Custom build focused on privacy

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Uitlander, Feb 2, 2021.

  1. Uitlander

    Uitlander Registered Member

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    Many years ago, I bought a Cooler Master Storm Strooper (SGC-5000-KKN1) case for a custom build I never completed. It's time to either start work on it, or call the recycler. Unfortunately, all my research on components is long outdated, was focused on using XP Pro (I'm in the process of switching to Win 7), and otherwise invalid. Add to it, I now find scattered mention of hardware-based privacy concerns, which looks like a huge research project waiting to happen. Guess I'd like some help choosing parts based on maximizing privacy.

    Probably the most important thing to mention is that this build will be using Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit) and MX Linux on separate drives....and no, Win 8/Win 10 will not be considered. Secondly, I'm not a fan of HDCP, DRM, nor any similar junk, so I'd much prefer parts that are not compliant. For this reason I only use monitors, graphics card, etc., with composite, component or VGA connectors. Budget is not really a concern, as I will be buying parts piecemeal, but probably would not want to spend more than $300-$400 on any given component. I have no problem with 'legacy' parts.

    .The uses of this PC will be to explore the internet/darknet, watch free movies/TV shows from YouTube, Putlockers, 123movies, etc. (without buffering, hiccups, or freezes), do printouts via color inkjet and B&W laser, and use Word 2003. Online shopping/banking will be done on MX Linux, but mostly it will be used to teach myself this OS, since Win 7 is the last M$ rendition I will be using. That's about it. I don't do games, torrents, nor mess with wifi/bluetooth anything. A proxy will be in use on Win 7, and a VPN tied to MX Linux. Any unanswered questions, feel free to ask.
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    You want to focus on privacy but then choose an 12 year-old, unsupported, obsolete, superseded several times over operating system like W7? And plan to use that to "explore the internet/darknet"? That makes no sense.

    And you want to go with obsolete, superseded, legacy VGA components that don't even support current, superior protocols? That also makes no sense.

    If you want to perform current tasks, you need to use current hardware designed to support those tasks.

    That's all I will say about that. Good luck.

    Curious - do you use a smartphone? Do you use any Google products? Facebook?
     
  3. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    First of all, I see no reason to pick any hardware component based on privacy considerations. I think that your main issue will be Win7 support for the components you will buy. I can't imagine a reasonable way in which a computer built from parts you buy will spy on you AT HARDWARE LEVEL.

    I'm no fan of DRM either, but being compliant to standards has no impact whatsoever on your privacy. You might not be able to experience some content if your video card or monitor are not HDCP compliant, but I fail to see how being compliant will this threaten your privacy. And using VGA or composite would just degrade your viewing experience, and will not protect you in any way...
     
  4. Uitlander

    Uitlander Registered Member

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    And you would advise me to focus on privacy by using Win 8/10, packed to the gills with corporate spyware (or as I call keyloggers...malware), designed to resist any enduser changes/customizations that might encroach on said spyware, and having a well known penchant for allowing M$ to make stealth downloads of over fifty KB questionables...some of which cannot be uninstalled? Of course you would. Why? Let me guess. EOL/EOS nonsense, followed by chants of SECURITY! UPDATES! PATCHES! I have already addressed the EOL/EOS junk in many previous posts over the past year or so, and since my opinion has not changed, I'll refrain from being a broken record. As to the security, let's compare Win 10 to Win 7:

    https://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerab...26/product_id-32238/Microsoft-Windows-10.html
    https://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerability-list/vendor_id-26/product_id-17153/Microsoft-Windows-7.html

    As of 2019, Win 7 has 172 more vulnerabilities than Win 10. By the time we add in all the corporate malware in Win 10, and the zeal with which the blackhatters and their legion of scriptkiddies are targeting it, I think I can live with that. I'd add that in regard to Win 8/10 vulnerabilities, the fat opera singer has yet to bellow its swan song. Plus this post was not (and is not) about security, but privacy...two slightly different things. I have zero concern with the usual OCD-like focus on security, as I will deploy the same security protocol that has kept my obsolete, outdated and legacy OS (XP Pro) bulletproof over the last 3+ years. If that fails to work on Win 7, then I guess the computer shop will have something to actually do, besides blowing the dust out of its innards, on the once yearly visit....or my computer tech will have some malware to deal with on his quarterly housecall...but considering my experience with XP Pro, I'll not be holding my breath waiting.

    No pocketphone (landline only). I use Google search engine on my current XP Pro. On the upcoming changeover to Win 7, I will be using a proxy, and deploying other antispy measures. I use Gmail as a junkmail account, which is only accessed from a copy shop, and then very seldom. I use Linux Mint in LiveCD mode to watch YouTube videos, and actively pursuing ways to circumvent signing in to watch the so-called age restricted stuff. No Fakebook, Twitter, Reddit, smart TV, Xbox, Alexa, and all that '1984' BigBro rot. I don't claim to be spyproof, but I am making way more effort than most are.
     
  5. Uitlander

    Uitlander Registered Member

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    Location:
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    I have only done marginal research into hardware-based spying, but I'm not at all liking what I'm seeing:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware_backdoor

    https://www.tweaktown.com/news/68113/2-put-hidden-spy-chip-pc-hardware/index.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch/grb-_xdqpEQ

    http://thetechnews.com/2017/06/03/is-your-cpu-spying-on-you/

    https://hackaday.com/2020/06/16/disable-intels-backdoor-on-modern-hardware/

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181105143121.htm

    I suspect finding out exactly what options exist for choosing components (based on privacy), will require a lot of research I'm not too keen to do. Guess I'm hoping someone here has already looked into it, and can recommend parts. DRM/HDCP has long been a target of mine since its early appearance as Palladium, then NGSCB, and through various other incarnations:

    https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq-1.0.html

    I'm not so sure if it is a privacy threat so much as a challenge to control of one's PC. Either way, I don't like it, and there are really only three ways to respond. Accept it, conform to the norm, and comply...a bit too Borg-like to suit me. Circumvent it, and risk your door being kicked down by the DMCA stormtroopers. Or just shun it, by refusing to comply, which the DMCA has failed to make illegal. That is my road. I have been HDCP/DRM free for at least three years now, and have not in the least missed any content requiring it. Any site that does so is a site I have zero interest in dealing with, and will be added to the blacklist (i.e. blocklist) of my hosts file. I'd like to continue doing so with this custom build.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2021
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