Get your Net guard up: Tools and services that can protect your online data from hackers

Tools like Google Password Checkup and HTTPS everywhere and more can help you guard your data online.


Data is the new currency, the new oil.

From ordering pizza to buying top-of-the-line gadgets, it is just a click of a button away. But that click also generates a raft of information.

As the internet gets more deeply entrenched in our lives, we are never, too, cautious. Hackers and miscreants are always a step or more ahead in exploring vulnerabilities of the internet and steal data. The magnitude of the problem can be gauged from the fact that 28 January is observed as the "Data Privacy" Day.

 Get your Net guard up: Tools and services that can protect your online data from hackers

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Here are some tools and services that will help you guard again criminals lurking in the cyber world:

Ghostery

One of the ways many internet services—from Google to Facebook—gather information about is by keeping a tab on browsing habits through trackers embedded across sites. These trackers not just invade privacy but can also slow down the sites. This is where Ghostery comes in.

This web-extension can monitor and reveal who is tracking us. It can block/disable services that track you as you browse.

(Also read: The Jeff Bezos hack is a lesson that everyone is vulnerable to a similar attack)

HTTPS everywhere

While browsing, you may have noticed HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) written at the start of a web address. It essentially means that the communication to and from the site is secure. But many times, websites that have not even implemented the protocol, too, carry HTTP. This is where the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension comes in to play. Once installed into the browser, the extension ensures that all website links get turned into an HTTPS link. In case the website does not allow you to proceed, a warning message saying that the extension has to be disabled is displayed.

Windows Defender

Phishing and malware are the most common ways hackers employ to steal personal information. The Windows Defender Browser Protection extension helps protect data from threats like malicious websites and links in phishing emails. The browser extension crosschecks websites and the links against a constantly updated database of known malicious sites and links. A red warning screen and a message flashes every time it detects something fishy.

(Also read: Twitter says several NFL teams' accounts hacked ahead of the Super Bowl on 2 Feb)

Google Password Checkup

Passwords are the security key to many websites and services. It is essential to have a password that is secure. A secure password, too, can be leaked. The Google Password Checkup browser extension helps in such situations. It crosschecks the login username and password with a known database of breached credentials known to Google, and sends a warning if the username and password are no longer safe to use.

Have I Been Pwned

Developed by security researcher Troy Hunt, the free service comes in handy if account credentials are leaked. This service performs a live check of login credentials against a database of known leaks and breaches reported and notifies you if there is a match or a leak is detected.

As a user visiting the Have I Been Pwned service for the first time, you can enter your email address and check whether your details appear in any of the breached or hacked databases reported so far.

If not you are safe, else if a match is found, the service tells you which database hack was the information part of and you can change your credentials for the service. You can list your email address with the service, which will alert you in case of a breach or database in future.

BreachAlarm is another website that offers a similar service.

How Secure is My Password?

This is a fun service run by password manager app developer, DashLane. The website ‘How Secure is My Password?’ essentially tells you how strong your password is and how much time it will take for a computer with the computational power available today to crack the password.

You could type some commonly used passwords, like 1234, admin, or password and see how easily it can be cracked. A word of caution: it might not be smart to check the passwords you are using.​

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