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Taking back your online Privacy.

SmashingMachine

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With the great discussions from Chevys post I figured I would do a brief write up for anyone interested in minimizing the amount of tracking/monitoring when using the internet.

Theres many things that you can do to increase your privacy/security greatly. It all comes down to most people choosing convenience over privacy but I can assure you that there are steps you can take to regain your privacy online.

One of the big ones is social media... personally I do not have any. I feel its a waste of time... I figure there is more productive things that I could be doing instead of using them. Just my opinion and to each their own. Many people give out insane amounts of info about themselves or give apps complete access to their devices in order to use the apps. I know this one is common sense but I figured that I would mention it anyway.

For your android phones -
I will touch only on android. Iphones are good for people who want an easy way to message/call/surf the web but it does not allow you to take control of your device quite like android will.

Lineage OS - A custom ROM that you flash on your phone that gives you admin rights (full control) and gets rid of google entirely. This allows you to customize settings.

F-Droid - Replaces Google Playstore... has many opensource apps. Does not track you or your downloads.

XPrivacy - Prevents apps from leaking privacy sensitive date. You can have it send blank requests for apps asking or select what false info you want it to submit.

SuperUser - You can grant or deny root permissions, or get it to ask each time.

Secdroid - disables several services on your device that most users will not require to be running all the time. These services include SSH, SSHD, Telnet NC (net cat), and Ping, to keep others from gaining access to your device via a remote terminal.

Netguard - Allows you to block certain apps from accessing the internet until you use them which increases your privacy.

VPN - Encypts your data so that your ISP cannot see what you are doing. (Just make sure to use a PAID service that has a good reputation)

Change your DNS - I use the DNS that NordVPN offers. (This is the VPN that I use)

Signal Private Messenger - Encrypts all messages/calls/video chat. This is by far the safest and most secure messaging app out there.

Encrypted Email - Protonmail or Tutanota.

Firefox Browser - Best browser to use. You can modify your settings in about:config to increase privacy and decrease tracking. Using certain addons. This site is amazing and the best breakdown imo for firefox privacy/security/addons - https://www.privacytools.io/browsers/
Disabling WebRCT - See site posted in firefox browser.

PilferShush Jammer - Blocks your microphone completely when enabled (Found on F-Droid)

ClassyShark3xodus - Checks apps for code signatures of known trackers (Found on F-Droid)

NewPipe - Youtube alternative. Scrapes youtube and gives you the same content without being tracked. Allows you to download songs/videos/audio to your phone directly as well.

DuckDuckGo - A search engine that does not track you like google.

Island - (In beta but I use it and works great). Its a sandbox environment to clone selected apps and isolate them from accessing your personal data outside the sandbox (including call logs, contacts, photos and etc) even if related permissions are granted.

*I should add... the email clients, signal, firefox, duckduckgo. vpns... can all be clearly used on Iphones as well.


Computer (Many of the programs listed for cellphone apply here as well so I wont add them)

OpenWRT or DDWRT - configuring your router with one of these so all connections automatically route through your vpn of choice that you enable on the router.

Pihole - Configure a raspberry pi with this OS and it hooks up to your router. Its a network monitoring tool and allows you to block ads/trackers on your entire network. Im currently blocking roughly 90% of traffic and everything still works fine.

PfSense Firewall - Has similar software as Pihole but allows you to do much more.
Not using things like Alexa or enabled smart tvs in your home.

These are just some programs off the top of my head that anyone can use if they desired to get their privacy back online. There is more complicated steps that people can take to help as well but I just wanted people to know that there is absolutely ways to take back your privacy online.

If anyone has any apps/programs that they also enjoy to increase security/privacy please let me know! Or if anyone has any questions or info to add.

Let me know what you guys think.
 
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Bstatic

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Great write up! I miss being a computer geek. Phones and tablets kind of ruined that for me but also interests change.
 

Goldenrod

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With the great discussions from Chevys post I figured I would do a brief write up for anyone interested in minimizing the amount of tracking/monitoring when using the internet.

Theres many things that you can do to increase your privacy/security greatly. It all comes down to most people choosing convenience over privacy but I can assure you that there are steps you can take to regain your privacy online.

