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Sunday, October 13, 2019

NCS Month 2019 #2: Resources

Welcome back to National Cyber Security Month. If you'd like to read my other NCS Month posts, you can find them here.

Last week, I offered my regular reminder to change your passwords (if you can't remember the last time you did so, then it's time) and my recommendations for securely storing your passwords if you find yourself struggling to remember them.

This week, we're talking about where you can find responsible programs, apps, and websites.

In the past, I've lauded PRISM-break.org, which was then and still is a fantastic resource for finding tools and programs to do what you always do but don't share your personal information internally or externally. However, their primary focus is surveillance avoidance, and there may be other things you might find worth considering when choosing a utility or platform.

Ethical.net has their own list of recommendations. These, rather than focusing on data security instead focus on business sustainability (yes, I know it's not National Sustainability Month, and Earth Day is in April).

You can find recommendations on:
  • web browsers (Firefox, plus a couple others that you probably haven't heard of), 
  • search engines (DuckDuckGo is almost as good as Google, minus the whole tracking-every-search-everyone-makes-so-they-know-what-you're-looking-for-before-you-finish-typing-your-query thing), 
  • email services (Thunderbird is great for most people, Proton is great for those with security concerns), 
  • instant messaging (I've talked about Signal and Tox before, but there are loads of others), 
  • office work (I use LibreOffice myself)
  • social media (hey look, Scuttlebutt!)
  • and a wide range of other categories 
What you won't find on Ethical.net or PRISM-break.org is Facebook or Twitter or Google or Tumblr, and for good reason. Though some of the tools and services on Ethical's lists use Google's servers for sustainability (they may make money off your data, but at least they have a commitment (for now) to endeavor to use renewable power for their data centres).

Finally, many of the recommendations on Ethical are the same as PRISM-break's, which helps to show that you don't have to sacrifice security for sustainability, or vice versa; and also lends credence to their suggestions.