Let’s talk the way you interact with the web. More apps run in a browser than ever before and more privacy concerns to go along with it. Here is my browser and add-ons recommendations.
Mozilla Firefox This browser is provided from a foundation that is seeking to promote privacy throughout the web. Their innovation and speed is unmatched these days.
- uBlock – The premiere ad-blocker.
- Privacy Badger – Some say its redundant with uBlock but it still catches a few elements and it’s an EFF offering.
- Cookie AutoDelete – If you are new to clearing cookies this will take some time to adjust but its critical. When you leave a webpage it will clear the cookie in 15 seconds. For sites you want to stay logged into add them to the whitelist. Turn off the annoying little pop-up notification in settings. Also if you are using containers make sure to enable container support.
- Containers/Facebook Container – Containers allow you to seperate your work life from personal, and social for news. Again this will take some time to get used to. Use the Facebook Container regardless to tame the beast that is FB tracking on the web. You can set certain sites to always open in a container. I have NYT always load in News and gMail always load in Google.
- DecentralEyes – Loads some files locally instead of having to call them from a CDN.
Antivirus / Endpoint Security
If you are running Windows 10 or 11 the built-in security solution known as Windows Defender is quite good. It is likely all you need and you don’t need to go out and buy anything.
However, If you are looking for more features like advanced ransomware protection, web filtering, and more I recommend Sophos Home ($69 a year). You can protect up to 5 computers and that includes Windows, Mac, and Linux. Sophos heavily invests in R&D and they have earned my trust and payments for many years.
"The only thing you can’t recover from is data loss".
Having a full backup of your files and photos offsite is absolutely critical. I recommend BackBlaze. For $6 a month you get a full computer backup with file versioning. Set and forget.
A word about using Dropbox or USB for backup
But what about OneDrive, DropBox, or the external hard drive you bought from Best Buy?
I use OneDrive and another file sync service to keep copies of my important data in the cloud. It’s a great to have those files always at the ready. However, ransomware might still get to those files and I never see anyone have copies of all their files and photos in these services. Use them but still get Backblaze.
As for that USB… you paid $150ish for it? (Please tell me you didn’t mean the $20 USB stick.)Do you know how often I’ve seen those fail?
Business class systems use multiple drives in servers to protect from data loss when 1 drive fails. Is it a good alternate backup? Yes. Should it be your primary? Absolutely not.
Let’s start with a premise:
You are terrible at passwords. So am I.
We are not mentally prepared to handle 25 complex unique passwords from memory. Your system of swapping one word or punctuation mark has been known and broken for years. I can tell you that you should be using a Passphrase for any password you need to remember, and you should. But most of your passwords should created by and stored in a Password Manager.