One of the big ones is social media... personally I do not have any. I feel its a waste of time... I figure there is more productive things that I could be doing instead of using them. Just my opinion and to each their own. Many people give out insane amounts of info about themselves or give apps complete access to their devices in order to use the apps. I know this one is common sense but I figured that I would mention it anyway.

For your android phones -
I will touch only on android. Iphones are good for people who want an easy way to message/call/surf the web but it does not allow you to take control of your device quite like android will.

Lineage OS - A custom ROM that you flash on your phone that gives you admin rights (full control) and gets rid of google entirely. This allows you to customize settings.
F-Droid - Replaces Google Playstore... has many opensource apps. Does not track you or your downloads.
XPrivacy - Prevents apps from leaking privacy sensitive date. You can have it send blank requests for apps asking or select what false info you want it to submit.
SuperUser - You can grant or deny root permissions, or get it to ask each time.
Secdroid - disables several services on your device that most users will not require to be running all the time. These services include SSH, SSHD, Telnet NC (net cat), and Ping, to keep others from gaining access to your device via a remote terminal.
Netguard - Allows you to block certain apps from accessing the internet until you use them which increases your privacy.
VPN - Encypts your data so that your ISP cannot see what you are doing. (Just make sure to use a PAID service that has a good reputation)
Change your DNS - I use the DNS that NordVPN offers. (This is the VPN that I use)
Signal Private Messenger - Encrypts all messages/calls/video chat. This is by far the safest and most secure messaging app out there.
Encrypted Email - Protonmail or Tutanota.
Firefox Browser - Best browser to use. You can modify your settings in about:config to increase privacy and decrease tracking. Using certain addons. This site is amazing and the best breakdown imo for firefox privacy/security/addons - https://www.privacytools.io/browsers/
Disabling WebRCT - See site posted in firefox browser.
PilferShush Jammer - Blocks your microphone completely when enabled (Found on F-Droid)
ClassyShark3xodus - Checks apps for code signatures of known trackers (Found on F-Droid)
NewPipe - Youtube alternative. Scrapes youtube and gives you the same content without being tracked. Allows you to download songs/videos/audio to your phone directly as well.
DuckDuckGo - A search engine that does not track you like google.
Island - (In beta but I use it and works great). Its a sandbox environment to clone selected apps and isolate them from accessing your personal data outside the sandbox (including call logs, contacts, photos and etc) even if related permissions are granted.

*I should add... the email clients, signal, firefox, duckduckgo. vpns... can all be clearly used on Iphones as well.


Computer (Many of the programs listed for cellphone apply here as well so I wont add them)

OpenWRT or DDWRT - configuring your router with one of these so all connections automatically route through your vpn of choice that you enable on the router.
Pihole - Configure a raspberry pi with this OS and it hooks up to your router. Its a network monitoring tool and allows you to block ads/trackers on your entire network. Im currently blocking roughly 90% of traffic and everything still works fine.
PfSense Firewall - Has similar software as Pihole but allows you to do much more.
Not using things like Alexa or enabled smart tvs in your home.

These are just some programs off the top of my head that anyone can use if they desired to get their privacy back online. There is more complicated steps that people can take to help as well but I just wanted people to know that there is absolutely ways to take back your privacy online.

If anyone has any apps/programs that they also enjoy to increase security/privacy please let me know! Or if anyone has any questions or info to add.

Let me know what you guys think.
thanks for taking the time to write this up for everyone. I don't put anything on social media. I have a FB account but no info on it and I never post - just connect to family through messenger for vid calls right now.
 

SmashingMachine

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I figured I would add a bit more to this thread.

LINEAGE OS -
I wanted to touch on Lineage OS some more. I find this to be the best option available right now for anyone with an android phone. Not every device is compatible, but they have by far the largest option that I have seen. You can check if your phone is able to work with Lineage here ..... https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/

In order to install Lineage OS on your phone. You would first have to install TWRP (TeamWin Recovery Project). This is a custom recovery which is GUI based. You will also need to find the correct file that is compatible with your device. https://twrp.me/Devices/

TWRP allows you to:

Backups of partitions in TAR or raw Image format
Restore backups from internal storage, external SD storage or OTG devices
Custom Firmware installation
Partition wiping
File deletion
Terminal access
ADB Root Shell
Theme Support
Possible decryption support depending on device

This is essential for installing Lineage OS onto your device. It makes it easy and fast. You will have to use ODIN on your computer to flash TWRP onto you device. You can download it here. https://odinsoft.site/odin/ But once you have TWRP flashed onto your device, you then use that to install Lineage.

