Recommended desktop software

A list of software I use regularly, will keep adding to it as I find more. I try to use Open Source software where possible

Operating systems:

Mac OS

My primary operating system right now, dual booted with a cracked customised copy of Windows 10 for some situations.

Linx Mint

A variation of Ubuntu, with a few extras to make life easier. Recommend this as primary operating system for non-Mac users, dual booted with Windows 10.

Windows

Don't use Windows, but if you must, I recommend running this and this software that changes some setting

For installing software, use this tool.

I prefer to use 'custom' versions of Windows 10, that have been cracked and had lots of the unecessary crap removed. Search for 'TeamOS' or ask me.

Tails

The most secure and private operating system available, but a bit extreme for most users. It runs from a USB stick, and runs all traffic through the Tor network. Leaves no trace of activity on the USB or computer that used it.

You could use this on an untrusted machine, over an untrusted network, securely. The only vulnerability is physical key loggers.

Darknets:

I2P (Linux/Mac/Windows)

Run this software to be able to access .i2p websites, and to contribute to the I2P network. The best use of this software is for securely and privately downloading pirated content (movies, music etc).

Software (package) manager:

Homebrew (Mac)

This allows you to download and update applications just using the Terminal (command line). So cool. Linux users have this built in to already. Windows users could try Chocolatey (not used it myself)

Downloading:

qbittorent (Linux/Mac/Windows)

An open source, and lightweight, torrent client.

SoulSeek (Linux/Mac/Windows)

The best way to download music.

Jdownloader (Linux/Mac/Windows)

A great download manager that can bypass Capchas, pause and resume etc.

SABnzbd (Linux/Mac/Windows)

A simple Usenet client.

Finance:

Exodus (Linux/Mac/Windows)

A cryptocurrency wallet that supports most coins. It's not open source, but is super easy to use and you are less likely to lose your cash (it does backups etc). Put it on your phone too. Very beginner friendly, but misses some advanced features, such as setting transaction fees.

It has a built in exchange, for which they charge a small fee (this is how they fund the project).

Excellent for beginners and storing lots of different currencies/coins. But because it is closed source I wouldn't recommend storing serious amounts. If your major currency is Bitcoin, but you have a portfolio of lesser amounts of altcoins, a good strategy is to keep altcoins here, and use Bitcoin dedicated wallets (such as Wasabi/Samourai) for Bitcoin - as this will allow you to set transaction fees and offers more security.

Atomic (Linux/Mac/Windows)

Another cryptocurrency wallet that supports most coins. It's not open source, but is very usable. Not as good as Exodus, but the benefit of this wallet is that it allows for better control of staking/baking some currencies (Tezos, Tron etc).

Wasabi (onion address) (Linux/Mac/Windows)

For advanced users: Wasabi is an open-source, non-custodial, privacy-focused Bitcoin only wallet, that implements trustless coin shuffling with mathematically provable anonymity. Desktops only. Might get falsely flagged as a virus by some scanners.

Bisq (Linux/Mac/Windows)

For advanced users: A P2P exchange for Bitcoin.

Productivity/tools:

StandardNotes (Linux/Mac/Windows)

One of the most secure and privacy respecting note applications available.

7zip (Windows)

Unzips whatever you throw at it. Can also encrypt files.

CutePDF (Windows)

Installs as a 'printer', that if you use, will save the file as a PDF.

SumatraPDF (Windows)

A simple PDF viewer.

Revo (Windows)

Use this to uninstall software fully (leaves no shit behind)

Duplicati (Linux/Mac/Windows)

Allows you to peform incremental backups to external storage and various online places (Onedrive, WebDAV, FTP etc). Optionally you can (and should!) encrypt the files.

Communication:

Signal (Linux/Mac/Windows)

The most secure means of communication available. Works with your mobile application (like WhatsApp web). Useful also to send notes to yourself (e.g. sharing stuff between mobile and laptop)

ElectronMail (Linux/Mac/Windows)

A secure and convenient way to access ProtonMail. It's unofficial, but open source.

Tutanota (Linux/Mac/Windows)

Another privacy respecting email provider I use, and they have a desktop application to access mail.

Franz (Linux/Mac/Windows)

This Open Source application allows you to access various services (such as Gmail, Skype, WhatsApp) all in one application. It is essentially just a wrapper for the website of each. Some people prefer Rambox or Station, but I find this one works better.

