Learn to use common computer hygiene practices.
- Protect your computer against malware
- Keeping your software up to date
- Use open source software
- Keep backups of information
You will be better able to successfully use some of the more complex digital technologies and tactics if your computer is well protected from malware.
Malware is the general name for any malicious and undesirable software that attacks your computer and prevents it from working correctly.
Keeping your software up to date limits weaknesses in the software that can be exploited by malware.
Always keep your operating system (Windows, Linux, Mac OS, etc) updated by downloading the latest updates from the respective websites.
Application software (Word, Excel, LibreOffice), either bought or open source, should also be kept up to date. Set your software to send you alerts about security updates, if such an option is available, so that you can get them as soon as they are released.
Most software on Windows will either update automatically or alert you to available updates, and point you to where you can download them. Windows operating system is set to auto-update by default.
If your settings are not set to auto-update (mobile-based GSM data providers often advise you to turn off automatic Windows updates to conserve your data bundles) you can turn this function on by going to your computer’s Start menu, selecting All Programs and clicking Windows Update.
Alternatively, through the process above you can set Windows Update to inform you of available updates and let you decide whether to download them or not.
This way, you can download and install all your updates when you are in a place with a good and affordable internet connection (e.g. your office)
For most small organisations, keeping your paid-for software up to date can be a challenge. Sometimes you have to buy new licences, or whole new software suites, which can be a drain on your budget.
Consider switching to free and open source software (FOSS) such as the office suite LibreOffice, and an open source operating system such as GNU/Linux-based Ubuntu.
Also consider using Mozilla Thunderbird as your email client and Firefox as your internet browser. As well as being free, FOSS software is also relatively more secure, as there are millions of volunteers looking at the source code and any one of them can spot bugs and fix them much quicker than engineers of proprietary software can.
Independent developers are also constantly developing digital security tools to add to FOSS software.
For a list of recommended free and open software, refer to the list Tactical Technology Collective has put together
Take measures to ensure that you recover your most important information in the unfortunate event that you lose a computer either through theft, system collapse, or confiscation/destruction by your adversaries.
Your best bet is to keep a backup of your important information. When creating a backup:
Identify your important information and organize it in one
place, such as a folder in your computer.
- Select a backup storage medium that allows you to replace your backup document with its latest version.
Tresorit and SpiderOak, which are both quite secure and reliable.
- en/topics/understand-4-digisec/0-getting-started/1-1-intro.md: Getting started with digital security
- en/topics/practice-1-emergencies/3-seized-devices/1-1-intro.md: What to do if your device is seized
- Tactical Technology Collective: Basic computer hygiene