When faced with a digital emergency—whether someone has hijacked your social media account or your website is being DDoSed—it can be difficult for non-technical people to discern what the problem is and what the appropriate next steps may be for seeking help. To help fill this niche in the universe of privacy and security guides, a group of NGOs ( including EFF, Hivos, Internews, VirtualRoad, and CIRCL) have teamed up to write a guide that combines advice for self-assessment with advice for “first responders” to help non-technical users all over the world identify and respond to their digital emergencies.
The Digital First Aid Kit aims to provide preliminary support for people facing the most common types of digital threats. The Kit offers a set of self-diagnostic tools for human rights defenders, bloggers, activists and journalists facing attacks themselves, as well as providing guidelines for digital first responders to assist a person under threat.
The kit begins by offering ways to establish secure communication when you or a contact are facing a digital threat and want to reach out for support. The Kit also provides sections on account hijacking, seizure of devices, malware infections and DDoS attacks. Each section begins with a series of questions about the user, their devices and their situation. These questions will guide them through a self-assessment or help a first responder better understand the challenges they are facing. Finally, the Kit lays out initial steps to understand and potentially fix the problems. The steps should also help users or first responders to recognize when to request help from a specialist.
The Digital First Aid Kit is not meant to serve as the ultimate solution to every digital emergency, but it strives to give users and first responders tools that can help them to make a first assessment of what is happening and determine if they can mitigate the problem on their own.
Because this guide is a living document, The Digital First Aid Kit is available on github under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike International license. We encourage people to annotate the guide, fork their own versions, contribute feedback about advice that does or does not work, and make translations.