Introduction, VPN Gate and Wise Folder Hider.
With government snooping and hacking high on the web agenda, protecting your privacy online has never been more important and isn't tricky.
Contrary to what some people tell you, downloading and installing privacy software is an incredibly cheap way to protect yourself online as most of the top privacy suites are available completely free of charge.
It means that keeping you local or online information private has never been easier and what follows is a list of the five best free privacy software options for 2015.
VPN Gate Client Plug-in with SoftEther VPN Client
One of the best ways to keep your data private online is by spoofing your IP with a virtual private network (VPN) and among the highest rated is the VPN Gate Client Plug-in with SoftEther VPN Client developed by the University of Tsukuba in Japan.
The SoftEther VPN interface may be daunting to some but after getting used to how it works the privacy attributes enjoyed are among some of the best available. Those working on the program have managed to source hundreds of connections in locations across the world that are all available free of charge and give peace of mind that you are working under a blanket of privacy.
Unlike other programs, SoftEther VPN, which has been open source since January 2015, creates a virtual network adapter on your Windows PC and connects to the internet through this thus giving yet another layer of privacy. Once you have connected to a servers it counts towards its score, which is displayed alongside the server name and gives you an idea of the most trustworthy VPN connections available.
For even more advanced users there is the chance to create your own VPN connections using the service and anyone with an intricate knowledge of virtual connections stands to benefit even more than regular users.
Anyone that wants an extensive VPN offering that you simply can't get from other more commercialised programs will find it here, and the learning curve is more than worth it in the end.
Wise Folder Hider
Hiding folders on your PC can be incredibly hard given the wide ranging scope of the search and find offering that comes bundled with Windows and successfully bypassing thatis where Wise Folder Hider comes in.
It's apparent just how protective Wise Folder Hider can be when you first start it up as it immediately prompts you to enter a password to even gain access to the program and prevents anyone with access to your PC to unlock the files and folder hidden inside.
Once inside you can protect files, folders or USB drives by either just simply hiding them or applying a password of your own choosing to make sure no one get their hands on your precious files.
The only frustrating thing is that there is nothing else to the program than a file protector and anyone looking for online privacy protection will need to combine it with another program. When it comes to protecting files though it does the job simply and with no fuss for all users.
CyberGhost, KeyScrambler and CleanUp!
Another of the popular VPN brigade, CyberGhost VPN is an IP spoofer that allows you to mask the location you are in with another one elsewhere in the world whilst billing itself as a service that is "anonymised, protected and encrypted".
CyberGhost VPN's slick interface works in the same way as any VPN you've seen before by showing your current location on a map of the world. Pull up the list underneath the simulated country to bring up a list of countries that you can change your location to and there is a large number available for free and others come as part of a premium subscription.
Once you've chosen a country click it and wait for CyberGhost VPN to do its work to spoof your location. You can go even further than that by changing the simulated IP address, if the location has more than one option, and this will enable you to pick a server that has less subscribers.
To make your new location look even more genuine, CyberGhost VPN can be set up to change the browser language and it can remove the browser or operating system version. In the settings menu there are also a number of other options to further anonymise your experience including removing social plugins from the likes of Facebook and it can also block requests from tracking sites.
It isn't exactly clear where the much vaunted encryption is taking place and users of a more nervous persuasion are likely to choose something else that has a clearer encryption process, although for a VPN this is as solid as they come for a freeware option.
QFX Software offers a number of different options for users looking to protect their privacy online and KeyScrambler Personal is a basic yet free part of their extensive portfolio. KeyScrambler Personal is a stripped down encryption service that works to do one thing, which is to encrypt everything you type into a browser.
KeyScrambler Personal is turned on automatically for every browser on your system and it will pop up when you start typing to show what the output has been encrypted as. When typing text into a search engine this doesn't slow down the process at all and the fact it shows the output will give any users peace of mind if worried about how the encryption works.
The only disappointing thing about KeyScrambler Personal is just how little the unpaid version can do, although the paid options aren't on the expensive side and have enough to justify subscription for users that want to protect their privacy even further.
For a program that encrypts in real-time and can even be used on machines infected with viruses this does exactly what you need if you're simply looking for browser encryption and nothing else.
One of the other ways to protect your privacy online is to delete temporary files, something that CleanUp! does and then some.
CleanUp!, which is perhaps the most dated of those on the list, is a program that gets rid of temporary files and folders, empties the recycle bin and can place secure locks on deleted files to prevent them ever being accessed again.
Its primary goal is to create more space on your computer whilst at the same time protecting your online privacy. This is done through a disk cleanup facility that has three options ranging from basic (empties recycle bin and deletes newsgroups) to thorough (the same as basic as well as deletes cookies, cleans up all users, deletes favourite places and bookmarks from all files, resets scores of standard games and fully erases files). The latter shouldn't be taken lightly as it erases your PC back to a similar states to when it was bought.
When CleanUp has done its stuff it should leave you with much needed space on your PC and all this comes completely free of charge.