Browsing Privacy

In this day and age, everyone wants a little privacy, the idealistic genre has the mind “if you don’t have anything to hide, then…” kind of attitude, and as you get older you come to have a great appreciation for privacy.  There are some steps you can take to help your own privacy along.  I was reading Rob Lightner’s article for CNET, “Five Smart Ways to Keep Your Browsing Private”

 

 

  1. One of you biggest concerns is to get rid of all tracking cookies on your computer.  There is a free software that does this called CCleaner.  It is very good, I have tried it.
  2. Opting out of tracking by use of third-party software such as PrivacyChoice, which offers several tools to aid in this endeavor (I have never used it).
  3. Another thing you can do is to prevent the depositing of those tracking cookies and you can do this by making changes to you web-browser.  This is something I do and quite simple to set up.  Just search for you specific browser the way to browse privately.
  4. Anonymous browsing.  According to the article he uses a TOR set up, which I have never used but may toy with sometime.  Apparently TOR protects you via encrypted pathways, thereby protecting the anonymity of your IP address.
  5. Anonymous browsing using proxies.  This is similar to StartPage’s (www.startpage.com) Proxy setting where you use StartPage’s resources to search for something without yielding your IP address.

Of course, there is always the use of a thumb drive being set up with another operating system and setting it in such a way that you save nothing, to be totally private.  I tried this with an old version of Linux when I was in college, but my computer kept locking up.  Just couldn’t figure out what was going on.  Apparently the thumb drive itself was not very compatible with Linux, so I changed the drive and it worked great.

Hope this is useful to you!

Resource: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57363219-285/five-smart-ways-to-keep-your-browsing-private/

 

Mobile Malware

I was reading an article on Help Net Security about malware and mobile devices.  Malware has, in effect, matured to such a place in its evolutionary cycle where they have grown in numbers that are staggering.  What makes things worse is the fact that both people, in general, and businesses, as a matter of habit, have entwined these mobile devices into their lives in such a fashion that they are a necessary tool and our life blood, so to say.

There is more malware than ever before which makes it difficult for the average user to know that they are safe from its potentially devastating effects.  Unfortunately, most people are oblivious to the potential attacks and problems, and in turn wonder why & how such a thing could have happened?

The next problem is the fact that malware is becoming smarter every day, some evolving into a polymorphic problem.  Cybercriminals are finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, which enable them to profit from our foolish endeavors.

The wall of protection is next to non-existent.  People are downloading and installing more applications (app) on their phone than ever before, which creates and cultivates a field of opportunity for cybercriminals.  I would be next to nothing for someone with the know-how to either create an app for mobile devices or crack one and reintroduce it into the app store.  Think about it, as of January 2011, there were approximately 90,000 apps for the iPad and roughly 475,000 for the iPhone; same time frame, there seemed to be about 250,000 apps for the android platform.  These numbers do not account for the other platforms out there in the market and I lean toward them because they are the most popular and growing in market share.  A malicious minded individual could have a field day with this by just injecting, or infecting, a few apps.

By researching the topic of the most popular apps, the ones that would cause the most devastation to people (business or common user) would be music related, social media, navigating, and games.  These seem to be, in my opinion, the most widely used by a large demographic of the mobile device carrying population.  This is not for fear for the purpose of generating fear itself, but rather to get you to think!  Your mobile device(s) are essentially a computer and no one I know would leave their computer unprotected these days – unless of course they never hooked up to the internet, just figure the odds on that?  Poking around I determined a guestimate that 90% of American Households posses at least one computer (this percentage seemed pretty constant) and approximately 75% of American Households have internet access (I saw a low of 62% and as high as 85%, so I went just above the average).  The funny thing is most people who do not posses a computer, even on the poverty line in the economic spectrum, seem to have the means to possess a smartphone.

Now, there are some free apps out there for protection and there are some for cost.  How good they are, your guess is as good as mine.  Perhaps the best place to check this out would be Consumer Reports or some thing like that.  Look into it and keep your stuff backed up so you can recover from something potentially catastrophic.

Until the next time my friends!

https://net-security.org/malware_news.php?id=2004

RFIDs Part 3

As we have discussed the RFID chips I was recently listening to one of my shows, the Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, who was talking about a microchipped pill.  This pill is primarily geared toward those who are elderly, mentally challenged, and the parents of very busy kids.  Their purpose is to be a placebo and in effect allows other(s) to see if a loved one is actually taking their pills. (Just follow the link, it takes up about 30 minutes of the first hour – you can also download it for free.)

http://direct.media.katherinealbrecht.com/archives/1201/20120121_Sat_Albrecht1.mp3

Another idea, is tracking the elderly, mentally handicapped, Alzheimer patients, and others to be injected with an RFID microchip, which essentially treats the patient as a supply that they must keep track of.  There is legislation, or was, to be passed to do this here in the US.

