Although most Linux distributions come with a wide variety of software already installed, there are many other choices available to you if you want more control over the applications installed on your system and the information that passes through those applications when you use them. .
Here are some of the best free alternatives to standard Linux apps that will help you improve your privacy in today’s hyper-connected and data-intensive online environment.
The Best Privacy-Focused Web Browsers
Web browsers are probably the most used applications on any system. As such, it also poses the highest risk of privacy issues. Each of the following alternative web browsers takes additional steps to keep your sensitive data out of sight of prying eyes:
LibreWolf is a fork of Mozilla’s famous Firefox browser, which is installed as the default web browser on many Linux distributions. While Firefox is known to be more privacy-focused than most Chromium-based web browsers, LibreWolf goes even further.
Designed to increase protection against modern tracking and fingerprinting technologies, LibreWolf also provides some basic security enhancements. According to the developers, “This is achieved through our privacy and security-focused settings and patches. LibreWolf also aims to remove all telemetry, data collection, and annoyances, as well as disable anti-freedom features like than DRMs.”
Some users forgo using more privacy-focused browsers because they aren’t compatible with the huge variety of extensions available for Chrome. If you are one of these users, Brave is the browser you are looking for.
Brave comes with many privacy protection features enabled by default, such as blocking ads, trackers, and cookies, and protecting against fingerprints, malware, and phishing sites.
Brave is a Chromium-based browser alternative that remains fully compatible with all Chrome add-ons and extensions while providing enhanced privacy protection. Like Chrome, Brave also supports syncing data between your devices. You can share extensions, open tabs, history and more across all devices with Brave installed.
If you’re looking for the ultimate tool for truly anonymous web browsing, it’s Tor. Tor is a combination of a specialized web browser and an anonymized network of proxy servers located around the world and run by volunteers.
The Tor network and the browser work together to encapsulate all of your online communications in multiple layers of encryption and pass network packets through a series of servers before reaching their final destination (in both directions). Each server along the route removes a layer of encryption, reads instructions on where to send the packet next, and then sends it.
The end result is that no single server in the chain knows both where the packet is coming from and where it is going, or what data is contained in the encrypted packets. Two-way communication becomes completely anonymous and untraceable.
Privacy-focused email clients for Linux
Our inboxes contain some of the most sensitive information we have. Keeping email content private and secure is one of the top security concerns for most users. If you’re using Linux, you have several privacy-conscious email clients.
Thunderbird comes from the creators of the Firefox web browser. This secure and private email client is available for free and trusted by millions of users for over 20 years.
Thunderbird comes with many subtle but important privacy settings enabled by default. It automatically blocks online email images to prevent IP address tracking and includes several anti-phishing measures to ensure that no one can trick you into giving up your personal information.
It also includes features like message encryption, calendar, address book manager, RSS feed management, instant messaging, and more.
KMail is the official KDE mail client. You can use it on its own, but it also integrates seamlessly with KDE’s suite of office and productivity applications.
KMail’s default settings will do a good job of keeping your personal information out of reach of email marketers, phishing scammers, and anyone else who might try to harvest your data.
Among its many privacy-enhancing features, KMail sets up automatic end-to-end encryptions using OpenPGP and uses secure TLS/SSL connections when sending or receiving messages. It will import mail from almost any existing mail client and also includes an auto-backup feature to protect against data loss.
Privacy-focused Linux private messengers
There are several popular instant messaging services. The problem with all of them, however, is that they are owned and operated by some of the biggest data poaching and privacy companies in the world.
Signal is a free and open-source private messaging app that you can use on both your phone and your PC. It’s a great alternative to apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Signal’s interface strongly resembles WhatsApp. It is intuitive and easy to use. All information exchanged through Signal is end-to-end encrypted and completely private. Communication is done using Signal’s own open-source protocol. You can use it to send text messages and exchange files as well as make audio and video calls.
Privacy-focused Linux password managers
You’ve probably seen and maybe used one of the excellent password managers available for Linux. Unfortunately, most popular password managers that were once free, or at least had a free version, either severely limited their functionality to free users or stopped offering free versions.
Bitwarden is a free, open-source password manager similar to apps like LastPass and 1Password that you can use on all your devices. It’s a full-featured password manager that you can use on the web, install as a browser extension, or run as an app on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. office. You can use it on as many devices as you want to keep your passwords safe, secure and in sync, wherever you are.
In addition to passwords, Bitwarden will let you keep track of secure notes, credit card information, and more. Even better, if you’re already using another password manager, it will import all of your existing information so you can literally switch in seconds without wasting time.
Exercise your right to privacy with Linux apps
With these tools, you can regain control of who can access and use your personal data. This, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. If you’re using an app that doesn’t seem to value your privacy as much as you do, there’s almost always another choice when using Linux.
The best Linux software and applications
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