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Anonymity tools for people at risk

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Everybody can be at risk despite the level of risk. Thanks to technology anonymity tools have been developed to render protection by hiding IP addresses, not storing search histories

Lawyers, journalists, media workers, and other human rights defenders, including persons at risk like asylum seekers, refugees, victims of human trafficking, and everybody else should learn how to use anonymity tools because it is a protective measure from surveillance, hacking, online gender-based violence, phishing and a lot more.

How do anonymity tools work?

Anonymity tools hide the user’s identity by safeguarding encrypted communication, third-party reporting platforms, and strict confidentiality policies. When you look at an anonymity tool like the Tor browser, your search history is hidden.

Analysing the Tor browser

The tor browser has the provision for hiding the search history of the user. No tracks of your records are kept because you are protected; remember that no intruder is supposed to view what you have searched. Search engines usually have the habit of storing past histories. If you use the Chrome browser, you realize that whatever you searched for is stored especially when you are logged into the browser with your account. This is dangerous to the point that if the people doing the surveillance can come across your account, and manage to hack into it, they can discover your location and monitor your movements; a reason you hear stories about people being whisked away, writers have their devices snatched because what they have written is exposing what is not supposed to be exposed or opening the eyes of the people to take action. Lawyers get killed because their location is monitored.

I was to publish a story of a refugee one time but after discovering the kind of pursuit he was going through, I had to keep him anonymous because the entire government was searching for him. Organizations should learn to discover details about the people they are dealing with; as much as you are giving out humanitarian aid, you must protect and I do hope that you recommend the Tor browser to such victims. Workers in the organization should also learn to use this tool

Another feature of the Tor browser is the ability to prevent screen recorders from capturing what is being browsed. Hackers have the habit of installing screen recorders in the phones of the victim as a way of monitoring what they do. A husband may plant a screen recorded on your phone to be able to view what you do. Sometimes you may not discover that there is a screen recorder on your phone capturing your phone’s activity. What the Tor browser does is make your screen black whenever a screen recorder captures the information.

Let’s study Chrome in incognito mode

Many people do not know that Chrome allows you to turn into a mode that hides your search history but it does. The browser offers almost similar features like those of the Tor browser. One thing you should do is not to allow third-party apps like screen recorders to capture information because if you do, then even when you are put under surveillance, what you search for will be monitored

One of these days you should consider using Mozilla Firefox too because it is one of the safe browsers for you to carry out all forms of browsing.

Let’s talk about VPN

Everyone who has a phone knows VPN, especially with the rampant internet shutdowns in countries nowadays and the blockage of apps. A Virtual Private Network conceals your location. If you are in Nairobi and you don’t want anyone to know you are there, using a VPN is best for you. The app changes your IP address and enables you to even access sites that are blocked in countries. For example, if Facebook is blocked in Uganda, users can access the site using a VPN because the app can hide their location; some of the VPNs used are

  • Psiphon Pro; available for both desktop and mobile
  • Nord VPN
  • Kaspersky

By the way, you can manufacture your own VPN too

To accompany the use of anonymity tools, you must take precautions as you go about working online; avoid saving your passwords on Google because the moment your account is hacked, and there is an account that you left open in your search history, google suggests the password for logging in

Try as much as possible not to share your location on Google. Some hackers will know that it is you if you expose your location on Google.

Keep your portable devices safe. Remember that a phone without a strong password can easily be monitored even in incognito mode. How? Incognito mode has a provision for allowing third-party apps to capture information. If that feature is enabled on your phone, then even if you turn your Chrome browser into incognito mode, the screen recorder will be able to capture your information

Overcoming viruses

Before an anti-virus is made, there has to be a virus in place. What happens is that the virus is manufactured and tested with the anti-virus that can destroy it. One of the ways catastrophes are done to individuals and organizations is by planting viruses on their documents and email accounts to destroy them. Viruses destroy companies, one virus can destroy a system especially if it is a virus that has just been manufactured and has no anti-virus solutions to erase it.

How are viruses spread?

  1. Through files sent on emails

You realize that email accounts nowadays have malware detection installed to discover incoming files. Furthermore, they have spam filters that send suspicious files to the spam folder so that at least you are tempted to be cautious while opening those files. Gmail always alerts you if a file has not been scanned because some files sent typically have viruses and the moment you download them to your computer, the virus affects your computer too

2. Another way we receive viruses is through phishing links; it doesn’t matter where you get the phishing link from because the moment you click on the link, it has the potential to infect your device. I once accessed a link that infected my Chrome browser with a virus almost rendering it useless, it broke links in the browser. Phishing links can also be sent through emails

Apps from unknown sources. Some apps appear to be apps but they are viruses. The moment you stall in your computer, everything else gets infected;

How do you detect an app which is a virus?

  • It slows down the device. If you have a computer you find that the computer is freezing
  • It lacks some features. You find features that should make the app operate are missing
  • The app has adverts that are phishing links

3. Portable devices. History knows it that portable devices transmit viruses to other devices. If a flash disk acquires a shortcut virus, it spreads it to other computers it’s plugged in

How do you avoid and overcome a virus?

  • Scan your device using strong anti-virus software like Kaspersky for example. Anti-viruses can detect viruses
  • Take preventive measures. Avoid installing apps from unknown places. Get apps from legit sources like Play Store, Apple Store, Microsoft Store, or from the source website of the app. Check out this page which has secure links to digital security app installation
  • Avoid plugging in infected devices to your computer because they spread viruses. It is better to have an anti-virus installed in your device so that you scan before proceeding to use
  • Stop clicking on links anyhow otherwise you will get the virus. It is advisable to always hover over the link to find out the exact location it is leading you to.
  • Use spam filters for they filter suspicious emails

Some examples of anti-virus software you can use

  • Kaspersky
  • Bitdefender
  • Microsoft defender
  • Norton
  • McAfee
  • Malwarebytes
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