Keybase (Linux/Mac/Windows)

This application deals with secure messaging, storage and verifying identiy and ownership of online stuff - all in one.

UPDATE: this has been bought by Zoom now... so will probably remove this recommendation. Likely Zoom will just let this project stagnate....

Media:

Popcorntime (Linux/Mac/Windows)

Like Netflix, but free. It is based on torrents, so if you are in a country that prosecutes piracy, you absolutely need to use a VPN.

VLC (Linux/Mac/Windows)

Plays almost every kind of video you can throw at it.

Kodi (Linux/Mac/Windows)

A media library player. It connects to my seedbox, so can directly watch movies and shows without downloading. Ask me details and I'll share it with you.

Freetube (Linux/Mac/Windows)

A better way to access YouTube. Free of annoying ads, and you can subscribe to channels without revealing your identity to Google.

Web browsers:

Tor browser (Linux/Mac/Windows)

An advanced browser that uses 'onion routing' to obscure your web traffic. You can also use this to access .onion sites (AKA the dark web).

Of course, this only protects your web browsing. Other applications will be unprotected - so if you use torrents you still need a VPN.

Firefox (Linux/Mac/Windows)

A great browser with a few privacy setting built in, made even better with the right addons.

Brave (Linux/Mac/Windows)

Based on Chrome, but with Google stripped out, hardended with inbuilt Adblocker. Also has builtin cryptocurrency function, which seeks to replace the way advertising online works - this is optional but I recommend you set it up (called Brave Rewards).

It also allows access to the Tor network (via Tor tabs), including .onion hidden sites.

You can still use addons that you would on Chome, via the store available here.

Cliqz (Mac/Windows)

This is a modified version of Firefox, so you can still use the same addons.

Security and Privacy:

Authy (Linux/Mac/Windows)

My recommended 2FA application. Also put it on your phone, the more accessible it is to you the better.

Whonix (Linux/Mac/Windows)

An entire Operating System, that runs through a Virtual Machine on your computer. All network traffic goes through the Tor network. It is an extremely secure and private way to access the internet - but does not protect you if your computer itself is compromised with keyloggers etc. (I'm looking at you Windows!).

Java Anon Proxy (Linux/Mac/Windows)

Running this software will allow you to use an onion routed network, similiar to Tor. You need to make some changes to the settings in your browser to tell it to use this network.

VeraCrypt (Linux/Mac/Windows)

Create encrypted volumes on your computer or other storage (USB). Not recommended for volumes to be stored online.

Cryptomator (Linux/Mac/Windows)

A great tool to make encrypted volumes, and works very well with untrusted online storage services such as Dropbox, making them secure and private to use.

Cyberduck (Mac)

A great way to access your online storages places, and even has cryptomator built in.

Little Snitch (Mac)

Paid. Lets you know, and allow/block any connections applications try to make to the internet. You could use LuLu, similiar, for free (see next item).

ALL software by Objective See (Mac)

A great collection of security software for Macs. The developer is very active in security space.

GPG tools (Mac)

Allows for encrypting, decrypting, and signing of files and emails.

ClamXav (Mac)

You probably don't need an Anti Virus scanner if you run Mac, but if you want to this is the best option. Lightweight and based on an open source project.

Microsoft Essentials (Windows)

Don't use windows, as it is inherently insecure, but if you must, use this anti virus.

Bleachbit (Windows)

A great way to clean up your Windows computer. Open source.

Wireguard (Linux/Mac/Windows)

The best VPN software. Connects instantly and very light. Not all VPN providers work with Wireguard yet though.... so see below for alternatives

A VPN of your choice (Linux/Mac/Windows)

A VPN is necessary.

If you want it for Netflix, I recommend NordVPN, as they guarentee access.

If you want a good free one, use ProtonVPN, of course it works faster if you pay.

Tunnelbear also offer a (limited) free service, but don't support Torrent traffic.

Another good choice is Mullvad, you don't make any account with them and they accept Bitcoin.

You can either use the software offered by each of the companies, or you can use Tunnelblick (Mac only) or Wiregaurd and set it up to work with servers provided by the VPN company (advanced)

Some VPNs offer port forwarding, which allows for better filesharing. It's better than messing around with your router, but this need another guide...


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