A stealth laptop is required for anonymous use and should be employed on public open wifi networks.
Why would you want a stealth laptop?
With the NSA PRISM program and other programs sucking up all data everywhere, privacy is hard to maintain.
Anonymous searching and research. You may want to search about a sensitive medical condition, without it being tied to you in some database for eternity.
You may want to maintain your anonymity to activate a burner cell phone or to add more minutes to it. NOTE: depending on who you call or text and depending on what provider and security measures the recipient of your calls is taking, you might be screwed unless they are as vigilant as you are. NEVER USE A BURNER PHONE NEAR YOUR HOME. Drive far far away and only THEN put the battery in it. Make sure any other cell phone you own is nowhere near, else they be used to correlate that you are the owner of both!
You have the right to privacy, so let’s take some steps to give you that layer of protection!
You want a laptop, that you can use, to remain anonymous.
- OS (Operating System)
- Software used
- Encryption for files and Communications
You want to ensure that your OS isn’t compromised by your hardware right from the start. You can avoid Intel CPUs (with AMT) totally, but who’s to say you can trust the other vendors (ahem…AMD).
Some talented people, and fellow nerds, have written a open and free bios from scratch (and lots of reverse engineering), called LibreBoot!
Libreboot is a free BIOS or UEFI replacement (free as in freedom); libre boot firmware that initializes the hardware and starts a bootloader for your operating system. It’s also an open source BIOS, but open source fails to promote freedom; please call libreboot free software.
This, theortically, gives you the ability to utilize the horsepower of the Intel CPU while removing all the propriety AMT and BIOS code, that could be used to spy on you. If you believe in those things.
There are only a small hand full of laptops that can run LibreBoot currently, like the Thinkpad X60 and the Thinkpad X200.
You need to ensure that this laptop is clean from start to finish. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are a part of PRISM. Their proprietary operating systems cannot be trusted to safeguard your personal information from the NSA.
You need something else.
Linux… that is also what is recommended on https://prism-break.org/. PRISM-BREAK has a whole list of alternative software and Operating systems.
Update: Download a Tails live CD, and boot your laptop from that, so that all your traffic is run across the TOR network.
Debian Linux, if you don’t use Tails, is a good choice for this project. Why? Because Debian is a fine, community supported OS. It’s clean, light and flexible. Feel free to choose any flavor of Linux that’s right for you. Here is some help installing Debian.
Use a username that is not linked to your real name. Make something up.
Set a hostname and domain name for the linux box that is also non-tied to you, in any way, or your home network.
First off, let’s discuss what types of Software to NOT have a laptop, when you are trying to remain anonymous.
- Bookmark syncing programs that call home with a username/password/email address tied to you. Don’t install any software like this on this laptop.
- Dropbox or other cloud apps, again they call home with a username/password/email address tied to you.
- Email programs, that check mail automatically, again calling home with a username/password/email address tied to you. Do not log into any webmail or online portals (google, gmail, yahoo, msn, outlook.com)
- Instant messaging programs, that automatically log in and connect. They call home with a username/password/email address tied to you
- If in doubt just don’t install it. Nada, nothing, no. You only need a web browser!
- HTTPS Everywhere
- User Agent Switcher (to make Firefox look like other browsers on demand)
- FoxyProxy (to proxy through anonmizers if desired)
Tor – install Tor also so you have some options regardless of where you connect from
This isn’t too detailed and I apologize for that. I wanted to put forth some lessons learned and if you’re going to be running Linux, then you’ve probably got a good handle on this stuff anyway.
You might want to buy an encrypted USB drive to back up important docs and data too.