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3 free apps you need to protect your digital life

Most people would agree that personal data privacy and security are important, yet few of us take extra steps to protect ourselves.

After all, we have all been guilty of setting insecure passwords, or worse still, sending bank details or logins over Messenger.

While it is easy to think we won’t be the victim of credit card fraud or identity theft, cyber attacks are becoming more common.

Luckily there are many simple apps which can help you protect your digital life. Here are three of our favourites.

Signal – encrypted messaging

Available on iOS, Android and desktop.

Messaging has come a long way since the ‘old fashioned’ SMS. In fact, there are now too many messaging options – but not all are created equal. Text messages are a relatively unsecure way of communicating as the message can be easily read if intercepted between the sender and receiver.

That’s why apps like Signal use end-to-end encryption, which, as the name suggests, encrypts the message while it is in transit. Even Signal cannot interpret the message.

WhatsApp also uses end-to-end encryption but collects metadata such as usage and device information.

Signal is free, easy to set up and can also be used for voice and video calls. It is also one of the only apps to be endorsed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Beem It – secure money transfers

Available on iOS and Android.

We have all experienced the awkward silence as the waiter places the bill in the middle of the table. Heads are scratched, eye contact avoided – who will foot the bill?

As the name suggests, Beem It allows friends to instantly transfer (or beem?) money to one another.

Transferring funds are simple – you just need a Visa or Mastercard and the person’s username (in the app) or phone number.

Better still, Beem It is owned by Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac, so it uses “bank-level encryption for your account info and real-time fraud monitoring”. No more carrying around wads of cash or dealing with uncomfortable dinner conversations.

LastPass – password manager

Available on iOS, Android and desktop.

Most things require passwords these days including bank accounts, social media profiles and online shopping carts. However, it’s difficult to think of and remember multiple hard-to-guess passwords.

LastPass takes the guesswork out of password management by generating strong and complex passwords for all of your logins. All you need to do is remember the master password for your account.

On the security side of things, LastPass uses state-of-the-art encryption and two-factor authentication to keep your passwords secure.

About the author

Sam loves the biggest screens, the loudest speakers and pretty much anything else tech related.

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