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  • Earthling 7:37 am on November 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: abuse, corrupt governments, cybersecurity, firewall, founding fathers, , gafam, , healthy living, , , linux, malware, Privacy, private life, qubes, security, spyware, , tor, trojan, tyranny, US constitution, virus, vpn, windows 10   

    How to use the internet securely and privately 

    On the internet, security is a prerequisite for privacy.

    A life with privacy is the normal, natural, healthy way of living. Perhaps this is why the Founding Fathers of America put protection of privacy in the constitution. With the advent of the internet and the large-scale usage of electronics that can spy on us, forces of evil such as governments and corporations want to deprive people of this natural human right in order to more effectively control and exploit us.

    There is a trade-off between security and convenience: the more secure and private your life is, the less convenient it will be and the more time it will take to do things. Nevertheless, those who love Liberty should take the trouble to implement at least some of the following measures:

    • Use a secure operating system if possible (Qubes, Linux, etc.). Especially avoid Windows 10, which is designed to spy on you and send your data to Microsoft even if you tell it not to. In case you can’t avoid using Windows 10, harden it for maximum security, and do what you can to circumvent the telemetry.

    • Encrypt your hard drives.

    • Go through all your phone’s settings and make sure nothing is accessing or transferring data you don’t want it to.

    • For maximum mobile security, do not root your phone; for maximum privacy, do root your phone and install a custom ROM with microG instead of Google apps and services. Google does not respect your privacy.

    • On Android, use Privacy Guard and an isolating app such as Shelter to minimize the amount of data apps can access.

    • Use encrypted communication when possible.

    • Use privacy-respecting services to communicate (Messengers: Telegram, Signal; Email: Protonmail, Tutanota)

    • Use a secure browser with plugins such as NoScript, Scriptsafe, uBlock Origin, AdBlock Plus, etc. that block ads, trackers, and unnecessary scripts. Chrome is secure but does not respect your privacy; use Firefox.

    • Use a VPN for secure browsing (ProtonVPN is free), or Tor for anonymity. Tor is anonymous but not secure, so don’t enter any personal information when using it.

    • Don’t use public wifi connections. If you do, use a VPN.

    • Browse securely, being vigilant. Browse in private mode. Have your browser delete your history when closing. Use secure connections (https). If you get a warning that a site has a bad or out of date certificate, close your browser and don’t visit the site. Javascript can do all kinds of things on your computer, so when you open a webpage with Javascript you should think of it as running a program on your computer: do you trust this program, do you trust its source, do you know what it does?

    • Use a firewall on your computer and phone to control which applications use the internet.

    • Use a firewall on your router to filter out bad content as it’s coming in.

    • Use a family internet filter on your computer to block malicious sites (porn, gambling).

    • Keep everything updated regularly.

    • Don’t click on links in emails. If you must open any, copy and paste the link into the browser and verify that it is a safe site.

    • Don’t download email or messenger attachments unless necessary. Open documents in Google Drive, Yandex Drive or a similar service in your browser.

    • Use virtual machines to browse the internet and open attachments, so when you get a virus it won’t infect your whole system.

    • Use Whonix or Tails OS to browse the internet anonymously. These operating systems use Tor, so don’t enter any personal information.

    • Don’t illegally download things. If you do, find things from reliable sources that have been downloaded many times and have positive feedback.

    • Use an antivirus on Windows or OS X, but don’t rely on it.

    • Beware of any links or documents coming from anyone, because even if you trust someone 100%, their device could be hacked, virus-ridden, or someone could be impersonating them.

    • Don’t let anyone use your devices, because they might be less security-aware than you. Lock the screen when you leave the computer. Use a good password. Set a BIOS password for your computer. Factory reset your devices before traveling or visiting police, if you don’t want them to look at or copy all your data.

    • For true online anonymity, use Tails OS on a disposable device at a cafe somewhere far from where you usually go, then break and throw out the device afterwards.

    • Avoid doing terrorism or other illegal activities, or associating with people doing them, because this may give governments a legitimate reason to invade your privacy, and they have extensive resources at their disposal.

    Be diligent about what you share online, and know that whatever you share with one person might be seen by many if they disclose your content or their privacy is invaded. Don’t share personal information with random people or websites. Use a separate email account for signing up for random websites.

    • Don’t use the same password everywhere. Use strong passwords.

