Securing Our Servers: Basic Network Operations for Autonomous Communities
Every app you use—from messengers like Signal or WhatsApp to blogs and websites like WordPress and even other coordination tools like digital calendars and online maps—relies on a computer called a server. Whether that computer is one in your hand (your smartphone), or a computer somewhere across the Internet (“in the cloud”), no meaningful digital communication happens without servers offering services, somewhere. So, do you know where your servers are? If not, you can’t know how safe your data is!
When you don’t have a clear map of how your messages and other data gets from here to there, you might be at risk of someone listening in on your conversations. When you rely on services that you don’t own yourself for critical day-to-day operations (like Google Calendar, or Facebook…) you risk losing access to those capabilities by having your account banned, even by mistake. Regardless of your specific situation, knowing more about the digital servers that are serving you is a vital first step for supporting communities or companies large and small.
This intermediate-level workshop combines various topics from the Tech Learning Collective’s System Administration, Networking, and Security courses to offer an intensive crash course in secure server setup, monitoring, and maintenance. By taking a deep dive into the SSH protocol, you’ll learn how to set up remote administrative access to a server in a safe way, and you’ll be exposed to the potential risks of network eavesdroppers, Machine-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks, and much more. By the end of this workshop, you’ll have a basic understanding of how to safely operate self-hosted digital infrastructures for yourself, your friends, and your comrades, as well as what first steps you need to take to keep intruders and enemies at bay.