If anyone is interested I would be more than happy to explain how, there are many guides online as well. Lineage OS will allow you to be free from Google. AKA tracking and monitoring. You do have the option to add GAPPS though incase you would still like some google features..

I had touched on SuperSU for rooting your device (Unlocking your bootloader). It seems that it has not been updated much or at all lately so another rooting program which is great would be.. Magisk. Rooting just basically gives you admin rights to your phone. Allowing you to do as you wish to the phones apps, settings etc. You need to make sure that your phone is capable of being rooted. Some are not.


PI-HOLE -
I am a huge advocate of PI-HOLE. I had touched on it in my previous post. For roughly $100 you can buy a raspberry pi 3 on amazon and you are all set. You will be installing Pi-hole software onto the device (which is free). As I mentioned it is a network wide ad blocker and helps tremendously from tracking and it helps block unwanted ads which do nothing except monitor you. Its nice to see exactly what each device/app is connecting to server wise.

Once you have it set up I recommend disabling your DHCP in your router settings and enabling DHCP server in your raspberry pi settings. This allows you more control and monitoring on every device. There will be no trackers sneaking through. Every devices traffic will be forwarded through Pi-hole first. Once that is set head over to the DNS settings and uncheck the google servers. This is set by default. For myself, I want nothing to do with google. Especially in wake of all the censoring that has been going on with social media and big tech. As I mentioned I use NordVPNs DNS servers which will be much more privacy orientated. They are 103.86.96.100 and 103.86.99.100. Once you are set up you can block (blacklist) or allow (whitelist) any websites or trackers that you want. There is an extensive block list that was compiled called Wally3k's ( https://firebog.net/ ) and it is absolutely amazing. This is what I added to my block lists. I am currently blocking 2,875,748 trackers/websites.


QUBES -
One Operating System that I would like to mention is QUBES. This is amazing for privacy and security.
https://www.qubes-os.org/

"Qubes OS is a free and open-source, security-oriented operating system for single-user desktop computing. Qubes OS leverages Xen-based virtualization to allow for the creation and management of isolated compartments called qubes"

Basically, you have a bunch of Qubes that act as virtual machines. So summed up, you can have one for work, one for email, one for CJM, one for downloading torrents etc. So if by chance you got a virus. It would be contained to that single compartment. Its actually an amazing concept. It is basically the same thing as that ISLAND app I had mentioned in my previous post for android phones but much more complex.

It also allows you to have multiple operating systems if you wish. Linux, windows.. anything. You can even create disposable VMS that self destruct when shut down. Getting rid of anything and everything that was done during that session.

I wanted to share this from Qubes site...
"Physical isolation is a given safeguard that the digital world lacks"
"Throughout our lives, we engage in various activities, such as going to school, working, voting, taking care of our families, and visiting with friends. These activities are spatially and temporally bound: They happen in isolation from one another, in their own compartments, which often represent an essential safeguard, as in the case of voting.

In our digital lives, the situation is quite different: All of our activities typically happen on a single device. This causes us to worry about whether it's safe to click on a link or install an app, since being hacked imperils our entire digital existence.

Qubes eliminates this concern by allowing us to divide a device into many compartments, much as we divide a physical building into many rooms. Better yet, it allows us to create new compartments whenever we need them, and it gives us sophisticated tools for securely managing our activities and data across these compartments."

I apologize for the long post and I feel like I rambled on a bit without covering too much Lol. I will do my best to add bits and pieces to this thread when I can if people are interested.
 
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SmashingMachine

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I'm gonna go over this on the weekend , been on my mind lately cause this mess we re in , to get my phone better locked down. Great info 👍
Let me know if you have any questions brother. Ill be more than happy to help.

