privacytools.io

You are being watched. Private and state-sponsored organizations are monitoring and recording your online activities. privacytools.io provides services, tools and knowledge to protect your privacy against global mass surveillance.

Glenn Greenwald: Why privacy matters Over the last 16 months, as I've debated this issue around the world, every single time somebody has said to me, "I don't really worry about invasions of privacy because I don't have anything to hide." I always say the same thing to them. I get out a pen, I write down my email address. I say, "Here's my email address. What I want you to do when you get home is email me the passwords to all of your email accounts, not just the nice, respectable work one in your name, but all of them, because I want to be able to just troll through what it is you're doing online, read what I want to read and publish whatever I find interesting. After all, if you're not a bad person, if you're doing nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide." Not a single person has taken me up on that offer.

The primary reason for window curtains in our house, is to stop people from being able to see in. The reason we don’t want them to see in is because we consider much of what we do inside our homes to be private. Whether that be having dinner at the table, watching a movie with your kids, or even engaging in intimate or sexual acts with your partner. None of these things are illegal by any means but even knowing this, we still keep the curtains and blinds on our windows. We clearly have this strong desire for privacy when it comes to our personal life and the public.

Read also:

Quotes

Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things... I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.

We all need places where we can go to explore without the judgmental eyes of other people being cast upon us, only in a realm where we're not being watched can we really test the limits of who we want to be. It's really in the private realm where dissent, creativity and personal exploration lie.

Global Mass Surveillance - The Fourteen Eyes

UKUSA Agreement

The UKUSA Agreement is an agreement between the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand to cooperatively collect, analyze, and share intelligence. Members of this group, known as the Five Eyes, focus on gathering and analyzing intelligence from different parts of the world. While Five Eyes countries have agreed to not spy on each other as adversaries, leaks by Snowden have revealed that some Five Eyes members monitor each other's citizens and share intelligence to avoid breaking domestic laws that prohibit them from spying on their own citizens. The Five Eyes alliance also cooperates with groups of third-party countries to share intelligence (forming the Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes), however Five Eyes and third-party countries can and do spy on each other.

Five Eyes

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. New Zealand
  4. United Kingdom
  5. United States of America

Nine Eyes

  1. Denmark
  2. France
  3. Netherlands
  4. Norway

Fourteen Eyes

  1. Belgium
  2. Germany
  3. Italy
  4. Spain
  5. Sweden

Key Disclosure Law

Who is required to hand over the encryption keys to authorities?

Mandatory key disclosure laws require individuals to turn over encryption keys to law enforcement conducting a criminal investigation. How these laws are implemented (who may be legally compelled to assist) vary from nation to nation, but a warrant is generally required. Defenses against key disclosure laws include steganography and encrypting data in a way that provides plausible deniability.

Steganography involves hiding sensitive information (which may be encrypted) inside of ordinary data (for example, encrypting an image file and then hiding it in an audio file). With plausible deniability, data is encrypted in a way that prevents an adversary from being able to prove that the information they are after exists (for example, one password may decrypt benign data and another password, used on the same file, could decrypt sensitive data).

Key disclosure laws may apply

Key disclosure laws don't apply

* (people who know how to access a system may be ordered to share their knowledge, however, this doesn't apply to the suspect itself or family members.)

Related Information

Why is it not recommended to choose a US-based service?

USA

Services based in the United States are not recommended because of the country's surveillance programs, use of National Security Letters (NSLs) and accompanying gag orders, which forbid the recipient from talking about the request. This combination allows the government to secretly force companies to grant complete access to customer data and transform the service into a tool of mass surveillance.

An example of this is Lavabit – a secure email service created by Ladar Levison. The FBI requested Snowden's records after finding out that he used the service. Since Lavabit did not keep logs and email content was stored encrypted, the FBI served a subpoena (with a gag order) for the service's SSL keys. Having the SSL keys would allow them to access communications (both metadata and unencrypted content) in real time for all of Lavabit's customers, not just Snowden's.

Ultimately, Levison turned over the SSL keys and shut down the service at the same time. The US government then threatened Levison with arrest, saying that shutting down the service was a violation of the court order.

Related Information

Recommended VPN Service

Mullvad

Mullvad EUR €60/Year

Mullvad is a fast and inexpensive VPN with a serious focus on transparency and security, they have been in operation since 2009. It is the only VPN provider that currently meets our criteria for recommendation. Mullvad is based in Sweden and does not have a free trial. Visit mullvad.net to create an account.

409+ Servers

Mullvad has 409 servers in 38 countries at the time of writing this page. Typically the more servers a provider offers, the better: With hundreds of servers in operation, you are far more likely to find a fast connection and a server geographically closest to you.

WireGuard Support

In addition to standard OpenVPN connections, Mullvad supports Wireguard. Wireguard is an experimental protocol with theoretically better security and higher reliability, although it is not currently recommended for production use.

Independently Audited

Mullvad's VPN clients have been audited by Cure53 and Assured AB in a pentest report published at cure53.de. The security researchers concluded:

...Cure53 and Assured AB are happy with the results of the audit and the software leaves an overall positive impression. With security dedication of the in-house team at the Mullvad VPN compound, the testers have no doubts about the project being on the right track from a security standpoint.

Accepts Bitcoin

Mullvad in addition to accepting credit/debit cards and PayPal, accepts Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and cash/local currency as anonymous forms of payment. They also accept Swish and bank wire transfers.

No Mobile Clients

While iOS and Android clients are reportedly in the works, mobile users will need to use a traditional OpenVPN client and configuration files, which are a bit more difficult to configure.

Extra Functionality

The Mullvad VPN clients have a built-in killswitch to block internet connections outside of the VPN. They also are able to automatically start on boot. The Mullvad website is also accessible via Tor at xcln5hkbriyklr6n.onion.

Other Providers Worth Mentioning

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN Free USD $96/year

ProtonVPN is a strong contender in the VPN space, and they have been in operation since 2016. ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland and offers a limited free pricing tier, as well as premium options. Unfortunately due to its lack of an independent security audit it does not meet the complete criteria for recommendation, see our notes below.

Not Audited

ProtonVPN has not undergone a security audit by an independent third party, and therefore cannot be strongly recommended at this time. We have still chosen to list it on this page with the assumption that an audit will be published soon:

We are currently undergoing a complete security audit of our VPN applications by a reputable Swiss security company. The results of the audit will be summarized in a public report for cases like this.

Marc Loebekken, ProtonVPN AG Legal counsel

We will reevaluate this listing at the end of 2019 or when the aforementioned report has been published, whichever is sooner.

442+ Servers

ProtonVPN has 442 servers in 33 countries at the time of writing this page. Typically the more servers a provider offers, the better: With hundreds of servers in operation, you are far more likely to find a fast connection and a server geographically closest to you.

Accepts Bitcoin

ProtonVPN does technically accept Bitcoin payments, however you either need to have an existing account, or contact their support team in advance to register with Bitcoin.

Mobile Clients

In addition to providing standard OpenVPN configuration files, ProtonVPN has mobile clients for iOS or Android allowing for easy connections to their servers.

Extra Functionality

The ProtonVPN clients have a built-in killswitch to block internet connections outside of the VPN. They also are able to automatically start on boot. ProtonVPN also offers "Tor" servers allowing you to easily connect to onion sites, but we still strongly recommend using the official Tor Browser for this purpose.

IVPN

IVPN USD $100/Year

IVPN is another strong premium VPN provider, and they have been in operation since 2009. IVPN is based in Gibraltar and offers a 3 day free trial. Unfortunately due to its lack of an independent security audit it does not meet the complete criteria for recommendation, see our notes below.

