The Activist's Guide to Digital Security

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There are many important reasons LGBTIQ advocates and human rights defenders utilize the internet, including communication, networking, self-expression and visibility. However, the use of digital and information technologies can put activists at risk. Here are some tips to ensure your security online, to avoid censorship and threats, and to protect your sensitive information from being accessed and used against you.

The most important thing is to protect your computer!

  • Lock your computer every time you move away from your screen
  • Protect your computer from malware, spies and hackers with antivirus and firewall software.
  • Make sure you chose your passwords carefully:
    • No pets, birthdays or family names.
    • Use different passwords for different accounts
    • Do not write passwords down on paper or share with others
    • You can even use encrypted software like KeePass to store your passwords
  • Before taking your computer in for repair, make sure your data is deleted. If you have highly sensitive data, make sure you use special software, such as CCleaner.

What is data encryption?

Encryption is a way to limit who has access to your messages, information and data. If you share computer devices with friends, family or colleagues, you should always encrypt your sensitive data with special software such as VeraCrypt

Be wary of censorship and tracking

In order to access blocked websites and applications in your country, or to use the internet without being surveilled by the government, your family, your job, or even your internet service provider, use a Virtual Proxy Network (VPN) or The Onion Router (TOR). You can find free VPN online like Psiphon and Hotspotshield.

When browsing online, use extensions & add-ons that will block ads and trackers.

If you pay for things online with your credit card, only use websites with httpS protocol to ensure your data is safe

Be smart about your smartphone!

Nowadays, everyone carries a lot of data right in their pocket. Be sure to protect yourself by:

  • Always have a password;
  • Use End-To-End encrypted software such as Signal or WhatsApp to chat, call and share files;
  • Use “app lock” to protect sensitive information on applications;
  • Do not share your phone with anyone unless you’re observing what they are doing;
  • If you lose your phone you can look for it online by connecting it with your email. Using Google or iCloud, you can erase the data off your phone if you are sure it has been stolen.

Be aware that everything you upload online stays in the servers even after you delete them.

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Check out some of MPact’s other resources

The Activist’s Guide to Physical Security

The Activist’s Guide to Self-Care

The Activist’s Guide to Data Collection