These Are Edward Snowden's Favorite Security Tools (That Anyone Can Use)

 

November 30, 2016 at 3:15 PM

In a recent interview, Edward Snowden unveiled his top three security tools that he uses all the time to protect his communications and devices against surveillance and hacking. These include the VPNTunnel service, the Signal private messenger and Off-The-Record (OTR) encryption protocol.

In a recent interview, Edward Snowden unveiled his top three security tools that he uses all the time to protect his communications and devices against surveillance and hacking. These include the VPNTunnel service, the Signal private messenger and Off-The-Record (OTR) encryption protocol.

VPN

Why do you need VPN? Answers is here:

  • Access Blocked Websites & Avoid Geographical Restrictions: VPN allows a user to access blocked websites and circumvent geographical restrictions.
  • Online Security & Privacy: Using VPN also increases online security and privacy of the user over the Internet.
  • Anonymous Browsing: VPN service enables a user to browse through the Internet completely anonymously.
  • Public WiFi Security: A VPN increases the security when connected to a public WiFi network.
  • Secure Connection to Remote Networks: VPNs also allow users to connect to remote network securely.

Put simply, a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a group of computers (or discrete networks) networked together over a public network—namely, the internet. Businesses use VPNs to connect remote datacenters, and individuals can use VPNs to get access to network resources when they're not physically on the same LAN (local area network), or as a method for securing and encrypting their communications when they're using an untrusted public network.

When you connect to a VPN, you usually launch a VPN client on your computer (or click a link on a special website), log in with your credentials, and your computer exchanges trusted keys with a far away server. Once both computers have verified each other as authentic, all of your internet communication is encrypted and secured from eavesdropping.

The most important thing you need to know about a VPN: It secures your computer's internet connection to guarantee that all of the data you're sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes.

If we take a look at Snowden's favorite VPN service provider, we will notice the following things:

Vpntunnel is one of the well known Brands on the web.

  1. It is using 2048 encryption key, which is almost impossible to hack.
  2. It has more than 100 servers in 24 Countries.
  3. It is very simple in use and supports all Devices and OS.
  4. It has one of the cheapest price on VPN market - just 2,99 Euro per month.

Signal

Signal, which launched originally as TextSecure and RedPhone on the Android platform and then came to iOS, and more recently Android as well, is Snowden's and other security experts' end-to-end encrypted messenger of choice.

Thanks to its default end-to-end encryption, ease of use, asynchronous capabilities (which allows for messages to be sent even after the recipient goes offline), group end-to-end encryption, encrypted call support, and a

well-respected team of cryptographers behind it, many believe it's the state-of-the-art in private communications right now.

Its text encryption protocol has already been adopted by Silent Circle in its Silent Phone app, and Whatsapp (although Whatsapp doesn't let users verify each other cryptographically, which means the encryption could be easily removed either by Whatsapp itself or a man-in-the-middle attack, without the users knowing about it).

Signal is also open source, unlike Silent Phone and Whatsapp, which makes it harder for potential backdoors to hide in the code. The app currently exists only on Android and iOS, but a Chrome extension will come soon, too.

OTR

Off-The-Record (OTR), not to be confused with Google Hangouts' own "Off The Record," which has nothing to do with the encryption mechanism employed by OTR here, and may or may not keep remnants of people's communications on Google's servers, has been the end-to-end encryption protocol of choice for the past decade, before Signal arrived.

OTR is one of the encryption protocols that also poses major problems to the NSA and law enforcement because they can't crack it, according to some leaked documents unveiled last year by Jacob Appelbaum from the Tor Project.

It was designed to be a more modular protocol that can be integrated as a plugin into many different instant messengers, both on desktop and mobile. Although this gives OTR great flexibility, in practice it also means that it could be supported by messengers that besides using OTR, have otherwise weak security and are vulnerable to attacks.

In other words, not all OTR clients are created equal, and if you use an IM that uses OTR, then you should pick one that's also serious about security in general. Apps that can use Tor include ChatSecure on mobile and Tor Messenger on the desktop.

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