This How-to Booklet is designed to explain the issues that you must understand in order to safeguard your own digital security. It seeks to identify and describe the risks you face and help you make informed decisions about how best to reduce those risks. To this end, it answers eight broad questions related to basic security, data protection and communication privacy.
At the beginning of each chapter, you will find a background scenario populated by fictional characters who will reappear in brief conversations throughout the chapter in order to illustrate certain points and answer common questions. You will also find a short list of specific lessons that can be learned from reading the chapter. It is a good idea to scan through this list before you begin reading. As you work through a chapter, you will encounter a number of technical terms that link to definitions in a glossary at the end of the booklet. You will also find references to the specific software discussed in the toolkit's Hands-on Guides.
Any single chapter or guide in this toolkit can be read individually, formatted in your browser for easy printing, or shared electronically. However, you will get more out of Security in-a-box if you can follow the relevant links and references that are scattered throughout both the booklet and the software guides. If you have a printed copy of this Booklet, you should keep it front of you while you work through the Hands-on Guides. You should also remember to finish reading the How-to Booklet chapter covering a particular tool before you begin relying on that tool to protect your digital security.
Where possible, you should read the chapters of the How-to Booklet in order. Security is a process, and there is often little point in trying to defend yourself against an advanced threat to your communication privacy, for example, if you have not yet ensured that your computer is free of viruses and other malware. In many cases, this would be like locking your door after a burglar is already in your home. This is not to say that any one of these eight topics is more important than any other, it is simply that the later chapters make certain assumptions about what you already know and about the state of the computer on which you are about to install software.
Of course, there are many good reasons why you might want to work through these chapters out of sequence. You might need advice on how to back up your important files before you begin installing the tools described in the first Hands-on Guide. You might find yourself faced with an urgent privacy threat that justifies learning How to protect the sensitive files on your computer, which is covered in Chapter 4, as quickly as possible. Or perhaps you are working from an Internet café, on a computer whose security is not your responsibility and from which you do not intend to access any sensitive information. If you want to use this computer to visit a website that is blocked in your country, there is nothing to prevent you from skipping ahead to Chapter 8: How to remain anonymous and bypass censorship on the Internet.