Introduction to Privacy Tools

CD/USB Based Operating Systems

  • Tails: live operating system that can run from removable media without leaving tracks. Routes Internet traffic through the Tor network.
  • Kali Linux (formerly BackTrack): Kali Linux is a Debian-derived Linux distribution designed for digital forensics and penetration testing. More for testing your own assets for security flaws and vulnerabilities than privacy enhancmenet outright.

Internet Anonymizers, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Proxy Servers

Web Browser Ad-ons

  • HTTPS Everywhere (Firefox, Chrome): forces HTTPS versions of websites were they are available.
  • Adblock Plus (Firefox, Chome, Opera, Android): customizable ad-blocking plugin
  • NoScript (Firefox, derivatives of Mozilla): highly customizable plugin to selectively allow Javascript, Java, and Flash to run.
  • Disconect (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera): stops 3rd party tracking sites around the web.
  • BetterPrivacy (Firefox): removes and deletes long-term “super-cookies”

Search Engines

  • DuckDuckGo: anonymous, encrypted web searches.
  • ixquick: anonymous, encrypted web searches. Hosted in the Netherlands.

Email/Communication Encryption

  • GPG(Windows, OSX, Linux): free implementation of OpenPGP.
  • Mailvelope(Chrome, Firefox): OpenPGP encryption for webmail.
  • Enigmail is and OpenPGP add-on for the Thunderbird and SeaMonkey email clients.
  • GPGMail is a plug in for Apple Mail, an open source implementation of OpenPGP for encrypting, decrypting, signing and verifying email.
  • Email Self Defense: a guide for using encrypted email (GNU/Linux, Mac OS, Windows).

Alternative Email Accounts

  • Guerrillamail: web-based disposable email accounts.
  • Tor Mail: anonymous email provider (Tor required).
  • CounterMail
  • MyKolab: Privacy-focused email, based in Switzerland
  • Neomailbox: email provider focused on privacy and anonymity, based in Switzerland

Anonymous Remailers

Disk/File Encryption

Secure Instant Messaging

  • Cryptocat (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Mac): encrypted instant messaging platform.
  • Off-the-Record (Windows, Pidgin): encrypted communications with authentication and deniability features.
  • TorChat (Windows, Linux): P2P instant messaging routed through the Tor network.
  • Pidgin is a third-party instant messaging/chat program that allows users to log in to multiple chat programs simultaneously (e.g., AIM, MSN, Google Talk) and to install a variety of privacy and security plugins.
  • Adium is a third-party instant messaging program that allows for encrypted chats across multiple networks, but for Macs.

Disk/File Erasing Programs

Password Vaults

  • Password Safe (Windows)
  • Lastpass (Windows, OSX, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile)
  • 1Password (Windows, OSX, Android, iOS)
  • MasterPassword (iPhone/iPad, OS X, Destop (Java), Terminal (Java), Terminal (C)).


Antivirus Software

Cookie/Cache/Internet History Cleaners

Mobile Privacy

  • SilentCircle (iOS, Android): encrypted voice, video, text, and file communications
  • Wickr (iOS, Android): encrypted, self-destructing text, picture, audio and video messages.
  • RedPhone/TextSecure (Android): open source application for encrypted voice and text communications.
  • K-9 Mail (Android): open source mail app for android that supports PGP.
  • iPGMail (iOS): app to send and decrypt PGP-encoded messages.
  • DuckDuckGo Search and Stories (Android): Secure, anonymous searches with Tor/Orbot integration.
  • ChatSecure is an encrypted chat client for Android and iPhone.
  • Encrypt your Android phone.
  • CyanogenMod open-source alternative: to avoid leaving your phone vulnerable to your carrier’s customization of the Android OS, consider replacing the firmware (on select phone models) with CyanogenMod.
  • Orbweb is an exceptionally privacy-focused web browser for Android, based on Tor.
  • APG is an OpenPGP implementation for Android phones.

VoIP/Video Messaging

  • Jitsi (Windows, OSX, Linux): open source software for encrypted video, audio calls.
  • Silent Circle (Windows)

Social Networking

  • Diaspora: alternative social media; open source and allows users to own and control personal data.
  • buddycloud: decentralized social networking with strong privacy controls.

Meshnet (decentralized networks)

  • Hyperboria: encrypted, decentralized Internet alternative .
  • GNUnet: encrypted, anonymous, decentralized P2P networking.
  • Commotion: open-source tool that uses phones and computers to create mesh networks.

Alternative Currencies

  • Cash: the original anonymous currency.
  • Bitcoin: open source, P2P digital currency.


  • Pastebin: multi-purpose text publishing.
  • Strongbox: for submitting files to The New Yorker.
  • Wikileaks: for submitting classified/sensitive information.

Temporary Mobile Phones


Additional Resources