    • Check if your personal information has been compromised in any data breaches using Have I Been Pwned.

    • There is deanonymization technology that can identify you solely based on your online behavior and browsing patterns. To avoid this, don’t use consistent patterns: develop several styles of typing and moving your cursor, don’t visit the same sites all the time (and especially not in the same order or from the same IP or VPN), don’t use the same software and hardware all the time to do the same things.

    SERVICES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT PRIVACY

    Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and other big names are notorious for spying on people and sending their information to the US government. Avoid services of these companies if you want privacy. Since many can’t avoid using these services, make sure to go to the settings and configure them to minimize the spying.

    Assume that a company may not value your privacy at all, unless you personally know its CEO and can vouch for their decency. Also assume that your data is not safe with any company, since there are data breaches even in big companies with the financial resources to implement extensive security.

    HOW TO TELL IF YOUR DEVICE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED

    There are obvious signs of malware infection, such as your device being slow, behaving erratically, showing ads, installing things you never told it to, using lots of bandwidth, and so on. Your antivirus may indicate if you have malware. On the other hand, a well-done hack or subtle kind of malware will not be easy to detect. Many forms of malware require expertise to detect, so in order to be sure your device is clean you need to have an expert examine it, or study cybersecurity yourself. The terms to search are “deep packet inspection” and “intrusion detection”.

    WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR PRIVACY IS INVADED

    If someone has invaded your privacy, often it will be impossible to identify them, or they will be “legally untouchable” corporations or government agencies. In case there is the possibility of justice, you should sue them and could receive a good compensation.

    If your device has been infected or hacked, disconnect it from the internet. Reinstall the operating system. Don’t download the installation media from a compromised machine. Be aware that any files copied, backed up or uploaded from the compromised device may contain hidden malware. Other devices of yours may also be infected, such as computers, phones, printers or routers (with the IoT the list is growing), as well as other people’s devices that came into contact with yours physically or online.

    RELIABLE PRIVACY

    Most devices do not have hardware switches to turn the camera and microphone off, so you can’t be sure they aren’t spying on you. When purchasing devices keep things like this in mind. For certain privacy, stay away from all electronics with the capacity to record and transfer data.

    Further information on surveillance: https://ssd.eff.org/en#index

    Article by Anonymous Man

     
  • Earthling 11:29 pm on June 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Evgeny Morozov, , , Privacy, Public domain of personal data, Public domain of personal information   

    Belarus: Evgeny Morozov and the “public domain” of personal information 

    In 2017, the Belorussian-American essayist Evgeny Morozov gave an interview for the podcast Soft Power, in which he gives an interesting summary of the rather iconoclastic views he defends on personal information. There, where digital activists emphasize the defense of privacy, Evgeny Morozov explains that the main issue is economic and the struggle with the digital giants (GAFAM and others) should be dealt with by considering personal information as a “public good” which will be taken from a “public domain.” He has already presented this idea in an article that appeared in the Guardian in December 2016, translated into French by Le Monde Diplomatique under the title “Pour un populisme numérique (de gauche)”.

    Here is what he said in his interview with Soft Power:

    “I defend this solution [of the public domain of personal information] because I don’t think one can regulate all the problems presented by Google, Facebook and others with the traditional tools of market regulation, that is, making them pay taxes and putting anti-trust laws in place […] The digital industry has the power to profoundly change all the other markets; it would be naïve to think that the information wouldn’t fundamentally rebuild the realms of health, transportation, education, etc. And also accelerate this process of automatization and data analysis, because it’s not all negative. There is nothing bad about cancers being detected faster thanks to data, but we shouldn’t do it by giving so much power to Silicon Valley companies that are held by a few billionaires.

    The main good that needs to be tackled is information. If you control information, you can develop artificial intelligence, which is not to say that private companies don’t have a role to play in that. One can certainly imagine how information could be in the public domainwhile companies make use of it by paying for a license. There are countries where land is dealt with like that. The land belongs to the State: you can’t own it, but you can rent it to cultivate it and make use of it.

    This system where information would be in the public domain would also have the advantage of truly democratizing innovation. Today, they would have us believe that innovation is within the reach of all, but this is untrue. You have four or five companies today that decide who can innovate and who can’t. For sure, you can develop a fun application in your garage, but you will never have the power to build automatic cars or invent a system that can detect cancer, because you don’t have access to the data.

