Umbrella is an Open source Android, iOS and Web app for learning about and managing digital and physical security.
Umbrella is an Android mobile app developed by Security First that provides human rights defenders with the information on what to do in any given security situation and the softwares to do it.
It allows the user to choose what they want to do, such as: protect data; securely make a call/email; securely access the internet; plan secure travel; protect their office/home; conduct counter-surveillance.
Once a situation is chosen, the app outlines what to do and what tools to use given your circumstances. This is followed by a simple checklist of recommended actions that can be customised, saved and shared securely. Umbrella’s Feed also provides users with an up-to-the-minute account of potential risks in their chosen location.
Umbrella is designed for everyone (people looking to increase their security, folks living in high-risk areas, regular travellers, business people, techies, journalists, NGO staff, aid workers, human rights defenders, social workers, environmental activists, etc).
However, when we built Umbrella we tried to keep in mind the story of Glen Greenwald and Edward Snowden. Greenwald couldn’t communicate with Snowden at the start because he found it cumbersome to set up encryption (he nearly missed one of the biggest stories of the decade because of this!). Also, when he (and Laura Poitras) travelled to Hong Kong – they didn’t have much knowledge about how to meet securely with Snowden and detect surveillance. This is a common problem for journalists and activists. Umbrella is designed to solve this problem (and others) by having nearly everything they would have needed to know in one place – in their pocket, author said.
Main Parts of Umbrella
Introduction: This is the part the user sees first. It explains briefly how the app works and the basic terms and conditions.
Menu: The bottom navigation menu is the main way for a user to navigate. It lists the feed, forms, lessons (with guides), checklists and account.
Feed: The feed contains security feeds from places like the UN Relief Web and the US Centers for Disease Control. You enter your location (and how often you want to be updated). Every a new update is released (e.g a disease outbreak in your location), the information comes up on the dashboard.
Lessons: Lessons are where users can learn about topics and things that they can do to improve their security. Some of the lessons have different levels (Beginner, Advanced, Expert) depending on your needs, ability, and risk. Each module is broken down into sections. At the end of each module is a list of other resources and further reading.
Guides: These are detailed guides about how to use software and apps mentioned in the lessons.
Checklists: Checklists are quick and easy references to help users implement the advice in the lessons. You can tick them off as you complete each item. Items can be edited. You may also create custom checklists. If you start ticking a checklist, you will then see them on the Checklists page. Checklists can also be shared through other apps such as your email.
Forms: Forms allow a user to quickly fill out and share important information about issues such as their travel plan in a high-risk location or report on a digital/physical security incident.
The general flow of lessons is presented in order to replicate the typical way that a user works. Protecting their information -> Communicating with other people -> Arranging and travelling to a location -> Doing their operations and work -> Dealing with personal issues that may arise-> Seeking support if something goes wrong.
These are the lessons currently in Umbrella.
Access your risk
- Security Planning
These lessons mostly cover the security of information that is stored on your computers.
- Managing information
- Protecting Files
- Safely Deleting
- Backing Up
- Protect your workplace
- Workplace raids
These lessons mostly cover the security of information when it is sent or received.
- Mobile Phones
- Making a call
- Sending a message
- Online Privacy
- Radios and satellite phones
- Online abuse
These lessons cover the security of travelling in high-risk areas.
- Protective Equipment
These lessons include topics that may affect you in your work.
- Being followed
- Dangerous Assignments
- Public Assignments
- Public Communications
Explains places to get extra help if you have a problem.
These are detailed guides about how to use software and apps mentioned in the lessons. These are currently covered in the guide.
Signal for Android
Signal for iOS
Encrypt your iPhone
k9 & Open Keychain
PGP for Linux
PGP for MacOS
PGP for Windows
Orbot & Orfox
Tor for MacOS
Tor for Linux
Tor for Windows
Contains explanations of the various terms used in the app.
Explains the licences that we use for and by Umbrella. Also says a big THANKYOU to everyone whose work we built on to make it happen.
These are the sources that we currently include for real-time updated security Feeds. For privacy reasons, users never connect directly to these services. We are always looking for more useful sources that will help users keep updated on the move.
- ReliefWeb / UN: excellent physical security updates that amalgamate information from the UN and various NGOs – though not available in every country
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office: foreign travel advice, consular help and services abroad and document legislation
- Centers for Disease Control: updates on disease and health warnings
- Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System: updates on natural disaster issues such as floods, earthquakes and tsunamis
- US State Department Country Warnings: updates mainly focused on the security situation for travellers and internationals – available for every country
Navigate to the “Account” from the bottom menu. Here you can:
- Modify settings (feed interval, feed location, feed sources, notifications, connections, import data, export data)
Set a password
You need an Android phone with a minimum version of 4.0.3 (SDK 15 – ICE_CREAM_SANDWICH_MR1)