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 Forum index » Off-Topic Area » Security
Avoiding Tracking - Now with Data
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playdayz


Joined: 25 Apr 2008
Posts: 3789

PostPosted: Sun 22 Dec 2013, 17:01    Post subject:  Avoiding Tracking - Now with Data  

There is now a version of Firefox that incorporates some of the information from this discussion -> http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=751375#751375

I just started this investigation a couple of days ago after I signed the petition urging clemency for Edward Snowden. I hope to be instructed by those who know more. Maybe we can build a Browser pet for Puppies with as much protection as possible.

Edit: I am revising this message in line with the discussion. I have also added a message that imho describes a useful and usable option for minimizing tracking http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=746858#746858 This option is supported by a study from Stanford that imho will be of interest to everyone who is taking the time to read this discussion -> http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/node/6730

If it is a matter of your life or liberty, use the TOR Project. It hides your IP address behind a wall of constantly shifting proxy servers around the world, donated by people who believe in web privacy and political freedom. Here is what you can do to help and get TOR -> https://www.torproject.org/getinvolved/volunteer.html.en I am not sure if Version 3 of TOR is available yet for Puppies. Evidently Flashplayer can reveal your real IP address, so TOR Project blocks flashplayer. TOR is slower than most people are probably used to. Add: In the discussion it is demonstrated that your computer can be identified uniquely even through a proxy.

Don’t use Google Chrome. It was designed to track you. You can disable some tracking options but would you bet it was all of them?

Don't use Gmail. Your emails are scanned routinely for Google's convenience in selling ads.

Don’t automatically log on to Google or Microsoft, or stay logged on. They want you to of course so they can track you. If you use Gmail or Hotmail, then log on to get your mail and log off, because logging on to any service is the same as logging on to the whole network. You do not have to log on to Youtube to use it, but if you do, say, in order to keep playlists, then log off when you are done.

The solution would be for all web sites *and* mobile apps to offer a clear and effective Do Not Track option. There is discussion of such a law.

I mention "mobile apps" because this discussion only applies to computers. It is hopeless to try to interfere with tracking on smartphones and tablets.

Last edited by playdayz on Wed 15 Jan 2014, 14:39; edited 7 times in total
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bark_bark_bark

Joined: 05 Jun 2012
Posts: 895
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun 22 Dec 2013, 17:33    Post subject:  

I would not recommend DontTrackMePlus! It doesn't work and invades your privacy even more. Ghostery works best.

But disabling JavaScript is also important to web security (I use NoScript for this).

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playdayz


Joined: 25 Apr 2008
Posts: 3789

PostPosted: Sun 22 Dec 2013, 17:55    Post subject:  

bark_bark_bark wrote:
I would not recommend DontTrackMePlus! It doesn't work and invades your privacy even more. Ghostery works best.

But disabling JavaScript is also important to web security (I use NoScript for this).

I see that Ghostery has better reviews, 5 out of 5 stars versus 4 out of 5 for DontTrackMePlus. Thanks.
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mikeb


Joined: 23 Nov 2006
Posts: 8641

PostPosted: Sun 22 Dec 2013, 18:37    Post subject:  

My google for gmail account had a history of every websearch I have ever done on google during the time I had the account....discovered while in the process of deleting said account.
They also used my gmail login and password for a you tube account based on access via the same computer...fortunately it was ours and not one in say a library.
Another bonus is broadcasting your email on the chat network which is a nice way to draw in spam...without asking of course.

I rarely use Google now...ask.com get decent results...not sure of their policies but keeping out of google's way seemed a good move generally....and as suggested if you do avoid being logged in unless you have to (if that makes a difference)

perhaps tor's restictions are more to do with bandwith with regard to flash.... some were using it to watch the likes of the bbc for example.... bit of an abuse unfortunately.

Interesting this passing of data.... one example was I was looking on amazon for an specific item. A totally unrelated site pops up jolly adds for amazon and said product.... its all fun.

One note on javascript...if i spoof google search with firefox 1.5 version i get a javascript absent search results....its much faster and might be less intrusive too...

mike
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Barkin


Joined: 12 Aug 2011
Posts: 742

PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 07:06    Post subject:  

mikeb wrote:
... I rarely use Google now...ask.com get decent results...not sure of their policies but keeping out of google's way seemed a good move generally....

The search engine https://startpage.com/ will act as a proxy and do a Google-search for you without Google knowing it's you , (see attachment).

DuckDuckGo search engine has a do not track policy ... http://donttrack.us/

mikeb wrote:
One note on javascript...if i spoof google search with firefox 1.5 version i get a javascript absent search results....its much faster and might be less intrusive too...


FireFox is now on version 24, you can disable javascript in firefox 23 onwards by changing the status of "javascript.enabled" in firefox config[uration] ... https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/971170

Alternatively restrict which sites can use javascript with an addon like NoScript , which operates a white-list.
startpage looks up Google for you (proxy) so Google doesn't know it's you asking.gif
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startpage looks up Google for you (proxy) so Google doesn't know it's you asking.gif

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mikeb


Joined: 23 Nov 2006
Posts: 8641

PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 09:04    Post subject:  

Yes tried startpage but just felt was still supporting google and their lxquick just lacked results.... by the way that wonderful wellminded search is pure google...just thought I'd mention that.

well spoofing was a way of preventing the javascript in the first place which also might shed some light on why google are always pushing for browser updates so heavily....newer browsers...more ways to track you.