No Security Audit

IVPN has undergone a no-logging audit from Cure53 which concluded in agreement with IVPN's no-logging claim. However, IVPN has not undergone a more comprehensive security audit by an independent third party, and therefore cannot be strongly recommended at this time. We have still chosen to list it on this page with the assumption that an audit will be published soon: The IVPN team reportedly plans to begin the process in September.

We will reevaluate this listing at the end of 2019 or when the aforementioned report has been published, whichever is sooner.

70+ Servers

IVPN has 70 servers in 29 countries at the time of writing this page. Typically the more servers a provider offers, the better. IVPN has a decent (but not exceptional) server count that will most likely provide adequate coverage to most users.

Accepts Bitcoin

In addition to accepting credit/debit cards and PayPal, IVPN accepts Bitcoin and cash/local currency (on annual plans) as anonymous forms of payment.

Mobile Clients

In addition to providing standard OpenVPN configuration files, IVPN has mobile clients for iOS or Android allowing for easy connections to their servers.

Extra Functionality

The IVPN clients have a built-in killswitch to block internet connections outside of the VPN. They also are able to automatically start on boot. IVPN also provides "AntiTracker" functionality, which blocks advertising networks and trackers from the network level.

What is a warrant canary?

Warrant Canary Example

A warrant canary is a posted document stating that an organization has not received any secret subpoenas during a specific period of time. If this document fails to be updated during the specified time then the user is to assume that the service has received such a subpoena and should stop using the service.

Warrant Canary Examples:

  1. https://proxy.sh/canary
  2. https://www.ivpn.net/resources/canary.txt
  3. https://www.bolehvpn.net/canary.txt
  4. https://www.ipredator.se/static/downloads/canary.txt

Related Warrant Canary Information

Browser Recommendations For Desktop

Firefox

Firefox Firefox is fast, reliable, open source and respects your privacy. Don't forget to adjust the settings according to our recommendations: WebRTC and about:config and get the privacy add-ons.


Tor Browser - Provides Anonymity

Tor Browser - Provides Anonymity Tor Browser is your choice if you need an extra layer of anonymity. It's a modified version of Firefox ESR, which comes with pre-installed privacy add-ons, encryption and an advanced proxy. How does Tor work?


Browser Recommendations For Android

Firefox

Firefox Firefox is fast, reliable, open source and respects your privacy. Don't forget to adjust the settings according to our recommendations: WebRTC and about:config and get the privacy add-ons.


Tor Browser - Provides Anonymity

Tor Browser - Provides Anonymity Tor Browser is your choice if you need an extra layer of anonymity. It's a modified version of Firefox ESR, which comes with pre-installed privacy add-ons, encryption and an advanced proxy. How does Tor work?


Bromite

Bromite Bromite is a Chromium-based browser with security enhancement patches from GrapheneOS and built-in adblocking and DNS over HTTPS support. More info can be found here.


Worth Mentioning for Android

Browser Recommendations For iOS

Firefox

Firefox Firefox is fast, reliable, open source and respects your privacy. Note: because of limitations set by Apple in iOS, our recommended tweaks cannot be applied. However Firefox for iOS has an Enhanced Tracking Protection feature that uses a list provided by Disconnect to identify and block ad, social and analytics trackers, as well as cryptominers and fingerprinters.


Onion Browser

Onion Browser Onion Browser is an open source browser that lets you browse the web anonymously over the Tor network on iOS devices, and is endorsed by the Tor Project. Warning: there are certain anonymity related issues with Onion browser due to iOS limitations.


DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser

DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser is an open source web browser that has built-in ad and tracker blocking and utilizes ToS;DR to rate the privacy policies of the sites you visit.


Worth Mentioning for iOS

Browser Fingerprint - Is your browser configuration unique?

When you visit a web page, your browser voluntarily sends information about its configuration, such as available fonts, browser type, and add-ons. If this combination of information is unique, it may be possible to identify and track you without using cookies. EFF created a Tool called Panopticlick to test your browser to see how unique it is.

Test your Browser now

You need to find what most browsers are reporting, and then use those variables to bring your browser in the same population. This means having the same fonts, plugins, and extensions installed as the large installed base. You should have a spoofed user agent string to match what the large userbase has. You need to have the same settings enabled and disabled, such as DNT and WebGL. You need your browser to look as common as everyone else. Disabling JavaScript, using Linux, or even the TBB, will make your browser stick out from the masses.

Modern web browsers have not been architected to assure personal web privacy. Rather than worrying about being fingerprinted, it seems more practical to use free software plugins like Privacy Badger and uBlock Origin. They not only respect your freedom, but your privacy also. You can get much further with these than trying to manipulate your browser's fingerprint.

Firefox Addon: CanvasBlocker

Related Information

WebRTC IP Leak Test - Is your IP address leaking?

While software like NoScript prevents this, it's probably a good idea to block this protocol directly as well, just to be safe.

Test your Browser now

How to disable WebRTC in Firefox?

In short: Set "media.peerconnection.enabled" to "false" in "about:config".

Explained:

  1. Enter "about:config" in the firefox address bar and press enter.
  2. Press the button "I'll be careful, I promise!"
  3. Search for "media.peerconnection.enabled"
  4. Double click the entry, the column "Value" should now be "false"
  5. Done. Do the WebRTC leak test again.

If you want to make sure every single WebRTC related setting is really disabled change these settings:

  1. media.peerconnection.turn.disable = true
  2. media.peerconnection.use_document_iceservers = false
  3. media.peerconnection.video.enabled = false
  4. media.peerconnection.identity.timeout = 1

Now you can be 100% sure WebRTC is disabled.

Test your Browser again

How to fix the WebRTC Leak in Google Chrome?

WebRTC cannot be fully disabled in Chrome, however it is possible to change its routing settings (and prevent leaks) using an extension. Two open source solutions include WebRTC Leak Prevent (options may need to be changed depending on the scenario), and uBlock Origin (select "Prevent WebRTC from leaking local IP addresses" in Settings).

What about other browsers?

Chrome on iOS, Internet Explorer and Safari does not implement WebRTC yet. But we recommend using Firefox on all devices.

Recommended Browser Add-ons

uBlock Origin: Block Ads and Trackers

uBlock Origin: Block Ads and Trackers uBlock Origin is an efficient wide-spectrum-blocker that's easy on memory, and yet can load and enforce thousands more filters than other popular blockers out there. It has no monetization strategy and is completely open source.


Cookie AutoDelete: Automatically Delete Cookies

Cookie AutoDelete: Automatically Delete Cookies Cookie AutoDelete automatically removes cookies when they are no longer used by open browser tabs. With the cookies, lingering sessions, as well as information used to spy on you, will be expunged.


HTTPS Everywhere: Secure Connections

HTTPS Everywhere: Secure Connections HTTPS Everywhere encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure. A collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


Decentraleyes: Block Content Delivery Networks

Decentraleyes: Block Content Delivery Networks Decentraleyes emulates Content Delivery Networks locally by intercepting requests, finding the required resource and injecting it into the environment. This all happens instantaneously, automatically, and no prior configuration is required.


Terms of Service; Didn’t Read: Be Informed

Terms of Service; Didn’t Read: Be Informed Terms of Service; Didn’t Read “I have read and agree to the Terms” is the biggest lie on the web. This addon aims to fix that by grading websites based on their Terms of Service agreements and gives short summaries.


