Wednesday, 23 November 2016

SumTips: How to Protect Yourself Online in Uncertain Times

A "locked" computer
In 2016, the digital era giveth and the digital era taketh away. Citizens everywhere—from those outraged at the Turkish government to those outraged at the results of the American presidential election—have the power to use the internet to communicate their innermost thoughts, feelings and desires, but also risk persecution if those sentiments fall into the wrong hands.

Digital rights defender Access Now has created “A First Look at Digital Security,” an easy-to-access guide to enhancing security for those who choose to challenge the status quo online:

If you are a journalist:
  • Protect your sources; correspondence with editors; time-sensitive research and written drafts.
  • Use encrypted emails, instant messenger, texts, voice apps and document sharing daily; a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when on untrusted Wi-Fi; and full-disk encryption when going through security checkpoints.

If you are an activist or blogger:
  • Protect your research and data; online accounts; and correspondence with other activists.
  • Use two-factor authentication and strong passwords; security checkups offered by social media platforms; full-disk encryption and encryption of flash drives, hard drives and all other sensitive files; expanded short urls; and anonymous chat.

If you are a civil rights defender:
  • Protect the financial information of donors and employees; contact information of partners and clients; integrity of your organization; and private documents.
  • Use the latest version of available software; strong passwords; a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when on untrusted Wi-Fi; caution with opening links and attachments; full-disk encryption when going through security checkpoints; and discretion in personal postings online.

If you are a student engaged in a movement:
  • Protect your personal privacy; online identity and persona(s); and access to information.
  • Use circumvention and anonymity tools (including VPNs); privacy enhancing browser extensions; regular clearing of chat history; anonymous chat; separate online personas; and discretion in personal postings online.

If you are you:
  • You just might find that everything above applies.

Right now, the election of Donald Trump to the American presidency has much of the United States wondering what exactly is the status quo and what online sentiments will be respected and protected, a state of uncertainty not unlike what individuals worldwide face daily. Check out the guide and if you need more support, the Access Now Helpline is there for you:

Surf secure and stay Rando!

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