We recommend that you educate yourself on good digital security practices and learn to anonymize yourself as much as possible when using digital means of communication. Putting good digital security into a daily practice will help to keep you and our friends safe.
Ways you could be identified
Computers have several main ways of identifying themselves; IP addresses, MAC addresses, and useragents are a few common ways.
Every computer is assigned an IP address when connected to the internet. Using https/ssl encryption is a good start to safe browsing (a popular web browser add-on, HTTPS Everywhere forces https/ssl encryption if a web server supports it), but that only attempts to encrypt your web traffic. This means that when you go to a site that keeps logs, you will leave a fingerprint that identifies the internet connection you are using which could be easily used to identify your computer.
You should know that most free web proxies are doing very little to ensure your anonymity. They often keep logs and cooperate with the pigs. For better security consider using the latest version of TOR Browser. You could alternatively use a live boot usb like Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) to boot from a usb that will force all traffic through the TOR network. When you are done, Tails will wipe the ram and check to make sure no data was saved to the actual computer, leaving no trace behind.
A MAC address (Media Access Control Adress) is 12 digits long and uniquely identifies a computer connected to the Internet. The address encodes the manufacturer’s registered identification number. This means that if the network you are using is keeping logs, someone may be able to determine roughly what type of computer was in use at what time. If you are posting or viewing sensitive information you should be aware that you are leaving this type of identifying data behind.
You can find programs to change your MAC address pretty easily. It’s important to remember that every time a computer reboots, it restores its permanent MAC address by default.
A user agent is a string of code that websites use to determine how to display content. This code contains information such as your web browser, web browser version, and operating system. Websites will send a request that your computer will happily answer with this info.
User Agent Switcher is an add-on for Firefox which allows you to choose from several preloaded user agents to effectively send real-looking false information. If you want to see what your user agent is try whatsmyuseragent.
Riseup has a lot of information on their site, including several tutorials on pgp encryption, password security, as well as other things.
This zine explores various issues related to computer security including basic principles for staying safe, a look at anonymity, picking passwords, the dangers of Google, etc. It’s a good mix of “how to” type information and narratives that tell important stories about why digital security is important. It is published by the Riseup.net collective who provides Internet services for various anarchist and anti-authoritarian projects.
A short pamphlet on “anonymously” using the internet and how to secure your information.
This zine is a basic primer to being more secure in your use of cellphones and the Internet. It offers both explanations of how surveillance technologies work and practical tips for lessening their impact.
This guide presents a basic introduction to information security for activists. It covers security culture, physical security, traditional communication, digital security, and Internet security. It combines insights from activists, hackers, and even academic research on security and privacy. It is essential reading for the modern era.