Desktop Tools

There are a number of desktop tools that help to protect user privacy and data integrity. The following list, though not exhaustive, provides links to a number of them, categorized by function, that the ISC Project has found effective for protecting various facets of user privacy.

Antivirus and Internet Security Packages


“Free for personal use” version of Avira Premium; known for its good score in malware blocking and virus detection rate

ClamAV/ Immunet

An open source (GPL) antivirus engine designed for detecting Trojans, viruses, malware, and other malicious threats. It provides a high performance mutlithreaded scanning daemon, command line utilities for on demand file scanning, and an intelligent tool for automatic signature updates. The core ClamAV library is utilized in Immunet 3.0, powered by ClamAV, which is a fast, fully featured Desktop AV solution for Windows.


A full-featured anti-virus program that detects and removes malware and viruses from your computer. Avast is free for personal use, but free registration is required to receive automatic updates and to remove the 30-day trial limitation.

Symantec Endpoint Protection

TA commercial antivirus and personal firewall product from Symantec is leveled at centrally managed corporate environments security for servers and workstations. It features Firewall, Proactive Protection, and Intrusion Prevention.


C Free antivirus and anti-spyware security software for Windows. AVG comes in several editions such as free restrictive antivirus license, paid advanced antivirus license, and paid Internet security license.



A “free for private use” antispyware utility used to detect and remove different kinds of malware, adware and spyware from your computer. For advanced users, it allows you to fix Registry inconsistencies related to adware and to malicious program installations.

DarkComet RAT Remover

Lthis tiny tool will detect any running version of DarkComet RAT in memory. It is very efficient and it can detect any DarkComet RAT version even if it is encrypted, packed (compressed), virtualized, obfuscated, etc. If darkcomet is present and running DarkComet RAT Remover will find it and remove it. It also reverts changes DarkComet RAT made in the registry and removes every keylogger log.

Website Availability Check

Website Down

Online website down status checker tool to test any site’s reachability in real time. To perform an “is it down” query, simply enter the domain name or copy and paste the URL address of the unavailable website and see if it is down or not for other users.

Down for everyone or just me

This is a site for testing the status of a specific webpage. Use it if you are unsure whether the page you are trying to access is really down, or to check if a page has been blocked by firewall or proxy.


A user-driven platform for identifying web blockages as they happen, including denial of service attacks, censorship, and other filtering.

Circumvention Tools


A free and open source peer-to-peer circumvention tool to give or get Internet access to people in places where access is censored.


A free open source multi-platform circumvention tool that utilizes VPN, SSH, and HTTP Proxy technology to provide uncensored access to Internet content.

Anonymity Tools


Free open source software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis. Tor is designed to increase the anonymity of online activity, disguise user identity, and bypass Internet filters.



It is a CGI script (Common Gateway Interface) that acts as an HTTP, HTTPS, or FTP proxy. Through it, you can retrieve any resource that is accessible from the server it runs on. This is useful when your own access is limited, but you can reach a server that in turn can reach others that you cannot. In addition, the user is kept as anonymous as possible from any servers. It is strongly recommended to install it on a secure server where the URL starts with “https.” Otherwise, traffic between it and the user can be read by a filter in the middle.

Email Encryption

Thunderbird + GnuPG + Enigmail

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free and open source email client for receiving, sending, and storing emails. When you use with Enigmail and GnuPG, it will give you the ability of encrypting and digitally signing your emails. Enigmail is a security extension to Mozilla Thunderbird and Seamonkey. It enables you to write and receive email messages signed and/or encrypted with the OpenPGP standard. It uses the freely-available GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) to do most of its work.


A browser extension that allows exchanging encrypted emails following the OpenPGP encryption standard. Available for Chrome and in development for Firefox. Latest installation packages can be found here.

Microsoft Outlook + GPG4Win

is open source email and file encryption solution for Windows users. Gpg4win enables users to securely transmit email and files online with the help of encryption and digital signatures. Gpg4win is now available for Microsoft Outlook 2010/2013 and includes support for 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows.

Disk/File Encryption


Free and open source real-time disk and partition encryption software for multiple platforms.

The most recent version of TrueCrypt is no longer available on TrueCrypt’s website, but archived versions can still be downloaded at

Secure Portable Operating Systems

Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System)

A live operating system that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to use the Internet anonymously while circumventing censorship. Tails forces all connections to the Internet to go through the Tor network.

