Online Survival Kit

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 Before you even think about making your computer secure or installing software for encrypting communications or data, you should adopt some good habits by following these common sense tips to help you avoid having your email account or computer hacked. You don't need to be an IT specialist to follow these tips.

When you access the web on your laptop or computer, you use the http protocol (hyper text transfer protocol). A protocol is a set of rules and requirements that allow two machines to communicate with each other. Https is the secure version of the http protocol.

Making sure that your communications and data are confidential is not easy. Many encryption tools are available but it can take ages to learn how to use them, to learn how to avoid leaving clues or tracks that will allow others to intercept a message or identify who sent it. So that you don’t have to spend the next three years training to become a security expert, Jean-Marc Manach, a journalist specialized in digital privacy and security, has an interesting alternative – how to have 15 minutes of online anonymity.

This technology, widely used in the business world, allows the creation of an Internet tunnel (a virtual link) between two physical networks in different locations in a way that is transparent for users. Only they will by allowed access (hence the term “private”) and data sent via the tunnel is encrypted. This guarantees that data sent by VPN users will be illegible to any third party in the event of malicious interception such as espionage or intrusion.

Did you know this? When you send a document, a lot of data goes with it. But few Internet users are aware that many file formats contain hidden data, or metadata. Text processing files or PDFs are likely to contain the name of the author, the date and time of the creation of the file, and often even part of its editing history. The hidden data depend on the file format and the software used to create it.

Many activists have been tracked via their mobile phones, and some countries conduct surveillance more extensively than others. You need to assess the risk for your own activities given the practices used in your country, how high-profile your work is, and what others in your community have experienced.

TrueCrypt is a software application that allows you to encrypt a single file, an entire partition on a hard disk or a storage device such as a USB flash drive. Encrypting data makes information inaccessible to an unauthorized third party. If your computer (or your USB flash drive) is lost or stolen, no one can access the encrypted data without knowing the password you set.

Tails is an operating system like Windows or Mac OS, but one specially designed to preserve your anonymity and privacy. It allows you to use the Internet anonymously almost everywhere online and on any computer, but leaves no trace of what you have done, unless you want to.

More than 200 billion e-mails are sent worldwide every day. Although it is a very practical tool for exchanging information, it is also vulnerable and users can encounter problems such as interception, identity theft and monitoring. Yet there are easy ways to ensure your Internet activities remain confidential.

This user manual contains information about how to download Tor, how to use it, and what to do if Tor is unable to connect to the network. If you can't find the answer to your question in this document, email help@rt.torproject.org.

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