Privacy and security on the internet: essential tools

Privacy and security on the internet: essential tools

Do you want to maintain your security and privacy on the internet? Do you want to avoid being spied on by your government, ISP, neighbors, websites and online services? I have selected the best tools to protect your online identity, to maintain your privacy online, to stay online possession of your personal data and important documents. You are going to encrypt your digital life.

It doesn’t mean you have to use all these tools… No, it depends a little on your profile and the security and privacy you are willing to lose. Not everyone has the same needs.

But surely you all want to see fewer ads when visiting web pages and you don’t want your personal data to be everywhere: internet, social networks, online services…

And you also don’t want a virus or Malware to install on your computer or for someone to control your smartphone or tablet. Surely not.

  • Watch out! In Privacy and online security, I have included a good compilation of the most interesting blog articles related to privacy and security on the internet.
  • In Privacy on social networks: tips and tricks I tell you about the problems inherent to social networks and how to solve them.

How to improve your privacy and security on the internet: the essential tools you should use

brave browser

The door to the internet that we all use on our computers. It is really important to use a trusted browser that respects our privacy. We directly discard Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

Browsers save our web history, they have our IP address, passwords, physical address… we must be very careful with Fingerprinting or with WebRTC filtering.

  • Firefox: the best option to improve your online privacy. A browser that has been with us for quite some time. If you combine it with a good ad blocker and a VPN, you’re all set.
  • Tor Browserthe option for the most paranoid. The browser used with the Tor network of servers to browse the Depp Web can also be used as a truly secure option with your traffic encrypted.
  • Bravea Chromium-based browser focused on privacy by default. You don’t have to configure practically anything to be protected.
  • Iridium Browser: based on Chromium. Really similar to Chrome but improving your privacy and security. It takes a while to update the version, but it’s worth it.
  • Safariokay, it’s from Apple, but it’s not one of the worst options in terms of privacy, really. If you are in the Apple ecosystem you can use it with more security and privacy than Chrome.

What extensions can you install in your browser? Well, these are some of the ones you should install:

  • uBlock Origin: to avoid online tracking and ads
  • HTTPS Everywhere to prevent websites from being served over HTTP and not HTTPS
  • NoScript to avoid all scripts. Until you customize it, it’s hell to navigate online, but then everything gets better.
  • Some password manager.
  • good VPN.

2. Search engines that respect your privacy on the internet

Alternatives to Google Search, the most popular online search engine

What is the next thing we do after opening our browser app? We go directly to an online search engine such as Google… Badly done! You don’t have to use Google… Privacy hole and universal data collector… There are better options such as the following:

  • DuckDuckGo: A search engine based in the United States that completely respects our privacy and allows great customization of the appearance. It is the most famous alternative to Google Search.
  • Mojeek: The only true search engine with its own web crawler and index.
  • Ecosia: from Germany comes Ecosia, a search engine that plants trees with part of its profits. Your searches for a good cause.
  • Searx: An open source metasearch engine, which protects your privacy. Add information from other search engines without storing your data.
  • Qwant: Another very interesting option that comes from France. It is the search engine included in the Iridium browser.

3. VPN (Virtual Private Network): communications encryption and hidden IP

What is a VPN? What is a VPN for?

If you are looking for privacy and security when you browse the Internet, then what you need is to sign up for a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. Much better than using proxies in every program that connects to the internet.

VPNs hide your IP and encrypt your communication when browsing the internet. They allow you to bypass geographic restrictions (you can watch YouTube videos in any country or bypass the firewall in countries like China). These are a few options that may interest you.

Best Paid VPN VPN stands out for
NordVPN The best VPN for quality and price. Base in Panama. They respect your privacy.
Windscribe Paid and free version. The best free VPN. Very stable and good speed. Base in Canada. They respect your privacy.
Mullvad The best VPN for privacy. Perfect VPN to maintain your anonymity. Good server speed.
IVPN Great privacy and server speed. Good option along with Mullvad.
AirVPN Excellent option for advanced users. Top security and privacy with many configuration options.
ProtonVPN VPN with a great free option. The payment plan is expensive. Good server speed and good free plan. Base in Malaysia. Good obfuscation options for China and Multihop. The apps can improve.
VyprVPN No logs and good server speed.
surfshark Cheap, fast and with good programs for Windows
PIA Good option for the whole trip with good privacy, although with some possible but… They respect your privacy. Base in USA.
ExpressVPN Excellent server speed although somewhat expensive. Base on Virgin Islands.
CyberGhost Good service but with some buts in the privacy policy… Base in Romania.

