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human and animal liberation

Posts Tagged ‘linux

Online safety: a few tips

with 4 comments

Well, the thing is you don’t need to be a geek to be pretty safe. Of course there’s no such thing like 100% online safety but there are a few things we can do to improve it. And if you happen to be an activist you should consider it really seriously. Especially with all those PIPA, SOPA and ACTA laws they are trying to put in place.

So here we go:

1. Ubuntuif you’re a Windows user I’d recommend to check out Ubuntu. Linux is much safer and stable than Windows. The great thing about linux is that it’s open source and you get updates very often. It means if there’s a bug it’ll get fixed pretty soon.You also get thousands of free applications and if you need to use some Windows-only apps you can use Wine to mount them. By the way, believe it or not with Ubuntu you don’t need to be worry about viruses. It’ll make you forget what a virus is. It’s also user friendly and fast so you don’t need to know all those fancy terminal commands to use it.

2. VPNVPN means Virtual Private Network and it’s pretty straight forward. You’ll exchange the IP-number you get from your ISP to an anonymous IP-number .You get a safe/encrypted connection between your computer and the Internet. Your existing ISP can not limit what you can do nor limit what information you can access. It’s a really cool thing! I use iPredator which is pretty stable but there also other ones. Riseup collective set up a VPN recently but I didn;t have a chance to test it. Alternatively you can use Tor

3. GPG for emails – if you’re sending/receiving some private data why not to encrypt it? Normally people use corporate emails like Gmail or Hotmail. They look grand but they’re free and terms&conditions are not really in favor of users. So if you want to exchange some sensitive information use GPG. The easiest way to use it is to install enigmail plugin to Thunderbird client. Than create public & private keys. Check details in documentation. Also if you’re an activist it’s a great idea to set up a Riseup mail account rather than use corporate stuff. They don’t log IP and encrypt all the data.

4. Chatting – Facebook’s or Gmail chats are nice but not when you exchange important info. It all stays on their servers so it’s way safer to use different communicators. IRC and Jabber are great alternatives. With IRC you’ve got dozens of servers (e.g. irc.indymedia.org) where you can find a number of channels. For example if you have a problem with your Ubuntu you go to irc.freenode.org and join #ubuntu channel and ask for help. Or if you’re a revolutionary vegan fella you can set up your own channel, make it private & invite only and plan revolution with your trusted folks. IRC is great for groups to run real-time discussions online. As for Jabber it’s more like ICQ. You have a contact list and you talk to you friends when they’re online. The good thing is with these communcators you can use OTR (Off-The-Record) plugin which encrypts your chat.

5. Firefox plugins – if you’re using Firefox get these plugins. They’ll improve your anonymity and safety. Also I’d recommend Google plugin that will prevent Google from collecting information about you.

6. Crabgrassa software libre web application designed for group and network organizing, and tailored to the needs of the global justice movement. The long term goal is to provide the technical tools to facilitate active, confederal, and directly democratic social change networks. In other words if you run campaigns, organize events or actions, use Crabgrass rather than Facebook or any other corporate social network.

7. Truecrypt we all have sensitive data. ID details, passwords, porn (busted!). Truecrypt is a free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7 / Vista/ XP, Mac OS X and Linux. It’s very easy to use and it has great options. Get your stuff encrypted!

These are just basics. I’m not a geek myself but I constantly learn how to be safer  so people I cooperate with are not at risk that someone will break their (my) privacy. If you think I should mention about other stuff let me know and I’ll add it.