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How to Create a Safe Gmail Account

How to Create a Safe Gmail Account

The internet is by no means new at this point, neither are computers. We’re all connected by these devices that put all our information in public, and many of us don’t have the first clue how any of it works. If you send email, it’s the equivalent of mailing a postcard. Anyone can see everything you’re typing to your friends, whether you realize it or not. We had certain rights with physical mail that simply haven’t transferred to digital communications. I don’t know about you, but I want these rights back, and first step towards regaining our digital privacy is learning to use email encryption. Each level adds an additional layer of security to your email. The level of security you use is up to you, but you need to be aware of the real world applications of the technology you’re using in order to make an informed decision.

Level 1 – Choose the Right Email Provider

Every email provider has their good and bad points to consider, but for the purposes of security, Gmail is what you want. There are two important security measures I’m going to discuss below that work best with Gmail, and both are necessary. I’m no fan of Google and their data mining/tracking, but the reality is that Gmail is free, easy to use, and compatible with every necessary security measure. If you’re up to no good, there are other ways of getting caught, but with a Gmail account, anybody can enjoy the benefits of secure communication employed by governments and corporations worldwide.

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Hotmail/Outlook is a popular free email service/client, but it’s incompatible with the encryption methods necessary to keep your email secure. Yahoo provides free email as well, but they only allow you to check the messages on their server. In order to download the messages to your email client, you must pay to upgrade your email account. Since neither of these companies allows for free security, shun them both, and stick to Gmail. Now let’s walk through how to create a safe Gmail account.

Level 2 – Download an Email Client

When you check your email online, the messages are stored on your email provider’s servers. This is akin to storing your mail at a PO box rather than taking it home with you to read it. You may not be doing anything illegal, but there’s no reason anyone else should be holding your mail. By downloading an email client, you’re transferring your email off someone else’s servers and on to your computer’s internal hard drive. So what is an email client, and which one do you choose?

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There are three commonly used email clients: Lotus Notes, Outlook, and Thunderbird. Lotus Notes and Outlook are traditionally utilized by corporations. They have many enterprise security features (meaning they’re useful for businesses), but cost money to purchase. On top of this, they often aren’t compatible with the encryption software available on the consumer market. In order to protect yourself for no cost, download Thunderbird, which is made by Mozilla, the people who make the Firefox internet browser. Not only is this program free, there is a variety of security add-ons that can be installed.

Once you install Thunderbird, you’ll be prompted to connect your Gmail account. Be sure to change your settings to download messages and delete them from Google’s servers. This makes it more difficult for someone to spy on you, as they have to physically be on your computer to do so. With any luck, you’re able to see who’s physically at your computer.

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Level 3 – Tales from the Encrypted

Once you have Thunderbird installed, you need to set up PGP (short for Pretty Good Privacy) encryption. To do this, download and install the Enigmail extension. When you encrypt your email, you’re placing the postcard emails you normally send into an envelope. You won’t be anonymous–people can still see the from/to addresses–but the information you send will be unreadable to anyone but the recipient.

What PGP does is set a key for you on your computer. You’re also given a key to give anyone you want to email. Once you exchange keys with someone, you can securely email each other. If anyone intercepts the email, they’ll see only gibberish unless they have both keys to unlock the email. Even if one of your keys is compromised, they won’t have the other, and therefore cannot read your email. This encryption is mathematically uncrackable for the time being, and it is the same level of encryption used by every government and corporation in the world. If it’s good enough for them, why not you?

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    Level 4 – Go Full Anonymous

    The steps above protect you by putting your data in your hands and hiding it when it’s anywhere outside of your computer. None of these options will make you anonymous, however; they’ll only keep the information you send hidden. People can still see who you are and who you’re emailing. In order to provide anonymity in email, you have to utilize a trick from the Tor project.

    Do you remember the old Willy Wonka movie where Mike TV is disintegrated and “teleported” from one spot to another? Tor (and torrents) works the same way: instead of sending information directly to someone, a peer-to-peer network is set up, so your information is shredded into confetti and put back together as needed. This provides a level of anonymity because nobody can see the full view of where you’re browsing. They may be able to get a general idea, but they’ll never know for sure. This is the best strategy for online anonymity.

    In order to provide this level of anonymity to email, an expert level of skill is needed. You must configure your email client to send emails as encrypted binary data split up into various Usenet newsgroups. Any email coming in or out of your account is scattered throughout Usenet. While the level of anonymity provided by this is fantastic, it slows down your email response time–it can take hours or even days for the data to be shredded and put back together. Because of this, it’s slow, very difficult to use, and is only practical when truly necessary to hide something. I won’t delve too far into the specifics of how this is done, but you can learn a bit more about how to become Anonymous.

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    40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

    40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

    Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

    There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

    Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

    It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

    Productivity apps to help you get things done

    1. OmniFocus

    This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

    Download it here.

      2. Forest

      Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

      Download it here.

        3. Things

        Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

        Download it here.

          4. 30/30

          Recently covered here at Lifehack

          , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

          Download it here.

            5. Any.Do

            A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

            Download it here.

              6. PocketLife Calendar

              This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

              Download it here.

                7. Asana

                We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                Download it here.

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                  8. ToDoist

                  This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                  Download it here.

                    9. FlowTasks

                    From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                    Download it here.

                      10. Calendars 5

                      This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                      Download it here.

                        11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                        A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                        Download it here.

                          12. Due

                          A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                          Download it here.

                            13. Checkmark 2

                            I use this app

                            for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                            Download it here.

                              14. TeuxDeux

                              Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                              Download it here.

                                15. Wunderlist 

                                Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                Download it here.

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                                  16. Nirvana

                                  For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                  Download it here.

                                    17. Priorities

                                    An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                    Download it here.

                                      Productivity apps that help you build habits

                                      18. Productive

                                      With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                      Download it here.

                                        19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                        You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                        Download it here.

                                          20. Streaks

                                          This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                          Download it here.

                                            21. Remember The Milk

                                            Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                            Download it here.

                                              22. Day One Journal

                                              When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                              Download it here.

                                                Productivity apps that makes organization easy

                                                23. Evernote

                                                Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  24. Pocket

                                                  You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                  Download it here.

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                                                    25. Sync.Me

                                                    This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      26. Droplr

                                                      One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        27. Dropbox

                                                        Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          28. iDolly 

                                                          In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                          Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            29. Soulver

                                                            It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              Productivity apps that help you work smart

                                                              30. Captio

                                                              A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                31. Drafts

                                                                A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                  This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                  Download it here.

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                                                                    33. Doodle

                                                                    This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                      I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                        A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          36. GoodReader

                                                                          This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            37. LogMeIn

                                                                            Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              Productivity apps that improve security

                                                                              38. 1Password

                                                                              There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  40. Truecallers

                                                                                  Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                    Reference

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