Privacy Freeware

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This page contains external links to free programs that will help you protect your privacy, some of the listed tools might show you advertisements or a nagging screen inviting the user to upgrade to a paid for version, they might also make it difficult for you to find the free version on their website.

Secure Email

Most privacy email services charge for their services, the free privacy email services that exist, are provided with the hope that some of their free customers will upgrade to paid accounts and with that money they finance the free service for other users. Usually free accounts are given with limited resources to encourage them to upgrade to a paid account, but it might still be enough for light email users.

One way to obtain an anonymous email account is to hide your computer IP using Tor to register with any free email provider but many free webmail providers ban Tor proxy IPs and they ask for a backup email account, the method will fail many times.

Note: If you use the Tor Browser any website requiring you to enable Javascript presents a serious security risk. Javascript code has been used by law enforcement agencies (or LEO="Law Enforcement Officers") to defeat the security of Tor -- LEO may even have the capability to inject Javascript into websites without the knowledge of the website administrator if they control the server.

  • Tutanota - Free German based encrypted email service that reportedly keeps no logs.
  • ProtonMail - Encrypted email service in Switzerland that does not keep logs.
  • TorBirdy - Addon for the free Thunderbird email client, Torbirdy uses the Tor proxy to access email.

Note: Hushmail is not recommended; among other things, Hushmail privacy policy mentions that they keep a record of your activities for 18 months after deleting the account.[1]

VPN Providers

Free VPN services finance their activities displaying advertisements while you surf, or with a freemium model where they convert a part of their free users into paying ones to finance the free VPN. A few other VPN services get government or private funding to help people living in oppressive regimes to bypass censorship, the funding allows them to provide a free service focused towards bypassing firewalls but keeping logs tracking the originating IP.

When choosing a VPN pick a company that will not keep any logs and is located in a jurisdiction where they have no obligation to keep them. Remember that you have no way to verify if the VPN company claims are true or not, when extreme security measures are necessary, browse the Internet with Tor instead of a VPN.

  • ProtonVPN - Company in Switzerland, no bandwidth limit, company claims they do not keep logs, not even for free users.
  • Hide.me - Company is based in Malaysia, free version only allows 2GB/month. They claim they do not keep logs.

Encryption Software

To quickly send encrypted email files or messages you can use Winrar or 7-Zip, the protection they offer is strong enough to stop even corrupt law enforcement agents, but to be sure that if your computer is ever lost or stolen no data will be recovered, you will need to use full disk encryption, file encryption alone can not protect you from temporary files and Internet browsing history leaking into your hard drive, the only way to protect is by fully encrypting your operating system.

  • Veracrypt - Free open source encryption software to fully encrypt your hard drive. Available for Windows, Linux and Mac computers, but the full disk encryption option only works in Windows. In Linux and Mac Veracrypt can only be used to create encrypted virtual disks.

Data Wiping

Documents, images and videos you delete can be easily recovered with specialist software. The only sure way to get rid of a file for ever is to overwrite it with other data on top, the following programs will do that for you.

  • BleachBit - Internet browsing and temporary files data wiping software
  • Eraser - File and hard drive empty sectors wiper
  • Privazer - It securely wipes temporary files and hard drive free space
  • CCleaner - Program to securely erase history browsing, cookies, temporary files and other personal data stored in your hard drive.

Password Manager

You should never reuse usernames and passwords if you care about online security and privacy. If you reuse in a real life self-help or entertainment discussion board the same username or email address being used for boylover activism, somebody could make the connection. A search engine query can locate all places on the Internet where that username is being employed. Another factor is that if you reuse the same password in multiple online accounts and one of those accounts is hacked, the attacker will have access to all accounts you own on the Internet. Bots can automatically attempt multiple usernames and passwords taken from a hacked database, by choosing a unique username and password for each online account you have, you will limit the damage in case of a hacking incident.

Passwords managers are needed to be able to remember dozens or hundreds of unique usernames and passwords for online accounts. There are two types of password managers:

An offline password manager database is not accessible from the Internet and you don´t have to trust third parties with your data, hence security is higher. The disadvantage is that it will be harder to access the password manager from other devices without physically moving the file and you might have compatibility issues on mobile devices.
Cloud based password managers are less secure than offline password managers, if the service is on the cloud you have to trust that the company holding those passwords is really as secure as they say they are and they normally charge a fee for their services. The advantage is that being on the cloud has the convenience of not having to store anything on your hard drive and it is accessible across multiple devices like smartphones and tablets.
  • BitWarden - Online password manager that can be sync across multiple devices.

Windows 10 Privacy Software

Windows 10 it is the most privacy invasive operating system from Microsoft. The first thing you should do is to never ever use a Microsoft account to log into your operating system, it is possible to use Windows 10 without having a Microsoft account, they just make it difficult for you to realise of this. If you login with your account everything you do can be linked to that account. Even when you are logged in without any Microsoft account, there are features like OneDrive, Microsoft cloud storage services, that comes enabled by default, and it is very easy to upload something there by accident without being warned that Microsoft scans all files you upload to OneDrive to detect illegal content, something that can be misused to invade your personal privacy, you should never store anything on the cloud and disable OneDrive straight away if you care about your personal privacy.

  • O&O ShutUp10 - Free utility to quickly disable advertising IDs, Cortana, OneDrive and automatic sending of crash reports to Microsoft, using a slider you can choose what services you are ok with and which ones must be disabled. There are information about what each service does next to the slider.
  • BlackBird - Not for computer beginners due to lack of explanation about the options it has and the simple interface. If you are comfortable with computers this free utility allows you to block apps and tracking in Windows 10.

Free Antivirus

Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender, a fully featured security solution that scans your computer for malware and viruses, it is enabled by default but if you install new antivirus software, Windows will disable Windows Defender and use your preferred antivirus solution instead. Most online reviews point out at the high quality of Windows Defender, the main reason why somebody might want to use a different product it is lack of trust in Microsoft products, or somebody looking for advanced control over their antivirus software. Windows Defender has few customisation options.

Operating System

Macintosh operating systems and specially Windows, have all kind of tracking mechanisms that can be misused and besides being closed source, they are not focused in privacy. If you are really serious about security you will be better off with a Linux or BSD open source operating system that has been build with security and privacy in mind.

  • The Amnesic Incognito Live System - Tails - Debian based operating system that can be installed in your computer, a thumbdrive or run from a live DVD, this is the best choice for beginners. Tails routes your Internet data through the Tor network, with the firewall configured to make it impossible to leak your real IP. It will circumvent Internet censorship and it will leave no trace behind unless you ask it explicitly. Tails comes with a messenger, text editor, video player and many other utilities.
  • Qubes Operaring System - Linux operating system using virtualisation to isolate every single application you have, making it is impossible for malware to spread from your Internet browser or text editor to the operating system. Quebes does not come with Tor out of the box but you can easily install Whonix, a virtual operating system similar to Tails, using a template provided by Qubes and enjoy anonymous Internet access with one of the most secure set ups possible.

Other

  • Tor Project - Browser to access the Internet anonymously.
  • Whonix - Very similar to Tails but it runs inside a virtual box. You should be advanced in computer skills to use it.
  • GetI2P - Anonymous network similar to Tor that can be used for email and Internet browsing.

See also

References