I listed Waiting for the Barbarians earlier today on a list of Sites You Should be Reading, and there’s a new post up that proves I was right about it being a must-read site. It’s an excellent list of software you should be using, and he takes the time to go into the pros and cons of each piece of software. If you care at all about your privacy (and you should), then you need to read it and then put it into practice.
Operating Systems: Obviously Linux wins that round. He doesn’t mention Kali Linux or Qubes (the two operating systems I currently run), but the ones he mentions are excellent for beginners and can do anything you need done.
Internet Browsers: The obvious choice here is Tor, as he mentions. He also explains the cons to using Tor:
As stated previously, the Tor network does not provide perfect anonymity. (Nothing does.) Using Tor to surf the Darkweb may also compromise your anonymity. Because traffic is bounced all over the world before arriving at its destination, using Tor is noticeably slower than using a traditional web browser. The current version of Tor is not perfectly stable, and is prone to crashing when large numbers of tabs are loaded.
He goes on to discuss chat programs and much more. I’m not sure that I’d agree wholeheartedly with his assessment of ChatSecure as worth using; a 2015 security audit found serious issues. That being said, most of the issues were addressed very quickly, and the program may be much better now. I’ll have to take another look at it; in the meantime, I’d say use with caution (which is basically what you should be doing with any app).
I do find his assessment of Signal to be spot on. While Signal has been a solid solution for some time, the recent vulnerabilities and its Google dependency is making me rethink its use for anything truly sensitive. At this point, I would have to say Unseen is the better client.
He has several other tips and I highly suggest you read the whole thing. One more point I wanted to make: Iron sharpens iron. We have to be able to learn from each other; his article pointed out something I wasn’t aware of, and I’m glad he pointed it out. This is part of why you need to be doing your own research. We all may miss things. We need to be able to fill those knowledge gaps.