Linfield Free Press

Recommended Security Software

Published by Cale Byers on

Filed under Tech

Whether you prefer Mac or Windows, consider exploring some Linux-based operating systems that respect your privacy, freedom, and security. Several options include Ubuntu, elementary OS, Qubes OS, and TAILS. Both Qubes and TAILS are fairly complicated to install, whereas Ubuntu and elementary are much more user-friendly.

MacOS

I use Objective-See's free security software for MacOS, which helps prevent ransomware, audio/video recording, and other categories of malware. Macs are not immune to viruses, so consider installing these essentials:

  • LuLu is a firewall that can protect your network connections and detect malicious activity.
  • OverSight notifies you of programs accessing your mic or webcam, letting you block their access, too.
  • TaskExplorer is a concise and easy way to see what's running on your computer, which files are being read, and which network connections are made. I prefer it over Apple's default Activity Monitor program.
  • RansomWhere? continually monitors your file-system for the creation of encrypted files by suspicious processes, generically stopping ransomware in its tracks.

Windows

I don't use Windows often, so I can only recommend using Microsoft's default software, and then taking further steps to improve your web-browser's security and privacy protection, detailed below.

Securing your Web Browser

Avoid Google Chrome, especially on mobile phones.

This is a short list, but I've written a longer guide to securing your web browser if you're interested. On my personal website, there's another post about online privacy tips, which includes a list of testing resources and other interesting links.

  • Install a generic content blocker, which limits malicious webpages and protects your information.
  • Next, customize your specific browser's privacy settings, and limit cookies to first-party or "visited" only.
  • Use a network firewall or change your Domain Name Server settings, preventing data from being sent to surveillance companies.
  • You can also spend less time online, reducing what others can discover about your life.
Android

Download the Firefox browser, and add these extensions: uBlock Origin for tracking and ads, HTTPS Everywhere to improve security, and Decentraleyes for storing external scripts, saving data and marginally enhancing privacy. Google Chrome on Android doesn't let you install and privacy protecting software. Don't use their browser!

iOS

Safari has content blocker apps, but other browsers for iOS do not (yet). There's Firefox Focus, a basic content blocker to integrate with Safari, or you can browse privately in the app. I prefer Adguard for it's custom settings and greater power. For $2, there's a fantastic pro version of Adguard, allowing you to filter network traffic across your whole phone, not just in your browser. This blocks ads and improves privacy in Snapchat, games, and most other apps, including Chrome, Firefox, or other browsers. The iPod Touch doesn't support content blocking (yet). You'll need to change your Domain Name Server instead.

Laptop

Try uBlock Origin for Firefox, or Google Chrome. For Safari, I'd try Ghostery, or check out their list of other options If you use Ghostery, be cautious about sharing your usage information.

A Word About Software Freedom

If you can't control your software, it will control you, violating your freedoms to serve the interests of capitalism and surveillance. Google Chrome should therefore be avoided, especially on Android phones. Consider installing Firefox as your default browser. It's fast, secure, and respects your privacy. Another option is Tor, but Linfield sometimes blocks their website. In that case, you can always download the browser from TorProject's Github Page instead.