If you are in an abusive relationship or domestic violence situation, here are some additional tools and resources that may be helpful:
This is important advice for anyone, but especially important if someone in your house has access to your machine and knows many of your old passwords. Depending on how you think they will react, you may or may not want to change some of your passwords so you can keep communicating privately with people who support you (do not change them if you think they will notice and abuse you). Check out the Keep Calm and Log On password manager guide, and the guide to picking strong passwords. If you think your abuser would notice a password change, you may want to use private browsing to start new social media or email accounts to keep communicating with your support network, and using new, stronger passwords there. Do not re-use any passwords they already know or could guess.
Many password managers can also securely store files for you; consider getting one if you need to hide files. However, if your abuser has access to your password manager, this is not a safe solution. Try one of the following instead:
NordLocker can encrypt and protect your files on Mac or Windows. It has a free version that can encrypt up to 2GB of stuff—definitely enough space for a lot of text documents and some photos.
Be aware, though, that using an app to hide your files can call attention to the fact that you have hidden files. There are tools built in to many devices that can protect your files from being seen. Here’s how to create a protected, encrypted area on your computer on Windows or Mac. A highly technically skilled person may know how to find out if there are encrypted files, but will not be able to see what’s in them. Average folks will likely not even know the files are there.
Keepsafe has an Android app that looks like a calculator, but actually hides photos and videos on your phone. It’s available for iPhone and Android. I don’t recommend using knockoffs, as they may not be as secure as you think—make sure to use those links and actually get the KeepSafe app from the app store.
Haven is an Android app that can record sound, movement, and video so that you know if someone is using your phone when you don’t want them to.
Burner is an app for iPhone and Android that lets you make calls and texts without revealing your actual number. Use it for the number you give someone when you’re not sure whether you trust them yet. The app can also handle unwanted texts.
The average person who tries to get out of an abusive relationship tries a number of times before they manage to get out for good. To stay away from your abuser for good, check out these resources from Break The Silence Against Domestic Violence.
For more digital security resources, check out the rest of this site or pick up a copy of Keep Calm and Log On.