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How can I maximize my internet security/anonymity?


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#1 ThirdEchelonSam

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 11:59 PM

Hello, I am new to this, so some of these questions might seem basic. I am looking to maximize my internet anonymity/privacy. I realize that I probably wont be able to hide myself from targeted surveillance from a developed state-level actor (though I would like to do as much as possible there too) - but I have little reason to believe there is any specific interest in me. Primarily I would like to leave as little information as possible that gets scooped up in all the mass surveillance, archiving, etc - digital habits, identifying information, etc. I don't like the idea of some agent years down the road being able to reach into the servers and know all about my life. I am currently getting (effectively) new hardware. I will be using. MBP retina mid-2012: I had some issue with the HD, so I sent it back to Apple a few months ago. They replaced most of the internals, and wiped all the data. I have not used it since. Galaxy S7 (Verizon): I have a factory refurbished warranty replacement that I have not use yet, waiting to be set up (my current S7 will be sent back after it is wiped/de-magnetized) Internet: I live in an apartment complex where there is only one possible provider (some local ISP). It is router-only (ethernet into the wall), no modem possible. I have a TP-Link Archer C7 that I haven't used yet (I don't know is there is really anything to be done about security at this level?). Regular TV (haven't decided if a smartTV is worth the risk - unclear if they are hacked only for specific instances, or are included in the dragnet). DirecTV w/DVR. Currently no media devices - Xbox, Apple TV, etc. I understand that these devices might not be ideal for privacy/security, but it's what I have right now. If I really needed to have more secure communications for a specific reason, I assume I would need to get a separate phone (unlocked, non-carrier marked) for that?

So:

 

Before I connect them to the internet, is there anything I need to format or any programs I should load on my phone/laptop. It is possible for me to download these off another device and transfer via flash storage.

  • Anything I should be aware of in terms of my router hardware/WiFi network securitizing (aside from a good mixed-case alpha-numeric password)?

  • Best browser(s) to use (I currently use Chrome in incognito mode - I don't know much about the others). It is OK to save your bookmarks to an account?

  • Recommendation for anti-virus/spyware/maleware, etc. For OSX and Android

  • VPN? I currently use ExpressVPN. It seems to be the best publicly available one - based in the BVI, allows anonymous payments, mobile version, claims to not keep logs, etc. Very open to suggestions and advice here (for example are there some VPNs that are better for regular browsing - in terms of speed - and others for torrenting?)

  • Tor: Is it necessary to use it all the time (does it even really work - exit node spying, etc)? What is the interplay with the VPN? Mobile options?

  • Email addresses: I have one personal email address and various ones I use for online shopping, forums, accounts, PayPal etc (mainly Gmail). I have used these since I was a teenager, and obviously they have been across all kinds of unsecured systems. Would it be necessary for me to trash those and make all new one that are strictly protected. Aside from the personal one (which is still doable this wouldn't be too onerous. -- Any idea if email addresses become linked by association in the system. For example, if I have my regular and work emails saved on my phone, but I also have the burner and special use accounts logged into and out of on the same device, will it somehow come back to me, even if they are all under different names and phone numbers?

  • Security of mobile data vs WiFi?

  • Are public hotspots unsafe even with security measures? Should certain kinds of browsing be avoided? Do devices need to be sanitized afterwards (or perhaps have a partitioned area of the OS for public connections?)

  • I have used Google Voice before, anyone see a benefit? Are calls still collected in the same way? It's still linked to your regular phone, but perhaps another layer of anonymity (since I can just use a random name). I still give my Verizon number to friends and family, but Gvoice seems like it might be a good choice for consumer calls, ordering things, etc. With a burner email, the number could be changed as often as possible (though Google may archive all the emails previously linked to my main cell number, even if I delete the accounts?)

  • Anything else I should know?

NB: Two personal habits. Unfortunately I've gotten pretty used to the Google ecosystem: Gmail, Drive/Photo Storage, cross-device browser bookmarks, etc. I try and use different email addresses for different forums, Reddit, retail sites, etc, but they tend to all be Gmail (though I dont link a phone number). Obviously thing it not good as it puts all my content and data in one easy to find box. If it possible to get relatively similar integration with more secure services? I also do like to use Amazon and Netflix (I know). I take advantage of the Free Month trials and Free Month prime by just creating a new burner email every month (for Netflix I use virtual PayPal Debit cards which I cancel right after sign up) so I dont have to add a card. Obviously I used a little real info as possible, but obviously the payment info is linked to me in some way (and I have to use my real address for Amazon deliveries). I already use cash prepaid debit card and an anonymous P.O. box for more sensitive purchases, I had considered it for most online stuff, but the hassle of having to find a pharmacy/7-Eleven every time I want to buy something seems like it might not be worth the effort (plus there is still the record of cash withdrawals - though this is worth it in specific instances). I'm looking for all kinds of advice. Thanks in advance.