Just consider the next generation of this technology, which is the use of biometrics and storing that information on the chip.  This technology is being used

in India, Iraq, and I recently heard on the news that it was also being used (forced) on the people in Afghanistan.  How much longer until it is used here in the US?http://www.spychips.com/index.html

Consider the uses within the clothing industry.  As mentioned earlier, IBM possesses several patents for RFID technology.  One of which is the weaving of the RFID technology (or tags) into the material of clothing; another is to be a reader that is located at malls and shopping centers.  The idea is that when you walk by a reader it will read the RFID tag in your clothing and because you paid with your Visa, or MasterCard, it is now tied together with your Social Security Number – the database can determine your spending and purchasing habits and can therefore offer you specials on a daily basis based upon those habits.

According to the RFID Journal the global clothing retailer American Apparel has plans to equip all of its stores with this, or similar technology.  Remember the movie “Minority Report”?  Of course, its technology was based upon retina scanning, but really that is just silly thinking, isn’t it?

http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/view/9202

We have always looked upon “those” people – who constantly proposed that Orwell’s “1984” was becoming a reality, just you wait and see – were just nut jobs.  Hey, guess what?  “They” weren’t too far off the beaten path, after all.  With the advent of the RFID chips and other technology, the “Mark of the Beast” just may be injectable and electronic in nature.  This has been proposed here in the US and in other countries.  There are some countries that are using them, as mentioned prior.

Consider the alternatives if all of our money becomes just ones and zeros out in cyberland and they make the plunge to place all of your data, including financial, onto your RFID chip which can be updated in a Wi-Fi accessible area.  If you don’t comply with the injection, you cannot purchase anything.  On the other hand, if you are disruptive in any manner your RFID chip can be updated to remove any income and good name you may have…the evil possibilities are limited only by your good nature.  BEWARE my friends, but become AWARE and act through the system, while you can.  Many of the German people never knew what hit them until damn near the end of World War II.  I leave you with a couple of quotes, which give a great insight into the minds of the leaders of countries who are ambitious.

“Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY.”

–Goering at the Nuremberg Trials

“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

Adolf Hitler

I believe, that despite their reference or inference to war – these quotes are quite profound, in that, people have a tendency to be followers and are always seeking someone to lead because they feel inadequate to do such a job.  Everyone can lead with some good moral grounding, an ethical mindset, have integrity and are honest, fair, & just.

SEE ALSO:

RFID Part 4

RFID Part 2

RFID Part 1

Cyber Threats 2012

As time passes by us the technology around use increases in power, strength, and capabilities.  And as this happens there are those who create those problems that either make our lives a living hell, or give us those cherished opportunities, to show what we are made of…hmmm!

A new technology come available as does a new threat.  The US Air Force Space Command has tasked the 624th Operations Center with the determining and protection from cyber threats.  They recently released their January 9th issue of the “Cyber Threat Bulletin”, which is information based on McAfee that lists the top ten cyber threats.  These threats are:

  1. Attacking Mobile Devices
  2. Embedded Hardware
  3. “Legalized” Spam
  4. Industrial Attacks
  5. Hacktivism
  6. Virtual Currency
  7. Rogue Certificates
  8. Cyber War
  9. Domain Name System Security Extensions
  10. Advances in Operating Systems

The number one problem is the threat of attacking mobile devices, with which I agree, as there are so many people bringing their mobile devices to work for the purposes of work and if not properly secured they are the potential single point of failure for the business.  I am rather surprised that the hacktivism is lower on the list as we hear so much of it happening these days.  Embedded hardware, within the last two years there was a very well known company that had embedded code into one of their manufactured product lines and they were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  Major lawsuit for invasion of privacy, hmmmm.

As I have said before, being aware is only half the battle…the other half is both being vigilant and taking action!

Cyber Threat Bulletin

RFIDs Part 2

IBM holds several Patents for various types of RFID readers.  The primary purpose behind them is to be strategically placed within malls, street corners, and in major stores.  These readers will be able to either read the RFID as it passes by and another type of RFID which is a 96 digit RFID which is to be weaved into the fabric.  Although, a person may own several different pieces of the same type of clothing, each will have its own unique 96 digit RFID.  If paid with credit card or some other identifying account, it will all eventually be equated back to you the purchaser.  Your Driver’s License number, Credit Card Account number, Bank Account number, Social Security Number, and the 96 digit barcoded RFID will eventually lead back to you as the purchaser.  Through a hierarchichal matrix all of your information will eventuall become known by the system. (McIntyre, 2003)

Consider this, all of your accounts are tied together by a fine thread teather to your Social Security Number.  Each purchase you will make will be tied to your savings club card, credit card account, your bank account, or perhaps the RFID chip that is implanted in your body (similar to the EZ Pass System Electronic Account.)  The purchase made will equate the RFID identifier code in the merchandise which will be tied to you via the cloud, your method of purchase, and your Social Security Number.  The IBM RFID is tied to the merchandise via the IBM Mainframe computer and via the cloud through which it maintains contact with the RFIDs and those companies that purchased the technology.

