The Free Software Foundation has announced that it is changing its list of High Priority Projects to include new endeavors that help protect cyber security for computer users worldwide.
Cyber Security Is Now High Priority For The Free Software Foundation (FSF)
Cyber security continues to be one of the leading causes of troubles for the IT industry. It seems that the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has taken this into account as well. The organization has announced a sudden overhaul of this High Priority Projects List to include Security as one of the most important topics to be developed and discussed.
This has been done by the committee after it has received feedback from about 150 FSF community members. The initiative was first launched in 2005 and drew attention only to a small number of projects of strategic importance. The list helps to guide volunteers, companies and all supporters to point their skills and resources. The new guidelines identified that new projects and areas of interest should be prioritized as well.
The FSF states that “Security is a concern for all computing and all computer users” and that “Although users cannot ever be truly certain of their security when using proprietary software, that does not mean free software is automatically secure. Free software developers and users must take steps to improve the security of free software projects. Because security is so important, creating free software projects that help users secure their computing could drive free software adoption. This is an effort of great ethical import that is only possible at all because users have the freedom to do so.”
All concerned parties can help by engaging in one of these activities:
- Make your own computing more secure: one place to start is encrypting your email, and the FSF offers an Email Self-Defense Guide to help you get started, and get your community started by teaching an encryption workshop.
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation offers several free software security projects, including HTTPS Everywhere, a browser extension that encrypts your communications with many Web sites.
- Tor is a free software open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens your privacy. You can use Tor, donate to the project, teach your friends about Tor, or run a Tor relay.
- Also, if you maintain a free software project, take steps to improve its security. Seek a code audit from a security expert. Mozilla awards funding for security audits of free software licensed code.
- Take steps to ensure reproducible builds of your free software project. Reproducible builds are a set of software development practices that create a verifiable path from human readable source code to the binary code used by computers, which allows users to gain confidence that a distributed binary code is indeed coming from a given source code.
- If you have a website, check out Let’s Encrypt, an automated, free-software based certificate authority (CA), run for the public’s benefit, as well as the W3C’s extensive security information and recommendations for the Web.
Other projects of note include the creation of an enterily free phone OS, a free real-time voice and video chat implementation, an Intelligent personal assistant and others. For more information visit FSF’s page about the projects.