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Author Topic: Paranoia unleashed (List of spyware of all sorts and how to deal with it) - TEST  (Read 1515 times)

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Offline JimmyTango

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Hello guys. This is a Test thread for everyone to contribute to. Hopefully, it will grow and develop, and I will be learning and modifying it as it goes.

Introduction
The real reason I switched to Linux a little over a month ago was because (among other reasons) Microsoft, Apple and Google, as well as many other software manufacturers, would stop at nothing to collect any and all data possible, even that which had nothing to do with the use of the product (and I'm not even being paranoid with this). The last straw for me was when a Microsoft Word update on my android asked for access to my contacts list. As far as I'm concerned, all 3 of the companies listed above can go #### themselves (I have 16 tons of dirt on each of them, but for the sake of this thread, I won't go into detail) - I've just had it with them.
I'm getting the hang of Linux as much as my spare time permits (very . slowly. ), and thus far I'm ecstatic - to me it's a perfect balance of usability and security.

Now, what this thread is really about:

I will be listing all the software/updates/whatnot (in a simplistic numerical order) I can think of, that can withdraw information of any kind from my machine or my actions in the first part of the post (and what kind of information it could be), and the second part should contain the information as to ways of fixing/finding workarounds and scripts/admitting to the inability of fixing etc etc. I assume this to be a massive witch-hunt, with some of the entries being way beyond reasonable. You can call it paranoia - I call it my basic right to privacy. The solutions listed below will not be "perfect", but the best possible I could find for Linux Peppermint. Well, here goes:

CULPRITS(TEST):

1. Web browsers
1.1. Google Chrome/Chromium (wants your soul)
1.2. Firefox
1.3. any other browser

2. Peppermint Updates (just for the sake of argument):
2.1  ntp + ntpdates (could theoretically have your location triangulated between multiple ntp servers)
2.2 chromium updates
2.3. ...

3. Built-in software (just for the sake of argument):
3.1. peppermint clock/date
3.2. peppermint update manager (knows your exact location, as it needs to decide which download mirror is best for you)
3.3. ...
3.4. your suggestions here
3.5. LibreOffice?

4. Third-party software :
4.1. Skype (your Skype and phone contacts, your location)
4.2. Telegram (your phone number, saved phone numbers, your location, saved videos, audio files and images)
4.3. Dropbox (Edward Snowden called Dropbox, the cloud storage service - ‘hostile to privacy’ - consider ditching it, really)
4.4. any Microsoft product
4.5. any Apple product
4.6. any Google product
4.7...

5. Search engines :
5.1. google search (encrypted google search is a naive and rubbish solution. You can be sure of that by simply searching "current time" - you will then be given the exact time corresponding to your exact location - so much for encryption)
5.2. any other search engine

SOLUTIONS(TEST)(others than being offline and forever alone):

general precaution:
I. enable the built-in firewall. You can find the instructions here https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/security#TOC-Firewall as well, as a bunch of other useful information if you follow the links around.
II. use burner emails for registering with services: https://www.maildrop.cc/  or  http://slippery.email/, among others.

1. Web browsers
  use TOR. Known to be used by terrorists, child pornographers and the US Navy (see what I did there? :) ). Half-way between TOR's security and popular browsers' usability (amongst which Firefox is the definite best in many regards) are Dooble and Comodo Dragon. Other than that, use incognito mode, VPN, tweak your browser to use 0 cookies, set your broswer to auto-clear cache upon closing (links to HOW in section 1.2) and avoid Java scripts - can also be done by using Java-switching browser extensions, such as NoScript, ScriptSafe and QuickJava, but any browser extension can be manipulated/changed to collect data about you)
1.2. Firefox - is probably your safest popular option, with private view mode, room for vpn and noscript, and best of all - the ability to tweak it to your needs. Here's how: https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/firefox

2. Peppermint Updates
2.1. ignore suggested package and/or go to menu > System Tools > Time & Date and set:
Configuration: Manual
2.2. ignore suggested package, do not use Chromium or Chrome.

