Community Resources and Tools

Credits LevelUp Last Updated 2016-06

This is LevelUp's repository of Community Resources and Tools - this is where you'll find all trainer-contributed content, such as field-tested training modules, facilitation tools and aids, and other useful content. Also found here is our growing index of helpful resources, guides, and tools that you can provide to training participants before, during, or after an event.

This resource is continually evolving, as is the community.

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Additional Resources for Trainers

Digital Protection Guides Comparison

This google sheet contains an overview of guides to digital protection for human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and other at-risk communities. It was created in February 2021 by Gus Andrews for Front Line Defenders, to supplement the Security in a Box guide. As of 2023, Gillian “Gus” Andrews, Jon Camfield, and Jeff Landale are among those with edit access. Please reach out to any of them if you know of a resource that should be added.


Security Education Companion

SEC is a resource for people teaching digital security to their friends and neighbors. If you’d like to help your community learn about digital security but aren’t sure where to start, these articles, lesson plans, and teaching materials are for you!

  • Initially developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as of 2023 this resource has been transitioned to members of the LevelUp community for management.

Resources for Training Participants

Anti-Phishing and Email Hygiene

Virtually every “sophisticated” hack of an individual reporter or entire newsroom starts with a relatively simple attack: phishing and spear phishing. There are plenty of ways to be phished, and it happens incredibly frequently. Prepare yourself with our guide to mitigate or avoid phishing or spear phishing attacks.

Be A Cyber Superhero!

Staying safe on your computer, phone and online isn’t about having the latest security tools or paying lots of money to other people to keep you safe. By far the most powerful defense is to change your own behavior. Explore this site to learn how to keep yourself and your friends and family safer…and be your own Cyber Superhero.

CryptoParty Handbook

The CryptoParty Handbook is an introduction for anyone  to the basics of cryptography tools, and how to throw a CryptoParty, an open-format party that is free to anyone (independent of age, gender or knowledge) who is interested in learning or teaching cryptography software and concepts. Topics covered include Tor, public key encryption, and Off The Record (OTR) messaging, and others.


CyberArabs is a website with news, guides, videos, and tutorials on digital security best practices for civil society organizations, journalists, and human rights defenders . Topics include creating good passwords, recognizing phishing, secure email, and others.

Digital First Aid Kit

The Digital First Aid Kit is a self-diagnostic tool for human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers, and online activists  to understand the types of threats they and their colleagues and friends face, and how to deal with them or seek help from a specialist. Topics covered include: secure communication, account hijacking, malware, and DDoS mitigation, and others.

Digital Footprint: Assessing Risk & Impact

Digital Footprint is a guide for individuals, businesses, organizations  and governments  to understand, assess and mitigate the data that is collected when they use digital technologies. Topics covered include data that is collected by social media, point of sale transactions, and Wi-Fi networks, and others.

Digital Security First Aid Kit for Human Rights Defenders

The Digital Security First Aid Kit is a basic guide to what steps to take and groups to contact when human rights defenders  find themselves in a digital security emergency. Topics covered include: what to do when your social media account is hacked, how to anonymously access a blocked website, and how to send encrypted emails, and others.

Digital Security and Source Protection For Journalists

This handbook explores the laws and technologies that have developed in the United States that affect how journalists operate and protect their sources, including basic best digital security practices for journalists  to mitigate these risks. Topics include strategies and tools to use when communicating with linkable and unlinkable sources, the importance of https connections, and email encryption and others.

Digital Security Resources

Rory Peck Trust’s Digital Security Resources are a collection of guides for freelance journalists  on basic digital security practices. Topics covered include, how to access blocked content, safely use public networks or shared computers, and recognize social engineering attacks, amongst others.

Email Self-Defense

Email Self-Defense is a walkthrough guide for anyone  to learn how to encrypt their email using free, open source software. Topics covered include creating a keypair, uploading keys to public keyservers, sending a test email to a bot, and signing keys, amongst others.

Encryption Works: How to Protect Your Privacy in the Age of NSA Surveillance

On July 2, 2013, Freedom of the Press Foundation published this whitepaper entitled Encryption Works. It is a Guide to Protecting Your Privacy for Journalists, Sources, and Everyone Else. This guide has not updated in over a year. Luckily, Freedom of the Press Foundation is working on an updated version that is linked to from the website.

