When I started the Privacy Cookbook back in October 2019 my first take was on Google.
Since then, the Cookbook has grown and grown and I've covered a lot of ground, everything from OS to DNS and what to use to make your life more private.
As the year 2020 comes to an end we've sadly seen many governments in a push to abolish encryption, to insist on backdoors and to move closer to an Orwellian future that even the late George Orwell could have imagined.
Data has truly become the most precious commodity on earth. Not oil, not gold, but data! Your data! A step in the right direction to a more private world, to protecting your data and retaining its value for yourself can start by switching to FOSS or Free and Open-Source Software!
Let's dig in!
Passwords are essential in our lives but a password you can remember is really just a password you can crack! You won't outsmart a password cracker, so a password manager is one of the most essential tools to use on your computer and your cellphone.
This is a password manager that is offline and can be on your USB stick, on your cellphone and on your computer.
Strongbox (iOS and MacOS)
KeePassXC (Windows, Mac and Linux)
KeeWeb (self-hosted web based)
KeePass can also be used for 2-Factor Authentication which is great as you can have everything in one place and that makes it easy to backup your 2FA codes as well.
This one doesn't store passwords, it generates them using the website name, username and password and a master password you select. This way you can use LessPass on any device, and never have to worry about sync'ing your passwords between devices.
If you have multiple devices and want to sync your passwords then this is the Gold Standard when it comes to the 'always synced yet safe' password managers out there. BitWarden has a paid service as well as a free one so it's worth taking a look at the offer. Or you can self-host it. It has clients available for iOS, Android, Linux, Windows and Mac.
BitWarden also has an F-Droid client, which we recommend over the Play Store client, simply because we want google out of our lives. Google 'ANALYtics' is in place on the BitWarden app which is a letdown and stops it being in my top spot. Always a shame if you ask me.
Just like KeePass BitWarden lets you save your 2FAs and use it as your 2-Factor Authentication.
2FA (2-Factor Authentication)
As I've mentioned already KeePass and BitWarden can handle your 2FA, but if you want them separated from your password manager then you have a few nice options.
Aegis (Android) is not just free and open-source but also has a nice backup and restore feature.
AndOTP is a great open-source 2FA for Android, with a strong user base.
Tofu (iOS) even on iOS we have a nice open-source 2FA
Authenticator (iOS) is another iOS open-source 2FA worth to use.
DNS (Domain naming Service)
If you've read the Privacy Cookbook since last year youll recognize that I am always pushing for the right DNS for your devices. It's easy to set up and can then just run in the background without you needing to worry too much. We have covered NextDNS and the self-hosted AdGuard Home in the past, as well as Pi-Hole (as just a great ad-filter), but you have more options. Next year, we will have some more reviews and tips for you, such as Technitium which, among other things, is incredible easy to set up.
Install DNS encryption on your iOS or Android device and also have it set up at home on your browsers etc. It is so easy to do and yet such a powerful thing to have.
I would recommend the paid version and not the one from the Play Store but the actual Bitcoin donation version. It provides a powerful firewall which will lockdown your Android phone so just the essentials are online and including just when the screen is on etc. Powerful and yet so easy! And it works really well with the DNS setup which comes straight out of the box on Android.
The most advanced firewall you can get on Android, note this one only works on rooted devices.
A firewall and ad-blocker in one, it's just great and very powerful, well worth the payment for the full version.
This is open-source and a great firewall on iOS, it has pre-selected options for blocking and you can manually add more domains to your list at any time.
You can see it is also on iOS and it's great, it can handle your DNS but also blocks ads, lets you add lists and it's just a great tool on iOS. In fact, its one of the must-haves on iOS in my books.
Is the open-source GUI firewall on Linux
Is easy to run in the background
It shows you all connected apps, you can block connections. Pretty much the same as you could on LittleSnitch on MacOS (see below).
If you use MacOS this is the first software you need to invest in! Period.
Is another great option and unlike LittleSnitch it is free.
Next year I'm going to cover way more on FOSS and starting in January I look forward to presenting what. I am sure, will become one of my favourite chapters, for our Kids. This is the future and we must fight for their privacy as much as for our own. So, it will be an intense chapter with some great tips for helping to keep our kids as safe as possible.
Stay safe and stay secure!
The Privacy Advocate