Snowflake

Snowflake Snowflake is a new pluggable transport from the Tor Project. If you have an uncensored connection, running this extension volunteers your connection to be used as a Snowflake proxy to help users unable to connect to the Tor network. Your IP will not be visible to the sites users visit using your proxy, as this extension will not make you an exit node. If your access to the Tor network is blocked, this extension will not assist you, and you should use the Tor Browser instead.


Privacy Badger: Stop Tracking

Privacy Badger: Stop Tracking Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web. Privacy Badger learns about trackers as you browse.


For Power Users Only

uMatrix: Stop Cross-Site Requests

uMatrix: Stop Cross-Site Requests uMatrix gives you control over the requests that websites make to other websites. Many websites integrate features which let other websites track you, such as Facebook Like Buttons or Google Analytics.


NoScript Security Suite: Be in total control

NoScript Security Suite: Be in total control NoScript is a highly customizable plugin to selectively allow JavaScript, Java, and Flash to run only on websites you trust. Not for casual users, it requires technical knowledge to configure.


Firefox: Privacy Related "about:config" Tweaks

Preparation:

  1. Enter "about:config" in the firefox address bar and press enter.
  2. Press the button "I'll be careful, I promise!"
  3. Follow the instructions below...

Getting started:

privacy.firstparty.isolate = true
A result of the Tor Uplift effort, this preference isolates all browser identifier sources (e.g. cookies) to the first party domain, with the goal of preventing tracking across different domains. (Don't do this if you are using the Firefox Addon "Cookie AutoDelete" with Firefox v58 or below.)
privacy.resistFingerprinting = true
A result of the Tor Uplift effort, this preference makes Firefox more resistant to browser fingerprinting.
privacy.trackingprotection.fingerprinting.enabled = true
[FF67+] Blocks Fingerprinting
privacy.trackingprotection.cryptomining.enabled = true
[FF67+] Blocks CryptoMining
privacy.trackingprotection.enabled = true
This is Mozilla's new built-in tracking protection. It uses Disconnect.me filter list, which is redundant if you are already using uBlock Origin 3rd party filters, therefore you should set it to false if you are using the add-on functionalities.
browser.send_pings = false
The attribute would be useful for letting websites track visitors' clicks.
browser.sessionstore.max_tabs_undo = 0
Even with Firefox set to not remember history, your closed tabs are stored temporarily at Menu -> History -> Recently Closed Tabs.
browser.urlbar.speculativeConnect.enabled = false
Disable preloading of autocomplete URLs. Firefox preloads URLs that autocomplete when a user types into the address bar, which is a concern if URLs are suggested that the user does not want to connect to. Source
dom.event.clipboardevents.enabled = false
Disable that websites can get notifications if you copy, paste, or cut something from a web page, and it lets them know which part of the page had been selected.
media.eme.enabled = false

Disables playback of DRM-controlled HTML5 content, which, if enabled, automatically downloads the Widevine Content Decryption Module provided by Google Inc. Details

DRM-controlled content that requires the Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight NPAPI plugins will still play, if installed and enabled in Firefox.

media.gmp-widevinecdm.enabled = false
Disables the Widevine Content Decryption Module provided by Google Inc., used for the playback of DRM-controlled HTML5 content. Details
media.navigator.enabled = false
Websites can track the microphone and camera status of your device.
network.cookie.cookieBehavior = 1
Disable cookies
  • 0 = Accept all cookies by default
  • 1 = Only accept from the originating site (block third-party cookies)
  • 2 = Block all cookies by default
network.http.referer.XOriginPolicy = 2
Only send Referer header when the full hostnames match. (Note: if you notice significant breakage, you might try 1 combined with an XOriginTrimmingPolicy tweak below.) Source
  • 0 = Send Referer in all cases
  • 1 = Send Referer to same eTLD sites
  • 2 = Send Referer only when the full hostnames match
network.http.referer.XOriginTrimmingPolicy = 2
When sending Referer across origins, only send scheme, host, and port in the Referer header of cross-origin requests. Source
  • 0 = Send full url in Referer
  • 1 = Send url without query string in Referer
  • 2 = Only send scheme, host, and port in Referer
Looking for TRR, DoH or ESNI?
They have moved to our DNS page.
webgl.disabled = true
WebGL is a potential security risk. Source
browser.sessionstore.privacy_level = 2
This preference controls when to store extra information about a session: contents of forms, scrollbar positions, cookies, and POST data. Details
  • 0 = Store extra session data for any site. (Default starting with Firefox 4.)
  • 1 = Store extra session data for unencrypted (non-HTTPS) sites only. (Default before Firefox 4.)
  • 2 = Never store extra session data.
network.IDN_show_punycode = true
Not rendering IDNs as their Punycode equivalent leaves you open to phishing attacks that can be very difficult to notice. Source

Firefox user.js Templates

  • ghacks-user.js - An ongoing comprehensive user.js template for configuring and hardening Firefox privacy, security and anti-fingerprinting.

Related Information

Privacy-Conscious Email Providers - No Affiliates

Email Provider Website Since Jurisdiction Storage Yearly Price Bitcoin Encryption Own Domain
Disroot WWW 2015 Netherlands 1 GB Free Accepted Built-in Yes
Kolab Now WWW 2010 Switzerland 2 GB $ 60 Accepted No Yes
mailbox.org WWW 2014 Germany 2 GB 12 € Accepted Built-in Yes
Mailfence WWW 2013 Belgium 500 MB Free Accepted Built-in Yes
Neomailbox WWW 2003 Switzerland 1 GB $ 49.95 Accepted Built-in Yes
Posteo WWW 2009 Germany 2 GB 12 € No Built-in No
Protonmail WWW Tor 2013 Switzerland 500 MB Free Accepted Built-in Yes
Runbox WWW 1999 Norway 1 GB $ 19.95 Accepted No Yes
Soverin WWW 2015 Netherlands 25 GB 29 € No No Yes
StartMail WWW 2014 Netherlands 10 GB $ 59.95 Accepted Built-in Yes
Tutanota WWW 2011 Germany 1 GB Free No Built-in Yes

Interesting Email Providers Under Development

  • Confidant Mail - An open-source non-SMTP cryptographic email system optimized for large file attachments. It is a secure and spam-resistant alternative to regular email and online file drop services. It uses GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) for content encryption and authentication, and TLS 1.2 with ephemeral keys for transport encryption.

Become Your Own Email Provider with Mail-in-a-Box

Mail-in-a-Box

Take it a step further and get control of your email with this easy-to-deploy mail server in a box. Mail-in-a-Box lets you become your own mail service provider in a few easy steps. It's sort of like making your own Gmail, but one you control from top to bottom. Technically, Mail-in-a-Box turns a fresh cloud computer into a working mail server. But you don't need to be a technology expert to set it up. More: https://mailinabox.email/

Related Information

  • Aging 'Privacy' Law Leaves Cloud E-Mail Open to Cops - Data stored in the cloud for longer than 6 months is considered abandoned and may be accessed by intelligence agencies without a warrant. Learning: Use an external email client like Thunderbird or Enigmail, download your emails and store them locally. Never leave them on the server.
  • With May First/Riseup Server Seizure, FBI Overreaches Yet Again
  • Autistici/Inventati server compromised - The cryptographic services offered by the Autistici/Inventati server have been compromised on 15th June 2004. It was discovered on 21st June 2005. One year later. During an enquiry on a single mailbox, the Postal Police may have tapped for a whole year every user's private communication going through the server autistici.org/inventati.org.

