Cybersecurity and privacy are the defining tech issues of 2019. With ransomware, phishing, data leaks, and election interference dominating the news, online security is on all our radars.
Despite the online dangers, there is good news. These days, you don’t need expert knowledge to protect yourself against the most common cyber threats. Personal cybersecurity is a growth industry. That means there are accessible and affordable options available to us all.
The simplest way to secure your accounts and your privacy is with applications designed to protect you. Security apps keep you safe in all the dimensions of your online life. Read on for the best security apps to protect your communication, your files, your devices, and your browsing.
1. Encrypted Messaging App – Signal
Private messaging apps send your text and voice messages over a connection protected by end-to-end encryption. Encrypted messaging apps stop local authorities, government agencies, and hackers from spying on your private communication.
Signal is favored by the privacy conscious because it’s open source – which means the underlying code can be vetted and checked by anyone at anyone.
Signal supports group chats, video messaging, voice, and text. It is available on all mobile platforms. It uses secure, industry-standard encryption types and can even replace your regular sms and phone function.
2. VPN App – CyberGhost
A VPN (virtual private network) is an application that tunnels your traffic via an encrypted connection and through a private server. When this happens your traffic is unreadable to hackers, online trackers, and data collection agencies.
Secure traffic encryption means you can use public wi-fi networks – which are convenient but unsafe – without worrying about hacking and data leaks. A VPN also changes your IP address which makes it look like you’re in a different location.
Most people use a VPN for the latter function because when you change your IP address you can avoid censorship and streaming blocks. For example, you can use a VPN to access HBO Go, Netflix, and Hulu from anywhere in the world.
Any high quality VPN app is recommended, but CyberGhost VPN is a good choice if you want premium features bundled in native apps for Mac, Windows, and mobile devices. It offers the most important features in a VPN provider, including a large server network, high speeds, and strong encryption.
3. Password Manager App – LastPass
Most hacks and security flaws are caused by human error. One of the most common reasons for personal data loss and account breaches are weak passwords.
We all know that each one of our accounts should be protected by a complex and unique password. However, keeping track of tens or even hundreds of different passwords is tricky without a password manager.
A password manager is an application or a browser extension that generates and stores a strong password for each one of your accounts. When you need it, just click a button and the manager will enter the password for you. There are a few really good password manager options, but Lastpass is one of the most popular across all platforms. It conveniently syncs a separate application and browser extensions across all your devices. It offers a free and a premium version.
4. Antivirus App – F-Secure SAFE
A good antivirus app on all your devices is a no-brainer to avoid common malware that hides in apps, on websites, and in your downloads. Many of the leading antivirus apps are built around a particular operating system. For that reason, many are very effective just on Windows, or just on Android.
If you’re looking for an application that will keep all your devices protected with one subscription fee F-Secure SAFE ticks all the boxes.
5. Encryption App – Cryptomator
Extra encryption applications (client-side encryption tools) encrypt your files before you upload them to your favorite cloud storage, like Google Drive or Dropbox. Reputable cloud services do automatically encrypt your files while they are in storage and when they are in transit. However, no service is 100% secure and even major cloud services are vulnerable to leaks.
If you store sensitive information (such as financial or company data) or don’t like Google’s model (free services in exchange for advertising data) an additional encryption app is recommended.
Cryptomator is a free, open-source application that you can set to encrypt your files before they are uploaded and stored. It allows you to take back control of the privacy and security of your files.
If you want your communication, files and devices to be safe from cyber threats, apps are the best way. With smart and innovative security apps, you can be sure you’ve rallied up the best possible resources to protect yourself online.