Preserving your online privacy

Posted by Shade Skypage 
March 28, 2012 02:26PM
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As a note, I'll be posting this before it's complete so you guys can access it as I add things to it. When I'm satisfied with it, this will get removed from the top.



Not everyone may do all of these, as it's a matter of personal choice, but I like making things difficult for the surveillance state, and prefer having plausible deniability if I were accused of one of those selectively enforced laws.

Now, on to the good stuff.

The first step of making your online experience more secure for any layperson is hardening your browser, since it's the primary way most people interact with the internet. I highly recommend Firefox, both as a good usable interface and all the options for add-ons. Some of the add-ons I mention here may be usable for other browsers too. There's a lot of options out there.

Firstly, firefox has built in "do not track" functionality. There's a guide and FAQ here.

I also like using Adblock Plus. This gets rid of most annoying ads on webpages, including some of the commercials you'll see in web videos, like the ones that sometimes show at the start of one on youtube.

Ghostery is an add-on that gives you a visual representation of what scripts are running in the background on websites, and the ability to block them. These are limited to the ones that aren't displaying visual content on webpages you go to, such as Google Analytics, which is frigging everywhere.

NoScript is similar to Ghostery, but doesn't give such a visual representation, and blocks all scripts in general, except those you allow on a permanent or temporary basis. This includes scripts that run videos, so websites other than youtube you would need to enable.

HTTPS Everywhere is an add-on that sets your browser to use an encrypted connection on any site that allows one. For instance, if you ever go through an online purchase, if you look at the address par in your browser, instead of the URL starting with the typical [], it will be [], which indicates the use of an encrypted connection.

As a side note for any guys using a mobile phone to connect to the site, Mozilla has a Firefox app for phones, so all of these add-ons should be available to you as well. If not, let me know so that I can correct it here.
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There is also a free browser that's ready to go with a similar setup (and in fact is a modified Firefox) available through the Tor Project. This anonymizes your IP address by bouncing your web signal over several relays, so that any website you interact with sees your IP as that of the exit node, making it effectively impossible to determine your location unless that information is supplied elsewhere. So, not useful at all for buying things online since it's shipped right to you anyways.

Another option for anonymity is to use a VPN (virtual private network). These work by "tunneling," where the signals you want to send to the web are encapsulated in 256 bit encryption and sent to the VPN's servers, who then send that traffic out as their own, and then through encrypted tunneling send the reply information back to you. The trick with these is getting a good one, which doesn't store logs of use. I personally use BTGuard, because of their answers to the two questions Torrent Freak asked a bunch of VPNs to determine which ones take anonymity seriously.
The questions:
1. Do you keep ANY logs which would allow you or a 3rd party to match an IP address and a time stamp to a user of your service? If so, exactly what information do you hold?
2. Under what jurisdictions does your company operate and under what exact circumstances will you share the information you hold with a 3rd party?

BTGuard's answers:
Response to Q1: “It’s technically unfeasible for us to maintain log files with the amount of connections we route,” BTguard explain. “We estimate the capacity needed to store log files would be 4TB per day.”
Response to Q2: “The jurisdiction is Canada. Since we do not have log files, we have no information to share. We do not communicate with any third parties. The only event we would even communicate with a third party is if we received a court order. We would then be forced to notify them we have no information. This has not happened yet.”
Article source here.
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There is an excellent article that goes into password strength and how to improve it here.

Do right—and fear not.
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 03/28/2012 02:51PM by Shade Skypage.
April 05, 2012 12:49PM
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Good addition! Online privacy is difficult to say the least.

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” -- Thomas Jefferson
April 05, 2012 05:17PM
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And security even more so.

Do right—and fear not.
April 06, 2012 12:21AM
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I use Adblock+ and Ghostery myself, tried NoScript but grew annoyed with it and deleted it.

I don't have https right now but will check into it.

And also playing with Tor, considering a vpn also.

Good info Shade thumbs up This should be a sticky.

Do not fire unless fired upon. But if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.

From Arctic Patriot: "Do not be the lone crossbowman holding his fire until he sees the whites of the armored knight's eyes behind his visor. Shoot that horse down as far away as you can. Then run, and do it again when you must."

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy" - James Madison

Age will not matter.
Strength of conviction and resolve
will carry us all through this.
Each of us will have a part to play
to the best of our ability. We will feed
off each others strengths and weakness.
Giving words of courage and showing it
as well. Encourage others, show strength
and plant the seeds of Liberty everyday.
We are ThreePercenters. - DEFENDER
April 06, 2012 12:39AM
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Stickied. For NoScript, you can permanently allow certain scripts that you know are okay. I do. (or if there's a ridiculously long list of them, there's usually some overlap with Ghostery). Tor's fun to use for basic browsing, and the main thing that's nice about a VPN is it's certainly faster than Tor, and allows you to anonymize other services besides strictly web browsing much easier. From what I've found on I2P, there are resources on it for anonymous chat, torrent, and some other services as well. Also, if you haven't done much delving into .onion sites and deep-web stuff, the Hidden Wiki is a great place to start. URL for it is this minus the space in it: [kpvz7ki2v5agwt35.onion]

Do right—and fear not.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/27/2012 10:23AM by Shade Skypage.
cz7
June 07, 2012 09:21PM
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i use opera with other patterns of services .......

