5 free privacy tools you can use on any device

To be safe online, you must first protect your privacy. This may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.


Here are five free privacy tools you can use on any platform and sync across devices.


1. Brave

Brave browser logo on blurred orange background

If you want to stay safe online, it is imperative that you use a secure and private browser. Mainstream apps like Edge and Chrome just don’t live up to the standards. Brave is however.

Brave is an open-source Chromium-based browser and has a lot of built-in privacy features. First, it automatically blocks trackers, ads, and cross-site cookies used to monitor your online activity. Brave also blocks fingerprints, making it impossible for advertisers and data collectors to identify and track you.

In addition, Brave converts all connections to HTTPS. This is a secure protocol (more secure than HTTP) that uses strong encryption, making it more difficult for attackers to attack your device. The browser also automatically bypasses privacy-infringing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) or de-AMPs on each page.

Unlike some private software, Brave has no performance issues. In fact, it’s faster than the vast majority of browsers out there. And since it’s based on Chromium, it can easily integrate any extension available on the Chrome Web Store.

Also, it’s very easy to sync Brave across different devices. If you’re using the app on desktop, press the three small bars in the top right corner and select Synchronize from the drop down menu and scan the QR code with your smartphone.

Download: Brave for Windows | Mac | Android | iOS

2nd signal

Signal app logo on blurred blue background

You can’t expect to protect your privacy when using regular messaging apps as they collect an amazing amount of data. For example, Facebook Messenger collects information about your location, contacts, purchase history, device data, and more.

But you can preserve your privacy if you give up your favorite instant messenger for Signal, an open-source app developed by the nonprofit Signal Foundation. All communications made through this software are end-to-end encrypted using the powerful Signals protocol and user privacy is protected at all times.

Signal does not use any invasive scripts, trackers or anything like that. In fact, the app does not collect any data. It knows nothing about you; It only needs your phone number to work. In short, Signal is as secure and private as it gets.

Other than that, Signal works just like any other messaging app. You can use it to send texts and disappearing messages, call other people (you can make both video and audio calls), share pictures and videos, and so on.

To sync the mobile version of Signal with the desktop version, open the app on your smartphone and navigate to Signal settings > Connected devices. Then tap the plus sign or Link new deviceand scan the desktop QR code with your phone.

Download: Signal for Windows | Mac | Android | iOS

3. Wind Recorder

Windscribe logo on gray blurred background

No privacy model is complete without a good Virtual Private Network (VPN). But there are several problems with VPNs. First, there are so many providers out there that it is difficult to choose the right service. In addition, the best VPNs are paid, and the free ones are either not good enough or cannot be used on multiple devices.

Windscribe is probably the only VPN service that meets all the key security and privacy requirements while being free to use on multiple devices simultaneously (10GB of data per month if you verify your email, which is plenty).

Crucially, this VPN software has a fairly large network of servers in dozens of different countries and cities, uses military-grade AES-256 encryption, does not track or identify users in any significant way, has a port forwarding feature, and can block domains and IP addresses.

Windscribe’s clients are minimalistic and very intuitive, so even people who have never used a similar app should have no trouble getting used to it. All you have to do when you want to turn on the VPN is select a server location, press the “On” button, and that’s it.

Download: Windscribe for Windows | Mac | Android | iOS

4. Avira Password Manager

Avira Password Manager logo on blurred red background

If you use the same password everywhere, just one breach is enough to compromise all your accounts. At the same time, nobody should be expected to remember dozens of different passwords. This is where password managers come in.

A free password manager that you can use on any platform was developed by Avira, the German cybersecurity company known for its antivirus software. Avira’s password manager can be synchronized across devices, generates strong passwords itself and stores user data both locally and in the cloud.

Avira’s product comes with several powerful privacy enhancing features such as: B. Touch and Face ID, two-factor authentication and bank-grade encryption. It has pretty strict data policies, which means the company never sells your information to third parties. It should be noted that although there is also a paid version of the product, the free version has all the important functionalities anyway.

Avira Password Manager has dedicated apps for Android and iOS platforms. It doesn’t have a proper desktop client, but it does have extensions for every major browser. So if you download Brave as recommended, you can add Avira to the browser via the Chrome Web Store.

Download: Avira Password Manager for Android | iOS | chrome | Firefox | edge | Opera

5. ProtonMail

Protonmail logo on a blurred purple background

We are all under surveillance in one way or another, whether by Big Tech or the government. Some people don’t have a problem with this, but those who do know the importance of using a secure email provider instead of relying on Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and other similar services.

ProtonMail is one of the best secure email providers. With the free version you get an email address, 1 GB of storage space and can receive up to 150 messages per day. This should be more than enough for most people – if you actually get more than 150 emails a day, you should probably unsubscribe from some newsletters or tweak some app settings.

But what makes ProtonMail different from other email providers? All messages are end-to-end encrypted, the platform uses a Zero Trust security model, has two-factor authentication with hardware security keys, and has built-in PGP support. Also, ProtonMail is based in Switzerland, which has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world.

Most importantly, you can use ProtonMail on any device. There are apps for both major mobile platforms and a web client that you can access from any browser.

Download: ProtonMail for Android | iOS | network

Increase your privacy to stay safe

To implement an adequate online privacy strategy, you need to take a multidimensional approach; one that works across devices and platforms.

A secure browser and messaging app with the right password manager and encrypted email provider can serve as the foundation of this strategy. Add a good VPN to the mix and you become nearly impossible to track.

In the meantime, familiarize yourself with some common internet privacy myths and why they can be so detrimental to your overall security.

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