Information Security for Journalists

Information Security for Journalists is a handbook for investigative journalists  that outlines the most effective means of keeping work private and safe from spying. It explains how to write safely, how to think about security and how to safely receive, store and send information that must be kept out of the hands of others.

Manage Your Identity

The Internet Society developed three interactive online tutorials focused on identity and privacy. Each tutorial takes about five minutes and gives Internet users a solid foundation when it comes to making informed choices about their unique online identities.

Me and My Shadow

Me & My Shadow helps anyone to learn about how their data is collected when browsing the internet on a computer or mobile phone, and how to minimize the data that is sent.


Protege.LA is a simple repository for Spanish language digital security resources that allows anyone to search for resources to match their needs by filtering according to different digital security topics.

Security in-a-Box: Tools and Tactics for Digital Security

Security in-a-Box is a comprehensive toolkit for beginners, activists, or human rights defenders about digital security best practices, with guides on how to protect your data on your computer, social media, and mobile phones, and step-by-step instructions for downloading and using digital security software.

Surveillance Self-Defense

Surveillance Self-Defense is a guide of videos and tutorials that help anyone assess their own digital surveillance risks, and learn how to use tools and adopt good practices to protect their privacy on computers and mobile phones. Topics covered include how to create strong passwords, delete your data securely on your device, use PGP email encryption, and tips for keeping your data safe at a protest, and others.

Umbrella App

Umbrella is a free, open source Android mobile app that contains advice on digital and physical security topics ranging from sending a secure email to dealing with physical surveillance. It has lessons based on levels of risk and customisable checklists to provide quick reminders for helping implementation. Each piece of software recommended in the app has a tool guide. Umbrella also has a security dashboard that let’s users input their location and keep up-to-date on the latest security threats through feeds from places like the UN, Centres for Disease Control and US State Department.

Your Digital Footprint Matters

The Internet Society developed three interactive online tutorials focused on identity and privacy. Each tutorial takes about five minutes and gives Internet users a solid foundation when it comes to making informed choices about their unique online identities.

Zen and the Art of Making Tech Work for You

Zen and the Art of Making Tech Work for You is a community-built resource on information security for the growing community of women and trans* activists, human rights defenders and technologists. It is designed to be a living, growing collection of practical guidance and information that uniquely speaks to the community’s needs, experiences, and activism, both online and offline. Topics include: creating and managing identities online, safe spaces in the public sphere, and exploring tools for collboration. Please note this manual is currently in beta.

Tool Guides & Lists

FLOSS Manuals

FLOSS Manuals is a community-driven website that features manuals about free and open source software.

  • By Floss Manual Foundation
  • Languages: Dutch (Netherlands), English, Farsi, Finnish, French
  • Updated 2014

ISC Project - Information Security Tool List

A list of a number of desktop tools and mobile phone apps that help to protect user privacy and data integrity. The following lists, 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.

My Shadow - Security Tools Database

Tactical Tech’s Me and My Shadow project helps you control your data traces, see how you’re being tracked, and find out more about the data industry.

Prism Break

Learn which online services are allegedly a part of PRISM and which open source alternatives exist to protect your privacy online.

Secure Messaging Scorecard

The Secure Messaging Scorecard is an assessment of messaging technologies (including chat, text, email, and video) rated on digital security best practices, including encryption, documentation of cryptography design, and whether they’ve received independent security audits, amongst others.


Tasharuk is a community-driven website that serves as a peer-to-peer knowledge base for anyone to create or find high-quality resources on digital or social technologies.

The Toolbox

A website that assembles, curates, and  provide’s easy access to a large list of tools that can be used for social change projects. This platform includes a range of secure and insecure tools.

Tool Selection - External Resources

The Engine Room aggregated resources, including for mobile data collection decision-making, as part of their recent study on how organisations select tech (for governance/accountability, but the resources are broader).

  • By The Engine Room

VPN Services Review 2015

Every year Torrent Freak publishes a review of Virtual Private Network (VPN) services, based on how anonymous they really make the user. Reviews are based on whether or not (or how long) the services log users’ IP addresses, and other privacy sensitive practices.

Detailed VPN Comparison Guide

A new, very detailed comparison of VPN providers. Note that this represents largely the analysis by the author, and focuses on features which are available by default and/or very clear and easy to activate.