Shoot-out: Google's new VPN beta kicks the living Hell out of the EFF's Tor

Speed test: Tor, sponsored by the EFF, and Google's new beta VPN are both aimed at those of us who want to protect our privacy and rights online. While Google claims that its VPN program is to boost security on wireless networks, it can also be used with wired internet connections to add some more security for the rest of us.

Once again Google uses incredible engineering to create something that may just become number one yet another area of IT.  Google Adsense is doing so well that Yahoo and MSN are testing out similar content relevant ad scripts. 

Tor looks like it is much more secure that the Google implementation.  I mean VPN is pretty secure but Tor is ridiculously secure in that it uses software that uses each system it connects to as a seperate VPN which encrypts traffic at each point.  This makes the traffic very difficult (if not impossible to track) as EFF stores none of that data.  Google will hold the traffic data but claims that the data will be “personally unidentifiable” which means it can not be tracked back to any one person (at least that is how I understand it).

But I wonder what this VPN wireless project could mean in terms of practical use.  Will Google deploy in at Starbucks and Borders Book stores around the world?

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Tired of your boss snooping on or blocking your web browsing?

This article explains how to setup and use a proxy to route all your
web surfing at work (or anywhere) through an encrypted tunnel to the
connection at your house. Uses OpenSSH and Privoxy. Leaves no trace of
the sites you visit and gets around any site blocking that may be setup.

Cool article.  Its got me wondering if you can have the same level
of privacy from an anonymous web proxy such as anonymizer.  I
don't see why not. 

As I recall from my old firewall DNS days, the traffic looked like that
code in the Matrix because there was so much of it going through our
server.  At the time, I was one of the “LAN Nazi's.”  We were
“guarding all the doors and hold all the keys.”  We monitored (and
stored all the traffic).  We'd see the occasional Titty sites but
typically we didn't crack down unless there was extreme abuse of the
security policy.  Usually, it was some guy working at the dead of
midnight that thought he could surf child porn safely… “trouble” is
not the word for what these guys were asking for.  In accordance
with the Privacy Act of 1987, we weren't allowed to actively look for
that type of stuff (as it would be in admissable in a court – due to
infringement privacy.. of course if it was terrorist act.. all bet are
off, IAW Patriot Act).  If we found such material while
“monitoring” the system, that was a different story.

Though I don't support violating security policies, I do support
privacy of employees.  I believe another way to protect ones
privacy might be to surf from an anonymizer

Here are some free ones:

http://www.the-cloak.com
http://www.thefreecountry.com
http://www.freeproxy.ru (russian site.. you have been warned)
http://www.anonymous.to

More here –> http://anoniem-surfen.eigenstart.nl/
Check out Effs Tor –> http://tor.eff.org/

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Become ungoogable

Site to hide your text online; or chat or bypass company sniffers… pretty handy.  I think this make for a decent Anti-Google Hack.

This site is pretty cool.  It hides text by turning it into a
picture file.  Pretty creative!  You see, search engines can
usually find what you type in forums, websites, blog and even some chat
sessions.  But what if you didn't want your text to be found on
the Internet.  There are some plugin tools you could use or you
could encrypt the text but here is another way called Hiddentext.net.

This site turns your text into a picture with a randomly generated name
like LYe776e.jpg so that it isn't picked up by Google/Images.

Hiddentext.net also loads it on there server –> http://www.hidetext.net/hide/1RCet5KbrQ.jpg

Although I'm not sure how long, the site gives you the option of deleting the message permanently.

 This could be great for privacy if your trying
to get an online message to a select group of people.  On the
negative side, this would work really great for Al Qeda, but so would
encryption.

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Strategies To Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious crime that is growing each year. If you're a victim of identity theft you may spend months, even years, trying to repair a ruined credit history. A seriously damaged credit report can compromise your chances of getting a new job, a bank loan, insurance or even rental housing. It's even possible to be arrested for a crime you didn't commit if someone else has used your identity to break the law.

Unfortunately, many of the methods that thieves use to steal identities are beyond your control to guard against. Although it's rare, even store clerks have been known to use their position to pass along information to identity thieves. There are some measures you can take, however, that will make it harder for a thief to steal your identity.