    A system in which information belongs to the community allows one and all to take this information to do something with it. Even at the local level, at the neighborhood scale, in order to better focus public policies, I don’t see why all this information has to pass through a big company in the United States, who uses it to create artificial intelligence on a grand scale and make money.”

    There is much to say about these different propositions, but I would like to begin by highlighting the “epidermic” impression everyone must feel when they first hear the expression “public domain of personal information.” In intellectual property law, the public domain is the status when works reach the end of their period of exclusive ownership and thus become freely reusable (on condition of respecting moral rights), including commercial ends. Hence, talk of wanting to put personal information in a “public domain” is of such a nature as to evoke a certain unease, because it is unclear how personal information, which concerns the private lives and intimate affairs of individuals, could fall under such a generalized right of use. Yet Evgeny Morozov doesn’t really connect his propositions with this “metaphor” of the public domain of private property. Rather, what he describes resembles the system called “state-owned public domain,” which regulates goods owned by public persons. This system is applied notably to the usage of sidewalks and public places by businesses (temporary occupation of the public domain) while respecting certain conditions and paying a fee.

    Translated from a French article which can be found here.

     
  • Earthling 12:57 am on June 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Avoid creepy targeted ads, Avoid data mining, Creepy privacy invaders, E-reputation, How not to get hacked, How to avoid spyware, , Internet privacy, Maintaining online reputation, Privacy, Protecting your data   

    How to protect one’s identity and personal data? 

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    Revolutionary for some, data mining, or the automated exploration of data, is a considerable technological breakthrough that benefits not only research but also civil society. For now, this process is not framed by any legal status. From a purchase on a site to your discussions on social networks, all your actions on the internet are monitored and collected. With the rise of corporate spyware and the internet of things, we are heading in the direction of our offline life being heavily monitored as well.

    Our data has become a resource that will soon be more important than oil.

    E-reputation

    Data mining comes to know your tastes, your political opinions, your religious beliefs, your love life, and even your desires! Indeed, companies use our tracks on the web to profile us for marketing purposes, or even to produce TV series specially designed to meet the expectations of the audience (as in the case of House of Cards, the series produced by Netflix). Some years ago, the Target affair caused a stir in the United States. This company was able to predict the pregnancies of its customers and offer them adapted products, before they were pregnant or before the pregnancy was officially announced. Scary, isn’t it?

    Here are some ways we can protect our data and avoid the creepiness of governments and targeted ads:

    1) Surf in private mode, which among other things prevents other users of the computer from accessing your search history. To surf fully anonymously you can use Tor.

    2) Most search engines collect information about their users (keywords, IP address). Use confidential search engines that do not collect your data:

    • DuckDuckGo
    • Ixquick
    • Qwant
    • YaCy

    3) It is possible to guard against profiling by using modules that block cookies:

    • AdBlock for Chrome and Adblock Plus for Firefox
    • FlashBlock for Chrome or Firefox
    • Disconnect for Chrome or Firefox

    4) While many websites support secure connections, which are critical for your security and privacy, a number of sites do not activate it by default. To enable this security wherever possible, you can use HTTPS Everywhere.

    5) When possible, provide disposable email addresses when you leave your email address on a site.

    6) Do not divulge too much personal information on the internet. It is up to everyone to be vigilant on this point. Make sure you control your e-reputation by making an inventory of your presence on the web. Enhance your image by becoming active: create an online CV, set the confidentiality of your social networks…

    Besides mass-surveillance, there are other risks to your data.

    7) Avoid all viruses, spyware, and hacker attacks. These could compromise all of your data.

    8) Don’t let nosy or malicious people access your electronic devices. Keep them password-protected and encrypted.

    9) Don’t use unsecured wi-fi networks. If you do, use a VPN.

    10) When traveling, back up your data and wipe your phone if you do not want government creeps looking at your data and possibly keeping a copy.

    11) Use Linux. Especially avoid Windows 10, which is notorious for spying on its users. Qubes and Tails Linux have been endorsed by Mr. Snowden.

    12) Keep your operating systems and software updated. Reinstall frequently if you are paranoid.

    13) For maximum privacy, stay away from electronics. Turn them off when possible. Go somewhere where there is no internet access and bond with your ancestors who lived in such privacy that we hardly know anything about them.

