10 Tips to Secure Personal Data from Online Snoopers




When Tim Berners-Lee was coming up with the technology that has remodeled our world, he searched for a noun that might describe what he had in mind. The one he eventually settled on was “web”, that is however the globe wide internet got its name.

To its artificer, the noun should have appeared dead apposite: it represented the complex, organic linking of web sites and pages that he had in mind. however “web” has alternative, nonliteral, connotations. Webs square measure things that spiders weave with the aim of capturing prey. And if you would like a image for wondering wherever we tend to square measure currently with networked technology, here’s one to think.

Imagine a huge, world internet within which square measure unfree upwards of 2 billion flies. Most of these unfortunate creatures don’t apprehend – however – that they’re unfree. After all, they wandered cheerfully, willingly, into the net. a number of them even imagine that they might escape if they needed to.

We square measure those insects. the sole means of escaping our difficulty is to renounce the globe within the means that Trappist monks once did. Since we’re not reaching to try this, we’ve got to face the reality: we tend to’re unfree during a system within which everything we do is monitored and logged and within which privacy could be a factor of the past. Everything that you simply do with trendy communications instrumentation leaves a digital path. And this path is followed assiduously not simply by large companies, however conjointly by governments and their security services – as vividly illustrated by the revelations of Edward Snowden.

What’s astonishing is however unconcerned many of us seem to be concerning this. Is it as a result of {they square measure|they’re} unaware of the extent and comprehensiveness of the police work? Or is it some weird manifestation of capital of Sweden syndrome – that strange condition within which prisoners exhibit positive feelings towards their captors? What we’ve learned specifically from the Snowden leaks is that the size and capability of the National Security Agency surveillance are abundant bigger than anyone imaginary. most of the people had assumed that the majority non-encrypted communications were vulnerable and a few speculated that some encrypted communications (eg Skype) had a hidden backdoor for the National Security Agency. however no one realized that, because the latest revelations showed, all the cryptography technologies habitually accustomed shield on-line transactions (https, SSL, VPN and 4G encryption), and something researching Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo, are cracked.

What this suggests is that no style of transmission handled by business firms will currently be assumed to be secure. in this sense, the National Security Agency has very fouled the nest of the North American nation net trade . And it’s even suspected that concerning ninetieth of communications routed through the TOR network square measure victimization cryptography that will even have been hacked by the National Security Agency. What are you able to do if you’re somebody UN agency feels uneasy concerning being caught during this web? The honest answer is that there’s no comprehensive solution: if you’re reaching to use telephones (mobile or landline) and also the net then you’re reaching to leave a path. however there square measure belongings you will do to create your communications less insecure and your path tougher to follow. Here square measure ten ideas you would possibly think about.

1 Email
Rethink your email setup. Assume that every one “free” email and webmail services (Gmail etc) square measure suspect. Be ready to purchase a service, like Fastmail,that is not primarily based within the North American nation – although a number of its servers square measure in big apple with backups in Norway. (My hunch is that additional non-US email services can seem as entrepreneurs spot the business chance created by the Snowden revelations.) it might even be value checking that your organisation has not quietly outsourced its email and IT systems to Google or Microsoft – as several kingdom organisations (including newspapers and universities) have.

The real issue with email is that whereas there square measure ways in which of keeping the content of messages non-public (see encryption), the “metadata” that goes with the message (the “envelope”, because it were) is terribly revealing, and there’s no means of encrypting that as a result of its required by the net routing system and is on the market to most security services while not a warrant.

2 cryptography
Encryption accustomed be the only province of geeks and mathematicians, however plenty has modified in recent years. especially, numerous publically out there tools have taken the rocket science out of encrypting (and decrypting) email and files. GPG for Mail, as an example, is AN open supply plug-in for the Apple Mail program that produces it straightforward to inscribe, decrypt, sign and verify emails victimization the OpenPGP commonplace. And for shielding files, newer versions of Apple’s OS X software go with FileVault, a program that encrypts the disc drive of a pc. Those running Microsoft Windows have an identical program. This software package can scramble your information, however won’t shield you from government authorities strict your cryptography key underneath the Regulation of investigative Powers Act (2000), that is why some aficionados suggest TrueCrypt, a program with some terribly attention-grabbing facilities, which could are helpful to David Miranda.

3 internet browsing
Since browsing is perhaps what net users do most, it’s value taking browser security and privacy seriously. If you’re sad that your clickstream (the log of the sites you visit) is in impact belongings as so much because the security services square measure involved, you would possibly think about employing freely out there tools like Tor Browser to obscure your clickstream. And to safeguard yourself against the astonishingly brazen efforts by business firms to trace your on-line behaviour you ought to, at the terribly minimum, tack together your browser in order that it repels several of those would-be boarders.

4 Cloud services
The message of the Snowden revelations is that you simply ought to avoid all cloud services (Dropbox, iCloud, Evernote, etc) that square measure primarily based within the North American nation, the UK, France and alternative jurisdictions noted to be tolerant of NSA-style snooping. Your operating assumption ought to be that something keep on such systems is doubtless accessible by others. And if you need to entrust information to them, make certain it’s encrypted.

5 File storage and archiving
An possibility that AN increasing numbers of individuals square measure exploring is running their own personal cloud service victimization merchandise like PogoPlug and Transporter that offer Dropbox-type facilities, however on net connected drives that you simply own and management. And if you carry around confidential information on a USB stick, make certain it’s encrypted victimization TrueCrypt.

6 Social networking
Delete your Facebook account. Why do the CIA’s work for it? And if you need to use it, don’t place your date of birth on your profile. Why provide identity thieves a good break? And keep in mind that, despite what your privacy settings, you don’t have management over info concerning you that’s denote by your “friends”.

7 Location information
Avoid victimization services like FourSquare that need location info.

8 Wireless services
Have Bluetooth off by default altogether your mobile devices. solely switch it on once you expressly got to use it. Otherwise you’ll realize that even a {dustbin|ashcan|trash will|garbage can|wastebin|ash bin|ash-bin|ashbin|trash barrel|trash bin|bin} can pay attention to it. Similarly, watch out for victimization open local area network publicly places. At the terribly minimum, make certain that any web site you move with uses communications protocolS instead of unencrypted HTTP connections. If you don’t then anyone near will use Firesheep to envision everything you’re doing.

9 Personal security
Forget secret, assume passphrase – that is a hollow sentence that you simply can keep in mind – and do some transformations thereon (first and third letters of each word maybe) in order that you’ll generate a stronger secret from it anytime. Or use a password-management app like LastPass or 1Password. And if a service offers multi-factor authentication, create use of it.

10 Search engines
All the large search engines track your search history and build profiles on you to serve you personalized results supported your search history. if you would like to flee from this “filter bubble” you would like to change to an exploration engine that doesn’t track your inquiries. the foremost obvious one is that the bizarrely named however quite effective DuckDuckGo.

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