Protect Your Credit Card Number When Making Purchases

After you make a purchase and your credit or debit card has been swiped through a credit card terminal, check to make sure that the printed receipt hides all but the last 4 digits of your credit card account number (usually there will be Xs in place of the first 12 digits). Some terminals still print receipts that show all 16 digits of an account number, and may even include the expiration date as well. After your card is swiped, you're permitted by law to hide the first 12 digits of your account number on the copy of the receipt that the vendor keeps. Use any marking pen that will do the job.

When you go to a restaurant, it's especially important to make sure that the first 12 digits of your credit card number are hidden on your receipt. You might be in the habit of signing it and then leaving the restaurant's copy on the table after your meal. An identity thief can easily steal the signed receipt before the waitperson comes back around to pick it up from the table. Don't take any chances.

Do You Really Need To Give Your Social Security Number?

Another important way that you can guard against identity theft is to avoid giving out your social security number unless it's absolutely required. Although you need to share your social security number when you apply for credit or for a bank account, sometimes a store or an organization will want to use it as an ID number, simply to identify you within their system. This is a common practice even though the law says that social security numbers aren't to be used as ID numbers. In these situations, use your judgment. There's usually an alternative if you ask.

Destroy Documents That Contain Sensitive Personal Information

Buy a paper shredder and use it to destroy documents you're throwing away which contain personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, phone numbers and dates of birth. This is important to do both at home and at work. Identity thieves aren't above going through someone's trash to find valuable personal information that can help them obtain credit in your name.

If The Worst Happens

If you do become a victim of identity theft, take the following steps immediately:

  • Contact your credit card companies, close your accounts and ask to have new cards issued to you.
  • Place a fraud alert on your file with any one of the three major credit bureaus. The other two will be notified automatically.
  • File a police report. You may need it to show to creditors as proof of the crime.
  • File a complaint with the FTC, which maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for their investigations.

Computers Hacking People ver 1.0

I honestly think you ought to calm down; take a stress pill and think things over. – Hal, 2001 Space Odyssey
 
Information Systems will eventually have the infrastructure and ability to “socially engineer” its creators.  This is far fetched science fiction blooming before our very eyes being created by our own hands.
It will happen when three criteria are in place: 1) The creation of laws that can completely disregard the privacy and sovereignty of human beings.  2) The advancement of Information Awareness System and 3) Smart Artificial Intelligence
 
 
LAWS
Lets discuss the situations that will give governments the pretext to implement laws to track their citizens.  This is happening now.  Laws and systems are being created for unchecked monitoring of individuals under the guise of security, safety and prosperity.  Systems such as national ID cards. 
They were implemented after the Sept 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and in the U.K. after the 7 July attacks in London. 

It was 19th Century philosopher Samuel T. Coleridge who said, “In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.” 

Imagine it: The PATRIOT ACT IV is passed as a result of recent Critical Infrastructure cyber-terrorism attacks.  International terrorists implement a globally synchronized Distributed Denial of Service Attack against the worlds Root nameservers and successfully cripple the Internet for three days.  The impact is devastating as corporations lose billions. 

Domestic Cyber Terrorists infiltrate hospitals by becoming apart of the staff only to socially engineer and infecting HIPPA protected networks with virus’ that wipe out databases and actually scramble prescriptions causing an array of death by misdiagnosis.

Local police and security personnel repeatedly thwart numerous attempts by religious fundamentalists to detonate suit case sized tactical nuclear weapons inside major United State cities but security professionals predict that it is only a matter of time before at least one slips through the cracks.  All the enemy needs is one.
Patriot Act IV is the patron saint of lawmakers who have been screamed at by constituents to “DO SOMETHING NOW!”  The new Patriot Act is eventually internationally accepted and allows for unrestricted Data Mine into commercial and state owned databases worldwide (US-EU).  It of course has deferent names and variations world wide but its application is the same.  In the United Kingdom it is called the Civil Contingencies Bill.  The data mining would tap into the “transaction space” by accessing hospital, financial transaction and legal databases world wide to be shared by all law enforcement agencies (county, federal, city local and international).  The system works like a global Amber Alert system that can track criminals anywhere in the world and notify the respective local agency immediately.  The system works very, very well.
 