4. Email providers: anonymous and secure

Tutanota: secure and private email provider

Please stop using Gmail or Yahoo… It is another way that Google or Yahoo uses to obtain information about you. They collect information from you and then send you nice ads.

  • Tutanota: I am paying for your annual plan. They are located in Germany, a country with a good privacy policy. They are very secure and everything is encrypted. They offer free accounts of up to 1 GB, but the price of their annual Premium plan is only 12 euros. Very cheap. My main substitute for Gmail. Offers 2FA. You have apps for the main operating systems.
  • ProtonMailAnother great option located in Switzerland. They offer free accounts with up to 500MB. Also secure and encrypted. Their pricing plans are more expensive and they have capital from the United States… something that is not very cool.
  • PostAlso in Germany. It costs 1 euro per month, so its annual price is ridiculous too. Offers 2FA and encryption.
  • Mailfence: Another interesting option with 500 MB free. Then it has plans from 2.50 euros per month. It has POP, IMAP, SMTP, apps for iOS, Android and Exchange ActiveSync.

5. Ad blockers, trackers and malware for your internet communications

Tired of all the ads you see on websites and online newspapers? Do you want to improve your internet security by blocking them? They can be a risk to your security, since they often have malicious code embedded (on pages of dubious reputation)… I recommend that you use the following blockers to avoid them:

  • If you have signed up for a VPN, it probably has the option to block ads, Malware and also automatically.
  • You can install apps like Adguard to avoid ads on your entire computer, not just the browser. Works on Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android.
  • You can install an extension on your browser to block ads: uBlock Origin is usually the best option.
  • On your local network you can install Pi-hole to avoid all ads on all your devices connected by WIFI to your network. Installing Pi-Hole is very simple on a Raspberry Pi.

6. Password Managers

1password - password manager

Another very important thing. Do not always use the same passwords, nor save them in your browser. Better to use a password manager that generates secure passwords and keeps them safe. I recommend a few:

Password manager Stands out for
1Password The best option for iOS and MacOS
Dashlane The best option for a Windows PC
Keepass The best option for Linux
Keeper The best option for Android
LastPass Completely online service
Bitwarden Free and paid version. The best option for quality price.
NordPass With free version for 1 device. Good annual price.

7. Secure and private online storage

Alternative to Google Drive: NextCloud

Don’t store your most sensitive data anywhere either. No more using Google Drive or the Microsoft or iCloud options. Better try the following and encrypt all the data you upload online:

  • NextCloudis a really interesting open source proposal that offers us a large number of options. You are the sole owner of your data. Security and privacy are assured. You can sign up for a provider that uses this system or create your own cloud storage.
  • Dropbox: the option you are surely using. It is not that it is the best option considering your privacy, but it is very comfortable. How do I overcome privacy issues? I encrypt important files before uploading to the cloud with Cryptomator (free). My files synced and encrypted in the cloud.
  • BackBlaze: it is the online storage service that I am currently using after studying all the options a lot. It is a perfect service for have a cloud backup of your computer. It’s really easy to use and has an unbeatable price if you use their annual plans.
  • Syncthing: an Open Source option that allows you to use cloud storage in a decentralized way. You only share it between your devices. It can be downloaded on GitHub.

8. Encrypt data and documents locally and online


Another important part of your online life would be to try to encrypt your data and documents, especially those that you are going to upload to the network. You can use Dropbox, but encrypt everything you upload to this online storage service.

  • Cryptomator: it is a simple tool that allows you to protect the data you upload to the cloud. Encrypts both files and file names with AES and a key length of 256 bits. It’s free on MacOS, Linux and Windows, but costs money on Android and iOS. It is very simple to use.
  • Veracrypt: is a free open source software for disk encryption on Windows, MacOS and Linux. It is capable of creating an encrypted virtual disk, encrypting an entire partition or storage device, or even encrypting a partition or drive where Windows is installed.

9. Office and office documents that do not share your data

Don’t use services like Google Docs or Microsoft Office either… Nightmare for privacy. Edit your documents online in one of the services I mention below.

