Thanks to Edward Snowden’s disclosures, NSA’s snooping programs targeted at the Americans and indeed the global community were brought to public awareness. Disturbingly, reforms on such intelligence-surveillance programs have been slow in coming despite several calls. According to reports, the NSA has been spying on emails, searches, skype calls and similar electronic communications for the last six years, in a program known as PRISM.
Google, Facebook, Skype, Yahoo, YouTube, Microsoft, AOL, and Apple databases have been tapped; NSA now has direct access to their servers. Further reports from Washington Post reveal that video chats, photos, file transfers and social networking traffics are also under NSA surveillance. So the government is apparently eavesdropping on your electronic communications.
The Prism is supposedly aimed at picking up security threats, to strengthen national security. Now, as good as that may sound, such programs intrude on your privacy, and create vulnerabilities in your computer for exploit. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself from the NSA Prism:
Encrypt your data
If you are looking for the most potent tool to avoid NSA prism, encrypting your data is probably your best bet. NSA’s Prism can’t do much with encrypted information, but you have to keep the encryption keys secure. A good place to start is encrypting your hard drive and existing files.
You should also encrypt your email messages or acquire the services of companies that provide dedicated connections for secure email and voice communications between subscribed devices. An example of such companies is Silent Circle.
When surfing the web, use the secure https:// protocol. The secure protocol encrypts communication between your web browser and the website. Do not give out sensitive information on websites that do not use the secure protocol. You may also reconsider your stance on storing sensitive information on clouds such as Dropbox, oneDrive and GoogleDrive. There is no guarantee your data will be encrypted before they are stored.
Be wary of popular web services
Naturally, popular web services are vulnerable targets of NAS’s spying. They include email services like Gmail and Hotmail, search engines like Google and Bing, and social networks. So it’s probably time to go underground. Also, browsers such as Firefox and Opera offer better security than some of the more popular ones such as Chrome and Internet Explorer.
Subscribe to a VPN Service
Another effective way to protect yourself from the NSA Prism is to use a VPN. A VPN provider allows you access to the internet via its servers, without revealing your IP address. So it is apparently impossible to trace internet traffic down to your device, since your identity on the web will be hidden. Then again, you can also mask your IP address using browser extensions like Hola or Zenmate.
Browse with TOR
TOR allows you to browse the net as an anonymous user. TOR is an abbreviation for The Onion Router. It encrypts its traffic and makes it impossible to track any internet activity to your device. TOR is free and you can start enjoying it by simply downloading the Tor Browser Bundle.
Disable Web tracking
As you surf the web, you may unwittingly leave trails that may be easily picked up by advertising networks and, maybe also, NAS. One way of avoiding this is to browse the net using the private browsing option on your browser.
Use an antimalware
Maybe this is the first protection you should give to your device against data interception and snooping. An antimalware will not only shield your PC from spying, but also prevent any attack on your device performance. If your antimalware is not updated, you are still at risk of being infected. Get the best antimalware for your computer.
Safeguard your phone communications
Did you know that NSA also has access to details of phone calls made to locations outside the US? In fact, Vodafone, Microsoft and Facebook, which are all members of the GSM Association, have all been bugged. So how do you protect yourself from NSA Prism? KoolSpan helps you secure your phone calls.
It uses the TrustChip technology to encrypt mobile communication for its subscribed devices, so NSA doesn’t have to listen to your every conversation. Also, using a Smartphone may not be a smart way to stay secured. These devices give away your location. Records show that blackberry phones cannot be trusted either.
Encrypt your Instant Messages
Your instant messages on Yahoo, Google chat and so on, are also not hidden from NSA. To encrypt your end-to-end instant messages, use an OTR (Off the Record) chat extension. OTR works on IM software with OTR compatibility, like Pidgin for Windows and Linux.
In conclusion, these tips are only intended to protect yourself against NSA Prism; they are not meant to guarantee absolute protection. However, the more information you have at your disposal, the greater your poise to ward off any spy program targeted at your device and sensitive information.