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#2 Just_One_Question

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:44 AM

I like your topic.
Unfortunately, I am not all that knowledgeable when it comes to technologies & security, so I won't be of much help. What I do know, though, is that as you very well too realize and have put it, there isn't any real, 100% sure way of not getting yourself recorded when you are using interconnected devices, especially via the Internet.
I'd greatly suggest using Tor as your main browser as it makes it much harder for anybody to record your online activities when you're using it.
As for an antivirus, I have found that Malwarebytes does a pretty well job in combining simplicity with effectiveness, efficiently.
TBH, the only kinda 'good' way not to get recorded remotely, through a computer when you are at the privacy of your own home, would be to completely discard any device with a screen from your possession. But what way to live your life would that be?
Hope this at least somewhat helps. Be sure that the folks here would answer your question with much more knowledge and detail. Just don't be in a rush as it can take a couple of days.
Wish you good luck, citizenfour lol.

Cheers!
:)

Edited by Just_One_Question, 20 March 2017 - 07:45 AM.


#3 quietman7

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:47 PM

You can enhance your privacy with various privacy tools:Another option is to use a virtual private network (VPN) service. A VPN essentially extends a private network across a public network (Internet) and enables a computer to send and receive data across a public network as if it were directly connected to the private network. VPNs provide security by the use of tunneling protocols, encryption and authenticated remote access. A VPN helps to protect you from identity theft, hides your IP address, and allows you to secure your transmitted data, financial transactions and personal information while online.
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#4 quietman7

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:50 PM

Tools To protect your browser, privacy, help prevent advertisements & block websites:Notes about Adblock Plus and NoScript:
Google, Amazon, Microsoft pay to get ads past Adblock Plus
Adblock Plus is letting companies pay to let their ads through
Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus
Attention NoScript Users - Adblock Plus
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#5 Yanmsfer

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 04:02 AM

Thanks for your info



#6 anajames

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:37 AM

A vpn will hide you from anyone trying to snoop on your activities over the internet, and help you access geo-restricted content which is not available in your region or streaming online. Helps a lot. 

I have been using Nord for a while and also Astrill along which is a dedicated IP. 



#7 quietman7

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:59 AM

You're welcome.
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#8 techghost

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:48 AM

I think Quietman7 pretty much explained everything. And you are doing great for yourself if you are taking your privacy and protecting your smart devices serious because it's high time everyone starts doing that. 

Since quietman7 has provided all the necessary tools, I'll just share with you this interesting article on How Google, Apple and Microsoft (The Power Trio) are tackling Surveillance. Which has, post Snowden revelations, become the most hot topic in the digital world. 



#9 Just_One_Question

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:27 AM

How to Start Your Browser in Private Mode


This is an outdated link. You might want to update it for future instances of this question coming up again.
:)

#10 quietman7

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 04:41 PM

How to Start Your Browser in Private Mode


This is an outdated link. You might want to update it for future instances of this question coming up again.
:)

I have replaced it with How to Enable Private Browsing on Any Web Browser
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#11 Just_One_Question

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:07 PM

How to Start Your Browser in Private Mode

This is an outdated link. You might want to update it for future instances of this question coming up again. :)
I have replaced it with How to Enable Private Browsing on Any Web Browser

Awesome job!
:)

#12 datastrain

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 07:36 PM

it should be noted that HideMyAss has released its user information to authorities in the past - meaning they store their user information.


a million monkeys using windows will eventually produce all possible error messages... eventually...

#13 RolandJS

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 07:53 PM

Keep one idea in mind, very often, security and monitoring is on end of the seesaw, functionality and browse-ability is on the other end of the seesaw; push down, increase, on one end, the other end is lifted up, lessened.  A well-planned, well-maintained balance of security and functionality is best.


Edited by RolandJS, 20 April 2017 - 03:02 PM.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forums/45/Computer-Technologies/

Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)

Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)

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#14 datastrain

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 12:23 PM

hidemyass alternatives (that do not keep logs or information on their customers the way hidemyass does) include: expressvpn , hide.me


a million monkeys using windows will eventually produce all possible error messages... eventually...




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