I sit here on firefox 3.6... updated this year...thought I should...knew I would....I am not in the hood...this is no brotherhood....see ya Very Happy

mike
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playdayz


Joined: 25 Apr 2008
Posts: 3789

PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 12:33    Post subject:  

Quote:
perhaps tor's restictions are more to do with bandwith with regard to flash.... some were using it to watch the likes of the bbc for example.... bit of an abuse unfortunately.

TOR project now says it blocks Flashplayer because flashplayer can reveal your true IP address, but I found that flashplayer could be re-enabled. If people in repressive countries use TOR to watch BBC news that is OK with me, but TOR still does say it is a security risk.

I am having trouble with NoScript interfering with function. Buttons don't work, etc. I am trying to find the balance between privacy and function. I know that one might have to do some extra work to insure more privacy. I am looking for a good balance between privacy and function--mainly I am just irritated about tracking.

Is there a new ad at the top of the Forum?
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mikeb


Joined: 23 Nov 2006
Posts: 8641

PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 12:42    Post subject:  

Hmm well perhaps one area to look at is talking back to third party sites.

Using google as an example there are several additional domains they use...I added them to a block list in our router which does not seem to affect sites and has a bonus bunny of removing google ads on other sites too....I mainly got them from examining images plus scripts listed in the html <head>..if the unwanted scripts cannot get through they cannot talk back basically.

Blocking javascript does get fiddly as many site use it for legitimate purposes. Some are funny...ebay works so much better without but their 'punishment' is that only the first half of search results will show pictures...how's that for a cyber sulk Very Happy

Oh must not forget flashblock...I am sure having that running must remove some unwanted prying not to mention improve page responsiveness and no real penalty in page access.

mike
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playdayz


Joined: 25 Apr 2008
Posts: 3789

PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 12:53    Post subject:  

I should say my goal is to figure out what to install and enable in a Firefox pet for Puppies that will give people the best balance of privacy, non-trackability, and functionality I should have said that I do routinely use Adblock as well as the others I have mentioned. It is all in progress--thanks for the help. Does anyone else have preferences about Ghostery versus DoNotTrackMe? DoNotTrackMe is a bit less intrusive it seems to me. And doesn't Firefox also have an add-on that will redirect or hide Google searches? And finally, my inclination at this early stage would be to include NoScript but not enable it, since it is "fiddly."

Currently using Ghostery, HTTPS Everywhere, Adblock, Do Not Track set. Function good, https active often, Will look at Google search hiders and flashblock.

Firefox add-on Remove Google Tracking. Does anyone know about it?
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2668
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 14:23    Post subject:  

i don't believe it is even possible to 'hide' what you are doing anymore. Using Tor simply puts up a massive flag that ensures every data packet you send is trapped for later analysis.

http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2013/12/20/use-of-tor-pointed-fbi-to-harvard-university-bomb-hoax-suspect/?utm_source=Naked+Security+-+Sophos+List&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=e4021b7069-naked%252Bsecurity&utm_term=0_31623bb782-e4021b7069-418528781

There are now massive data centres worldwide that are used for storing your data for further indepth scrutiny as required. Special routers have been installed in server complexes such as Microsoft, Google. Apple etc in order to trap, copy, echo and redirect data in order to suit the "needs" of those who wish to monitor and/or control us
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=707938#707938

ISPs are now required by law to allow and even facilitate access to your data.

The greater the efforts you go to in order to anonymise your data flow, the more unique and therefore visible your internet activity becomes. Check out panopticlick and consider how much every puppy user stands out like a sore thumb:
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=673746#673746
Throw Tor and puppy into the mix together and you can guarantee raising eyebrows.

Now that huge quantities of data (especially from specific users) is trapped and stored there is no way to escape scrutiny, except by using encryption that is of such high quality that it is impossible to break. Apparently that hasn't been invented yet.
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Barkin


Joined: 12 Aug 2011
Posts: 742

PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 14:55    Post subject:  

playdayz wrote:
... doesn't Firefox also have an add-on that will redirect or hide Google searches?

There used to be a FireFox addon called GoogleSharing , which was a Google search via a proxy, but it doesn't seem to work now,
(Google doesn't like being scraped and has blocked such proxy search services in the past like Scroogle).
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playdayz


Joined: 25 Apr 2008
Posts: 3789

PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 15:24    Post subject:  

Quote:
i don't believe it is even possible to 'hide' what you are doing anymore. Using Tor simply puts up a massive flag that ensures every data packet you send is trapped for later analysis.