Email Clients

Thunderbird

Thunderbird Thunderbird is a free, open source, cross-platform email, newsgroup, news feed, and chat (XMPP, IRC, Twitter) client developed by community, previously by the Mozilla Foundation.


Claws Mail

Claws Mail Claws Mail is a free and open source, GTK-based email and news client. It offers easy configuration and an abundance of features. It is included with Gpg4win, an encryption suite for Windows.


Privacy Email Tools

  • gpg4usb - A very easy to use and small portable editor to encrypt and decrypt any text-message or -file. For Windows and Linux. GPG tutorial.
  • Mailvelope - A browser extension that enables the exchange of encrypted emails following the OpenPGP encryption standard.
  • Enigmail - A security extension to Thunderbird and Seamonkey. It enables you to write and receive email messages signed and/or encrypted with the OpenPGP standard.
  • TorBirdy - TorBirdy configures Thunderbird to make connections over the Tor anonymity network. This extension is in beta and should be considered experimental.
  • Email Privacy Tester - This tool will send an Email to your address and perform privacy-related tests.

Worth Mentioning

  • K-9 Mail - An independent mail application for Android. It supports both POP3 and IMAP mailboxes, but only supports push mail for IMAP.
  • GNU Privacy Guard - Email Encryption. GnuPG is a GPL Licensed alternative to the PGP suite of cryptographic software. Tutorial. Use GPGTools for macOS.
  • Mailpile (Beta) - A modern, fast web-mail client with user-friendly encryption and privacy features.

Email Alternatives

Bitmessage

Bitmessage Bitmessage is a P2P communications protocol used to send encrypted messages to another person or to many subscribers. It is decentralized and trustless, meaning that you need-not inherently trust any entities like root certificate authorities. It uses strong authentication which means that the sender of a message cannot be spoofed, and it aims to hide "non-content" data.


RetroShare

RetroShare Retroshare creates encrypted connections to your friends. Nobody can spy on you. Retroshare is completely decentralized. This means there are no central servers. It is entirely Open-Source and free. There are no costs, no ads and no Terms of Service.


Worth Mentioning

  • I2P-Bote - End-to-end encrypted decentralized mail system within the I2P network.

Privacy Respecting Search Engines

searx - Decentral

searx - Decentral An open source metasearch engine, aggregating the results of other search engines while not storing information about its users. No logs, no ads and no tracking. List of Instances or try search.privacytools.io


StartPage - Netherlands

StartPage - Netherlands Google search results, with complete privacy protection. Behind StartPage is a European company that has been obsessive about privacy since 2006.


DuckDuckGo - USA

DuckDuckGo - USA The search engine that doesn't track you. Some of DuckDuckGo's code is free software hosted at GitHub, but the core is proprietary. The company is based in the USA.


Qwant - France

Qwant - France Qwants philosophy is based on two principles: no user tracking and no filter bubble. Qwant was launched in France in February 2013. Privacy Policy.


Firefox Addon

  • Google search link fix - Firefox extension that prevents Google and Yandex search pages from modifying search result links when you click them. This is useful when copying links but it also helps privacy by preventing the search engines from recording your clicks. (Open Source)

Worth Mentioning

  • YaCy - A free software P2P search engine powered by its users.
  • Jive Search - A free software search engine with a similar look and feel to Google.
  • MetaGer - An open source metasearch engine, which is based in Germany. It focuses on protecting the user's privacy.
  • Mojeek - Independent and unbiased search results with no user tracking.

Encrypted Instant Messenger

Signal

Signal Signal is a mobile app developed by Open Whisper Systems. The app provides instant messaging, as well as voice and video calling. All communications are end-to-end encrypted. Signal is free and open source. VoIP


Wire

Wire A free software End-to-End Encrypted chatting application that supports instant messaging, voice, and video calls. Full source code is available. Warning VoIP


Complete Comparison

Worth Mentioning

  • Briar - An ultra-secure peer-to-peer instant messenger that connects to contacts via Direct Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Tor over the internet, keeping its users protected from surveillance and censorship.
  • Riot - An open-source, federated messenger that utilizes the Matrix protocol. This application is primarily recommended as a large group/team chat solution. While Riot has the ability to perform 1-on-1 communications we believe there are better solutions for direct communications.
  • RetroShare - An E2E encrypted instant messaging and voice/video call client. RetroShare supports both TOR and I2P.
  • XMPP - Federated instant messaging protocol with OMEMO, OTR, or OpenPGP end-to-end encryption:
    • Conversations (Android) - An open source Jabber/XMPP client for Android 4.4+ smartphones. OMEMO
    • Gajim (FreeBSD, Linux, Windows) - An open source fully featured XMPP client. OMEMO
    • Monal (iOS, MacOS) - An XMPP client in active development. OMEMO VoIP
    • Other OMEMO ready clients.
  • Kontalk - A community-driven instant messaging network. Supports end-to-end encryption. Both client-to-server and server-to-server channels are fully encrypted.
  • Keybase - Warning End-to-end encrypted messaging with social verification.
  • Status - Experimental A free and open-source, peer-to-peer, encrypted instant messanger with support for DAPPs.
  • Tox - Experimental A free and open-source, peer-to-peer, encrypted instant messaging and video calling software. VoIP
  • Jami (formerly Ring/SFLphone) - Gives you full control over your communications and an unmatched level of privacy. Jami has text messaging, video and audio calls, file transfer, video conferencing. VoIP

Related Information

Video/Voice Calling

Linphone

Linphone Linphone is an open source SIP Phone and a free voice over IP service, available on mobile and desktop environments and on web browsers. It supports ZRTP for end-to-end encrypted voice and video communication.


Mumble

Mumble Mumble is an open source, low-latency, high quality voice chat software primarily intended for use while gaming. Note that while Mumble doesn't log messages or record by default, it's missing end-to-end encryption, so self-hosting is recommended.


Worth Mentioning

  • Jitsi Meet - Jitsi Meet is a free and open source multiplatform voice (VoIP), videoconferencing and instant messaging application. Requires WebRTC

Related Information

Team Chat Platforms

Riot.im (Matrix)

Riot.im (Matrix) Riot.im is a federated free-software messaging application based on the Matrix protocol, a recent open protocol for real-time communication offering optional E2E encryption. It also has bridging functionality, allowing you to connect to other chat protocols such as IRC or Telegram. Experimental E2EE


Rocket.chat

Rocket.chat Rocket.chat is an self-hostable open source platform for team communication. It has optional federation and experimental E2EE. Experimental E2EE


Keybase

Keybase Keybase provides a hosted team chat with end-to-end encryption. It has also been indepedently audited (PDF). Warning


Worth Mentioning

  • Wire Pro - Paid team communication with E2EE. Untested

File Sharing

Firefox Send

Firefox Send Send uses end-to-end encryption to keep your data secure from the moment you share to the moment your file is opened. It also offers security controls that you can set. You can choose when your file link expires, the number of downloads, and whether to add an optional password for an extra layer of security.


OnionShare

OnionShare OnionShare is an open source tool that lets you securely and anonymously share a file of any size. It works by starting a web server, making it accessible as a Tor onion service, and generating an unguessable URL to access and download the files.


Magic Wormhole

Magic Wormhole Get things from one computer to another, safely. This package provides a library and a command-line tool named wormhole, which makes it possible to get arbitrary-sized files and directories (or short pieces of text) from one computer to another.


Worth Mentioning

  • croc - Easily and securely send things from one computer to another.
  • FreedomBox - Designed to be your own inexpensive server at home. It runs free software and offers an increasing number of services ranging from a calendar or jabber server to a wiki or VPN.

