Document Type: Defenders Tools

Basic elements of computer security for defenders

1 September 2021

The current situation of insecurity and the computer-related risks that people who are conducting activities in defence of human rights experience daily have increased during the crisis caused by COVID-19. Social isolation and mobility-restricting measures have led us to carry out most of our activities online, in many cases from our own homes and with our own (usually limited) resources, exposing us to computer security risks.

In addition to this, as published in the press in recent weeks, the Pegasus project has revealed that many governments have targeted journalists, human rights defenders, and politicians to spy on their communications and other data from their smartphones. It is not the first time that these cases have been known to have, without a doubt, political and technical implications.

In light of this context, which is repeatedly occurring in several countries of the world, we Protection International team in Colombia and Brazil share with you a very simple guide: Basic elements of computer security for human rights defenders. This document provides some practical tools that contribute to the mitigation of computer security risks and that can be used daily on cell phones and computers.

We make this guide available to human rights defenders, their organisations, and communities to download, share and use as the basis for their own collective protection tools. Please take into account our Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, which allows the material to be downloaded and shared with other people, as long as its authorship is acknowledged, but without changing it in any way or using it commercially.

We hope it will be useful and contribute to the exercise of digital rights and the protection of defenders, their communities, and organizations.

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