 
Information Awareness Systems

The system, developed under the direction of John Poindexter, then-director of DARPA’s
Information Awareness Office, was envisioned to give law enforcement access to private data without suspicion of wrongdoing or a warrant. — Electronic Privacy Information Center.
 
Government funded unrestricted Data Mining and Information Awareness programs develop and run revolutionary Information Awareness Systems.  Despite public opinion, these National Security systems continue to work to protect the nation against enemies foreign and domestic.  The system extracts data from its transactional databases and recognizes patterns of behavior that would fit that of a terrorist.  The system is so exhaustive that is works with 70% accuracy and seamlessly in conjunction with systems such as Next Generation Facial Recognition systems and Activity, Recognition Monitoring for enhanced surveillance. 
 
           
Artificial Intelligence
Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended. – Vernon Vinge, 1993, What is the Singularity?
 
Artificial Intelligence has been in use for many years.  It is greatly relied upon for businesses, hospitals, military units and even in forms of entertainment such as video games.  However Strong Artificial Intelligence, the development of cognitive systems simulating the human brain, have been developing quietly in research labs around the world under programs dedicated to the “scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines. (AAAI)” 
 
Smart Information Awareness is Strong Artificial Intelligence merged with Information Awareness Systems.  Smart Information Awareness seems to go beyond merely recognizing patterns of behavior as it predicts the future actions of a given psychological profile with over 75% accuracy allowing Law Enforcement to be like an all seeing eye with incredible new methods of forensics and counterterrorism.  Crime as a whole will be greatly reduced.  System that recognize criminal patterns have been around for some time, Smart Information Awareness systems are a new trend.
 
 
The Smart Information Awareness system is so accurate in determining human behavior trends that it is used to track and manipulate consumer buying habits for corporations.  With its accuracy, the system will be able to determine what marketing tools can be used to influence the behavior of buyers. 
 
With unfettered access to consumer’s personal transactions, buying habits, methods of payment, and credit history a system would be able to pin point buyers who demonstrate interests in certain products and offer “special deals” a specific group of highly interested buyers.
 
  
Inevitably the very system (laws, practices and technologies) that successfully protects humanity from itself is used to manipulate and exploit humanity.
 
Perhaps you believe that there is nothing wring with this level of target marketing.  If so, I submit to you these questions:  What will separate humanity from cattle if every man, woman and child is seen as nothing but a number and a consumer to the system that we rely on to survive?  Since we are already regarded as merely numbers and consumers by the corporate beast, how much control and information will we allow them to have?
 
 
Perhaps this is a bit much.  Perhaps I exaggerate the technology and extent of fear that will breed it.
 
 
 
 
 
http://www.p2pnet.net/issue03/page1.html
 
http://www.epic.org/
 
http://www.jbholston.com/weblog_discussion.php?post_id=74
Statewatch.com – Secret EU-US agreement being negotiated. http://www.statewatch.org/news/2002/jul/11Auseu.htm
http://www.eff.org/Privacy/TIA/20030523_tia_report_review.php
 
http://www.aaai.org/

U.S. Patriot Act Extended

Your lack of privacy has been extended: “In the wake of today's London
bombings.. this revision includes 10 year extensions to two other
provisions set to expire on December 31, one allowing roving wiretaps
and another allowing searches of library and medical records.”

This is a very popular and controversial subject.  There many digg comments on it.

Here is what I have to say about it:

Privacy is over rated anyway.. AMERICA FUCK YEAH!!

Listen folks.. freedom is not free, it is relative. Now think about that.

We are only ever truly FREE in our own minds and I suspect that even
that will be up for public record before Generation X expires. Happy
hanukkah, bitches. (see freedom of speech.. thats why I love America)

*******************************************

Do your really think the Patriot Act will go away?
How many times has the Federal government relaxed some of its power? The Patriot Act is here to stay.