Encrypted Cloud Storage Services

Nextcloud - Choose your hoster

Nextcloud - Choose your hoster Similar functionally to the widely used Dropbox, with the difference being that Nextcloud is free and open-source, and thereby allowing anyone to install and operate it without charge on a private server, with no limits on storage space or the number of connected clients.


Least Authority S4 - For Experts

Least Authority S4 - For Experts S4 (Simple Secure Storage Service) is Least Authority's verifiably secure off-site backup system for individuals and businesses. 100% client-side encryption and open source transparency. 250GB for $9.95/month or 5TB for $25.95/month. Servers are hosted with Amazon S3 in the US.


Worth Mentioning

  • Cryptomator - Free client-side AES encryption for your cloud files. Open source software: No backdoors, no registration.
  • CryptPad - Free and end-to-end encrypted real time collaboration sharing folders, media, and documents.

Self-Hosted Cloud Server Software

Nextcloud

Nextcloud Similar functionally to the widely used Dropbox, with the difference being that Nextcloud is free and open-source, and thereby allowing anyone to install and operate it without charge on a private server, with no limits on storage space or the number of connected clients.


Tahoe-LAFS

Tahoe-LAFS Tahoe-LAFS is a Free and Open decentralized cloud storage system. It distributes your data across multiple servers. Even if some of the servers fail or are taken over by an attacker, the entire file store continues to function correctly, preserving your privacy and security.


Worth Mentioning

  • CryptPad - End-to-end encrypted real time collaboration sharing folders, media, and documents (open-source).

Secure Hosting Provider

Data Center: Bahnhof

Data Center: Bahnhof Bahnhof is one of Sweden’s largest network operators, founded in 1994. They specialize in innovative data center construction: Extreme security coupled with low cost green energy has made us world famous.


VPS & Domain: Njalla

VPS & Domain: Njalla Created by people from The Pirate Bay and IPredator VPN. Accepted Payments: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero, DASH, Bitcoin Cash and PayPal. A privacy-aware domain registration service and VPS provider.


Colocation: DataCell

Colocation: DataCell DataCell is a data center providing secure colocating in Switzerland and Iceland.


VPS & Hosting: Orange Website

VPS & Hosting: Orange Website Orange Website is an Icelandic web hosting provider that prides themselves in protecting online privacy and free speech.


File Sync

Syncthing

Syncthing Syncthing replaces proprietary sync and cloud services with something open, trustworthy and decentralized. Your data is your data alone and you deserve to choose where it is stored, if it is shared with some third-party and how it's transmitted over the Internet.


SparkleShare

SparkleShare SparkleShare creates a special folder on your computer. You can add remotely hosted folders (or "projects") to this folder. These projects will be automatically kept in sync with both the host and all of your peers when someone adds, removes or edits a file.


Worth Mentioning

  • git-annex - Allows managing files with git, without checking the file contents into git. While that may seem paradoxical, it is useful when dealing with files larger than git can currently easily handle, whether due to limitations in memory, time, or disk space.

Password Manager Software

Bitwarden - Cloud/Self-host

Bitwarden - Cloud/Self-host Bitwarden is a free and open source password manager. It aims to solve password management problems for individuals, teams, and business organizations. Bitwarden is among the easiest and safest solutions to store all of your logins and passwords while conveniently keeping them synced between all of your devices. If you don't want to use the Bitwarden cloud, you can easily host your own Bitwarden server.


KeePassXC - Local

KeePassXC - Local KeePassXC is a community fork of KeePassX, a native cross-platform port of KeePass Password Safe, with the goal to extend and improve it with new features and bugfixes to provide a feature-rich, fully cross-platform and modern open-source password manager.


LessPass - Browser

LessPass - Browser LessPass is a free and open source password manager that generates unique passwords for websites, email accounts, or anything else based on a master password and information you know. No sync needed. Uses PBKDF2 and SHA-256. It's advised to use the browser addons for more security.


Worth Mentioning

  • Master Password - Master Password is based on an ingenious password generation algorithm that guarantees your passwords can never be lost. Its passwords aren't stored: they are generated on-demand from your name, the site, and your master password. No syncing, backups, or internet access needed.
  • Psono - Free and open source password manager for teams with client side encryption and secure sharing of passwords, files, bookmarks, emails. All secrets are protected by a master password. Uses NACL Crypto, a combination of Curve25519, Salsa20 and Poly1305.
  • Password Safe - Whether the answer is one or hundreds, Password Safe allows you to safely and easily create a secured and encrypted username/password list. With Password Safe all you have to do is create and remember a single "Master Password" of your choice in order to unlock and access your entire username/password list.

Related Information

Calendar and Contacts Sync

Nextcloud

Nextcloud Nextcloud is a suite of client-server software for creating and using file hosting services. This includes calendar sync via CalDAV and contacts sync via CardDAV. Nextcloud is free and open-source, thereby allowing anyone to install and operate it without charge on a private server.


Email Providers

Email Providers Many email providers also offer calendar and or contacts sync services. Refer to the Email Providers section to choose an email provider and check if they also offer calendar and or contacts sync.


EteSync

EteSync EteSync is a secure, end-to-end encrypted and journaled personal information (e.g. contacts and calendar) cloud synchronization and backup for Android and any OS that supports CalDAV/CardDAV. It costs $14 per year to use, or you can host the server yourself for free.


Worth Mentioning

  • fruux - a unified contacts/calendaring system that works across platforms and devices.
  • cloud backups - consider regularly exporting your calendar and or contacts and backing them up on a separate storage drive or uploading them to cloud storage (ideally after encrypting them).

File Encryption Software

VeraCrypt - Disk Encryption

VeraCrypt - Disk Encryption VeraCrypt is a source-available freeware utility used for on-the-fly encryption. It can create a virtual encrypted disk within a file or encrypt a partition or the entire storage device with pre-boot authentication. VeraCrypt is a fork of the discontinued TrueCrypt project. It was initially released on June 22, 2013. According to its developers, security improvements have been implemented and issues raised by the initial TrueCrypt code audit have been addressed.


GNU Privacy Guard - Email Encryption

GNU Privacy Guard - Email Encryption GnuPG is a GPL Licensed alternative to the PGP suite of cryptographic software. GnuPG is compliant with RFC 4880, which is the current IETF standards track specification of OpenPGP. Current versions of PGP (and Veridis' Filecrypt) are interoperable with GnuPG and other OpenPGP-compliant systems. GnuPG is a part of the Free Software Foundation's GNU software project, and has received major funding from the German government.


PeaZip - File Archive Encryption

PeaZip - File Archive Encryption PeaZip is a free and open-source file manager and file archiver made by Giorgio Tani. It supports its native PEA archive format (featuring compression, multi volume split and flexible authenticated encryption and integrity check schemes) and other mainstream formats, with special focus on handling open formats. It supports 180+ archive formats.


Worth Mentioning

  • Cryptomator - Free client-side AES encryption for your cloud files. Open source software: No backdoors, no registration.
  • DiskCryptor - A full disk and partition encryption system for Windows including the ability to encrypt the partition and disk on which the OS is installed.
  • Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) - A full disk encryption system for Linux using dm-crypt as the disk encryption backend. Included by default in Ubuntu. Available for Windows and Linux.
  • Hat.sh - A cross-platform, serverless JavaScript web application that provides secure file encryption using the AES-256-GCM algorithm in your browser. It can also be downloaded and run offline.
  • Keka - A macOS-only, open-source file archiver with the ability to encrypt files.

