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A little over a year ago, a former CIA systems administrator named Edward Snowden disclosed to The Guardian that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on Americans by way of phone records and online communications. Reset the Net is an effort to provide individuals and organizations with a technical, political, and social toolkit to fight back against government surveillance. Regardless of whether you're concerned with surveillance, these are simply really good security tips that all organizations should consider implementing.
While you should definitely explore the full site, here are the top five tips I distilled from the project.
The Reset the Net privacy pack is a bundle of software and tips for mobile phones, tablets, and personal computers. These open source tools include apps and tools for encrypting emails, texts, browsing history, and even phone calls. The goal of the project is to accommodate both untechnical users as well as more advanced users. The tools support Windows, iPhone, Android, Mac, and GNU/Linux platforms. It is also 100% free! Check out the privacy pack page for the full list of tools.
If you're looking for apps to protect specific mobile communications, try out these recommendations from Reset the Net.
You can do a quick review of your online accounts and see which services offer two factor authorization (2FA). This involves two stages to verify your identity when accessing services in an online account. This means if a hacker got a hold of your password, they would still need to go through another step to get into your account. An example would be if you had to log into your email account with a password and a mobile number. The company would then send you a text message with an authentication code you must use to access your account. You can find out which services use 2FA by checking this frequently updated list.
Reset the Net advises organizations and companies to secure their websites from surveillance using HTTPS, HSTS, and PFS protocols. These protocols encrypt information sent to and from your website and protect the data and information of your site's visitors.
HTTPS is the most commonly used technology to secure the web and, according to Reset the Net, it is easy to implement and inexpensive to maintain. HSTS is an even stronger security protocol and is free to install and also easy to install. Finally, PFS (Perfect Forward Secrecy) secures session keys, which is used for encrypting messages in a communication session. It's a bit harder to implement, so read the Electronic Frontier Foundation's papers on it first before taking action.
Share Reset the Net's Privacy Pack with your constituents, staff, volunteers, and the people you serve. You can even add a banner to your site to spread the word. The Internet Defense League provides the code and some tools for adding the banner.
You can also participate via social media by using the #ResetTheNet hashtag. Here are a few other ideas from ResetTheNet's Tumblr, including some nonprofit-specific tips.
Images: Shutterstock, ResettheNet
Ginny Mies is a Content Curator at TechSoup Global.
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.