Surveillance Self-Defense Checklist
There are a few steps journalists, activists, and everyone else can take to maximize their security. These recommendations are grouped by difficulty level, starting with resources for beginners.
🗸 Download the Signal app to send secure messages and make private calls.
🗸 Install the Privacy Badger browser plugin to block ads and third-party trackers.
🗸 Install HTTPS Everywhere browser plugin to encrypt your communication with many major websites.
🗸 Strengthen your passwords. Use a password manager like LastPass, 1Password, or Dashlane to keep track of them.
🗸 Enable two-factor authentication on your email, Slack, and social accounts.
🗸 Install software updates promptly. They often fix security bugs and make you less prone to being hacked.
🗸 Use PGP encryption to communicate securely over email.
🗸 Turn off geotagging for photos taken on your phone.
🗸 Encrypt your smartphone and your hard drive.
🗸 Download the Tor Browser to use the internet without being tracked.
🗸 Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to use when on public Wi-Fi.
🗸 Use virtual machines to isolate risky files and programs in case you’re hacked.
🗸 Switch to the Qubes operating system if you’re handling very sensitive information.
Other guides for improving your security
Surveillance Self-Defense Against the Trump Administration
Securing Your Digital Life Like a Normal Person
Digital Security Training Resources for Security Trainers
Surveillance Self-Defense: Tips for Safer Online Communications
Edward Snowden Explains How to Reclaim Your Privacy
Sources: Electronic Frontier Foundation, Matt Mitchell/CryptoHarlem, CryptoParty, Freedom of the Press Foundation
Top illustration: Mark Pernice for The Intercept