Self-contained Networks

Tor

Tor The Tor network is a group of volunteer-operated servers that allows people to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Tor's users employ this network by connecting through a series of virtual tunnels rather than making a direct connection, thus allowing both organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy. Tor is an effective censorship circumvention tool.

torproject.org Tor

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android (Tor Browser, Proxy other apps with Orbot), OpenBSD.

I2P Anonymous Network

I2P Anonymous Network The Invisible Internet Project (I2P) is a computer network layer that allows applications to send messages to each other pseudonymously and securely. Uses include anonymous Web surfing, chatting, blogging and file transfers. The software that implements this layer is called an I2P router and a computer running I2P is called an I2P node. The software is free and open source and is published under multiple licenses.

geti2p.net

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, BSD / Solaris.

The Freenet Project

The Freenet Project Freenet is a peer-to-peer platform for censorship-resistant communication. It uses a decentralized distributed data store to keep and deliver information, and has a suite of free software for publishing and communicating on the Web without fear of censorship. Both Freenet and some of its associated tools were originally designed by Ian Clarke, who defined Freenet's goal as providing freedom of speech on the Internet with strong anonymity protection.

freenetproject.org

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux.

Related Information

Worth Mentioning

  • ZeroNet - Open, free and uncensorable websites, using Bitcoin cryptography and BitTorrent network.
  • RetroShare - Open Source cross-platform, Friend-2-Friend and secure decentralized communication platform.
  • GNUnet - GNUnet provides a strong foundation of free software for a global, distributed network that provides security and privacy.
  • IPFS and IPFS Companion- A peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol to make the web faster, safer, and more open. IPFS Companion is a browser extension for redirecting queries to a gateway of your choice (generally local). Important privacy warning
  • Yggdrasil - An early-stage implementation of a fully end-to-end encrypted IPv6 network. It is lightweight, self-arranging, supported on multiple platforms and allows pretty much any IPv6-capable application to communicate securely with other Yggdrasil nodes. Yggdrasil does not require you to have IPv6 Internet connectivity - it also works over IPv4. experimental privacy warning

Decentralized Social Networks

Mastodon - Twitter Alternative

Mastodon - Twitter Alternative Mastodon is a social network based on open web protocols and free, open-source software. It is decentralized like e-mail. It also has the most users, and the most diverse (in terms of interests) users, looks good, and is easy to setup. Feel welcome to join our hosted instance: social.privacytools.io


diaspora* - Google+ Alternative

diaspora* - Google+ Alternative diaspora* is based on three key philosophies: Decentralization, freedom and privacy. It is intended to address privacy concerns related to centralized social networks by allowing users set up their own server (or "pod") to host content; pods can then interact to share status updates, photographs, and other social data.


Friendica - Facebook Alternative

Friendica - Facebook Alternative Friendica has an emphasis on extensive privacy settings and easy server installation. It aims to federate with as many other social networks as possible. Currently, Friendica users can integrate contacts from Facebook, Twitter, Diaspora, GNU social, App.net, Pump.io and other services in their social streams.


PixelFed - Instagram Alternative

PixelFed - Instagram Alternative A free and ethical photo sharing platform, powered by ActivityPub federation. Pixelfed is an open-source, federated platform. You can run your own instance or join one.


GNU social - Twitter Alternative

GNU social - Twitter Alternative A social communication software for both public and private communications. It is widely supported and has a large userbase. It is already used by the Free Software Foundation.


Worth Mentioning

  • Minds - An open source and distributed social networking service, integrating the blockchain to reward the community.
  • Movim - Federated social platform that relies on the XMPP standard and therefore allows you to exchange with many other clients on all devices.

Related Information

  • Mastodon: Simplified Federation - Firefox Extension to improve usability for remote Mastodon instances.
  • JustDeleteMe - A directory of direct links to delete your account from web services.
  • Forget - A service that automatically deletes your old posts on Twitter and Mastodon that everyone has forgotten about.

Facebook Related

Social News Aggregators

Aether

Aether Free/libre and open source decentralized social news aggregator with a built in voting system.


Tildes

Tildes Tildes is a web-based self-hostable online bulletin board. It is licensed under GPL 3.0.


Raddle

Raddle Raddle is a public Postmill instance focused on privacy and anti-censorship.


Worth Mentioning

Domain Name System (DNS)

Njalla - Domain Registration

Njalla - Domain Registration Njalla only needs your email or XMPP address in order to register a domain name for you. Created by people from The Pirate Bay and IPredator VPN. Accepted Payments: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero, DASH, Bitcoin Cash and PayPal. A privacy-aware domain registration service.


DNSCrypt-Proxy - Tool

DNSCrypt-Proxy - Tool DNSCrypt-Proxy is a command-line DNS proxy with support for the encrypted DNS protocols, DNS over HTTPS and DNSCrypt. Can cache results to improve speed, and allows filtering, forwarding, and cloaking.


Encrypted ICANN DNS Providers

ICANN DNS Provider Server Locations Privacy Policy Type Logging Protocols DNSSEC QNAME Minimization Filtering Source Code Hosting Provider
AdGuard Anycast (based in Cyprus) WWW Commercial No DoH, DoT, DNSCrypt Yes Yes Ads, trackers, malicious domains WWW Serveroid, LLC
BlahDNS Switzerland, Japan, Germany WWW Hobby Project No DoH, DoT , DNSCrypt Yes Yes Ads, trackers, malicious domains WWW Choopa, LLC, Data Center Light, Hetzner Online GmbH
Cloudflare Anycast (based in US) WWW Commercial Some DoH, DoT, DNSCrypt Yes Yes No ? Self
CZ.NIC Czech Republic WWW Association No DoH, DoT Yes Yes ? ? Self
dnswarden Germany WWW Hobby Project No DoH, DoT , DNSCrypt Yes Yes Based on server choice ? Hetzner Online GmbH
Foundation for Applied Privacy Austria WWW Non-Profit Some DoH, DoT Yes Yes No ? IPAX OG
NextDNS Anycast (based in US) WWW Commercial Based on user choice DoH, DoT, DNSCrypt Yes Yes Based on server choice ? Self
NixNet Anycast (based in US), US, Luxembourg WWW Informal collective No DoH, DoT Yes Yes Based on server choice WWW FranTech Solutions
PowerDNS The Netherlands WWW Hobby Project No DoH Yes No No WWW TransIP B.V. Admin
Quad9 Anycast (based in US) WWW Non-Profit Some DoH, DoT, DNSCrypt Yes Yes Malicious domains ? Self, Packet Clearing House
SecureDNS The Netherlands WWW Hobby Project No DoH, DoT, DNSCrypt Yes Yes Based on server choice ? DigitalOcean, Inc.
Snopyta Finland WWW Informal collective No DoH, DoT Yes Yes No ? Hetzner Online GmbH
UncensoredDNS Anycast (based in Denmark), Denmark, US WWW Hobby Project No DoT Yes No No ? Self, Telia Company AB

Terms

  • DNS-over-TLS (DoT) - A security protocol for encrypted DNS on a dedicated port 853. Some providers support port 443 which generally works everywhere while port 853 is often blocked by restrictive firewalls. DoT has two modes:
    • Oppurtunistic mode: the client attempts to form a DNS-over-TLS connection to the server on port 853 without performing certificate validation. If it fails, it will use unencrypted DNS.
    • Strict mode: the client connects to a specific hostname and performs certificate validation for it. If it fails, no DNS queries are made until it succeeds.
  • DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) - Similar to DoT, but uses HTTPS instead, being indistinguishable from "normal" HTTPS traffic on port 443.
  • DNSCrypt - An older yet robust method of encrypting DNS.