  • LibreOffice: the offline option that may interest you the most. Open Source. There is nothing more to say. Perfect for working on your computer.
  • CryptPad: A really interesting online option that I’m trying at the moment. All encrypted. It looks very good, has a free plan and pretty good pricing options (from €5/month). You can only store up to 50 MB in its free version. It’s the only downside. It offers spreadsheets, notes, documents, presentations, to-do lists and much more. Very complete.
  • cryptee: an option with an impressive and perfect interface to create documents, notes and also to replace Google Photos. All encrypted. Open Source. They are found in Estonia.

10. Secure and private messaging apps


Please don’t use WhatsApp… There are other options that improve your security and privacy by 100%. You have to use those that have secure and encrypted communication and do not collect your data. I recommend two options:

  • Signal: it’s free, works on Android, iOS, Windows, Linux and Mac OS and is Open Source, so everyone can check your code for vulnerabilities and rear doors.
  • Wire: Also free, works on Android, iOS, Windows, Linux and Mac OS and is Open Source

11. Routers that can use a VPN

ASUS RT-AX88U - AX6000 Dual Band Gigabit Gaming Router with WIFI 6

I have already commented on it on other occasions. You need a router on which you can install a VPN profile and encrypt your entire local network. Asus has very good options and their ASUSWRT operating system works really well and can be configured in many ways.

You are going to need a powerful router, so in this section you are going to have to spend a few euros if you want to improve your security.

12. Open Source Antivirus

clamav antivirus

It is well known that you must have an antivirus installed in Windows. It is the software that will prevent unwanted programs from being installed on your computer.

And you have to avoid using a free antivirus… Where do they get the money to operate? Are you the product?

  • Clam AV: An Open Source antivirus. I can’t recommend another. Detects Trojans, viruses, malware and other malicious threats.

Eye! Many VPNs currently offer functions similar to antiviruses, being able to block malware, malicious websites and ads.

13.-Firewall to control your communications with the internet

Little Snitch 4, the program that every Mac should have

Since you were given your first computer, a friend who knew about the subject already told you that you need a good firewall installed on it… And in the times we are in, we not only need them to prevent someone from entering our computer, but also to prevent our apps and programs from sending our information to the Internet.

  • Little Snitch: the Firewall you should use on Mac. The best. You control the entire community on your Mac, and you can manage which apps have permission to do certain things. It is a paid app.
  • GlassWire: For your PC. Detects spyware, malware, misbehaving apps, and bandwidth-intensive apps, and can block their connections. It is paid.
  • Shorewall: The firewall that many people use on Linux. It is Open Source. Supports VPN, you can control all connections.

14. Operating system for your private and secure computer

Qubes OS
How Qubes works

At this point I’m going to tell you that it’s going to hurt a lot. Don’t use Microsoft Windows. And as a lesser evil, use macOS, although it is not ideal either. It doesn’t collect as much data as Windows, but it still does (location services, web history…)

We are going to have to go to a Linux system. There are many distributions that are really safe (I don’t recommend Ubuntu because it offers Amazon ads). Qubes and Tail are focused on your security and privacy:

  • Debian: one of the distributions with the best reputation. All Open Source.
  • Fedora: another great option. Safe and well maintained.
  • Qubes: The OS recommended by Edward Snowden. Completely focused on privacy and security on the internet. The Qubes operating system leverages XEN-based virtualization to enable the creation and management of isolated virtual machines called qubes.
  • Tails: it is an operating system that protects your privacy and avoids censorship. Shut down your computer and boot to your USB stick with Tails instead of booting into Windows, macOS, or Linux. Tails does not leave traces on the computer when you turn it off.

It is important to know what we are facing… and many times we have it in front of us and we do not realize it. Do you know that all websites and social networks do not indicate in their privacy policy what data of ours they are collecting and what we are giving them access to? Do you know that there are countries that defend our privacy better than others?


Protecting your security and privacy on the Internet would not be easy and there is no single method to achieve it.

In this post I give you a few tips and recommend a multitude of tools that you can install on your computer, smartphone, tablet or router to improve your online life, to improve security when you travel online, to “somewhat” protect your privacy. on social networks.

  • If you want to delve deeper into the topic, I recommend that you visit:
  • Privacy on social networks? Don’t miss the following article: Privacy on social networks: tips and tricks