Pre-Install Hardware ChecklistΒΆ

This is the minimum hardware that must be acquired to install SecureDrop:

  • 2 computers with memory and hard drives to use as the SecureDrop servers.

  • Mouse, keyboard, monitor (and necessary dongle or adapter) for installing the servers.

  • At least 2 dedicated physical computers that can boot to Tails: one computer for the Secure Viewing Station, and one or more computers for the Admin Workstation(s)/Journalist Workstation(s).

  • Dedicated airgapped hardware for the mouse, keyboard, and monitor (only if you are using a desktop for the Secure Viewing Station).

  • Network firewall.

  • At least 3 ethernet cables.

  • Plenty of USB sticks: 1 drive for the master Tails stick, 1 drive for each Secure Viewing Station, 1 drive for each Transfer Device, 1 drive for each Export Device, and 1 drive for each admin and journalist.

Additionally, you may want to consider the following purchases:

  • a printer without wireless network support, to use in combination with the Secure Viewing Station.

  • an external hard drive to expand the storage capacity of the Secure Viewing Station.

  • an external hard drive for server backups.

  • a USB drive to store backups of your Tails workstation drives.

  • a network switch, if you use a firewall with fewer than four ports.

  • a security key for HOTP authentication, such as a YubiKey, if you want to use hardware-based two-factor authentication instead of a mobile app.

  • a USB drive with a physical write protection switch, or a USB write blocker, if you want to mitigate the risk of introducing malware from your network to your Secure Viewing Station during repeated use of an Export Device.

  • CD-R/DVD-R writers, if you want to use CD-Rs/DVD-Rs as transfer or export media, and a CD shredder that can destroy media consistent with your threat model.


To avoid hardware compatibility issues, we strongly recommend adhering to our specific hardware recommendations. Please review the Hardware section in full for further details.