How to verify DNS is encrypted

Worth Mentioning and Additional Information

Digital Notebook

Joplin

Joplin Joplin is a free, open source, fully featured note taking and to-do application, which can handle a large number of markdown notes organized into notebooks and tags. It offers E2EE encryption and can sync through Nextcloud, Dropbox and more. It also offers easy import from Evernote and plain text notes.


Standard Notes

Standard Notes Standard Notes is a simple and private notes app that makes your notes easy and available everywhere you are. Features end-to-end encryption on every platform, and a powerful desktop experience with themes and custom editors.


Turtl

Turtl Turtl lets you take notes, bookmark websites, and store documents for sensitive projects. From sharing passwords with your coworkers to tracking research on an article you're writing, Turtl keeps it all safe from everyone but you and those you share with.


Warning

  • Note: As of Dec 2018, Joplin does not support password/pin protection for the application itself or individual notes/notebooks. Data is still encrypted in transit and at sync location using your master key. See open issue.

Worth Mentioning

  • Notable - The markdown-based note-taking app that doesn't suck.
  • Paperwork - Open source and self-hosted solution. For PHP / MySQL servers.
  • Org-mode - A major mode for GNU Emacs. Org-mode is for keeping notes, maintaining TODO lists, planning projects, and authoring documents with a fast and effective plain-text system.

Pastebin Services

PrivateBin

PrivateBin PrivateBin is a minimalist, open source online pastebin where the server has zero knowledge of pasted data. Data is encrypted/decrypted in the browser using 256bit AES. It is the improved version of ZeroBin.


CryptPad

CryptPad CryptPad is an open source, zero knowledge, realtime collaborative editor. Data is encrypted/decrypted in the browser using 256bit AES.


Productivity Tools

CryptPad

CryptPad CryptPad is a private-by-design alternative to popular office tools and cloud services. All content is end-to-end encrypted. It is free and open source, enabling anyone to verify its security by auditing the code. The development team is supported by donations and grants. No registration is required, and it can be used anonymously via Tor Browser.


Etherpad

Etherpad Etherpad is a highly customizable open source online editor providing collaborative editing in real-time. Here are a list of sites that run Etherpad.


Write.as

Write.as Write.as is a cross-platform, privacy-oriented blogging platform. It's anonymous by default, letting you publish without signing up. If you create an account, it doesn't require any personal information. No ads, distraction-free, and built on a sustainable business model.


Worth Mentioning

  • Cryptee - Free privacy-friendly service for storing Documents, files and Photos
  • EtherCalc - EtherCalc is a web spreadsheet. Data is saved on the web, and people can edit the same document at the same time. Changes are instantly reflected on all screens. Work together on inventories, survey forms, list management, brainstorming sessions.
  • Disroot - Free privacy-friendly service that offers Etherpad, EtherCalc and PrivateBin.
  • dudle - An online scheduling application, free and open source. Schedule meetings or make small online polls. No email collection or the need of registration.
  • Framadate - A free and open source online service for planning an appointment or making a decision quickly and easily. No registration is required.
  • LibreOffice - Free and open source office suite.
  • VSCodium - Fork of Microsoft's Visual Studio Code editor without branding or telemetry.

Metadata Removal Tools

MAT2

MAT2 MAT2 is free software, which allows the removal of metadata of image, audio, torrent, and document file types. It provides both a command line tool and a graphical user interface via an extension for Nautilus, the default file manager of GNOME.


PC Operating Systems

Qubes OS Xen

Qubes OS Qubes is an open-source operating system designed to provide strong security for desktop computing. Qubes is based on Xen, the X Window System, and Linux, and can run most Linux applications and utilize most of the Linux drivers. contrib


Fedora Workstation GNU/Linux

Fedora Workstation Fedora is a Linux distribution developed by the Fedora Project and sponsored by Red Hat. Fedora Workstation is a secure, reliable, and user-friendly edition developed for desktops and laptops, using GNOME as the default desktop environment. contrib


Debian GNU/Linux

Debian Debian is a Unix-like computer operating system and a Linux distribution that is composed entirely of free and open-source software, most of which is under the GNU General Public License, and packaged by a group of individuals known as the Debian project.


Worth Mentioning

  • OpenBSD BSD - A project that produces a free, multi-platform 4.4BSD-based UNIX-like operating system. Emphasizes portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security and integrated cryptography.
  • Arch Linux GNU/Linux contrib - A simple, lightweight Linux distribution. It is composed predominantly of free and open-source software, and supports community involvement. Parabola is a completely open source version of Arch Linux.
  • Trisquel GNU/Linux - Derived from Ubuntu, this project aims for a fully free software system without proprietary software or firmware and uses Linux-libre, a version of the Linux kernel with the non-free code (binary blobs) removed.
  • Whonix GNU/Linux - A Debian-based security-focused Linux distribution. It aims to provide privacy, security and anonymity on the internet. The operating system consists of two virtual machines, a "Workstation" and a Tor "Gateway". All communication are forced through the Tor network to accomplish this.

Warning

Remember to check CPU vulnerability mitigations

This also affects Windows 10, but it doesn't expose this information or mitigation instructions as easily. MacOS users check How to enable full mitigation for Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) vulnerabilities on Apple Support.

When running a enough recent Linux kernel, you can check the CPU vulnerabilities it detects by tail -n +1 /sys/devices/system/cpu/vulnerabilities/*. By using tail -n +1 instead of cat, the file names are also visible.

In case you have an Intel CPU, you may notice "SMT vulnerable" display after running the tail command. To mitigate this, disable hyper-threading from the UEFI/BIOS. You can also take the following mitigation steps below if your system/distribution uses GRUB and supports /etc/default/grub.d/:

  1. sudo mkdir /etc/default/grub.d/ to create a directory for additional grub configuration
  2. echo GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="$GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT l1tf=full,force mds=full,nosmt mitigations=auto,nosmt nosmt=force" | sudo tee /etc/default/grub.d/mitigations.cfg to create a new grub config file source with the echoed content
  3. sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg to generate a new grub config file including these new kernel boot flags
  4. sudo reboot to reboot
  5. after the reboot, check tail -n +1 /sys/devices/system/cpu/vulnerabilities/* again to see that everything referring to SMT now says "SMT disabled."
Further reading

Live CD Operating Systems

Tails GNU/Linux

Tails Tails is a live operating system, that starts on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving privacy and anonymity, and helps to: Use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship; Internet connections go through the Tor network; leave no trace on the computer; use state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt files, emails and instant messaging. contrib


KNOPPIX GNU/Linux

KNOPPIX Knoppix is an operating system based on Debian designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD (Live CD) or a USB flash drive (Live USB), one of the first of its kind for any operating system. When starting a program, it is loaded from the removable medium and decompressed into a RAM drive. The decompression is transparent and on-the-fly. contrib


Puppy Linux GNU/Linux

Puppy Linux Puppy Linux operating system is a lightweight Linux distribution that focuses on ease of use and minimal memory footprint. The entire system can be run from RAM with current versions generally taking up about 210 MB, allowing the boot medium to be removed after the operating system has started. contrib


Worth Mentioning

  • Tiny Core Linux GNU/Linux contrib - A minimal Linux operating system focusing on providing a base system using BusyBox and FLTK. The distribution is notable for its size (15 MB) and minimalism, with additional functionality provided by extensions.

