12 Apps to Protect Your Privacy OnlineUpdated: July 31, 2019
It's your duty to choose the best apps to protect your privacy online as most companies are fighting to gather and harvest your private data.
Almost all the websites you visit online, the apps you use, and the services you register to store at least some of your data and online activities.
Most of the information they gather is used for improving their services, but some companies sell the information they collect from users to third-parties. And not everyone has a good plan for your personal information. It can often get misused or, worst, it can fall in the hands of cybercriminals who will use this data for fraudulent activities and even for identity theft.
In a world where you can't completely trust companies to protect your information, the responsibility of protecting your privacy online falls in your hands.
We previously talked about what are the best tips to protect your privacy online.
In this post, we'll go over some of the best apps to protect your privacy online in your day to day online activities.
Installing antivirus software on smartphones and tablets is not, unfortunately, a common practice for most users. But you should be aware that antivirus software doesn't only strengthen your privacy security, but it also detects any malware or malicious files that could destroy your data or give criminals access to spy on your online activities.
The free Avast Mobile Security app provides a couple of useful features that will keep intruders out of your business. It runs in the background, always keeping an eye out for malicious apps and malware-infected links on the web. It can also block spam or unwanted calls. If your device gets stolen, the app can track it down and allows you to lock your device and erase any sensitive data remotely.
The premium subscription comes with even more features, but the free app will help you protect your privacy online to a greater extent.
Get the free Avast Mobile Security for Android.
An alternative to the Avast app is the Kaspersky Antivirus for Android. It's free to install and helps keep your devices and information private and secure from online threats.
It regularly checks for malware and automatically blocks any malicious app or link before it infects your device. You can also scan your device on-demand for spyware, viruses, ransomware, and Trojans. Similar to Avast, this app can locate your device if it gets stolen and you have the possibility of locking it and wipe up your personal information remotely.
The premium version provides more features such as adding a code to access your messages and files, keeping your financial data secure while shopping online, and filtering out dangerous links while browsing online.
Get the free Kaspersky Antivirus for Android.
There are high chances you use Google for your browsing sessions. And it is, indeed, a great and useful browser. But do you know how many things Google knows about you? Well, it knows close to everything - the pages you visited, the devices you used, your location, what you purchased online. Not so great for online privacy.
Fortunately, we have DuckDuckGo. It is a privacy-focused alternative to Google and it doesn't store any IP address, user data, browsing history, or any personal information. It's free and there are no advertisements.
Additionally, it forces sites to use encrypted connections when they are available to protect your data from prying eyes. And it also shows you how much a site can be trusted.
Get the DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser for Android or iOS.
One threat to your online privacy comes from the messages you exchange over the messaging apps. If the app you're using doesn't encrypt your communication, it means anyone that gets access to your device can read and see everything, including sensitive documents and photos.
Telegram is one of the most popular secure messaging apps with over 100 million users. It is especially appreciated for its sleek design and extra features such as audio memos, stickers, and basic photo and video editing.
The app provides strong end-to-end encryption to keep your conversations private and your messages safe from hacker attacks. It's free to use and free of ads, and also there's no limit on the size of your media and chats.
One thing to note though, the end-to-end encryption is not enabled by default. So make sure you first access the Secret mode before you start chatting.
Get the Telegram Private Messenger for Android or iOS.
Signal is one of the most secure messaging apps out there. It has all the features one may need such as text and voice messages, voice and video calls, chats, file and media sharing, and even disappearing messages.
The app is free to use and free of ads. All you need for registering is your phone number. It does a great job at protecting your privacy online as all the messages, calls, and exchanged files are end-to-end encrypted and can't be accessed by anyone.
Another advantage of the Signal Messaging app is that it is open source. This means anyone can check it for security flaws (even though, no flaw has been found to this day). Many leading figures in the cybersecurity field recommend this app, including the well-known whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Get the Signal Messaging app for Android or iOS.
Your phone number is one of the private information you want to protect online. And with so many services and companies requesting your phone number, keeping it private can be a challenge.
Luckily, there are apps designed to help keep your phone number private online. 2ndLine is one of these apps.
With 2ndLine, you get a second number available on Android. It uses your device's existing internet connection to allow you to make free calls and send texts in the US and Canada. You can also purchase long-distance credits to make calls to other countries.
Getting a second phone number is especially useful if you own a business and don't want to share your personal number, to avoid sales representatives flooding you with calls, or for instances when you must provide a phone number others can see (e.g. selling something on eBay).
Get 2ndLine for Android (available for the US and Canada only).
If you live outside the US or Canada, then the Hushed app is a great alternative for getting a second number.
With Hushed, you can get a local number from over 45 countries all over the world and use it as your personal phone number. It allows you to send and receive messages and calls using only your WiFi connection and your device. You don't need cellular service.
It is a paid app, but the prices are affordable and you can choose from more pricing plans depending on your needs. You can also give Hushed a try by registering for a free 3-day trial.
Get the Hushed app for Android or iOS.
Not only internet browsers, but email clients also have a habit of gathering private information about you.
ProtonMail is an email client designed to protect your personal information online and provide you with a secure service to exchange emails. When registering to their service, you're not required to provide any personal information and they don't keep logs of your IP addresses.
All the emails you're sending through this app are secured with end-to-end encryption. This means that even the company is not able to decrypt or read your emails and neither can third-parties. Moreover, the app is open source which means anyone can audit the code.
You can connect email accounts from other email providers and receive emails as usual.
Get the ProtonMail app for Android or iOS.
One crucial aspect of protecting your online privacy is using strong, hard to guess passwords everywhere. But when you have dozens of accounts for different platforms and services, how do you manage to keep track of all of them without going insane?
LastPass is here to help. It is a password manager app designed to make creating passwords and storing them a no-hassle task. With this app, you can generate strong passwords to improve your security, store and auto-fill passwords wherever you go online, store secure notes, and more.
All the data you input in this app is encrypted and decrypted at the device level meaning, not even the company can decrypt your data. You can also add extra security to your LastPass account with multifactor authentication.
Get the LastPass app for Android, iOS, or Windows.
It's common for the apps you install on your device to request permission to access lots of data on your device. And this can be threatening to your private information.
So you don't have to worry about apps invading your privacy, Bouncer gives you the ability to grant permissions temporarily. For example, if you want to tag your location on a Facebook post but you don't want Facebook to access your location whenever it wants, Bouncer will grant the permission to access your location only as a one-time thing. After you close Facebook, it won't be able to track your location anymore.
Get the Bouncer app for Android.
Anyone being able to access the apps and files on your device might also compromise your privacy.
Smart AppLock allows you to lock apps containing private content (photos, videos, messages), social networking apps (Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter), call logs, system settings, games - basically everything on your device. You can set up a PIN, passcode, or you can authenticate using your fingerprint.
Get Smart AppLock for Android.
One crucial aspect of protecting your privacy online is to make sure the networks you're connecting to are secured so no one can interfere and read your personal information.
Public WiFi networks are a disaster when it comes to privacy, and should never be used for logging into accounts, checking bank accounts, or making money transactions without using a VPN service.
Besides protecting your privacy online by hiding your real IP address and location, the VPN also encrypts all the data that's being transferred between your device and the internet. This means that even is someone manages to tamper with the network and get access to your data, they won't be able to read it because it is encrypted.
With the DrSoft VPN, you can choose to connect to thousands of servers located all around the world. And you can use the VPN service on up to 5 devices. Moreover, you get extra perks such as unblocking geo-restricted content and downloading torrents anonymously.
Get the DrSoft VPN software.