I had 2 old samsung galaxy s5s laying around. I just installed Lineage on both of them for my wife and I. I like the fact that we can remove the batterys and once Lineage was on them.. making them free from bloatware (google) it made them very fast.. I also over clocked both of them though so this also helped big time. No lagging at all especially for an old phone.

Your absolutely right bro.. with everything going on right now in the world.. I feel its more important now than ever to take steps like this.
 

SmashingMachine

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I added spaces to my first post of the thread. Apologies for putting it together like a retard originally Lol. It was hard on the eyes.
 

SmashingMachine

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I wanted to briefly touch on Tor.

Tor (The Onion Router)

Tor is a service that allows you to remain anonymous while browsing the internet. Many people argue that it provides privacy as well as anonymity but IMO it does not... I will touch on this later in my post. When you use Tor, your traffic is bounced to different nodes (relays) all throughout the world. These nodes are ran by volunteers or privacy advocates.

Tor sends your traffic through 3 relays.
1. Guard relay
2. Middle relay
3. Exit relay

With Tor it uses a layered system of encryption. It is used to obscure your IP Address. This will stop people from being able to see what your doing. What sites you are visiting. It also stops big tech like google from performing traffic analysis and gathering data on you.

There is a Tor browser that people use, but you have to keep in mind that it only encrypts what you are doing in the browser and does not effect anything else on your computer (torrents, programs etc). You also need to make sure that you keep it up to date. There has been exploits which were taken advantage of through browsers that had not been updated.

The biggest issue with Tor (IMO) is the fact that there are many exit nodes that have been proven to be malicious. The fact that it is volunteers hosting them.. you cannot know or be sure if the exit node your traffic is being redirected to... is malicious or not. What this means, is if your traffic is going to an exit node that is malicious, they can now see and log what you are going. Which is why IMO it is horrible in regards to a privacy aspect. This is another reason why people always need to cover all their tracks and take initial steps.

This is a huge reason why I suggest to everyone who decides to use Tor... to connect to a VPN before connecting to Tor. Clearly, with a VPN it comes down to trust. Getting one that does not store logs and is using the encryption that they state. There are a few VPNS that have been around for a while and have been tested and proven to be honest in their claims. These are the only ones that should be considered and stay away from free VPNS IMO.

Another reason why I suggest a VPN with Tor, is because when you connect to Tor your ISP will know immediately and Ive heard from many people that your account may be flagged now. In todays day and age.. Tor is seen as only being used for illegal activities and buying
drugs. There is a horrible image tied to Tor... this is partly due to the fact that you need to use Tor to connect to the dark web market places. The media has always deemed people who use things like Tor to be criminals... and they have seemed to succeed to an extent because many people seem to be scared or too nervous to consider using Tor. Either way, IMO, its a safer bet to avoid having your ISP realize that you are connected to Tor and stop that by connecting to a VPN before hand.

By connecting to a VPN before Tor, this adds an additional layer of protection. If your traffic happens to go through a malicious exit node, They will not be able to view/monitor your traffic because it will still be encrypted from your VPN. Tor absolutely has its place and can be used successfully. It works well and can be utilized efficiently as long as you take some extra steps to protect yourself.
 
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Rucker

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If you want some great deals on VPN and other related services, I've been a Torguard partner for a lot of years. Their recent Black Friday deals are over (I think), but they routinely offer 50% discount on multi-year services.

The VPN software is relatively easy to use, lots of device support, options all over the world.

 

Old RhynoS

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Thanks for your advice, it is really necessary information for many people, I am sure. I also thought about it, and it is good to have a bunch of data in one post. By the way, what was helpful for me as well, is faster internet.
Man what is it with the one hit wonders today. 1st post ppl just joining for nothing.
 

Affliction79

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Thanks for your advice, it is really necessary information for many people, I am sure. I also thought about it, and it is good to have a bunch of data in one post. By the way, what was helpful for me as well, is faster internet.
I hate your country. It used to be great in so many ways until it caught the commie virus. It’s to bad the Japanese didn’t stay in power there.
 

nomorals

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I hate your country. It used to be great in so many ways until it caught the commie virus. It’s to bad the Japanese didn’t stay in power there.
You just lost 300 Social Credit Points. Please report to the re-education office where the beatings will continue until moral has improved.
 
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