Internet helps us live our lives better, but it's not a safe place to hang out. There are hackers, spammers, and phishers trying to steal our personal data, and we're exposed to dangers every day. There are, however, websites and browser extensions that we can utilize to protect our privacy. We've found 5 websites and 3 browser extensions that will use to protect yourself in some ways.
1. Virus Total
Have you received a file from unknown sources either through an email or downloaded from the Internet, and deciding whether it is safe to run it on your machine? Virus Total can help you scan the file and let you know if it's virus and malware-free, and safe to run on your machine. You may also scan a website to see if there is any malware installed on the site by using Virus Total. Virus Total is built by a Spanish company, Hispasec Sistemas which is acquired by Google in 2012.
2. Down for Everyone or Just Me
There are times when you visit a website, and the site is down. It's either the target website is down, or your Internet connection is bad. The Down for Everyone of Just Me lets you know whether the site is down for everyone, or it's just you. This is a good tool for individuals and a web developer for troubleshooting a site.
We've had some strange experience recently with one of the sites we develop. The site works perfectly for some people and throws 524 HTTP Error (Timeout on Cloudflare) for some other people. The DNS was working perfectly, the server has nearly zero loads, but half of the people visiting the site experiences 524. We've tested with "Down for Everyone or Just Me", which tells us the site is up. It turned out it was some strange NginX configuration error, and the webserver was taking more than 100 seconds to return the response for some requests, and the client (CloudFlare) terminated the session. Regardless, the site helped us diagnose the problem by letting us know the server was up.
3. Have I been Pwned?
There are hackers all over the world trying to break into the largest websites and breach your data. There have been several instances of largest websites becoming a victim of a data breach, and there is no assurance of your personal information is safe on the Internet. The Have I been Pwned is the site that searches breached database and let you know if your email address has been breached. Check your email, and change your password immediately if you learned that it may have been breached.
4. Unshorten It
Have you received a link from an unknown source, and don't know whether you should click on it or not? Many scammers are sending you a shortened URL to trick you into clicking it, and it's very frustrating to decide whether you should click on it. The Unshorten It is the site you can use to "paste" the shortened URL, and it'll give you the true URL of the page so that you can decide whether it's a scam or not.
5. How secure is my password?
We often use munged passwords swapping the letter l with number 1 or symbol !, replacing letter a with a symbol @, and other similar replacement of like-looking letters to symbols. Although this type of munged passwords look strong to humans, in reality, they are very weak passwords as computers can easily use brute force attacks with dictionary words to break those passwords easily. How secure is my password? is the site you can use to test some of the passwords you're using is actually weak passwords.
There are several Chrome extensions that you can install to protect your privacy, and here are a few that are helpful.
1. DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials
DuckDuckGo is a browser known to protect your privacy and does not store your private data anywhere. You may install Chrome extension, DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials to block hidden trackers and use private browser features. By using this extension, you may be blocking lots of unnecessary trackers that are placed on your cookies and history.
2. HTTPS Everywhere
We all know using HTTPS is secure, and the protocol encrypts data between you and the server. However, not every server is using HTTPS and there is a possiblity that your data can be seen by intermediate nodes. HTTP Everywhere is a browser extension that will encrypt your data partway to the "HTTPS Everywhere", acting as a proxy to protect your data.
3. Click & Clean
Click & Clean is a Chrome browser extension that will help you clean your private browsing data with a click of a button. It makes it easier for users to clear their browser cache, cookies, history, and URLs with a button located on your browser. This is much easier than going through the Chrome -> Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Clear Browsing Data -> Clear Data path. It even scans your computer for malware and removes temporary files.
We use the Internet to send emails, exchange messages, and visit websites to obtain the information we're looking for. We are gathering information from unknown sources on the Internet, and we have to use our discretion to use the data safely. However, there are hackers and scammers trying to steal our personal data on a daily basis. We can use some of the useful websites and browser extensions are shown above to help us filter out bad data from good, and protect our privacy.
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