J. R. Swab's Blog

Android Apps To Increase Privacy & Security

Categories: Technology
Tags: security privacy encryption open-source apps

The news is littered with data leaks and abuse of data collection but what can we do now that we are all so connected and reliant on these devices? It's not always simple and not always intuitive, but it is possible with a few apps and a little bit of learning.

Keybase

We covered this app in depth in blog post 030 so here is a snippet about the app from that post:

Keybase is a PGP key directory at it's most basic level. What is really cool about Keybase and what sets it apart from any other PGP key directory is the social media mapping. You can verify that you are the same person on each social media site. From Facebook to Twitter to Reddit and GitHub! You can even prove that you own a particular website and post your public keys to your Bitcoin and zCash wallets.

There is also a social media aspect to Keybase itself. You can choose to follow any particular profile, and by doing so, you are contributing to the Web Of Trust. By following an account on Keybase, you are in a sense saying, "yes this person is who they say they are and I back this."

Keybase also has encrypted file storage that can be shared with any of your contacts within Keybase. Other cool features include PGP encrypted chat between you and another Keybase user or a group. They have also implemented a team feature that acts like Slack and encrypted Git for all your top secret projects.

Open Keychain

Open Keychain is my favorite app for encrypting and decrypting data on my mobile device. All you need to do is import your PGP, Open PGP, or GPG keypair into the app and you're ready to go. The app even offers to use the Keybase data to look up other users you may want to send an encrypted file to making it very easy to send messages securely.

Open Keychain is available on both the Google Play Store and Fdroid.

Check out the code on GitHub

DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials

This is a web browsing app that works to keep your information private while at the same time showing you how trustworthy any given site may be. It forces TLS (https) for every site that provides us protection from eavesdroppers.

The app also shows you what is trying to track you, how many trackers a webpage contains, and blocks those trackers. On top of all that DPE tells us if the encryption cert is reliable. The app opens without loading any web pages and if you use the URL bar to search it use DuckDuckGo to protect from search engine trackers.

DPE is available on Google Play, Fdroid, and as an APK download.

Standard Notes

Plain text notes are lame and so many note apps default to this method, and that is why Standard Notes is now my go-to note-taking application. I write my blog drafts, store data I need across devices, and basically anything else I need to remember when I don't have my journal around. Standard Notes is encrypted with your username and password so don't forget them or else you will have a hard time getting your notes back.

I love this app so much that I'm saving up to buy there "pro" version. No more Evernote, Simple Note, or those lame built-in note apps on Android.


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