There are some who believe, and research has shown, that this new technology will one day be implanted into the brain, implanted during pregnancy as a matter of standard procedure, or perhaps something to be injected similar to nanobotic technology.  (Lynch, n.d.;  Waters, 2008)  Not very unsimilar to the asigning of a Social Security Number prior to leaving the Hospital, or the documentation of a Live Birth.

Based upon the documentation submitted by VeriChip Corporation (Form S-1 Registration Statement, reference page 5 – Appendix A) to the Security and Exchange Commission, the plan is to treat newborn infants, the elderly, and those not of sound mind (who will be implanted) will be treated and managed no differently than inventory in a warehouse. (SEC, n.d.)  Those people not of sound mind will be treated as wards of the State, no one will have to be sought for permission for the implanting of the RFID chip other than the signature of a Judge.  This is being actively accomplished within the United Kingdom.  You will also note, that no differently than an On-Star Commercial the RFID implanting of unsound persons and RFID Tracking of children will be advertised as a safety issue and concern.  What makes this so sad is the fact that there will be so many people who will gladly give up the care of their family for piece of mind.  The meaning of family has come to such a hideous state of affairs.  There was a point in time in this country and throughout Europe (our ancestry) who cared for their family until death, but now you can let someone else do it for you and you can keep tabs on them by use of some Google Application or by watching a remote camera via another Google Application by way of one’s Smart Phone, given enough time.  A company is actively setting up shop in retirement homes to watch over your parents and they will report to you when behavioral changes ocurr and you are able to check in, from time to time, on your parent(s) via video camera feed.  Now you are able to check in on mother without having to actuall visit her.  Beware of what you wish for, you may just get your wish – but what will happen to you if in the same cirsumstances?

In order to eat, or feed our families, will we need to be scanned and in this way have the funds removed from an account in our, what seems to be our destiny, cashless society?

If the purpose of government is to secure and protect the rights of her citizens as stated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, then why does our government at every junction of troubles enact laws that not only limit our rights but remove them from us, thereby violating the Constitutional mandates?

SEE ALSO: Part 1, Part 3, Part 4

References

Lynch, Z. (n.d.). NEUROTECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY (2010-2060). Neurotechnology and            Nanotechnology. Chicago: Lifeboat Foundation.

McIntyre, K. A. (2003). SPYCHIPS – How RFID will compromise privacy, security, freedom.            Retrieved 10 26, 2010, from www.spychips.com:          http://www.spychips.com/verichip/verichip-photos-instructions.html

Securities and Exchange Commission. (n.d.). U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.      Retrieved 10 26, 2010, from www.sec.gov: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1347022/000119312507024937/ds1a.htm

Walter J. Burien, J. (2007, June 30). d36_1183309449. Retrieved Sept 14, 2010, from         liveleak.com/: http://www.liveleak.com/

Waters, B. (2008). Extending Human Life: To What End? In Philosophy and Medicine. The             Bioethics of Regenerative Medicine/Philosophy and Medicine , 102 (Extending Human    Life:     To What End? In Philosophy and Medicine), 135.

RFIDs Part 1

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an ever present danger to the privacy of the individual.  Years ago I heard an interview with a Dr. Katherine Albrecht who just so happens to be a Privacy Advocate and is the co-author of the book SPYCHIPS.  After hearing the interview, my interest was piqued and ordered the book, which was written in 2006.  Even today, as technology has taken over a greater portion of our lives the information between the covers of that book still resonate within my mind.  The technology is a good technology, provided it is used for its original target…product management; however, that is not where it left off.  RFID technology (and variants) are used in various ways within our daily lives and, unfortunately, are becoming more entangled within our lives without our knowledge – either due to ignorance or lack of care on our parts.

RFID tags are being used in Passports, Enhanced Drivers Licenses, EZ Pass, Euros/Dollars to prevent counterfeiting, Credit Cards, animals, and people.  Another variation of the RFID is those commonly used club cards for our purchases.  An interesting video to bring the point home is the Big Brother Pizza Shop Youtube Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zh9fibMaEk), which is a depiction of a fictitious pizza shop of the future where Big Brother infringes your privacy while ordering a pizza.  It is both funny and concerning at the same time.  There are many YouTube videos which will show you the uses of RFID chips and implanting.  Many of which have religious implications – it is not my position to make this into a religious argument, or debate, but the information is quite valid.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0z9J5E9lto, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P9xs2yyv8Q, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC_hPlH_Fb0, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr0ozY2HWdM ).  During Hurricane Katrina they used RFID tags in the cadavers which were left to float so they could be identified at a later time after the living were taken care of.  We know what kind of fiasco that wound up turning into.

