The Best Internet Privacy Tools for 2023

Abeerah Hashim Last updated: May 27, 2023 Read time: 21 minutes Disclosure

Keeping your privacy safe on the internet requires learning about a set of privacy tools. This article explains what those tools are.

Amidst the rapid upsurge in cybercrimes, even an average internet user is now concerned about online safety and privacy. Hackers, ISPs, government authorities, and third parties continuously monitor and record all your online activities, posing a serious threat to your digital existence. Although, many countries have employed privacy laws and other measures to protect their citizens. Yet, using effective tools like VPNs, anti-malware software, secured browser, and ad blockers is crucial for every netizen.

Today, when disruptive digital innovations are directly linked with your life, your privacy is continuously at stake. Hence, it is inevitable to gear up yourself with the best internet privacy tools.

Although, given the rise in digital evolution, digital privacy has become a mainstream topic. People are concerned about staying safe online from average internet users to governments. That’s why almost every country globally has some digital privacy legislation in place to protect its citizens.

But unfortunately, enforcement is weak for the most part. Thus, Meta (formerly Facebook) and other similar companies have managed to get away with privacy murder every single time.

As a user, you can’t do anything against such predatory firms or practices because they are all over the internet world. (Indeed, you can’t lead an offline life today, can you?)

But you can alleviate such issues to the least extent by using the right internet privacy tools. That’s what this article guides you about.

Best internet privacy tools you should use – Quick list

If you’re in a rush to secure your digital presence, here we quickly list the web privacy tools you need.

  1. Privacy-friendly browserThey offer a safe browsing experience for users. Some examples include Brave, and Tor browser.
  2. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) – VPNs give you the power and ability to mask your identity and unblock geo-restricted websites and services. Examples include ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
  3. Ad and Script blockers – It is an extension that prevents you from seeing ads and scripts on websites you visit. It also prevents those sites from tracking your behaviour, which can lead to higher privacy levels. Ideal examples include AdGuard and uBlock Origin.
  4. Password managers – We use them to store and keep track of our passwords. Examples include NordPass and Keeper.
  5. Secure messaging – A messaging service that allows you to send text messages, photos and videos securely. Examples are Threema and Signal.
  6. Private search engines – DuckDuckGo and SearX are some examples of search engines that help you stay anonymous and secure.
  7. Private email – The service allows you to send and receive secure and untraceable emails. Examples are Tutanota and ProtonMail.
  8. Operating systems – They are system software that supports basic functions and tasks. BSD and Linux are great examples.
  9. Antivirus suites – These programs are designed to protect your devices from viruses. BitDefender and Norton are examples of such programs.
  10. Private file storage – The service helps store files in a secure and private manner. Cryptomator and Tresorit are ideal file storage services.
  11. Privacy and security hardware – They include devices that come in physical form that help add a layer of protection. Examples include Apricorn and Purism.

Why is my online privacy at risk?

Companies aren’t alone in their interests in disrupting your privacy. Instead, some of the world’s governments are working hard to track you online, not to mention hackers or ISPs.

Specifically, plenty of actors are investing tremendous efforts and resources into monitoring and recording your activities for various reasons, such as,

  • Advertisers want to serve you with the best-targeted ads possible. That increases their chances of persuading you to buy something you don’t need. Figuring out the best ads for you includes studying your web browsing history, location data, contacts, and other personal information.
  • The last few years have been rare because we’ve lived through a pandemic, and lockdowns have become common. Many governments want to know where you are in this environment because of public health issues.
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) also like to know what you do online. Hence, they do their best to monitor your activities. Then, they share their findings with advertisers or the government. It’s not that they’re evil; it’s the law of the land in many places, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, or Australia.
  • Many countries implement content censorship. China is the most notorious actor in this arena. Besides, Germany and many other Western European countries are doing their best to block the content they don’t want available to their citizens.

Indeed, privacy protection laws do exist today. But they have not matured enough to become reliable.

Therefore, the onus to protect your privacy is on you. But, unfortunately, it’s like a war you will have to fight alone against all those powerful actors.

While it might sound hopeless, don’t worry. The growing privacy awareness among users has triggered new alternative technologies to emerge. Consequently, there is at least one good, reliable solution letting you enjoy your digital life peacefully for every problem mentioned above.

How to select the best privacy tools

Before moving ahead, take a minute to think about your own personal “threat model.” Nobody knows your unique situation better than you.

How much security do you require, given the job you do? How much privacy do you need, given your digital lifestyle? Do you have to worry about any specific potential adversaries?

The average user needs protection against advertising networks trying to track their activities. But an investigative journalist or a political activist working against the powers may use sensitive information on all their devices all the time. Therefore, they need additional protection because their security issues have more significant consequences.

You need to understand two things about digital security. First, there are no 100% guarantees. So, you can try your best to be reasonably close to perfect protection, but that’s all. Secondly, every case is different. There is no generalized security solution for every internet user.