As a Mac user, protecting your data from hackers and government surveillance is essential. Also, it can be exhausting at times. Even so, you shouldn't be afraid. Through organized planning, you can come up with a strong security plan.
In data security, darknet hackers can pose an online threat to your data. Such threats can undermine your efforts to protect your Mac data. However, you can counter these threats by determining what you need to secure. Also, you should determine who you are protecting the data from.
Protecting Your Telecommunication Data
With the internet and telecommunication networks available, communication is easier than ever. As a result, online surveillance is more prevalent. Your messages, calls, emails, and video chats are vulnerable to third parties. So, you should take extra steps to secure your communication privacy.
Communicating with others in person is the most privacy-protective method. This eliminates the use of phones and computers. While face-to-face communication is the best, it isn't always possible. Hence the need to perform end-to-end encryption while communicating with others.
How Does End-to-End Encryption Work?
End-to-end encryption protects your data by encoding it. Such encryption encrypts the message from the original sender. The recipient of the message thus needs to decode the data to understand it. This protects your data from unauthorized access. Therefore, your data can't get accessed by internet providers or website providers.
When communicating via end-to-end encryption, the people involved use encryption keys. These keys secure your communication data. Hence, your data can only get accessed by someone with matching keys. So, third parties can only see the encrypted data but can't read the message.
Therefore, the users need to keep their keys safe. This prevents attackers from accessing your data and auctioning it in the black market. End to end encryption can be in several ways. You can decide to download apps or proactively verifying the keys. It is the best way to secure your communication without trusting the platform.
Key Verification for Mac Users
When using end-to-end encryption in your online communication, people have unique keys. Each person receiving your message has a unique public key. These keys encrypt your messages so that only intended recipients can decode them. You should make sure to use the correct encryption key. To do this, you must carry out key verification.
Various secure source messaging platforms have different ways to verify keys. Still, all of the systems encourage you to verify keys outside the messaging platform. This is known as out-of-band verification.
Why Use Out-Of-Band Verification?
You should use out-of-band verification to identify the person sending the key. This is because you can't trust the messaging system without knowing who sent the key. The system is not entirely secure until you know who sent the key.
How Mac Users Can Verify Keys Out-Of-Band
Generally, encryption keys are long sets of numbers. Hence, it is hard to check them manually or read them out. Therefore, communication systems verification makes the keys shorter and easier to check. They do this by providing a safety number or a fingerprint. Fingerprints can be common words, graphics, or smaller numbers.
To verify keys, your recipient will read or show you their key's fingerprint. You will then check the key against the one you have on your device. After verifying their key, you should also read out or show them your fingerprint for comparison. After verifying both keys, you can communicate securely.
There are various ways of verifying keys out-of-band. The most common methods include:
Key verification in person
Different medium key verification
Verifying Keys in Person
The best way to verify keys is by doing it personally. Why? It is easier to be sure that a person is who they say they are face-to-face. In person, you can physically compare a contact's key with the one on your device. They will also check yours to ensure that they are similar. It is a bit tiresome, but it's worth the effort.
Verifying Keys Over Another Medium
While it's the best method, it might be impossible to verify keys in person. In such cases, you can use a different means to reach your friend. Be sure to verify your keys over a secure medium. This makes it difficult for hackers to intercept your messages.
You can use various tools to verify your keys. Such tools should be publicly known and use reviewed encryption techniques. Also, the tools should be independent of the transport system used. Two common verification tools are Off-the-Record (OTR) and Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)
OTR for Mac Users
Off-the-Record (OTR) refers to an end-to-end encryption medium that allows for confidential conversations. It is compatible with several messaging tools you are already familiar with. But you shouldn't confuse it with Google's Off the record. Google's OTR has no verification features or encryption and merely disables chat logging. Mac users can incorporate OTR through Adium.
Adium is an open-source messaging platform for Mac users. It allows you to interact with individuals using several chat protocols. This includes platforms like:
Windows Live Messenger
OTR uses end-to-end encryption for your data security. So, you can use it to chat across platforms like Google Hangouts securely. The encryption prevents companies from intercepting your messages. Still, the provider is aware that you are conversing through their medium. You can download Adium here
Why Use Adium and OTR?
After downloading and installing Adium, you can sign into different accounts simultaneously. For instance, you can use Yahoo! Messenger, and XMPP at the same time. Also, Adium enables you to converse using these tools without OTR. Besides, OTR is only effective if both users have it. By using Adium, you can chat with people who don't have OTR installed.
PGP for Mac Users
Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) helps secure your email communications from unauthorized access. It ensures that only intended recipients read the emails. This prevents data breaches by dark web hackers. The hackers use unique browsers like the Tor browser to access the darknet. Cybercriminals target your data and sell it in the black market.
PGP verification also identifies the sender of the email, thus preventing target phishing. Also, it is an essential defense against target surveillance or misinformation. Even so, you will need to install extra software to use PGP. Ensure that the software is compatible with your current email program.
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