Three ways to improve your HTTPS security – and one popular solution that won’t help
When it comes to security and privacy, you’ve got a HTTPS situation to deal with. While most – but not all – of your activity is encrypted, you are still leaking details all over the internet about your search activities, device details, and location. This means that the trackers and data brokers are still able to compile detailed lists about you and your interests – and your access to content and online features may be significantly cut.
This trail of trackers takes place over the entire online interaction, with sites logging who is visiting, ISPs tracking the activities of their users, and is assisted by Google and Facebook with their unique id numbers and army of own and third-party trackers. But there is hope and potential for you to transform the situation.
4 easy tips to improve your HTTPS security
Unlike Princess Leia Skywalker, you do not have only one hope – there are four of them. But one is just not going to work – at least when it comes to HTTPS security:
1. Ad blocker
An Ad blocker does just that – blocks ads. This is a security and privacy issue as the ad business is famously insecure. Publications and websites hate ad blockers for that very reason as they need the revenue from advertisements.
There are some changes taking place in the industry as Google works to circumvent blockers, lobbying efforts on all sides over what constitutes an acceptable advertisement, and publishers’ dire need for ad revenue. Some ad blocker give you the ability to pick the types of acceptable ads – and some websites will also hound visitors incessantly to whitelist them at the adblocker level or they will limit access to content.
2. Tracker blocking
Trackers keep records on your online activities and are present in search engines, your browser, and the sites you visit. While ostensibly “anonymized” of personal details, the ability of data brokers to exchange and build customized profiles makes this a questionable point.
The questions you should ask yourself is why – and why not: Why should I let anyone know so much about me, collect all this data about me, and resell it however they want. Why not use a blocker that lets me know about this tracking activity and which enables me to stop it.
3. Proxy VPN
A proxy VPN can enable a person to slide by some geo-IP content restrictions. They basically work like a forwarding notice from the post office, giving the data packets a different address to be routed through.
Proxy VPNs are particularly problematic as they are not secure or private by definition and they are often confused with a full VPN by consumers. They also are popular on smart phones – and this is a device where people give up a lot of their activity and location data.
A VPN builds a secure, encrypted tunnel that shuts out prying eyes and trackers all along the transmission channel. Like a registered letter, only the sender, the recipient, and the post office know about the conversation.
An effective VPN and its remote servers can encrypt traffic within a local network — making them the essential app for conferences, hotels, and other untrusted networks. They also provide the user with their choice of geo-location – enabling access to more streaming content.
You don’t need much to be more secure
An optimal combination is to have an ad blocker, an anti-tracking helper and a VPN on your side. A VPN keeps the pathway clear, making the communication between you and whomever you are communicating with secure and encrypted. The tracker-blocker helps shut down the invasive trackers present within the web sites you visit, the social media widgets, and the cookies they would like to place on your browser. Finally, the ad blocker cuts the risk from malvertising hitting your device.
But really, only two additions to your device are needed – a VPN such as the Avira Phantom and the Avira Browser Security (ABS). Not only does ABS block both advertisements and trackers, it also filters out phishing sites and pua downloads. And that VPN proxy — don’t even think about it.