Yes, greengeek, I had no hope of 100% anonymity. And yes, no doubt at all in my mind that NSA and others can break any encryption--often the author of the encryption program tells them how. But I did hope to at least minimize tracking. I will admit that might just be for personal psychological reasons. Is it your opinion that it is better just to do nothing--and maybe just use Firefox with Adblock, say, just for your own convenience.

Https-Everywhere from Electronic Frontier Foundation appears not to be listed in Firefox add-ons. Am I wrong. Or why not does anyone know?

Haha. I picked up some malware in doing this research. Start over.

Last edited by playdayz on Mon 23 Dec 2013, 18:34; edited 1 time in total
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nooby

Joined: 29 Jun 2008
Posts: 10557
Location: SwedenEurope

PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 16:48    Post subject:  

greengeek wrote:
i don't believe it is even possible to 'hide' what you are doing anymore.


I have that view too. I am a pessimist.

If the NSA and similar bodies wants to know
then they sure will see to it that they find the means.

That does not mean I would discourage those
that want to feel secure. Tell us about the means
you use and who knows maybe some of them do actually work?

playdayz I think that is a good goal but I would
warn people that maybe it help with some privacy
but not all. It all depends on how interesting they find you to be Smile

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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
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Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 17:11    Post subject:  

playdayz wrote:
Is it your opinion that it is better just to do nothing--and maybe just use Firefox with Adblock, say, just for your own convenience.

I'm really undecided about this. I'm basically paranoid but doubt much can be done to improve security so I just try to focus on the following:

1) Speed of browsing
- this involves things like Adblock - not because of tracking, but just discarding the rubbish that slows my machine down.
- Avoidance of sites that spend five minutes sending data to google.api.whatever that I see flashing along the bottom line of the browser. If the site wants to use up my time and my paid bandwidth I just try not to go there. The page should load within a few seconds or else I'm out of there.

2) Non-collection of malware
- I think the best thing I can do in this regard is to avoid Windows. However, even though Puppy is probably more secure (as are most *nixes I guess) the 'run as root' thing probably makes it less secure than some might imagine. Still, I'm sticking with Puppy. I'm probably going to regress back to running from CD so that I at least feel my code is not being secretly modified. (doesn't stop harm being done while I'm running in RAM and surfing online of course...)

3) Avoidance of tracking
- I don't worry about this any more. I simply assume that every bit of data I send and receive is visible or accessible to someone. I will never use the internet for banking or for any vital personal information if I can avoid it.

Overall, the thing I seek most is speed of browsing - I want the data I requested to appear on my screen without delay and I don't want my bandwidth used up by companies collecting data from my browser. - it is not necessarily that they are tracking me either - it is just that they are collecting information that they sell to third parties. Sort of like having a census inspector stood at your front door checking out what brand of socks each of your visitors prefers to buy. Just a damn nuisance.

Anything that can be done to make the browser turn down requests for information is a good thing, although there is so much going on in terms of pixel tracking, redirecting etc, that I don't know how much a browser can actually do to shut the doors.

Did you do the panopticlick test to see how unique your system is when on the net? For puppy users it's like walking down the mainstreet with no pants on.
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gcmartin

Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 4436
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 17:41    Post subject:  

@Playdayz, thanks for this thread. Wonderful for all the contributions flowing in. Good technical aspects and findings which are useful in understanding and approaches.

Want to highlight 3 things I think might be useful:
Snodon Amnesty: The US Congress passed a law almost a decade ago that took away the protection rights of "Whistle Blowers". This is one prime reason why he had to escape. I am hoping that somet6hing positive lands for him, but it have to be in a non-western country that absorbs him. What's interesting to me in the number of Western countries who have denounced the NSA-US practices, while at the same time, not offering amnesty in their countries. Some hypocrisy at play, on that, by those countries.

Secure features for popular browsers; i.e. Firefox. One idea that comes to mind is one/more thread(s) that provide PETs that add security to each existing browser that are the mains in PUPs with a name like "Firefox Security PET" or "SeaMonkey Security PET" which would collect several add-ons into a simple secure addition to such. Even if such a PET existed, it does NOT need be the greatest to provide usefulness to any user who just want to expand security, even a little.

Google: I am not proposing advocacy of Google as I have knowledge that the company did NOT create, instigate, or offer any government a pathway to exposures. If accounts are accurate, they have been a thorn in governments backsides on govt requests. So much so, that they have been fined or "turned-off" when they don't allow themselves to be bullied. And, YES, their model has always been to advertise to raise operating revenue for the good innovation.they have brought to the planet of uses and users. Because that is their business model, does NOT mean they or ANY ISP are willing participants in International Convert Security. Acknowledgement of this by me does NOT make me a FAN. But, understanding this, I am sensitive to the decision any one of us can make to have a comfort level of internet use. And understanding this, I think ALL ISPs are operating with levels of government oversight where govts want access to ISP records and information.

Hopefully, sometime in our future, it would be hoped that all of access to any information we seek or view, will be contained ONLY on a single fob that we take everywhere with us where ONLY YOU would have access to it. Let's hope that some the ideas being batted around in the UN could bring a new global approach. ... But, don't count on my level of optimism as I don't ever see that happening.

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