This page contains security-related recommendations. Kindly note that we exclusively recommend hardware, software, and services that we use and own. We do not endorse any products based on sponsoring or things we only know from hearsay.
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General information security topics
The following resources are useful to learn about InfoSec in general:
- Security Now (weekly podcast with Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte) (#securitynow)
- StormCast (daily 5-10 minute podcast about current InfoSec topics)
- Privacy Forum (hosted by privacytools.io; we are also on this forum)
- Information Security Stack Exchange (Q&A website for information security professionals)
Other useful websites
- EFF Security Education Companion (for digital security educators)
- EFF Surveillance Self-Defense (tips, tools, and how-tos for more secure online communications)
- IT and Information Security Cheat Sheets (cheat sheets on numerous topics)
- OWASP Cheat Sheet Series (cheat sheets on multiple topics)
Your home network connects you and your family to the internet. The most vulnerable point is your router since it has to fulfill different functions and is the primary point of entry for a remote attacker. Feel free to read our home network security series.
- Introducing Basic Network Concepts (PDF file)
- Meyers: CompTIA Network+ Certification, ISBN 978-0-07-184821-3
- Kizza: Guide to Computer Network Security, ISBN 978-3-319-55606-2
- Lowe: Networking for dummies, ISBN 978-1-119-25777-6
- Peterson/Davie: Computer Networks: A Systems Approach (available online)
Disk and file encryption
We recommend the following applications/standards. Some recommendations are based on a talk of Mr. Schumacher from Magdeburger Institut für Sicherheitsforschung. Only use well-maintained and well-tested software for encryption. Otherwise, your data could be exposed in some way, or you could lose your data.
- LUKS (Linux; see our article on using a YubiKey for two-factor authentication)
- VeraCrypt (open-source disk encryption software for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux)
Built-in file encryption
The file systems ext4, F2FS, and UBIFS natively support file encryption. See our section on using fscrypt.
- GoCryptFS (uses modern crypto but leaks metadata)
- CryFS (uses modern crypto and hides metadata but is slower than GoCryptFS)
Many private users are focused on HTTPS and forget about their insecure DNS traffic. Cleartext DNS traffic can be modified or logged, and third parties can learn about your surfing habits. People who are familiar with network protocols and DNS can configure DNSSEC as well as DNS-over-TLS. If set correctly, you get validated DNS responses, and your DNS traffic is authenticated and encrypted.
Check our DNS-related articles.
- DNS Privacy Project (collaborative open project to promote, implement and deploy DNS Privacy)
- DNS leak test (see the DNS server that is used by your client)
- List of public recursive name servers on Wikipedia
- DNS Privacy Public Resolvers
- DNS Privacy Test Servers
Identity theft is a central threat to individuals on the internet. The best way to defend your personal data online is to stop using online services at all. Altogether avoiding the internet is quite unrealistic. Another way is to use services that provide cryptographic proof so others can verify that you own specific online accounts.
Ask ten people about their preferred instant messenger, and you’ll get 15 recommendations. Some people say that federation is best for privacy (no, this is wrong), some recommend closed-source messengers like Threema, and most people keep on using WhatsApp. We aren’t interested in wars of opinions and stay with the facts.
If you still want to use XMPP-based messengers like Conversations, Gajim, Dino, and so on, keep in mind that server-side parties can access and manipulate everything. We strongly recommend running your own XMPP server in this case. If you don’t know how to do this, use a messenger like Signal. Unlike many XMPP-based messengers, Signal uses client-side account management and enforces end-to-end encryption by default.
We recommend the following operating systems for advanced users:
- Parrot OS Security Edition (security testing + software development)
- Debian (server operating system)
- Arch Linux (client operating system)
The following repositories contain useful resources and links:
- Awesome Cellular Hacking
- Awesome Infosec
- Awesome Hacking
- Awesome Security
- Awesome Social Engineering
- Awesome Web Security
- Probable Wordlists
Secure key and password storage
If you use OpenPGP, SSH, etc., you probably store your keys on your computer. Storing private keys directly on your computer isn’t very secure, and stolen keys can result in data breaches (SSH) and decrypted messages (OpenPGP). Use dedicated security hardware to store your keys. Furthermore, use password management software like KeePass to store your passwords encrypted. Some products also support OATH-TOTP, U2F for 2FA, or WebAuthn.
We tested the following hardware and software: