So, what made you care about your computer privacy?

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by Veeshush, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. Veeshush

    Veeshush Registered Member

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    Was it Snowden, or spyware back in the day, or proxy use, or 1984, or when you finally learned how to clear your browser history, or? What were key events that made you care enough, short of (warranted) paranoid schizophrenia, to do something about it? Probably been threads like this before on here, but I just thought I'd ask a general vague question as to what makes us (compared to, what? 90% of the rest of the internet users?) genuinely take the time to read up on the few things we can do to better our computer privacy in this age. But also just to shoot the breeze with you guys on here, cause a lot of you guys are truly interesting types who just really know their stuff.


    In a nutshell, I started with spyware removal in the early 2000s and now 10+ years later I'm scrubbing off as much proprietary junk as I can, stuff that's a million times more privacy invasive than that old spyware, and even a greater feeling once it's off. But only within the last 2 years have I become anti-proprietary software and services, and it wasn't Snowden that encouraged me, it was my hatred for Google when they tried to get everyone to use their actual names instead of a screen name on Youtube. And then when Google forced the whole Google+ thing I was done with them. Their monopoly had always bothered me anyway, so I just went searching for alternatives. Finally, I stumbled over the threads here (especially the NSA thread) and that sealed the deal for me. EFF's blog also really contributed and opened my eyes.
     
  2. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    I think it began along with my security "paranoia" after I was infected with a nasty malware that took me offline and required disk imaging (by my dad cause I was a noob at the time) to fix. Then I started to pay attention and noticed all the private data being exposed online every day. I think it lessened these days, but I still try to keep aware.
     
  3. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    I'm probably one of the oldest on Wilders. I cared about privacy long before there were personal computers. Before the Internet existed, even ;) Back it the day, it was mostly about drugs, I admit :eek: But that's where I learned OPSEC, so hey :thumb: Fundamentally, for me it's always been about personal freedom.
     
  4. Tarnak

    Tarnak Registered Member

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    I have always cared about 'personal privacy' before there were personal computers and mobile/cell phones.
     
  5. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    When I figured out that my browser is saving all data in local cache...
     
  6. Wroll

    Wroll Registered Member

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    Human stupidity. Humans are very good at killing/locking people for dumb stupid reasons.
     
  7. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    For me it began by trying to save space on a box that had a HD with only 4.3 GB of space. I deleted everything I didn't absolutely need for the thing to function properly to make space. In doing so I just happened to be removing attack surface as well, but I didn't realize it nor care at the time. That was on 98SE. When I migrated to XP SP2 the same mindset carried over because I can be a bit OCD about things. Only I was now doing it more to save memory, with 512 MB, and make the machine more responsive. So again, not about security/privacy yet. Back then security to me was the XP FW enabled, a router, and a free AV (usually Avira). And along with my safe surfing habits that was usually enough, though I did get the odd virus. Then I switched from IE to Firefox and that's when my evolution really began. I started adding addons, like NoScript, and seeing their benefits I began thinking about security/privacy. And being OCD as I can tend to be, delved into it with both feet. And was thankful that I'd taken the time to learn so much about the guts of the OS to trim all that attack surface/bloat away, even though it wasn't the goal at the time. And took things even further. Also learned to write FW rules.

    Then when virtualization, sandboxing, etc... products were ironed out and became reliable I changed my philosophy. I fell in love with classic HIPS, and a very good one just so happened to be attached to my favorite outbound FW. Then Sandboxie came around... and the rest is history. The real time AV became pretty much dead weight, as it was all about isolating anything new introduced to my box and scanning it, usually with VT Hash Check first, before letting it in.

    After that the next step was finding reliable VPN(s), and learning how to set them up and harden them. And this place proved invaluable in gleaming that info., namely Mirmir. But I apply that strategy only to mobile machines, and never from my own house. As I'm of the belief that no machine hooked up from your own house... to a place with your own billing address/info. attached to it is truly anonymous, no matter how many hops you use.
     
  8. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    My interest in privacy began at the same time as my interest in security. For me, the two have always been linked. Without one, you can't have the other. Like many here, I started with 9X systems. I ran 98FE for a long time. Tools like MRU Blaster, ID Blaster, and Eraser were especially interesting to me at the time. The event that really got me started on privacy was at the old Eraser forum. I'd posted a question, don't remember what it was about, and was getting a lot of conflicting and useless answers. Another member there PM'd me with good, clear answers to my questions. The PM's eventually became a regular e-mail correspondence during which he introduced me to encryption, steganography, firewalls, proxies, etc. Over time, I learned that he was a retired Colonel from the signal corp during the cold war. I must have asked the right questions or something. Over the next 2 years, I got a crash course in security and encryption that completely changed how I viewed privacy and security. My crash course ended when he had a fatal heart attack. It took me a couple of years to get through all of the material he'd sent. Needless to say, the experience has permanently changed how I treat computers and the internet in general.
     
  9. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    IE2 and index.dat

    It wasn't so much about privacy, as not being able to control what was stored on my computer. 3rd party programs could delete index.dat, but I soon switched to Opera.

    There were other instances of data being stored without user's consent. 3rd party programs came along to take care of these things, but it seemed like an imposition, always having to "clean" things up. Irritating, to say the least.

    Then Deep Freeze came along, which controls everything in the background. Anything written to C:\ (includes the Registry) during the current session is wiped on reboot. Certainly an ideal maintenance product for me.

    ----
    rich
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  10. Veeshush

    Veeshush Registered Member

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    Yep, I figured mirimir and noone_particular would have some interesting, cool back stories to say the least. :D

    Yeah, removing stuff back when most machines were lucky to even have 512mb ram really made a difference on how the entire system ran. I'd love cleaning systems up back then, especially if it was someone else's- they'd be amazed at the difference. Even on a 6 core with Gbs of ram today I still can't stand stuff running that doesn't need to be, or bloat. I didn't really get into hardware upgrades till mid 2000s, so I ran a few Win98SE machines myself till like 2006. Was always trying to make my machines faster through software setups, but in reality I was expecting too much out of what hardware I had. A lot of running Webroot's Window Washer back in the day to just free up space on a junky 2gb drive. :argh:

    Firefox, and then later Noscript was another trick I got into pretty early on. For me anyway, it seems that combination still works well today.
     
  11. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

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    When I first went online, security and privacy was a natural progression from real life, as I certainly wasn't about to give up something so highly valued and deeply engrained for something of a transient and passing nature.

    I've stayed away from places such as facebook which are sitting shots for trouble. People who willingly give up their privacy will end up getting bitten one way or another, and that folks would gravitate to such hideously inadequate places to get a life, is indicative of degradation, not progress..... not to mention a one stop shop for mass surveillance. That facebook is the huge monster it is, should tell us something. I hear you on google too. Anything so huge should make us all cringe. I absolutely refuse to log in to anything google. As I've watched them over the years grow into this monster, the more I see pieces of the puzzle come together. I watch youtube for now, but the minute I am forced to log in, will be the minute I say goodbye youtube.

    From the outset I could identify with phrases such as "its not called the WWW for nothing" and so I naturally kept an eye on places like this, to see what was going on and doing something about it to the best of my ability. I still see places like these as more of a reliable source of news in the security/privacy world than the lamestream media. Of more recent years I've appreciated how folks here have brought it my attention how proprietary/closed source apps can't be trusted. We are constantly hearing how apps and even hardware, could have backdoors. My position is if it's possible, it will be. That also causes me to be cautious about security/privacy. I don't have any confidence in the money making machine and those caught up in it. The "trust no-one" phrase is the wisest way to go.

    The net is a constantly moving target, and I don't see the cat and mouse games coming to an end, but that that in itself is a means to an end. The bigger picture is the net is a huge dragnet for surveillance purposes. The safest thing I can do is I don't do anything online I wouldn't want compromised. ie banking. In my view, unless you have 100% surety that something you don't want compromised is 100% safe then the net isn't the place to do it. Even for supposedly harmless purposes, I still despise anyone tracking me and I HATE profiling with a passion simply because of the principle of it. One piece of info on you may be harmless, but added together certainly is not.. The means to collate this info is becoming more and more creepy by the day. You hear all sorts of watered down excuses for this like serving you ads, which on the one hand is true, but on the other doesn't tell the full story. The bigger picture is total creepy control by the PTB.

    I don't think it is by accident that the PTB have capitalized on the fact that being online is a huge draw-card for people. After all, they've engineered it to be this way so people fall for it like this, so inevitably they can be monitored like lab rats. Its all about control in the end.
     
  12. Veeshush

    Veeshush Registered Member

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    Exactly.

    I've still got a Youtube account (which, I guess is now a Google+ account, cause otherwise you can't even comment or reply to comments on your own uploaded videos). Youtube has me by its content and not its service. I just haven't found any real contenders to it, and even if there was, then I have to convince all the channels I'm subscribed to to jump ship with me. There's donation run services like Patreon in which those who'd want to could still make a living. But the ad money and reliance of Youtube's massive userbase (they're a top 10 site), not too many are ready to find another site. Not that I can really find many channels who aren't also fed up with Youtube as a whole, most people would love a better video site, but one just hasn't shown up yet. That's all mainly cause Youtube has lot more freedom with DCMA type complaints, not user freedom mind you, but freedom to not have their site shut down. That, along with the hosting cost of streaming and storing videos keep most video startup sites dead. It's a real shame. :doubt:
     
  13. trott3r

    trott3r Registered Member

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    What is ptb reality?

    PowersthatBe?

    My first realisation of my privacy being compromised was the index.dat of websites visited like RMus .
    I thought it was to do with windows rather than IE on its own ie you couldnt avoid it while if it was ie you could use a different browser?
     
  14. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    You can still use Youtube with privacy intact for the most part, even since the changes. I never used my real name anyway when I signed up (I never do this). I used John Smith as my name. And I had it linked to a dummy gmail account the whole time too. The only things you have to allow now to sign in/post that you didn't before is cookies for google (which I encrypt), and the first party script for Google. And also google.apis for commenting, and google.video in "Blocked Objects" drop down list, just temporarily and for YT only. So it's really not that big a deal.

    At first you had to modify a NoScript setting too. I didn't know what it was at first and thought I had to disable NoScript altogether to get it to work, and was ready to quit YT because of that. But I tested them one by one until finding out what it was... ClearClick protection. But that's no longer the case since people have complained about the security concerns regarding it.

    Plus the version of FF I use (27.0.1) doesn't work with G+, which I consider a blessing. I can still watch & comment on YT videos just fine, just can't access G+ features... which I don't wanna do anyway.
     
  15. trott3r

    trott3r Registered Member

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    How do you encrpt the cookies?
    I assume it must be an extension or web sites would not be able to decrypt them?
     
  16. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

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    Apologies. Here I am doing what I find annoying...guessing those dang acronyms. o_O Yes, its Powers That Be.
     
  17. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

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    My understanding is, unless you use something that hides your IP address, Google and all the other monsters who are in bed with the PTB are going to know exactly who you are, no matter what pseudonym you use or what dummy account.

    What I really despise about Google is how they have their hooks into so many websites its staggering, and some websites are seriously crippled unless you allow this garbage tracking stuff. :(

    I can't see comments on YT at all since that change, and I think Google did a rotten thing in tightening the noose that allows them to snoop. I admit occasionally I would still like to give a quick thumbs up to someone but the last time I saw them, for the most part, the comments were indicative of backwards thinking. Wading through the mindless dross for a few good comments was always an assault to my eyes and way too time consuming. If ever talk was cheap, you saw that on YT.

    Thanks for the comments on noscript and YT.
     
  18. Krysis

    Krysis Registered Member

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    I don't do social media stuff – so for me it was all about my link to the internet (the browser) – eg, a progression from browser security > to privacy > to anonymity.
    Discovering just how many sites were regularly tracking one's online activities when using browser addons such as Ghostery – Do Not Track Me, etc simply confirmed that privacy was something to be considered seriously.

    The NSA \Snowden leaks, etc were only incidental to me – (I'm not a US citizen) – plus, Big Bro is after higher value targets than run of the mill users like me!
     
  19. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    Not sure that Google can given the right precautions, but 3 letter agencies... absolutely. And I'd go further to say that anything you do from your house/billing address period isn't safe from them, VPN/TOR or not. That's why I have a laptop built with anonymity in mind and use it at hot spots if I ever want to transmit data avoiding prying eyes. And on my home PC's believe that to be futile and just use them for normal every day stuff. And I never would post anything on YT I wouldn't care the whole world knew.
     
  20. RockLobster

    RockLobster Registered Member

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    I have known for well over a decade the threat to privacy never was from outside attackers, it is built into Microsoft Windows.
     
  21. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    Snowden made me more attentive to privacy and more proficient in using privacy technology but I've always been aware of privacy threats online. A lot of what I do is public and I don't care who accesses it but I want my private life to be truly private. Before Snowden, I was careful and I knew that there was a good chance that someone could be looking at anything I did online due to the nature of the internet and digital technology. It was a vague and nebulous threat lurking in the background. Snowden made the threat specific and real. With what was really going on spelled out, I started doing some homework on what could be done to counter it.
     
  22. Tipsy

    Tipsy Registered Member

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    I do not remember. Maybe was for first time I want to get rid of my old hard drive. It was necessary to have way to remove infos so that anyone who get the computer could not find my credit card or other private infos. Then later I am wanting even better ways to protect from identity theft when online. And later for protect from nosey ISPs and copyright trolls.

    I was reading this discussion board years before ever hear about Snowden, even I did not ever post here.
     
  23. guest

    guest Guest

    The privacy-aware people themselves. Mwahahahaha...!!! >=)

    I will say a very unpopular view here. We aren't actually trying to protect our privacy, we are trying to trust the right people in the right time, and everytime the hands of the clock move things can drastically change. In my book, everyone is evil. We just need to wait until their rotten sides to turn their faces to us. Sounds pessimistic? Maybe so, but that's just me and my... exclusive view. Either you agree with me or you don't. :cool:
     
  24. RockLobster

    RockLobster Registered Member

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    I care about privacy because I see a whole generation of young people duped into recording all their personal opinions, political views, religious views, social views, sexual preferences etc on surveillance sites that have been presented to them as social networking. As they have grown up with this they know nothing different, online social networking is just how it is, a part of the society they were born into but it will probably adversely affect the future of millions of people. Most of us know if everything we did and said since we were teenagers was documented and compiled into a dossier it would be something we would rather not have many other people look into 20 years later and I wonder how many of today's young people would have been tomorrows public figures and politicians had they not been aware if they enter into those arenas someone will dig up every compromising thing they ever did with their email, text messages social networking pages etc and use it against them.
    Aside from that there is the same issue with law enforcement, anyone accused of a crime is liable to have flippant things they said online and compromising pictures they posted online used against them in court and such things can make an innocent person look very guilty.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  25. deBoetie

    deBoetie Registered Member

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    "such things can make an innocent person look very guilty" - so said Cardinal Richelieu:

    "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."
     
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