Secure computer configuration checklists and scripts etc.
Before you can make sensible use of your computer system, to help you with your honourable whistleblowing or investigative journalism or political blogging or activism, you need you create a Secure Computing Base.
Do not neglect the physical security of your office or home e.g. locks, alarms etc.
You can then "harden" your computer, to provide a secure foundation on top of which you can add standard firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, security enhanced versions of web browsers, and more advanced encryption and anonymity tools.etc.
For most computers, i.e. those running versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems, this means changing quite a lot of the default installation options.
A well configured Windows system is at least as "secure" as the less popular Apple and Linux systems, no matter what the marketing hype and the fanbois claim .
The US Government tries (not always successfully, due to human incompetence or corruption) to secure its millions of personal computers and networks. They do publish checklists, guides, configuration templates and scripts etc. to help to do this. for Windows, and for other systems such as Cisco routers as well. There are also checklists for popular applications software such as the Microsoft Office suite etc.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):
See also the computer security guides produced for Non Governmental Organisations and political activists / dissidents:
- "Security in-a-Box - is a collaborative effort of the Tactical Technology Collective and Front Line. It was created to meet the digital security and privacy needs of advocates and human rights defenders. Security in-a-box includes a How-to Booklet, which addresses a number of important digital security issues. It also provides a collection of Hands-on Guides, each of which includes a particular freeware or open source software tool, as well as instructions on how you can use that tool to secure your computer, protect your information or maintain the privacy of your Internet communication."
- Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.
- Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders
- A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists
- Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)