Newbie has Email and Memory Stick questions

last year

I have read quite a lot but the jargon that is written is all new to me so please excuse my ignorance to possibly simple things.
I am after a email service that can be more secure than what I am using now Apple desk top computer using Safari to get to Gmail.)
I have never used Mozila or Firefox but it seems like they are recommended more than anything else.
Would that be correct?
To use it more securely against nosy agencies, am I correct that I best also download another program called "Tails" or "Whonix"?
I get that info from "How to use Tor the right way. Best practices" which I read on this site's "General News & Discussions"

When it comes to protecting data already in the computers Hard Drives memory from others knocking on the door and taking away for inspection, how do I protect it and could someone tell me where I can find some reading on what can be done to protect it or how to wipe the data totally, ensuring no previously written Pages and Numbers (Apples programs) can be accessed. Or is it a "start afresh" on a new computer?

The last question is with regards to the encrypting of data on a Memory Stick. Can someone direct me to where I can find ways to do that please. Oh yes.... also data that's on a separate Back-up Disc

I know its asking a lot but even a few pointers to help me on my way, would be greatly appreciated.
I'm not too flash when it comes to computer acronyms so would appreciate that being taken into consideration if someone has the time to answer.

With thanks and a special thanks to the Admin folks for the time that is spent on this ever increasingly important service to the public. Since Manning and Snowden, 'the cats now out of the bag' BIG TIME!


last year

Firefox is a web browser, and Mozilla is the company that makes it, so I'm not quite sure what you mean there. Perhaps the mean Thunderbird (the email client made by the same company)? But actually, using standard Firefox is not recommend for strong privacy, Torbrowser is. This is based on Firefox however.

Tails and Whonix are both operating system which aim to make sure everything you do in them goes through Tor. The main difference is that Tails is standalone (you run it off a USB drive) while Whonix lives ina virtual machine, instead a normal OS. You can read more about the differences here.

Tails has encryption built in, but to tell you the truth I found it kind of a pain to use. Another popular option for encryption is TrueCrypt. It has somewhat of a dark horse reputation, being developed mostly in secret. But it's currently getting a crowd-funded security review and so far everything looks pretty good.

The favorite tool to "wipe the data totally" is DBAN. But bear in mind the "wipe the data totally" means you will have a computer that is useless until you put a new OS on it. It's not like a "factory reset".

TrueCrypt will do fine for encrypting a memory stick. It can't encrypt data that is already there though, you would have to copy it off, encrypt the memory stick, then copy it back.

Finally, I should probably mention that I'm mostly familiar with PCs, some of the software I mentioned will definitely work on a Mac (Whonix, and TrueCrypt) and I'm not sure about the rest.


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