Deleting Files Securely


A free tool for cleaning your Windows PC by securely deleting browser history, cookies, and other temporary files created during work sessions. CCleaner protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure.


A free open source security tool for Windows that allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.


Cobian Backup

A free program that can be used to schedule and backup your files and directories from their original location and store them on your computer, office network, removable devices, or Internet servers. Version 7 was open source.


A set of open source computer program that permits you to manage backup, recovery, and verification of computer data across a network of computers of different kinds.



A free tool that recovers files deleted from your Windows computer, recycle bin, digital camera card, or MP3 player. Recuva also uses secure overwriting techniques for erasing important, private, or sensitive information.

Password Vaults


An open source password manager for multiplatform, with password generator. It uses AES/Twofish encryption options.

Password Safe

A free open source utility. Password Safe keeps passwords securely encrypted on computers with a single safe combination to unlock all stored passwords. The program’s security has been thoroughly verified by Counterpane Labs under Schneier’s supervision.

Secure Messaging


A user-friendly, open-source, and free messaging and file sharing software that uses cloud storage. Peerio is designed in a way that allows users to send encrypted emails and share encrypted files with other registered users all within the platform. It provides end-to-end encryption. Only the sender and the recipient can see the content of their conversation and the files they share. Other features include crypto-avatars that allow users to verify the identity of other users as well as remote file destruction with which users can delete files after they are shared with others within the platform. Peerio is in beta and available for Chrome, Windows, and Mac. Its mobile iOS and Android versions are in alpha and available for testing.

Secure Instant Messaging

Pidgin + OTR

A free open source chat client. You can connect to AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and other chat networks all at once. Off-the-Record (OTR) plug-in allows you to have encrypted private conversations over instant messaging with Pidgin.

Browser Security Enhancements


The NoScript Firefox extension provides extra protection for Firefox, Seamonkey, and other Mozilla-based browsers. This free, open source add-on allows JavaScript, Java, Flash, and other plugins to be executed only by trusted web sites of your choice.


HTTPSeverywhere is a Firefox and Chrome extension that encrypts your communications with major websites by automatically using https security.


A Firefox and Chrome plug-in that automatically blocks tracking companies and technologies on any website you visit and shows the number and names of trackers you are blocking in real time. It can give websites disposable email addresses, phone numbers, and credit cards so companies cannot track your personal information. It is available for Firefox and Chrome browsers.

VTzilla from VirusTotal

A Firefox browser plugin that simplifies the process of scanning Internet resources with VirusTotal (VirusTotal is a free service that analyzes suspicious files and URLs and facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and other kinds of malware). VTzilla allows you to download files directly with VirusTotal’s web application prior to storing them in your PC. It also supports URL scanning.

Adblock Plus:

A browser extension that blocks ads on the web. It can also block tracking, flashy banners, and pop-ups, as well as disable social media buttons and malware domains.. Adblock Plus is an open source project available for Firefox, Chrome, Android, Opera, and Internet Explorer.

Anonymous Search Engines


An anonymous, encrypted web search engine that does not track you, decreasing the amount of spam/clutter and allowing for real privacy. It is also available as an add-on for Firefox.


A search engine that does not collect or share any personal information when you perform a search on the web.

Mesh Networking

Project Byzantium

A live Linux distribution that delivers easy-to-use, secure, and robust mesh networking capabilities.


An open source communication tool that uses mobile phones, computers, and other wireless devices to create decentralized mesh networks.

Personal Firewalls

Comodo Firewall

A free, simple, and effective personal firewall.



Martus is a free and open-source information management and data collection software that allows users to securely gather and organize sensitive information online. Martus automatically encrypts the information and copies it to a network of secure servers around the world. Martus helps those who collect and document valuable human rights information stay safe, while also protecting the identities of those would face violence and repression for telling their stories. The Martus software is available free in eleven languages and works on the Android, Mac OS, Linux, and Window platforms.

VPN Solutions


RiseupVPN sends all of your Internet traffic through an encrypted connection to, where it then goes out onto the public Internet. This can be useful to prevent censorship, corporate surveillance, and monitoring by your ISP. RiseupVPN also blocks advertisements, behavior tracking, and location tracking. This service is free, but you need to be invited by two existing users. Please contact the ISC Project to help you get invited to use this service.