ANTI-DOXING GUIDE FOR ACTIVISTS FACING ATTACKS FROM THE ALT-RIGHT
Hey Movement Fam,
It is the folks from Equality Labs and we have an urgent Anti-Doxing guide to support the activists who are getting slammed by Alt-right Forces around the country for coming out and resisting Nazis from Charlottesville to Berkeley.
This guide has been created to deal with the current issues we are seeing and should be incorporated into your regular digital security practices. We know that the escalated activity of the White Supremacists is scary, but the best defense now is one rooted in information, compassion and self-care for ourselves and each other, and a commitment to collective resilence.
With that we have broken up this guide in terms of background and next steps. If you have any questions please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us up on twitter at equality labs
Post Charlottesville, Boston, and the Bay Area Anti-White supremacist marches we are seeing an unprecedented number of doxing attacks on all members of the movements.
Doxing is the violent Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting private or identifiable information about an individual or organization in order to harass and traumatize activists from organizing activity. Additionally such attacks can also be accompanied by real world violence and spread disinformation about and individual and/or a movement.
We believe that many of the Alt-right attackers of our colleagues around the country are using their full social media ecosystem to both attack and spread disinformation. So we want to make sure that people stay safe by adopting best practices. The practices below will help lock you down through the attacks and need to be maintained to keep your digital resilence.
Here is our check-list for protecting your identity:
✔ CREATE A SELF-CARE PLAN and recruit your family and friends to help support you. Let them know whats going on, because trolling and doxing can be traumatic and you must priortize your mental and physical health so that you can last past these attacks.
For us we take our lead from our collaborators at Stop LAPD Spying Coalition who talk about adopting a vision of Security culture that centers all collective security practices as a form of expressing love and solidarity. We all have a sense of it from being marginalized, targeted, activists. It’s about harnessing those good instincts with knowledge and practice.
This is why it is important, even when you are under attack, to give space to your feelings of anxiety and dread, but do not succomb to them. Release them and return to your agency. Because in these situations we can practice a culture of mutual-aid and support around digtial security.
We can build power instead of paranoia and meet people where they’re at. From there we can have communities of practice that normalize better practices in a way that is resilient in a crisis.
✔ CREATE AN INCIDENT LOG. This is crucial to establish patterns of your attacks and can be useful to compare with other organizers to identify larger patterns within the attacks to identify opponents and their organizations.
A sample log could look like this:
But please feel free to create one that makes sense for you and that you can adapt to your situation. The most important thing is that you keep notes throughout your attack and share with your security professional when you can. If you like this one you can use this document as an example. Plese feel free to make a copy.
But please note: we recommend that you keep incident logs not in google docs but in an encrypted word processing platform like Etherpad on Riseup at https://pad.riseup.net or Cryptpad at https://cryptpad.fr.
✔ CHANGE YOUR EXISTING PASSWORDS. Trolls will be trying their best to get into all of your accounts. You can find out if you e-mail is part of any recent hacks at www.haveibeenpwned. This will let you know what level of risk you are at for penetration of your accounts.
After you have made that quick assessment, make a list of all of your crucial accounts and change the passwords immediately so you have fresh passwords for each.
Additionally, if you have time we strongly recommend incorporating a password manager to to generate and store all of your new passwords. This will allow you a greater capability to create complex passwords for all of your accounts while limiting you to only remember one. We recommend 1password at https://1password.com/ , keepassX at ,and lastpass.
✔ TURN ON 2-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION (2FA) for all your accounts. This means you are adding another verification method when you sign into your accounts. This helps when you have trolls trying to break into your account. If they only have your password they will be stopped at the second point of verifcation.
When thinking about which accounts you want to add 2FA you have to think like a troll. Which accounts do you have that would cause the most damage if it was compromised. By taking over your e-mail they can release and interfere with your communication, by taking over you bank account they wreak havok with your finances, etc. So if can lock them all down.
2FA is available for G-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and more. We recommend that you add 2FA but please when possible avoid using Text/SMS as your method of verification. This is because texts can be intercepted and so are not secure. We recommend using Google Authenticator app or an app like Authy. These can generate codes on your phone and can be revoked remotely in the chance thaty our phone is confiscated, stolen, or lost.