    Translated from http://bibliotheque-blogs.unice.fr/neurones/2014/06/10/david-contre-goliath-comment-proteger-son-identite-et-ses-donnees-numeriques/

    With some original additions.

     
  • Earthling 1:22 pm on June 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apple spies on you, best browser, browser, Firefox, GNU/Linux is best, Mac vs Linux, Microsoft sucks, Operating system, Privacy, Resisting surveillance   

    Resisting Surveillance Part 1: Operating system and browser, the basics 

    Alternative operating systems: Gnu/Linux distributions

    When buying a computer, the consumer also buys an operating system. These are mainly Mac OS X for Apple computers, and different versions of Windows for other computers. Similar practices take place with smartphones, which are actually more like computers that also have the capabilities of phones. While an operating system is necessary for the proper functioning of a machine, there is no obligation to use or purchase these pre-installed systems. It is possible, although less common, to buy a computer without this additional cost, and then install a system of one’s own choice.

    In particular, there is a free alternative that is more respectful of users’ freedoms: Gnu/Linux operating systems. Many versions (called distributions) coexist, all based on the same core. In addition to being free, many of them have an ease of use and installation comparable to the default operating systems mentioned above. Some popular examples are Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian or Fedora. Besides the advantage of being free, these systems allow:

    • Avoiding the expense of a Windows license (or overpriced Apple computer),
    • Protection from the most common viruses (mainly targeting Windows),
    • Giving a boost to an old computer, without losing functionality for standard uses (office suite, photo editing, internet).

    Want to take the plunge? The sites of the aforementioned distributions explain in a simple way how to proceed. If you fear these operations which, although not too complex, still require some skills, volunteers will be happy to help during events called “installation parties” or “Ubuntu parties.”

    In case you are wondering why Windows or Mac OS X are not ideal in terms of privacy, here are some links:

    Microsoft Spies on You: https://www.gnu.org/proprietary/malware-microsoft.en.html#surveillance

    Apple Spies on You: https://www.gnu.org/proprietary/malware-apple.en.html#surveillance

    Note: that it is quite possible to install a Gnu/Linux distribution on Apple computers, and this is particularly easy for computers made in 2006 or after.

    The browser: such a basic tool

    The transition to a new operating system remains an operation that requires a bit of involvement and effort. This is not so much the case with changing web browsers. If there is a key tool that should not be compromised by anyone who is interested in the protection of their personal data and wishes to resist the influence of monopolies, it is the browser. Microsoft took advantage of its supremacy in the operating system market to surreptitiously incorporate other key software into Windows: its office suite (Microsoft Office) and its browser (Internet Explorer, now Microsoft Edge). This browser was installed by default on all computers with Windows. The European Commission look at this case and saw it as an abuse of a dominant position by Microsoft. Microsoft was then forced to offer Windows users a choice between Internet Explorer and several randomly suggested competing browsers. This European decision has been inadequately respected by Microsoft and too many users have not been encouraged to make the choice.

    It is never too late to do the right thing and choose a better browser than the one imposed by default. We recommend Firefox, whose efficiency leaves little to be desired. In addition to being very powerful, its publisher, the Mozilla Foundation, is non-profit and places certain ethical commitments at the heart of its approach: compliance with web standards and interoperability, freedom and openness of source code, fighting for net neutrality, respect for the privacy of its users …

    Other publishers have developed add-ons (including uBlock Origin, Disconnect, or Privacy Badger) that also improve their privacy, making Firefox a truly remarkable tool. It is used by about a quarter of internet users. Because of this success, in order to remain free, the Mozilla Foundation once resorted a partnership with Google, which was made the default search engine). More recently, the Mozilla Foundation accepted, under the pressure of media industries, to implement a feature limiting the freedoms of users (Encrypted Media Extensions). Despite these concessions, this browser remains an excellent choice that truly commits itself, more and more, to the protection of the freedom and privacy of its users.

    More hardcore users may prefer other free and uncompromising browsers, such as Palemoon, Midori or IceCat, similar to Firefox (albeit less developed), but without compromising on digital rights protection measures. IceCat also incorporates protective modules for privacy. If you want to stand against mass surveillance and you’re still using Internet Explorer, it’s time to get a new browser and if possible to go a little further.

    Translated from CECIL: https://www.lececil.org/node/7688

    Free to distribute and modify under the Creative Commons 3.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

     
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