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How to make the NSA lives more difficult?

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posted on Oct, 25 2014 @ 07:11 PM
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originally posted by: Aazadan
How to make things harder for the NSA? Don't use cloud storage, encrypt everything, and stick to vetted open source software.


Ah, another person to poll. So. Do you believe that vetted open source software is inherently safe?




posted on Oct, 25 2014 @ 11:25 PM
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originally posted by: Bedlam
I don't mean to be a tease here, but there's something I can't talk about openly on the forum, although I've kicked it over with Zaphod. That leads me to ask you...do you feel safe because you use Linux? Consider it a sort of informal survey I do. Purely for my own barometer.

I wouldn't use a positive adjective; I'd use a comparative. I feel safer. I don't feel particularly unsafe on Windows, but I'm less at home. I'm afraid I would make a configuration mistake that would make me more vulnerable. My brief dalliances with Windows 8 and up suggest to me Microsoft is really pushing the cloud/roaming profile/phone home thing, and it wants to unify local and internet searches--it leaks by design. And don't you have to pay extra for disk encryption? I've actually lost my laptop before (it was returned), so disk (partition) encryption is a must-have.

There are also theoretical reasons for placing more trust in the fragmented Linux/BSD ecosystem than the fairly homogenous, corporate-controlled worlds of Windows and MacOS. The *nix ecosystem has multiple stakeholders with distinct (and sometimes competing) interests, so there is at least the possibility that nefarious actors will be kept in check. And if something nefarious does get in, it's easier to rip out the parts that have gone evil and replace them with something else. I can replace kernels, window managers, and many other system components in a way that is fairly difficult if not impossible in Windows. I can even replace the whole distro or OS. If it turns out that Debian is a front for GCHQ, it would only take an afternoon to switch to Red Hat. If they're agents of ASIO, with a little more work I can be running a BSD.

There is an old saw that open source is more secure because "many eyes make all bugs shallow," or something like that. This may be true--we can't meaningfully compare the "shallowness" of open source bugs vs. those of closed source--but it is definitely true that some major bugs have escaped detection for a number of years. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to believe the open source model mitigates the risk of nefarious actors introducing bugs compared to closed source. If an intelligence or criminal organization wishes to surreptiously insert a vulnerability, they must do so with the knowledge that the commit will be publicly visible. They will be exposing their agent and something of their capabilities on the internet. It would be hard to get a manager to approve that, and hard to motivate an agent to do it. Not impossible, and it has allegedly happened at least once, but it's another reason to feel safer.

Obviously, an operating system does not address every aspect of computer security, and some vulnerabilities are outside the scope of the question. No OS is going to construct TEMPEST, acoustic, etc. security around your computer. But within the proper sphere of the OS, yeah, I feel a little safer where I am now.



posted on Oct, 26 2014 @ 03:05 AM
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a reply to: FurvusRexCaeli

On a phone, so no long reply. Thanks for the answer. I used to feel the same way.



posted on Oct, 26 2014 @ 03:11 AM
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a reply to: crazyewok

Technologically speaking, almost nothing. You really cant do much and also live a modern life if you are trying to avert prying eyes.

Well, nothing short of launching your own satellite, developing your own encryption that is insanely complicated to crack or outright humanly impossible to do the work for...develop your own language, and have others use your stuff... Language is really the key. That will always be true no matter the age or technology and intelligence you are dealing with.... If they cant understand you they will never know what you are saying no matter what they over hear...even if they hear everything.

OR

Do as much as you can the old fashioned way.

Removing all cameras /mic from your house is a start. Physically disconnect all lines coming in when you want that extra bit of privacy....remove your cell battery, and insulate your home with lead...lol

EDIT TO ADD:
I used to write in rune symbols in HS. I just swapped out the alphabet for symbols and spelled everything differently. I never had a problem with people reading my thoughts or messages. I would give the cipher to people then later on I would send messages on notes I would just walk up and hand to them. Even if the teacher or some douche got it, it was just symbols... To practice I would take class notes in it. In a week I could write proficiently in it with little to no variations. Once everyone is good on it, change the cipher to 2 or 3 you rotate.

Perhaps you could do something like that with family and friends. People tend to like it and be responsive. In a month your personal messages could at least be somewhat protected.


edit on 10 26 2014 by tadaman because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 26 2014 @ 03:23 AM
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originally posted by: Bedlam

originally posted by: Aazadan
How to make things harder for the NSA? Don't use cloud storage, encrypt everything, and stick to vetted open source software.


Ah, another person to poll. So. Do you believe that vetted open source software is inherently safe?


Not safe, but safer. Any exploits found, need to be found by an agency like the NSA and then we need to have a situation where no one else finds them. This can and does happen but the number of vulnerabilities in open source is much less than in say Apple where there's backdoors built right into the OS.

Then of course, there's what you choose to do while on that OS... talking to all those other servers on the internet. I'm not an expert in the field but I know enough about data collection/processing to know what they're interested in and part of how they get it. An operating system alone isn't going to protect you there.
edit on 26-10-2014 by Aazadan because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 26 2014 @ 07:32 AM
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originally posted by: Aazadan


Not safe, but safer. Any exploits found, need to be found by an agency like the NSA...This can and does happen but the number of vulnerabilities in open source is much less than in say Apple where there's backdoors built right into the OS.


So, you feel safe from backdoors because you can see the source code, and the main worry is that there might be an exploit inherent to the source, but one that's spottable by an astute coder.



posted on Oct, 26 2014 @ 10:24 PM
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originally posted by: Bedlam

originally posted by: Aazadan


Not safe, but safer. Any exploits found, need to be found by an agency like the NSA...This can and does happen but the number of vulnerabilities in open source is much less than in say Apple where there's backdoors built right into the OS.


So, you feel safe from backdoors because you can see the source code, and the main worry is that there might be an exploit inherent to the source, but one that's spottable by an astute coder.



Like I said, that situation can happen and does happen. The most recent one that comes to mind is the USB flaw, another high profile one is Stuxnet. The fact remains however that open source has fewer vulnerabilities, I'm pretty sure the NSA can get into whatever they want if they deem it important enough but not everyone is the NSA and even they have priorities that can make them take another route if something is sufficiently secure.



posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 07:23 AM
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posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 02:10 PM
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originally posted by: AutumnWitch657
For some reason this makes me think of teasing a big nasty dog just outside the reach of his frayed old rope. In other words what are you thinking???


You know what you do with that big nasty dog? ...when it comes running at you just punch it really hard in the side of the head, right by the ear.

I've seen it done, the dog will leave you alone. But what does that mean we need to do regarding the NSA?



posted on Oct, 28 2014 @ 03:25 PM
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originally posted by: ScientificRailgun
a reply to: crazyewok

Maybe in my next Amazon order I'll buy an NBC suit, two cases of monster energy drink, a taser, some catnip, a Geiger counter, a few cattle brands, a bucket of lard, etc.

Or buy in the same order: Steel ball bearings, a pressure cooker, a bag of fertilizer, a pay as you go cell phone, a ski mask, and a backpack. Then all I have to do is wait for them to kick down my door. HEY, easy way to get a new door.




An easier way to get a new door is order it online.



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