3. Built-in software
3.1. go to menu > System Tools > Time & Date and set:
Configuration: Manual
3.2. Linux and Peppermint are the good guys, duh. They don't collect nor monitor any user data, other than your posts on the peppermint forums, which are subject to their privacy standards. Either way, you can choose any mirror to download your updates from.

4. Third-party software - Strongly discouraged, install/use at your own risk
4.2. Instead of Telegram, try using spideroak's anonymous Semaphor, a zero knowledge conversation utility. https://spideroak.com/
4.3. Instead of Dropbox, try using spideroak's SpiderOakONE, the zero knowledge cloud. https://spideroak.com/

5. Search engines
 Other than using TOR-based engines, using alternative search engines is a good idea, DuckDuckGo being a pretty decent option, their statement: “emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding filter bubble of personalized search results.”

I'm looking forward to suggestions as to structure, culprits, solutions, or perhaps to my whole attitude.

Let's have a blast, gents!
« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 09:05:37 am by JimmyTango »

Offline PCNetSpec

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Not sure how ntp gives away your GPS location ? .. unless you're thinking they could get a "general" sense by triangulating response times between 3 or more ntp servers .. but that would need the interweb to always pass packets across the same route and that's not how it works.

Anyway .. just go to menu > System Tools > Time & Date and set:
Configuration: Manual
and you're no longer getting your time via ntp.

That kinda does away with 3.1 at the same time.

As for 3.2 .. the mirror you choose does NOT advertise your location .. I'm from the UK but can easily choose a mirror in the US or Australia for that matter, even if you choose to get the fastest mirror it may not be the closest one .. and we couldn't (and wouldn't) "use it against you" because we neither monitor and/or collect ANY, repeat ZERO, user data (nor have we put anything in place that would allow us to do so) other than what you entered in this forum, and we would NEVER pass that on to ANY third party (that's not to say the forum is hack proof, nothing is, so feel free to enter a load of gibberish, we don't check, but be aware if you ever forget your forum password the forum is going to want a valid email address to post you a new one (but up to you where that email address is) .. BTW we never get to see your passwords .. heck we don't even count ISO downloads.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 06:06:35 pm by PCNetSpec »
WARNING: You are logged into reality as 'root' .. logging in as 'insane' is the only safe option.

Team Peppermint
PCNetSpec

Offline JimmyTango

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Perfect! That's precisely the kind of feedback I was hoping for!
Thank you very much, good sir! Please, feel free to make more comments at your own pace! ( I know you're rather busy)

Offline scifidude79

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As for 3.2 .. the mirror you choose does NOT advertise your location .. I'm from the UK but can easily choose a mirror in the US or Australia for that matter, even if you choose to get the fastest mirror it may not be the closest one .. and we couldn't (and wouldn't) "use it against you" because we neither monitor and/or collect ANY, repeat ZERO, user data (nor have we put anything in place that would allow us to do so) other than what you entered in this forum, and we would NEVER pass that on to ANY third party (that's not to say the forum is hack proof, nothing is, so feel free to enter a load of gibberish, we don't check, but be aware if you ever forget your forum password the forum is going to want a valid email address to post you a new one (but up to you where that email address is) .. BTW we never get to see your passwords .. heck we don't even count ISO downloads.

I used to use a European mirror (Ireland, if I remember correctly) because it was fastest.  I certainly don't live in Europe.  ;)

Offline Elemec

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I still find some of the programs like Skype or Dropbox to be quite handy.
Is there even a decent, easy to use replacement for Dropbox that avoids the problem you've mentioned?  ???

Offline PCNetSpec

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WARNING: You are logged into reality as 'root' .. logging in as 'insane' is the only safe option.

Team Peppermint
PCNetSpec

Offline JimmyTango

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updated general precautions, dropbox and telegram solutions, link added on Firefox tweaking. Keep 'em coming, guys :)
« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 08:54:52 am by JimmyTango »

Offline Pikolo

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If you ever want to do a really serious privacy+security overview, try this guide: http://crunchbang.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=24722
It's old(2013) and really paranoid, so don't feel bad if you can't apply most of it. The most relevant things are probably to always do encrypted installs, the about:config settings guideline and a reminder to verify the checksums whenever possible