The Most Secure Software for Everyday Use

Below are my personal top picks for secure and private productivity software/tools. I’ve provided some details on how I decided on my picks, and how to use this list, but there is little rationale provided for the individual selections (which is just way beyond the scope of what I’m trying to provide here).  For a quick and easy way to dig into digital privacy I strongly recommend

How I decided: Ease of use, feature-richness, security/privacy, being cross platform, and cost were all considered in my selections. While security and privacy were the primary purpose of going through this software review, they were not the single overriding factor in my selections.  What good is secure software if it’s not usable? I wanted software that was as private/secure as possible while still maintaining the features I’ve come to rely on for use on all of my devices.

What this list isn’t: An NSA/hacker-proof toolkit. At the end of the day, the only real way to protect yourself is to unplug entirely. No software or service is foolproof, and even tools that come close can be made useless by user error or other system weaknesses.

What this list is: A quick list of more secure/private options for software than you might be using, that’s also usable day-to-day, by non-technical users. Hopefully this list, along with proper configuration/use will keep you safe from all but the most sophisticated or targeted attacks.

With that out of the way, I hope this list helps:

Tool TypeTop PickRunner UpMore SecureTop Pick Cost
Operating SystemUbuntuWindows 7TailsFree
Mobile OSiOSUbuntuTDB
E-mailProtonmailNo other secure options testedLavabit Reloaded (late 2017)Free -or- $4/mo
VPNNordVPNNone. Very few VPNs are secure, despite claims.Unknown$3.30+/mo
Cloud Storage / File SharingSeafileGDrive or Dropbox with Cryptomator*Not using the cloudFree
Cloud Office SuiteNo good options. GDrive.Not using the cloudFree
Cloud Coding SuiteCloud9 (owned by Amazon)Preference, really.Not using the cloudFree
BrowserChromeFirefoxTor BrowserFree
Essential ConfigurationsFew options; mostly done through pluginsMany about:config tweaks needed (including to disable WebRTC)BundledFree
Essential PluginsClick&Clean, HTTPS Everywhere, LastPass, uBlock OriginHTTPS Everywhere, LastPass, Self-destructing Cookies, uBlock OriginBundledFree
Secondary PluginsuMatrix, Signal "Desktop"Decentraleyes, uMatrixNoneFree
Searchstartpage.comsearx.meDisconnect with DuckDuckGoFree
BookmarksChrome SyncFirefox SyncFlash drive storage onlyFree
Messaging (Text and Voice)SignalSignalSignal!Free
Password ManagementLastPass1Password if using Mac/iOSKeePass on a flash driveFree+
Local Drive EncryptionVeraCryptMac and most Linux distros have solid bundled options.Make sure to choose full drive encryption; use a HDD over a SSD for persistent environmentsFree

1 comment

  1. Also if you’re more of a tech geek type, also look into GPG/PGP ( makes it a bit easier), and rclone (crypt subcommand) to use on-the-fly encryption to/from clouds such as Google Drive.

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