Mobile Operating Systems

GrapheneOS AOSP

GrapheneOS GrapheneOS (formerly known as CopperheadOS) is a free and open-source security and privacy focused mobile operating system built on top of the Android Open Source Project. It currently specifically targets devices offering strong hardware security. contrib


LineageOS AOSP

LineageOS LineageOS is a free and open-source operating system for smartphones and tablets, based on the official releases of the Android Open Source Project. It is the continuation of the CyanogenMod project. contrib


Ubuntu Touch GNU/Linux

Ubuntu Touch Ubuntu Touch is a free and open-source operating system for smartphones and tablets. It's an alternative to the current popular mobile operating systems on the market. Only a few devices are supported. contrib


Worth Mentioning

  • Replicant AOSP - An open-source operating system based on Android, aiming to replace all proprietary components with free software.
  • OmniROM AOSP contrib - A free software operating system for smartphones and tablet computers, based on the Android mobile platform.
  • MicroG Add-on Package contrib - A project that aims to reimplement the proprietary Google Play Services in the Android operating system with a FLOSS replacement. The microG project also maintains a fork of LineageOS with microG and F-Droid preinstalled at Lineage for microG.

Android Privacy Add-ons

NetGuard

Control your traffic with NetGuard

NetGuard provides simple and advanced ways to block certain apps' access to the internet without the help of root privileges. Applications and addresses can individually be allowed or denied access to your Wi-Fi and/or mobile connection, allowing you to control which apps are able to call home or not.

Orbot

Tor for Android with Orbot

Orbot is a free proxy app that empowers other apps to use the internet more securely. Orbot uses Tor to encrypt your Internet traffic and then hides it by bouncing through a series of computers around the world. Root Mode: Orbot can be configured to transparently proxy all of your Internet traffic through Tor. You can also choose which specific apps you want to use through Tor.

See also

  • Our DNS page which also has information on encrypting DNS on Android.

Open Source Router Firmware

OpenWrt Linux

OpenWrt OpenWrt is an operating system (in particular, an embedded operating system) based on the Linux kernel, primarily used on embedded devices to route network traffic. The main components are the Linux kernel, util-linux, uClibc and BusyBox. All components have been optimized for size, to be small enough for fitting into the limited storage and memory available in home routers. contrib


pfSense BSD

pfSense pfSense is an open source firewall/router computer software distribution based on FreeBSD. It is installed on a computer to make a dedicated firewall/router for a network and is noted for its reliability and offering features often only found in expensive commercial firewalls. pfSense is commonly deployed as a perimeter firewall, router, wireless access point, DHCP server, DNS server, and as a VPN endpoint. contrib


LibreCMC GNU/Linux

LibreCMC LibreCMC is a GNU/Linux-libre distribution for computers with minimal resources, such as the Ben Nanonote, ath9k-based Wi-Fi routers, and other hardware with emphasis on free software. The project's current goal is to aim for compliance with the GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines (GNU FSDG) and ensure that the project continues to meet these requirements set forth by the Free Software Foundation (FSF).


Worth Mentioning

  • OpenBSD BSD - A project that produces a free, multi-platform 4.4BSD-based UNIX-like operating system. Emphasizes portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security and integrated cryptography.
  • DD-WRT Linux contrib - A is Linux-based firmware for wireless routers and wireless access points. It is compatible with several models of routers and access points.

Don't use Windows 10 - It's a privacy nightmare

Windows 10 Privacy
  1. Data syncing is by default enabled.
    • Browsing history and open websites.
    • Apps settings.
    • WiFi hotspot names and passwords.
  2. Your device is by default tagged with a unique advertising ID.
    • Used to serve you with personalized advertisements by third-party advertisers and ad networks.
  3. Cortana can collect any of your data.
    • Your keystrokes, searches and mic input.
    • Calendar data.
    • Music you listen to.
    • Credit Card information.
    • Purchases.
  4. Microsoft can collect any personal data.
    • Your identity.
    • Passwords.
    • Demographics.
    • Interests and habits.
    • Usage data.
    • Contacts and relationships.
    • Location data.
    • Content like emails, instant messages, caller list, audio and video recordings.
  5. Your data can be shared.
    • When downloading Windows 10, you are authorizing Microsoft to share any of above-mentioned data with any third-party, with or without your consent.

Download: W10Privacy

This tool uses some known methods that attempt to disable major tracking features in Windows 10.

Related Information

  • Microsoft Privacy Statement - Microsoft collects, uses and discloses personal information as described here. This allows One Drive data, Cortana searches and MS browser history to be sold to third parties.
  • Cortana and privacy - To personalize your experience and provide the best possible suggestions, Cortana accesses your email and other communications and collects data about your contacts (People), like their title, suffix, first name, last name, middle name, nicknames, and company name. If you call, email, or text someone or they call, email, or text you, Cortana collects that person’s email address or phone number.

More Privacy Resources

Guides

Information

  • Freedom of the Press Foundation - Supporting and defending journalism dedicated to transparency and accountability since 2012.
  • Erfahrungen.com - German review aggregator website of privacy-related services.
  • Open Wireless Movement - a coalition of Internet freedom advocates, companies, organizations, and technologists working to develop new wireless technologies and to inspire a movement of Internet openness.
  • privacy.net - What does the US government know about you?
  • r/privacytoolsIO Wiki - Our Wiki on reddit.com.
  • Security Now! - Weekly Internet Security Podcast by Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte.
  • TechSNAP - Weekly Systems, Network, and Administration Podcast. Every week TechSNAP covers the stories that impact those of us in the tech industry.
  • Terms of Service; Didn't Read - "I have read and agree to the Terms" is the biggest lie on the web. We aim to fix that.
  • The Great Cloudwall - Critique and information on why to avoid Cloudflare, a big company with a huge portion of the internet behind it.

Tools

  • ipleak.net - IP/DNS Detect - What is your IP, what is your DNS, what informations you send to websites.
  • The ultimate Online Privacy Test Resource List - A collection of Internet sites that check whether your web browser leaks information.
  • PRISM Break - We all have a right to privacy, which you can exercise today by encrypting your communications and ending your reliance on proprietary services.
  • Security in-a-Box - A guide to digital security for activists and human rights defenders throughout the world.
  • SecureDrop - An open-source whistleblower submission system that media organizations can use to securely accept documents from and communicate with anonymous sources. It was originally created by the late Aaron Swartz and is currently managed by Freedom of the Press Foundation.
  • Reset The Net - Privacy Pack - Help fight to end mass surveillance. Get these tools to protect yourself and your friends.
  • Security First - Umbrella is an Android app that provides all the advice needed to operate safely in a hostile environment.
  • Osalt - A directory to help you find open source alternatives to proprietary tools.
  • AlternativeTo - A directory to help find alternatives to other software, with the option to only show open source software

Note: Just being open source does not make software secure!

It's important for a website like privacytools.io to stay up-to-date. Keep an eye on software updates for the applications listed on our site. Follow recent news about providers that we recommend. We try our best to keep up, but we're not perfect and the internet is changing fast. If you find an error, or you think a provider should not be listed here, or a qualified service provider is missing, or a browser plugin is not the best choice anymore, or anything else... Talk to us please. You can also find us on our own Mastodon instance or on Matrix at #general:privacytools.io.

Discourse & Reddit

Discourse & Reddit Join our Discourse community to stay up to date on privacy news or make suggestions!

Follow on Mastodon & Twitter

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Develop on GitHub

The complete website source code is available on GitHub. Join our developer team!

This is a community project aiming to deliver the best information available to improve privacy online. Thank you for participating. This project needs you.