Ultimate guide on encryption and apps
As the internet grows our data becomes more and more valuable. Your data is stored and shared and you may not even be aware of this.
Social media sites like Facebook retrieve your data which is accessible by authorities like the police and government.
If you use an Onion Browser and think that’s sufficient, think again.
What you shouldn’t do on an Onion Browser/Tor:
Be aware that even if you use an onion browser to sign into your social media accounts, the minute you log in you’re providing your personal details which the social network site will be able to see that you’ve signed in. Although your IP address is hidden when using an onion browser, just be mindful that any account log-ins you sign into are logged.
For internet searches you can go undercover by using an onion browser/Tor. This way your internet searches can’t be tracked, but obviously remember as soon as you provide your personal details such as your name, you’re no longer in disguise.
You may have heard of encryption but do you know what it means and how encryption works?
Encryption is a process of transforming data into a code to prevent unauthorised access.
Best encryption apps for instant messaging and making calls:
Telegram was launched in August 2013. Earlier this year Telegram announced it had 100,000,000 monthly active users, delivering an astonishing 15 billion messages each day! Telegram allows users to send instant messages through its cloud based service. As well as messages you can send videos, photos, GIFs and audio. Users can even use it to make encrypted voice calls.
A great advantage to using Telegram is that it can sync with your other devices, so no matter which one you’re using you can access your messages. Furthermore, there is no limit to the amount you send – it’s unlimited up to 1.5 GB each/per file.
Messages in Telegram are server-client encrypted providing end-to-end encryption for voice calls and optional end-to-end encrypted “secret” chats. If you don’t want to store all that data on your device, you can always keep it in the cloud.
Pros and Cons for using Telegram:
- If your devices with Telegram installed are stolen your data is lost too.
- You can create group chats to keep in touch with a circle of family, friends or colleagues.
WhatsApp has over 1 billion users across 180 countries. WhatsApp is a great way to keep in touch with loved ones and others from anywhere around the world for free, providing the phone has an internet connection you can make and receive voice and video calls.
All WhatsApp messages and calls are safeguarded with end-to-end encryption. The only people that can see them are the sender and the recipient. Nobody else, including WhatsApp has access to read or listen to them.
Pros and Cons for using WhatsApp:
- If your devices that have WhatsApp installed are stolen, then your data is lost too.
- Deleted WhatsApp messages are permanently erased from your device.
- A great advantage to WhatsApp is that you don’t have to worry about surprise phone bills at the end of your trip if you’re using your phone abroad, WhatsApp is free therefore making calls and sending messages won’t mount up roaming charges (as long as you’re connected to WiFi or on a suitable phone plan with your provider and are covered within your data roaming allowance).
- You can create WhatsApp groups so you can send messages within a group of people which they can see and reply to. WhatsApp is a great way to stay in touch with a group of friends or family.
Best encryption for email:
Most of the larger companies such as Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Gmail and BT use SSL to encrypt your data as it is being transferred between yourself and them. This however does not mean that the data is stored encrypted which means if the server is compromised or an employee at that company decides to access your email, there is not a protection method to prevent your un-encrypted data being read.
ProtonMail (for sending encrypted emails)
When it comes to email security, ProtonMail offers peace of mind with end-to-end email encryption. Not even ProtonMail has the ability to decrypt your emails. You do not need to provide any personal information to set up your account. If you’d like to use ProtonMail the basic accounts are free and you can upgrade to a paid account if you wish.
ProtonMail can be used on any device without software install.
Best cloud based encryption:
Is iCloud encypted?
Currently iCloud backups are encrypted, however Apple holds the keys for the encryption. Law enforcement can ask Apple’s servers to provide data. For instance referring to the San Bernardino case, Apple provided FBI iCloud backups for the iPhone.
The issue with Apple holding your encryption key is that should Apple fall victim to a system hack, it could be possible for your data to be leaked and accessed by unauthorised persons. This is certainly something no iCloud users would ever want to happen!
Our photos and personal data are confidential information which each individual should have full control of.
With cyber attacks now marked as being one of the biggest threats of the online world, we’re all faced with uncertainty not knowing when any one of us will fall victim.
With this in mind it’s far better to use a service whereby you hold the encryption keys.
How to encrypt your data/files
A vital reason to encrypt your data is because if your device is lost or stolen someone can still gain access to your data by carrying out a password reset to over-ride the log on password.
If you use a PC then install BitLocker and if you use a Mac install FileVault. You can use these pieces of software to encrypt your hard drive and USB sticks.
How to encrypt a Mac
How to encrypt a Microsoft PC
Are iPhones encrypted?
Apple has built encryption into the hardware of its iPhones and iPads.
You can find out more if you click here to read Apple’s documents (and read page 10).
Are Android phones encrypted?
Google launched full-device encryption back in the days of Android Gingerbread. On some higher spec handsets running Lollipop and above the device is enabled out-of-the-box, however on some of the older or lower spec devices you have to activate encryption yourself.
So to summarise some Android phones are encrypted but if you’re not sure here’s how you can check:
Simply go into ‘Settings’ then select ‘Security’ and it will show an option to Encrypt Phone. It will say whether your phone is already encrypted, if it’s not you can click and follow the instructions to begin encrypting your Android phone.
Tresorit (for storing your files encrypted)
Whether you’re looking for a way of storing personal confidential data for yourself or for your business you should use Tresorit.
As ransomware attacks and data breaches continue to sabotage victims, now is a critical time to protect your files and have them safely secured. We must all ensure our data is safe from hackers.
With Tresorit nothing leaves your device without being encrypted. You can upload your documents to your unbreakable Tresor folders in the cloud.
Buy an encrypted USB stick
Each year millions of USB drives are lost or stolen and this figure continues to increase. Scarily, if you lose your non-encrypted device the data on it is in the hands of unwanted persons.
If you use USB sticks to store data or to transfer data between one device and another, you should definitely purchase an encrypted USB stick and use this instead of a standard non-encrypted USB stick.
The iStorage USB stick can only be unlocked through the in-built keypad. If the unlock PIN code is entered incorrectly 10 consecutive times the encryption key is deleted and all stored data is destroyed.
This will give you total peace of mind that if you misplace your stick or someone else gets access to it, your data is secure. It’s probably worth noting that you should have two encrypted sticks meaning that if you lose one you have another with a backup of the data on it.
Hopefully after reading this blog you’ve now gained a much clearer insight into encryption, apps and software which you can benefit from to keep your data and devices fully encrypted and super secure.