Privacy-Focused Tools While Working from Home

Privacy-Focused Tools While Working from Home
These are some useful privacy-respecting tools and important settings that you can confidently utilize while working remotely.

Video Conferencing:

Free : FaceTime , Jami

Opensource : Jitsi

Many people around the world have been using Zoom, and this recent surge in new users has brought a lot of warranted privacy scrutiny, which has prompted Zoom to deepen its commitment to privacy and transparency. While this commitment has the company dedicating its engineering staff over the next 90 days to identifying and addressing privacy and security issues, we believe there are some alternative video conferencing products to consider that are more private by design.

Unlike Zoom, Apple’s FaceTime video conference service is truly end-to-end encrypted. Group FaceTime calls offer a privacy-conscious alternative for up to 32 participants. The main caveat is that this option only works if everyone on the call has an Apple device that currently supports this feature.

Jami is another end-to-end encrypted alternative that works across multiple operating systems. Their privacy policy is short and straightforward, stating simply that they only collect "anonymous and aggregated data for the analysis of Jami website visits statistics." Jami self-reflexively admits to its own quirky features, and while these may take a bit to get used to, the more private nature of its platform makes it well worth checking out.

Jitsi is opensource, you can host on your own server all the data and call will be served from your own premises.

If you're truly in need of enterprise support and features comparable to Zoom, then Microsoft Teams is an alternative that also offers encryption along with a host of other enterprise security and privacy features. Note that Jami and Microsoft Teams may not be as accessible for disabled users as Zoom.

And while we’re on the topic of video conferencing, remember to mute any smart home speakers during your work day. The last thing you want is for your speaker to begin accidentally recording while you’re on a sensitive company call, or any call for that matter. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has even more tips for protecting privacy while on video calls.

Webcam Cover:

Free : Sticker or any sort of cover

Unfortunately, many hackers are exploiting COVID-19 fears to deploy phishing attempts to install malware on people’s computers via email. This malicious software can make your webcam vulnerable to control by others. That’s why a simple webcam cover is critical. A sticker, post-it note, or piece of dark tape works well to keep your webcam covered any time it’s not in use.

Search Engine:

Free : Searx , DuckDuckGo, Mojeek, Qwant

Searx is an open-source, self-hostable, metasearch engine, aggregating the results of other search engines while not storing information about its users. There is a list of public instances.

Duckduckgo gives you truly private search results without  trade-offs in result quality. They have everything you’ve come to expect in your online search experience, and a few bonus features like bangs, which make searching the Internet not only private, but also faster and a bit more fun.

Mojeek is new to the bunch of search engine but have some promising feature as they states "Mojeek, the alternative search engine that puts the people who use it first." It is office is located at United Kingdom it uses web crawler technology with no tracking and just product search.

Qwant is a French web searchengine and operated from Paris. It have own indexing engine and is one of the few EU-based searchengines. It claims that it doesn't tracking or personalize user search results to avoid trapping users in a filter bubble.

Browser:

Free : Safari, Firefox, Brave, DuckDuckGo

Now is as good a time as any to ditch Google Chrome and opt for a more privacy-focused browser such as Safari, Firefox, Brave. Whichever desktop browser you choose, we recommend accompanying it with desktop browser extension, DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials.

While these browsers work hard to protect your privacy, duckduckgo desktop browser extension takes additional steps to keep your data safe, with seamless best-in-class tracker protection, private search, and ensuring that you visit encrypted versions of sites when possible. For mobile, DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser is available for iOS and Android, and includes the same privacy-protection technology as our desktop extension, in addition to a data-clearing "fire" button.

Virtual Private Network (VPN):

Freemium : ProtonVpn

Paid : TorGuard

There are lots of free VPN available but as we should know that "If you're not paying for the product, you are the product" so you will be hiding data from some people and giving data to some other at last no privacy is achieved. So we have found out some services which doesn't log data or use it for advertisment. Don’t let the name intimidate you – VPNs are very simple to install and use, but are effective in blocking your home’s ISP from seeing your browsing activity or IP address.

ProtonVPN is the same company behind ProtonMail. ProtonVPN is a security focused FREE VPN service, developed by CERN and MIT scientists. Use the web anonymously, unblock websites & encrypt your data.

TorGuard is a strong option and VPN of choice.

Email:

Freemium : ProtonMail, Tutanota, Ctemplar

Paid: Fastmail

We recognize that this may be a tough one to shift if your company is already utilizing an email provider but there’s no harm in knowing about some privacy-protecting email providers.

Fastmail also includes calendar and contacts support across all devices, and supports several ways to get encrypted email between trusted parties by integrating PGP encryption tools. ProtonMail and Tutanota offer even more privacy protections, including, end-to-end encryption by default.

CTemplar uses proven OpenPGPjs encryption algorithms to add 4096-bit RSA encryption to your email and contacts. Both data is encrypted in transit and in rest. The only location where the data is decrypted is in your browser or email application.

Chat:

Free : Signal

Paid : Mattermost

There are several services offering private messaging, but at the enterprise level Mattermost gets our recommendation. It’s a secure alternative to Slack, offering multiple messaging workspaces, usage of emojis and GIFs, and layered security options. For 1-to-1 messaging, we recommend Signal. It offers free, end-to-end encryption for both messages and private calls.

File Storage & Backup:

Free : Sync

Paid : Resilio Sync, Tresorit

Transferring files is critical to remote work, but since your files contain your company’s sensitive software and data, it’s important to put them in safe hands. Resilio Sync offers highly private peer-to-peer file synchronization which can be used for file storage, backup, and file sharing. This also means your files are never stored on a single server in the cloud! The software is available for a wide variety of platforms and devices, including servers.

Another option is Sync , it protects your privacy with end-to-end encryption ensuring that your data in the cloud is safe, secure and 100% private. An alternative cloud storage and backup service with end-to-end encryption and cross-device compatibility is Tresorit.


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