At Gravity Payments, our security team has worked hard to provide our team with seamless encryption and data security technology that we need to keep our clients’ data safe at every opportunity. However, most individuals don’t have a team of technology experts at their disposal, which is why we have developed some steps for encrypting and protecting your online activity.

Privacy isn’t about having nothing to hide, but being in control of what you choose to share, when you choose to share it, and the people you choose to share it with. By taking the following steps, you can take control of your own information and begin to protect your data and your online activity.

Enable Disk Encryption

  • Difficulty: 1/5
  • Effectiveness: 5/5

Have you ever lost or misplaced your laptop or phone and felt the anxiety that comes from thinking you’ve not only lost your expensive computer, but that someone could access your pictures, text messages, and even tax/health/personal documents stored on your phone or computer?

By encrypting your devices, you ensure that your data cannot be accessed by anyone but you, even if you lose your device. Encrypting your phone and computer is a simple process that can be kicked-off in less than five minutes. To setup encryption on Windows, enable BitLocker, and on macOS, enable FileVault.

If you are using an iPhone, your device is already encrypted by default so there are no extra steps to take. If you have an Android phone, you can follow this guide to enable encryption.

Secure Your Web Traffic

  • Difficulty: 2/5
  • Effectiveness: 4/5

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created two free security add-ons for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome that automatically encrypts your communication with most major websites and protect you from online tracking.

Really Secure Your Web Traffic with A Personal VPN

  • Difficulty: 5/5
  • Effectiveness: 5/5

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is one of the few solutions that can make your network traffic and the websites you visit invisible to your internet service provider (e.g. Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner, CenturyLink, Charter, Verizon, Cox, etc.)

While many companies online offer VPN services, I urge you to only use a VPN that you have setup yourself. Though this route might take more than five minutes, if you consider yourself to be pretty technically savvy, this is an excellent option for securing your web traffic.

Fortunately, the talented security team at Trail of Bits created the free personal VPN solution, Algo, and created a comprehensive guide for getting it quickly up and running. Read more about the Algo project, or go straight to the installation guide.

Browse the Web Privately with Tor

  • Difficulty: 2/5
  • Effectiveness: 5/5

Tor began as an anonymity project developed at the United States Naval Research Laboratory to protect US intelligence communications online. It has since been released freely to the world as a tool for enabling anonymous communication, including web browsing. Tor is often used by journalists to securely communicate with sources.

By using the Tor web browser, your internet service provider will be unable to know and track which websites you visit. One important drawback to using Tor is that your web browsing experience will be slower than normal.

Visit the Tor website and download the Tor Browser for Windows, Mac, Linux, or even your Android Phone.

Mick is the Senior Security Engineer at Gravity Payments. For more from Mick on ways to protect your business online, check out our Risky Business series.

Categories: Payments, Security