One thing that many people do not seem to understand is that the effective reading range of these chips is 30-60 feet.  They are purportedly going to make our lives much more safe and convenient; however, what is the price of that convenience?  What about your privacy?  Many people I have spoken to usually and nonchalantly say, “Well, if you don’t have anything to hide…”  My position is, it is not about hiding anything and it is about my right to privacy!  I do not have to prove a thing to anyone.

Consider, and I hate to use the reference, the conspiracy theorist side of it:  If all your personal information (financial, medical, legal, etc.) and biometric data (fingerprints, retina scan, voice print, etc.) are installed on this RFID chip; and let us go a little further to say there is a dirty cop who needs to close a case – is it that far of a stretch to say that your data could be accessed via the cloud or primary server from the Department of Homeland Security and be planted at the scene?  Many cases throughout the United States have toppled because of planted evidence.  (Please note that while I do live in the real world and believe that there are some bad officers, just like the rest of us mortal beings they are not all bad – I believe the good outweigh the bad.)

You think that is very farfetched?  Consider what Comcast is experimenting with, the use of digital cable boxes which have cameras that view the room, determine who is near, and then place a listing of shows that you, or some other person, have a history of watching.  With that digital box you already have a two way connection to the source.  How much longer until the box automatically starts feeding a stream of live video to the NSA, FBI, DHS, or your local Police or Sheriff’s office?  Sometimes those people deemed to be conspiracy theorists just have a differing view than you or I; unfortunately, they just happen to be the ones that are playing the Devil’s Advocate.

Now you must consider historical facts, such as: The branding of property (chattel, cattle, and slaves), the Nazi branding of the Jews during the 1920s and 1940s, and some would even go as far to say that we in the US have been marked by the use of the Social Security Numbers assigned to everyone who applied for one.  Think about this statement made by Colin Powel made (as the Secretary of State on 6/17/2001) “Finding the Russian scientists may be a problem
being that Russia does not have a Social Security System, as here in America, that allows us to MONITOR, TRACK DOWN and CAPTURE an American citizen.”
  There are a number of references to this on-line if you search.  It was an interview between Colin Powell and Tony Snow on June 17, 2001 in reference to some missing Russian Scientists.

Now, think about the REAL ID ACT OF 2005, which was a mandate by the Federal Government to use these RFID chipsets in your state driver’s licenses.  It was to expire at the end of 2008, but lucky for us that the government was looking out for us by volunteering each state to extend their invitation to accept or opt-in to the program.  When they saw that the states were pitching a fit over this, they (your representatives in the District of Criminals) slipped this mandate into a DHS Appropriations bill.  HMMMMMM!

Consider the ramifications of such a society which violates our basic American Principle!  What will be next?

SEE ALSO:  RFID Part 2, RFID Part 3, RFID Part 4

References

Albrecht, C. (2008, 03 18). Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You? Retrieved 01 27, 2012, from GIGAOM: http://gigaom.com/video/comcast-cameras-to-start-watching-you/

channel, z. (approximately 2008). The Big Brother Pizza Shop . Retrieved 01 25, 2012, from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zh9fibMaEk

Katherine Albrecht, E. &. (© 2003-2007). index.html. Retrieved 01 25, 2012, from SPYCHIPS.COM: http://www.spychips.com/

Katherine Albrecht, E. (© 1999-2004). Retrieved 01 25, 2012, from C.A.S.P.I.A.N.: http://www.nocards.org/

Reed Exhibitions. (2011, 09 15). Significant growth ahead for mobile biometric security market. Retrieved 01 27, 2012, from infosecurity.com: http://www.infosecurity-us.com/view/20771/significant-growth-ahead-for-mobile-biometric-security-market/

Techie Tips

Did you know that more data breaches occur due to the improper or illegal use of USB drives within  a network?  How do you think that “bradass” obtained and uploaded the data he disseminated to wikileaks?  It is neither good nor bad, it just is what it is!  But most people do not pay much attention to the simplest of security techniques.  There are ways to shut down the accessibility of the usb ports either by changes in the registry , disabling devices via control panel, locking devices for your usb ports, or perhaps third party software.

People either don’t pay attention or just don’t care that their usb drives  can either carry and inject viruses into your system, or they can store and runoff with the keys to the kingdom (so-to-say) by stealing the information on your computer or network.  Although, it is easier to inject a virus to send all that data off to the cloud while you are unsuspecting the endeavor.

Being aware of what is available and what you can do is half of the battle…the other half is getting up off your backside and actually doing something about it.  In the business world you will/would be expected to do something about it -without fail and without question.  The internet is your stage and your resource, use it to your glory!

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/milton-security-group-the-usb-and-removable-media-security-crisis-2012-01-13