The Lazy’s Guide to Improving Your Privacy

You know the feeling. You’re reading an article about the NSA or talking privacy with a good friend. That guilty feeling that you haven’t done all the awesome security things that you know how to do but just, well, haven’t exactly gotten around to. Or perhaps deep down you don’t really enough about your privacy and whether the big government and big business giants have your data.

Here are a few, simple, easy, ways to make yourself more secure and private on the internet.

Switch to DuckDuckGo

A long time ago DuckDuckGo had subpar index. Now, I can find most things that I can get on google on DuckDuckGo. It’s time to switch. Change your default search engine and never worry about google collecting your search data again.

Browser Settings: Disable 3rd Party Cookies

3rd Party cookies are a neat way of tracking you. You don’t want that. On firefox, you can simply change the setting “Accept Third-Party Cookies” to “Never”. Clear your cookies after doing this.

This won’t cause you any problems on the vast majority of sites.

Browser Settings: Clear History and Cookies Every Restart

No harm in doing this, except you’ll have to login to some services again every time you restart your browser. The upside is cookies you accumulate from clicking tons of links will be destroyed, thus thwarting their tracking of you.

Browser Plugins: NoScript

There are tons and tons of scripts on webpages that can do all sorts of nefarious tricks, such as reporting your activity. NoScript is a convenient way to automatically stop that. Be sure to configure no script to block everything everywhere, thus allowing you to whitelist what scripts you want. Using wikipedia? “Allow all from wikipedia”. On some news site that isn’t cooperating? “Temporarily allow all on this page”. NoScript is a workhorse of browser security.

Browser Plugins: HTTPS-Everywhere

This simple trick means your browser will only connect using secure HTTPS to websites. This prevents Man-in-the-middle attacks and hackers sniffing your passwords on insecure communications.

Browser Plugins: uBlock Origin

Ads aren’t just annoying, they can track you and steal your information. uBlock Origin is the adblocker of choice to stifle ads on all sites. Adblock Plus is a sellout.

Application download: TOR browser

Have embarrassing or questionably legal (piratebay anyone?) searches that you want to make anonymously? Download the TOR browser bundle and use it specifically for that. Risky click? Use TOR. Keep it updated and restart often.

Note: Do not use TOR browser for your regular browsing, this links your TOR connection with your real identity which defeats the purpose of TOR

Torrent Settings: Disable Trackers

Almost everyone uses torrents from time to time. However using trackers to meet peers makes you low-hanging fruit for those who would enforce copyright. Disable trackers on all your torrents and rely on normal peer discovery.


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