✔ FIND OUT WHAT INFORMATION TROLLS CAN FIND OUT ABOUT YOU. Search for yourself on Duckduckgo and try doing this search in incognito mode. This will give you a sense of how much data exists about you online to people who are not in your network. After that inital search you can go on to looking at all of the data brokers sites that trade in our personal livs.
Check your Data leaks and Opt out here:
- BeenVerified: https://www.beenverified.com/faq/opt-out/
- CheckPeople: http://www.checkpeople.com/optout
- Instant Checkmate: https://www.instantcheckmate.com/optout/
- Intelius: https://www.intelius.com/optout.php
- PeekYou: http://www.peekyou.com/about/contact/optout/index.php
- PeopleFinders: http://www.peoplefinders.com/manage/
- PeopleSmart: https://www.peoplesmart.com/optout-signup
- Pipl: https://pipl.com/directory/remove/
- PrivateEye: http://secure.privateeye.com/help/default.aspx#26
- PublicRecords360: http://www.publicrecords360.com/optout.html
- Radaris: http://radaris.com/page/how-to-remove
- Spokeo: http://www.spokeo.com/opt_out/new
- USA People Search: http://www.usa-people-search.com/manage/default.aspx
- TruthFinder.com: https://www.truthfinder.com/opt-out/
- Nuwber: https://nuwber.com/removal/link
- OneRep: https://onerep.com/optout
- FamilyTreeNow: http://www.familytreenow.com/contact
While it is hard to get all of the content off, every little bit helps. Ulitmately though the challenge to you data off these sites is an uphill battle because there are hundreds of these sites and most organizers have very little time to do this work.
In an Urgent case of doxing and if you are simply over capacity in terms of your rapid response then consider using a service like Privacy Duck. They are incredible and have been working with activists around the country to scrub their data. There is an activist subsdized rate that we can arrange through Equality Labs. So if you feel like you need this and qualify then please e-mail us email@example.com. You can The great thing about Privacy Duck is they share all their free how-to opt-out videos on their YouTube with detailed, step-by-step instructions at: https://www.youtube.com/privacyduckcom.
✔ CALL YOUR CREDIT CARDS, CELL PHONE PROVIDER, UTILITIES, AND BANK AND LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE A TARGET. Many times trolls will take the online attacks into the physical world by trying to go after your credit cards, utilities, and bank accounts. They can access these to try to drain your accounts or worse. In a case of raised stakes please call them to let them you are target and they can often add an additional layer of security that can help protect you during this time.
✔USE THE TOR BROWSER. A VPN is great because it can offer privacy but only the TOR Browser offers real anonymity. This is because rather then going through a VPN’s servers, your internet traffic is channeled through three computers who store none of the data while it is in transit.
Another option of course is to use the Tor Browser. This option is free and provides real anonymity but does not always load multimedia heavy sites. Try it out and see, we recommend using TOR at least once a day so it becomes part of your daily usage and it won’t be unusual if you have to use it for an urgent situation.
✔INSTALL SIGNAL. This secure messaging and voice app can take the place of text, phone, and e-mail when installed on your phone and computers. What is important is that you must first install it on your phone and make sure you verify all the users. You can find it here for iPhones and here for Android. Additionally make sure you add it to your chrome browser so you can add Signal Messaging to your desktop.
✔WEAN YOURSELF OFF G-MAIL AND BEGIN USING ENCRYPTED E-MAIL. G-Mail collaborates with the government on many surveillance programs including the PRISM project. So while Googles extensive protection will help you from individual hackers there is still the inheren threat that all of your data in your account can be searched and stored onto NSA servers with no consent on your part. As a result we recommend if you are using G-Mail use a form of encryption like GPG Encryption for MAC or https://gnupg.org for the PC. These are the safest but the set up of your own GPG can be daunting. In that case use encrypted e-mail services like Tuanota or Proton Mail. We like Tuanota because they are open source and Proton Mail because of its use and scalability. Both services embed your encryption key as part of your service and its interface is similar to g-mail.
✔FOR SECURE GROUP CONVERSATIONS USE TALKY.IO OR ZOOM. All other protocols including freeconference call are not secure. This includes Skype, google hangouts, and facetime. Talky.io is free but can be wonky while ZOOM works but has limited time in its free version. If you are using Zoom make sure you go to the settings and turn on encryption.