"It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." -- Henry Ford ! when a nation turns on it's own and denies it's own founding culture ,this is a sign of the death pangs of a nation --- cz7
July 08, 2012 09:00PM
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Just wanted to add Startpage.com to the list -- Their search results now have a proxy option (heard it on the radio) + allows searching Google without Google's vacuum (and presumably, the NSA vacuum) sucking up all your data.

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” -- Thomas Jefferson
July 17, 2012 03:41PM
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Yep, and you can set it as your toolbar search engine in firefox. Was very glad that it was simple to set up.

Do right—and fear not.
February 11, 2013 06:53PM
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Just installed AdBlock + and Ghostery.

I want to learn more on VPNs
February 11, 2013 08:49PM
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Do you want to learn which VPNs are good, or more about how they work?

Do right—and fear not.
August 01, 2013 12:05PM
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Great Post!

thanks

"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves"– Edward R. Murrow

"Defy - Resist - Evade - Smuggle."
August 18, 2013 07:24AM
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Howdy,

I'll have to look into those firefox browswers and add on things. I run most anything through Tor browser anymore. I love it. It's great for anonomous communication, not so great for simple web browsing. ixquick.com, is the same as smartpage.com. That is my default browser. I find myself going through the proxy setting more and more these days. If only there could be an anonomous youtube life would be good. I do believe however, that the only way to stay truly private is not to have a computer. But thereagain, I wouldn't be typing here.
August 18, 2013 10:52AM
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no such thing as online privacy.

if you post on this website forums, then i guarentee NSA is tracking every click you make. they have backdoors into every OS, every browser, every toolbar app, etc...

traditional internet/computer security may keep out the 'normal' hackers that just want to steal you SSN or CC#, but nothing is impossible for the NSA because they hire the best hackers in the world.

formerly, 1/2 Bravo Co. Weps Plt. my avatar is perminant ink and my personal philosophy.
October 31, 2013 09:34PM
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Quote
knightindullarmor
no such thing as online privacy.

if you post on this website forums, then i guarentee NSA is tracking every click you make. they have backdoors into every OS, every browser, every toolbar app, etc...

traditional internet/computer security may keep out the 'normal' hackers that just want to steal you SSN or CC#, but nothing is impossible for the NSA because they hire the best hackers in the world.
They may be able to crack in if they really want to get into someone's system, but at worst, there are ways to slow them down. There are encryption standards they can't crack, and layering a VPN on Tor doesn't hurt either. The other side is that the NSA obviously can't do any useful processing of all the data they already get because they're never able to pick up useful clues on the people they're supposedly targeting until after the fact. Plus, it's expensive for them to try and focus on specific people, both computationally and monetarily.

Do right—and fear not.
November 21, 2014 04:26PM
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nice post, just added ghostery and abp
February 22, 2015 06:29PM
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Here is an excellent article on how to secure Firefox using the config file. It also has a link at the bottom of recommended add-ons to use.
Firefox Config File
March 27, 2015 05:18AM
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Using encryption is what they look for it’s a flag for the NSA. Reading all the network traffic they want is not a problem, and requesting backups from ISP's is automated. Really if you want to be safe DON'T SEND ANYTHING IMPORTANT ON THE INTERNET. If you want to fly under the radar use a base 36
Encryption scheme that you have created a logical key on that you have shared with someone in person. Then you can communicate more securely via plaintext, and it does not set off a flag. Even better send a text file called readme.txt
In a high tech world be old school.
Every encryption protocol has been broken, and can be read. Appliances have been made to read an log all traffic that passes through them, they are in place in almost every organization.
Never assume anything on a computer is private or safe.

Some thing that is little known is MAC addresses. A wireless device(phone,computer,car) has a mac address that is unique to that wireless card. If your wireless is on(do you think you can turn it off? really?) any wireless access point your near reads, and logs the mac address, even if you do not connect to it. Google was using that data to track people for traffic congestion and alternate route suggestions on google maps.

TOR
Has log since been cracked. Here is the deal you are playing with their toys. The internet was created at DARPA. All the communicaion protocols came from Military research. Just stop using their toys if you want something to be private.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/27/2015 05:31AM by lightarrow.
March 27, 2015 08:27AM
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Thanks, man...

Now I gotta go line my hat with tinfoil...again.

I don't plan on dyin'.

I mean, yes, it is definitely a possibility, but I'd rather shoot 'n scoot to get some more.

My plan is to be the biggest pain in the ass possible.

Like a sandpaper dildo.
March 27, 2015 09:00AM
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You don't have a steel helm with full plate armor?
March 27, 2015 10:14AM
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Steel?

No.

No steel.winking smiley

I don't plan on dyin'.

I mean, yes, it is definitely a possibility, but I'd rather shoot 'n scoot to get some more.

My plan is to be the biggest pain in the ass possible.

Like a sandpaper dildo.
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