Below is a select list of information and articles about how people can help protect themselves online from privacy invasions, surveillance, and tracking. Please contact law enforcement if your or someone else’s life is being threatened or is at risk!
Some important suggestions include:
- Turn off location services, especially on your smartphone.
- Don’t post your home address online.
- Cover your computer’s, tablet’s, and smartphone’s webcam.
- Encrypt your computer’s hard drive.
- Download your computer files to an external hard drive and store in a secure physical space.
- Weigh the pros (convenience) and cons (hackable) of storing your files on the cloud.
- Enable password protection on your smartphone.
- Use Signal or WhatsApp, free, encrypted instant messaging applications.
- Use two-factor authentication for email and social media accounts (activate two-factor authentication on gmail here).
- Use different passwords for each online account.
- Choose strong passwords for your accounts.
- Use a password manager.
- Use Tor to protect your online privacy and defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic analysis.
- Install Tails to use any computer without leaving a trace.
- Install Privacy Badger, a browser add-on that prevents advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where users go online and what pages they surf.
- Try to remove the personal data that marketing companies, people finder companies, and brokers have about you. FastCompany provides a detailed list of data brokers and how to try to remove yourself from them.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to hide your physical location. See VPN Beginner’s Guide for information.
A DIY Guide to Feminist Cybersecurity Offers a “Cheat Sheet” to quickly get started protecting one’s online privacy. Offers a list of tools to use.
Best Practices for Conducting Risky Research and Protecting Yourself from Online Harassment Data & Society is a research institute that focuses on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development. The document focuses specifically best practices for academic researchers.
Counterspeech DOs and DON’Ts Hollaback!, a movement to end street and online harassment, offers a list of suggestions for how to safely use counterspeech to challenge harassment, hate speech, and discriminatory attitudes online.
Digital Hygiene Course A free course offering 16 lessons that helps “Prevent online harassment before it starts.” TrollBusters is a just-in-time rescue service for women writers and journalists experiencing online harassment.
Do It Yourself Online Safety Information is available in English, Arabic, Spanish, French, Farsi, Pashto, Urdu, and Russian. An advanced version is also available in English. CHAYN is a global volunteer network addressing gender-based violence by creating intersectional survivor-led resources online.
Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) is a non-profit organization that provide no cost assistance to victims of identity theft throughout the U.S., and serves as a national resource regarding consumer issues related to identity theft, data breaches, cyber security, scams/fraud, and privacy issues.
Online Harassment Field Manual PEN America, part of the PEN International network, protects free expression in the United States and worldwide. created its Online Harassment Field Manual to help writers and journalists who navigate online spaces and to offer them resources, tools, and suggestions for responding safely and effectively to incidents of online harassment and hateful speech.
Online Removal Guide Cyber Civil Rights Initiative offers a guide providing information about how individuals can report and request removal from major social media platforms and tech companies of intimate images of themselves which they didn’t consent to be shared online.
OnlineSOS Action Center OnlineSOS offers tools and information to those facing of online harassment, with a particular focus on U.S.-based journalists. It provides guides and easy-to-use checklists based on type of harassment and what types of things people want to protect.
Online Privacy Guide for Journalists Recommendations for how journalists can protect their sources and data, created by the former deputy chief editor of Haaretz. The information is useful to the lay public as well.
Operation Safe Escape is a non-profit organization that provides digital security education and intelligence for domestic violence victims. The service helps victims stay hidden from their abusers by protecting their identity and location. The organization offers several security guides and resources, such as the Personal Data Removal Workbook & Credit Freeze.
Phishing prevention and email hygiene Practical steps from Freedom of the Press Foundation about how people can protect themselves from phishing attacks, compromised links and attachments, and email tracking beacons.
Protect Yourself: How-to guides and resources for protecting your privacy in the age of mass surveillance Freedom of the Press Foundation offers how-to guides and resources for protecting one’s privacy in the age of mass surveillance.
Security-In-A-Box Digital tools and tactics created by the Tactical Technology Collective and Front Line Defenders to meet the security and privacy needs of human rights defenders.
Security Planner Security Planner, a project of the Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary group based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, features a list of recommendations to help people improve their online safety, such as how to browse more securely, how to secure one’s computer, how to secure one’s online accounts, how to secure one’s internet connection, how to keep one’s phone data secure, and a list of other resources to provide additional assistance.
So You’ve Been Doxed: A Guide to Best Practices A guide created by Crash Override, a crisis helpline, advocacy group, and resource center for people experiencing online abuse. Offers suggestions on how to evaluate doxing threats and what to do if one’s actually been doxed.
Speak Up & Stay Safe®: A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment A guide created by the non-profit Feminist Frequency to help keep people, especially women, people of color, and trans and genderqueer people, safe from individuals, loosely organized groups & cybermobs.
Surveillance Self-Defense A guide from the Electric Frontier Foundation to protect oneself from electronic surveillance. Offers tutorials and detailed guides for dealing with specific situations.
The Best Identity Theft Protection for 2020 A guide from Money magazine to protect oneself from identity theft. Also lists different identity theft protection services and their costs.
What to Do? Where to Go? Infographic A detailed flowchart explaining what to do if someone is being harassed online. TrollBusters is a just-in-time rescue service for women writers and journalists experiencing online harassment.
Without My Consent’s Something Can Be Done! resource guide Without My Consent focuses on the problem of the publication of private images online. Its guide provides information about evidence preservation, legal take down demands, and restraining orders, among other things.