Fear will continue to justify the loss of privacy and certain freedoms.
I think if people knew the what certain levels of the intel world knows
they would give up those freedoms willingly.

It seems like national karma. The policies and interests that the U.S.
and its allies have supported to aggressively protect their freedoms
have stepped on some toes (i.e. training Taliban and Osama to fight
Russia). Now the enemies of our enemies have turned on us (just like
Suddam and the Bath Party did). And the very freedoms we were trying to
protect are threatend by and ideology that is even worse for capitalism
than communism.

Its as if we paid Satan to get rid of Hitler and expected the Prince of Darkness to be our homie after the job was finished.

******************************************

Complaining about it is useless.

VOTE! Write your congress person and/or reps–> http://www.house.gov/writerep/

Here is what your representatives did:

October 25, 2001: Senate Passes H.R. 3162, the USA PATRIOT Act. The
vote was 98-1 with Senator Russ Feingold the only member voting against
passage of the bill.

Eventually even Russ Feingold folds:
http://feingold.senate.gov/~feingold/statements/05/07/2005721526.html

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Securing Internet Explorer

Securing Internet Explorer:
Step 1.  Turn Security WAY UP
   Tools | Internet Options | select the Security tab | Move the
“security levels for this zone” to HIGH

Step 2. Turn off and Delete All Cookies.
   The first thing you should do is clear out all your cookies.
   Tools | Internet Options | select the Privacy tab | Move the slider in the Settings area to a higher level of security.  Keep in mind that if you block ALL cookies some sites will be limited or even unaccessable.. but you can always go back and change it.

Limiting the number of cookies you except can increase your privacy

Step 3. Disable Java and Active X
THIS IS PRETTY EXTREME.  YOU WILL NOT BE ALOWED TO LOG ON TO WEB BASE EMAIL ACCOUNTS AND OTHER SITES REQUIRING A LOG IN.  BUT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SURF. I personally Can not use this because it is TOO restricting.   
   Jave and Active X are know as mobile code because they download software from a remote source (or run from a remote source) to your computer.  Some of the most effective malware are mobile code.
   Tools | Internet Options | select the Security tab | Select the “Costum Level” button which will open up “security settings.”
   Once in Security Settings disable everything under “Active X” and “Scripting.”

What I do is Highten the Security Tab and use Internet Explorer as little as possible.  I use Firefox.  It is also very important to update these (and all other applications) with the latest patches.  This, combined with my router firewall, seems to work really well. 

Neither Firefox or Internet Explorer are secure if you don't take the appropriate measures.

If you do use cookies you should delete them all about twice a week.

http://elamb.blogharbor.com/hacked/igothacked.htm –> get rid of malware
http://elamb.blogharbor.com/broadband/broadband.htm –> secure your broadband connection

Google Web Accelerator – Broadband Internet Security

Google has launched a web accelerator for broadband users.  And security has become an issue.   Some users are conscerned with cokies being copied and/or shared since the Google Web accelerator caches sites on computer systems to make downloads faster.

Web accelerator concerns on digg.com

by: n-g-k (0) on 10:34 AM 5/05/05 | Score:

This is the antithesis of the anonymous proxy, you're giving up privacy for a couple more seconds of speed here and there? Google is going to log everything, find out who goes from what site to whatever other site, datamine, look for patterns, find out all kinds of things about people and society for what purpose? To help them sell more advertising and make more money? Well, that's just the primary reason, who knows what other nefarious motivations there could be. Imagine yourself owning google with all of that supercomputing power, others have said it above, google is the ultimate hacker. You can have your GWA, I say “No thanks!”

Better solution: use Firefox, hold down CTRL when you click, any links you click on will open in a new tab and begin downloading. Using this method you can click a bunch of links you will want to see, then by the time you get to the tabs they are already opened. Use CTRL-W to close the tab when you are done reading it and the next tab will be up.

by: n-g-k (0) on 02:23 PM 5/05/05 | Score:

Here is a very good article that goes along with what I wrote above:

http://www.somethingawful.com/articles.php?a=2858

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