✔CHANGE YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS ON YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKS. Visit your privacy settings for Facebook, twitter, snapchat, and instagram to PRIVATE and block all trolls who already follow you.
For many, professional connections can be at particular risk if they are found to be engaging in political activities.
To disable public visibility of your profile, go to https://www.linkedin.com/public-profile/settings and on the right hand side you will see “Your profile’s public visibility”. Switch this to “Off”. Further information can be found here: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/77#user-profile
For All of your Facebook privacy settings you can find them here https://www.facebook.com/help/325807937506242/
Key to change are the following settings.
- Change your settings so that only your friends can see your current posts. When you want to post something work related as public, set those individual posts as public. Protect past timeline posts by watching this video. How To Video.
- If you can review your friends lists. Unfriend all those people who follow you or who are your friends but you can’t remember who they are or maybe vaguely remember some awkward interaction with them. Double check that each of your friends is unique and no one has created accounts with similar names and photos to a real friend in order to access your private friend only communications.
- Also go through your profile information and make sure your phone number and email are set to be viewed by “only you”. Remove featured photos and/or any information in your “About” section in your profile that you would not want to see appear on doxing sites. This is because a common tactic trolls will do is to take your album photos and spread them across the internet. They will do this to either create a fake profile for you or to make harassing memes or messages about you.
- Remove your Facebook public photo, and replace it with a generic photo that doesn’t have your actual picture and remove your full birthday (or replace it with inaccurate information).
- In your Account settings make sure you have verify all login requests so you can flag anyone trying to get into your account.
- In your Privacy and Safety Settings make sure you turn of Tweet with a location. This prevents you leaking your location through your twitter statuses.
- Turn of photo tagging so that random troll accounts can’t tag you on harassing content or statuses.
- Turn off discoverability by e-mail or phone.
- If you are concerned about being followed by fake Antifa accounts consider installing an application like block together. Through block together you can follow trusted collaborators or accounts who begin blocking Antifa and other hostile sites. This is a good practice to build within your own network as you will be able to start to see fake accounts through a pattern of similar messages, bad grammar, or even copy and paste texts. Blocking them collectively ensures you can operate with a greater peace of mind because their goals again are to harass and spread disinformation. Once you have installed block together you can subscribe to other users lists to spread community resilence. A good one for fake Antifa accounts is the list run by the twitter hand @antifachecker. You can subscribe to their list here: https://blocktogether.org/show-blocks/UQ_ZPDyCHCygI-EUU_6xLY23sewTWFbPA8k7cCdz . You can also use services like Troll Busters to attack a troll swarm with affirmative messages that can help drown out the abuse. Learn more at http://www.troll-busters.com.
✔KILL ALL ORPHAN ACCOUNTS. Remember trolls are going to use whatever information they have of you online to get into as many accounts you have. Orphan accounts or accounts you have not used in a long time can make you vulnerable because if they are using and older password they can try that accounts technical support to get more data about you that they can try to use for other accounts. So be on the safe side and shut them down. You can get a list of accounts that you may have forgotten you signed up for by going to https://namechk.com
✔USE ALIASES WHEN SIGNING PETITIONS OR SIGN-IN SHEETS FOR MEETINGS. One of the number one ways people are getting their names on doxxing lists for the White supremacists is through petition websites and sign sheets. Our recommendation is to absolutely not use real names, phone numbers or e-mails for these kinds of activities. When possible compartmentalize. Use an e-mail that is only used for their activities that cannot be tied back to your real life details. Additionally for phone consider using google voice or an app like burner app to not divulge your personal information. Finally an alias for these sign up purposes can be your best protection because if they don’t know your name how can they find you.
✔FINALLY SECURE AND BACK UP YOUR HARDWARE. This is going to take some time so take a couple of hours and follow the Equality Labs digital security one sheets here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1rtWqtbY_tVnncCEEEfRXInN1atSjodloBAaJqRICxAg/edit?usp=sharing
OKAY! We know that is a lot but keep in mind digital security is a system that you are creating and implementing as part of your core skills as an organizer. There is no silver bullet to digital security, it is an awareness and a practice that gets better with reiteration and with a community committed together to stay safe. The best defense now is a collective one and we are all in it together.
So please stay safe and if you have any urgent questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our website at equalitylabs.org or follow us at twitter equality labs.