Boosting your Online Security, 2020 Crash-course . Apps, Tools and Best Practices

Credits: Memories of Tomorrow by Tatsuro Kiuch

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2020

Wear sunscreen

I’ll just start with a musical reference right there. If you’re an 80s kid, that used to be lurking the night through your parents living room at 1 AM looking to be just a little of a rebel (or otherwise), while listing to VH1 in the background, you’ll get it.


For everyone else, behold the masterpiece:

You probably won’t mind me taking just a few moments of your life with this intro, worst case scenario, you’d be adding one to your playlist.

It’s a word spoken song relating to a famous essay- written by the Chicago Tribune columnist, Mary Schmich back in 1997.

The song was released 2 years later by Baz Luhrmann, filmmaker and producer of the acclaimed Moulin rouge (2001) and the Great Gatsby (2013) and consists of some good piece of life advice, while unwinding a filmstrip of retro advertisement(that somehow reminds me of the elevator scene of Vanilla Sky- did I say that out loud?It has a similar allure and nostalgia to it.).

Back to reality. The rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience ( and a collection of some serious online security experts, but no biggie). I will dispense this advice now:

2019 was ringing alarm bells in online security in a major way and judging by the status of the some of the biggest laws out there, the net neutrality repeal in the US and the copyright directive in the EU, there’s no telling how the whole Orwellian scenario ordeal will play out in 2020. Even with Trump’s impeachment on Wednesday, it’s still too soon to tell.

In the meantime, if I could offer you one tip for the future, a VPN would be it.

 However, there’s a whole list that I have piled up here, just for your peace of mind. (You are welcome!)

Want to know how to boost your online security and minimize your online footprint in 2020, at the end of this whimsical musical moment? then, keep on scrolling, here’s the crash-course on what you should pay attention to:

  1. Password Managers


Keeps all your passwords safe, all in one place.

1Password is described by its creators as a tool that “remembers all your passwords for you, and keeps them safe and secure behind the one password that only you know.[..] Just add your passwords and let 1Password do the rest.” You can use the tool to periodically re-new your passwords with new strong ones that lo and behold, you don’t have to remember.


will store your data creating alternate passwords for different levels of access to your device.

  1. OS
  2. linux is by far one of the most secure operating systems out there,
  3. Browsers


Brave is the bold, fast-performing, privacy-oriented newcomer dressed in a minimalist attire. The browser updates every 8–9 weeks and it’s still working towards a version v1.0 for desktop. Brave offers a fairly customized browsing experience as it allows the user to remove selected data every time the user closes the app.

A default ad blocker and an HTTPS function allows its users to browse unencrypted sites more secure.

Mozilla Firefox

Owned by a nonprofit organization, Mozilla is the caliber alternative to Chrome, also harboring a more hyped, privacy-focused version: Quantum.

Mozilla is updated by volunteers with a 6 to 10 week frequency, making it a bit slower than the competition, but keeping an overall regularity to its updates.

Security features include malware protection, add-ons warnings, but perhaps the most important things is the fact that Firefox is open-source and ONG owned.

Tor Browser

Tor is probably the true rebel out of the bunch. Based on Firefox, Tor was designed to let users access the world wide web via the Tor network, encrypting traffic and bouncing your data across a network of relays composed of thousands of volunteered computers.

Following Firefox’s bug fixes, most Tor updates happen with a frequency of about 2 weeks. Browsing history of users is not tracked by Tor and cookies are cleared after each session. Add the no script policy and privacy features and you will get a pretty safe browsing experience, probably the safest.

Out of the bunch, Tor is the most secure web browser, for enhanced security and privacy you can always turn to a VPN. A good VPN will have its own servers and encryption protocols designed for it, reducing possible security failures to a minimum. Free VPN services are often an open door to malware and can be easily used by scammers.

  1. VPNs

a reliable VPN service that keeps your data extra safe, traveling through a tunnel encrypted from end to end, so nobody, not even your ISP will be able to make sense of it, since all your information will go through the VPN server and not your ISP’s. You will also be able to bypass geo-restriction.

Having a robust VPN to encrypt your personal data is nowadays, the only way to Zion.

And as we’re not looking to exhaust the “hide everything I do” reasoning; we mainly believe that a VPN is not paramount to activity that borders on illegal, but the very symbol of your right to the privacy acumen. My stands for data security and flexibility in the professional VPN understanding.

Across the world, businesses use VPNs to connect to remote data centers, or for employees to connect remotely to the physical network of their workplace, while individuals can use VPNs to get access to network resources when they’re not physically on the same LAN (local area network), or as a method for securing and encrypting their information from the potential liabilities that lie ahead once exposed to unsecured networks such as public WiFis or hotspots.

Adding an extra hop to the route between your PC and sites like Facebook, your data location can be easily camouflaged.

  1. Messaging APPs:

Signal encrypted messaging and voice-calling similar with Telegraph or Wire.

  1. Ad Blocker


a native Safari content blocker entirely supported by its users. You’ll be able to block ads, ad networks, scripts designed to track your activity and many more. Just give it a spin!

I’ve started with the sunscreen song, for a reason. Notice how simple Schmick’s advice is? Could online security advice be just as simple? If you peel off the jargon, yes.



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