self-Destruct
Electron Frontier Foundation’s Secure Messaging Scorecard
Your TV Might Be Spying on You
Windows 10 Could Mean Never Typing a Password Again
Your Mother’s Maiden Name Has Been a Security Question Since 1882
(Hacker pic by Aaron Muszalski, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons)