- Operating System
Hello everyone! I am not very active on this Se7enSins anymore, but I check in every now and then. I decided to create this small guide for those who want to keep their computer safe. Please note that in no way am I an expert in this field. I just enjoy the topic of cybersecurity and like to participate in cybersecurity message boards and subreddits. Do your own research and feel free to discuss, private message me, or even post your own security setup.
Everyone’s threat model is different. Just because EXAMPLE VPN or EXAMPLE email service complied with law enforcement or is located in EXAMPLE country, doesn’t mean it's unsafe for you to use. This guide does not guarantee 100% anonymity or make you unhackable. Use common sense and do your own research. (LAST UPDATED 17FEBRUARY2020)
Your antivirus program is your first line of defense against viruses, malware, and other malicious attacks on your device.
Windows Security - Installed by default on Windows 10 devices. Scores high in testing. (AV-Test, AV Comparatives, MalwareTips) It’s also free and light on system resources. Less complications when updating Windows 10.
*Beef up Windows Security with ConfigureDefender. ([Click here to view this link])
Kaspersky - Ignore the Kaspersky is bad/Russian collusion narrative. See Kaspersky transparency initiative. (Kaspersky Transparency) Scores very well in testing. (AV-Test, MalwareTips)
ESET - Performs great in testing. (AV Comparatives, MalwareTips) Very light on system resources.
Avast/AVG - Collect & sell user data (PCMag).
IObit - Stole competitors (Malwarebytes) database. (ComputerWorld)
VirusTotal - Upload suspicious files or URLs.
Any.Run - Utilize a cloud-based machine to run unknown files.
Antivirus 2nd Opinion Scanner
Not completely necessary, but highly recommended. No antivirus software is perfect; a second opinion scanner will catch the 1% that may have gotten through.
Emsisoft Emergency Kit
Windows firewall is sufficient enough to protect you from most threats. Most of the antivirus’ vendors listed above offer firewall modules which are not necessary, but offer additional protection for the buck.
Glasswire - Not a traditional firewall, but a network monitoring program. Visualizes everything that happens on your network into beautiful graphs. Cross references each program that connects to the internet with the VirusTotal database.
Not completely necessary, but highly recommended. A VPN will encrypt all of your network traffic, keeping it hidden from your ISP, hackers, or anyone else. Can also be used to circumvent censorship in specific countries. Browser VPN extensions/add-ons will suffice unless you want ALL network traffic to be encrypted.
All these VPN’s are listed on PrivacyTools.io and pass the criteria to be listed. (PrivacyTool.io) They all consist of being open-source, publicly available audits, and a good track record.
Private Internet Access, CyberGhost, Zenmate - All owned by Kape Technologies. Kape, formerly known as Crossrider, previously developed malware. (Malwarebytes Labs)
All the VPN’s toward the bottom of this spreadsheet. (thebestVPN)
The email services listed here are directed towards those who want to increase their privacy. Gmail, Outlook, and iCloud email services are all great in terms of security and privacy, but fall short in some aspects. Check out Gmail’s privacy controversy. (ProtonMail Blog)
ProtonMail - Switzerland based company with strong privacy laws. (ProtonMail Blog) Primary datacenter is located in a bunker within Switzerland which can withstand a nuclear attack. All data and is end-to-end encrypted which means not even ProtonMail themselves have the ability to snoop on your emails. (ProtonMail Security) ProtonMail is also open-source ([Click here to view this link]) and has a warrant canary posted on their website. (ProtonMail Transparency Report)
Tutanota - German based company with great privacy laws. (Tutanota Blog) Very small team of 6 employees, open-source ([Click here to view this link]), and end-to-end encrypted. Warrant canary publicly available. (Tutanota Transparency Report) Pricing is also less expensive compared to ProtonMail.
Fastmail - Australian based company. Entails great features (Fastmail Features) that you see in Gmail and Outlook and promises great security and sufficient privacy. (Fastmail Privacy & Security)
Gmail - Great of you prefer the Google ecosystem of applications and products.
Outlook - Great of you prefer the Microsoft ecosystem of applications and products.
iCloud - Great of you prefer the Apple ecosystem of applications and products.
Namecheap - Host your own domain and create custom email addresses. ([email protected])
Forget about remembering a million passwords or reusing the same password for every website. Store all your passwords in one place and create ONE strong master password to access your vault and login to any website with ease.
Both Bitwarden and 1Password are open-source, have publicly available audits, and have a great track record.
Give your accounts and extra layer of protection with Multi-Factor Authentication.
SMS based 2FA - Although better than no 2FA at all, SMS is the weakest of 2FA options. (How-To Geek)
Google Chrome accounts for more than half of all web browser usage share and rightfully so. (Wikipedia) Chrome is a great brower, but faults in terms of respecting user privacy and focusing on the Google ecosystem. Here are some other web browsers you should consider using.
Brave - Built on open-source Chromium which means it has the same look and feel of Google Chrome. Brave is also open source itself. ([Click here to view this link]) Blocks ads and trackers using its built-in blocker. (Brave Help Center) Ability to use Tor within Brave. (Brave Help Center) You can also earn rewards/cryptocurrency (Brave Rewards) just for browsing. (CoinMarketCap $BAT)
FireFox - Open-source ([Click here to view this link]), bocks ads and trackers using its built-in blocker (Mozilla Support), and is great in terms of privacy. (FireFox Privacy)
Google Chrome - Great of you prefer the Google ecosystem of applications and products.
Microsoft Edge (Chromium) - Great of you prefer the Microsoft ecosystem of applications and products.
Safari - Great of you prefer the Apple ecosystem of applications and products. MacOS only.
[Click here to view this link] - Chrome without Google
Firefox Forks - Delayed security updates which leave you vulnerable. (How-To Geek)
Opera - Sold to a Chinese consortium in 2016. (Engadget) Participated in predatory loan services. (Hindenburg Research)
Tor - For the privacy focused folks
Adguard - Block ads and trackers system wide.
Cryptomator - Encrypt files and store them on supported cloud services.
Bitlocker - Encrypt your device *Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, Education editions only
Veracrypt - Encrypt your device
Hope you all enjoyed this security/privacy guide! There is more to come! Peace
- B Bear