Documenting Human Rights Violations in Challenging Environments

How to Protect your Files: Encryption

Encrypting your files is like placing them in a safe. Only people that have the key to the safe can access your files. You can use a number of tools to create a virtual “safe” for your communications, including TrueCrypt. Use this program to encrypt part of your computer’s hard drive or flash drive.

Make sure your files are encrypted before you let anyone else handle your computer; put your computer to sleep; walk away from your computer for a period of time; or, insert an untrusted USB memory stick or other external storage device into your computer.

Improve Phone Safety

What are the dangers of using a mobile phone?

  • Your phone may give out information about your location.
  • If someone gains access to your phone, they have unlimited access to texts, calls, and the phone numbers of your contacts. They can easily pretend to be you and pose a danger to your contacts.
  • Your phone stores all sorts of data that is difficult to hide such as call history, text messages (sent and received), address book information, photos, video clips and text files.
  • Operating systems are custom-made for networks. They can include hidden monitoring tools.
  • Mobile networks are commercial entities that can be under government’s control.

How can I use my phone safely?

  • Have a password, keep it secret and change the factory settings.
  • Keep it with you at all times.
  • Don’t carry sensitive information in your phone. If you do, save it to a Sim card and not to the phone itself. Take out the Sim card and hide it elsewhere if you feel unsafe or are in a vulnerable location.
  • Use trusted repair shops.
  • Turn it off and take out the battery to avoid GPS tracking.
  • Create a code system if you are texting potentially vulnerable contacts.
  • Delete your history log.