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Mercer

How to browse the internet without being spied on.

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Posted (edited)

Why protect yourself?

 

Google logs and analyzes so much information about a chrome user's browsing habits, it can tell who they are, out of billions of people, without even needing them to log in most of the time. A lot more than targeting an advertisement  can  be done with your browsing history and info which is stored indefinitely. Along with the companies that pay to access this info, random google employees/contractor, hackers, or even government representative with no warrant can access it, and potentially know you better than you know yourself.

 

With that said, the browsers that don't log user info also aren't safe. Most sites, and the advertisements on them  run so much javascript they don't even need to have access to your browser's source code to track your browsing habits, and build psychological profiles.

 

What happens to all this data? Some is used to build profiles for highly profitable targeted advertisements. For example, the department store Target uses a system to identify pregnancies, using simple inputs like buying unscented lotion, and other small innocent factors. They can predict with a great degree of accuracy when a woman has entered the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. They send her targeted coupons so she'll start buying things like diapers and potentially become a lifelong repeat shopper at a time when her spending habits have the greatest potential for change.

 

Other things can be done with your browsing/shopping data. For example, if you pissed off the wrong person in the government, your data can be used to build a profile and find anything possible to against you. Roger Ver once made a speech condemning the ATF. Little did he know there was a group of ATF agents in the audience. They basically investigated him by building a profile of all his online activity, found he was a prominent Ebayer and looked at everything he sold, eventually finding commonly availiable firecrackers that he sold, commonly used to scare of birds. This somehow violated a bullshit law and they ended up using this info to send him to federal prison for a little over a year. Considering many ebayer's sold these, along with sporting goods stores like Cabellas wasn't important, this was clearly targeted enforcement.

 

Basically, everything you do online can also be used to build a psychological profile on you, and you can also be targeted for mind control techniques to influence your political views like in the  Cambridge Analytica scandal.

 

With that said, protecting yourself from data collection is more important than most people realize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protecting Yourself 101:

 

  1. Download and use the Brave Browser, it blocks all advertisements by default, no plugin needed. Unlike Adblock, it doesn't sell a backdoor to advertisers to circumvent their block and serve you the advertisements, and deliver harmful tracking scripts. It blocks everything by default which can sometimes fuck up the way a site works/looks, but you can obviously choose to lower your shields if you trust/need the website that's fucked up. They even have iphone/android apps.It also uses https:// everywhere it can as opposed to http://
  2. Erase any unnecessary personal data stored by google by going here: https://myaccount.google.com/dashboard It will give you a list of google services you use, go through and delete anything you feel isn't in your best interest for them to have.
  3. Stop using spyware like Google Chrome/Safari, and most other browsers that send google/apple your data in the background. Even Firefox is questionable these days and the need for add ons like ad blocking software etc. lowers the chance of spyware being slipped in.
  4. If you must use social media, try to keep your accounts unlinked, and for gods sake delete any app from your phone that you're not using. I have a special browser I use that's built into my password  manager on my phone that I'll log in and out of facebook if needed,. The app itself sends data in all day, even when you're not using the app.
  5. Keep unnecessary apps to a minimum on your mobile. There's currently a lawsuit against Bose(I should get in on it)  because they used their iphone app to listen in on your conversations via bluetooth connection  to make a little extra money on the side selling their customers data for targeted adds. Ever had a conversation about a topic and get an advertisement for a related product immediately afterword?
  6. Start using duck duck go as your default search engine. It's as good as google 99% of the time but without the intrusive strings attached, and without logging your data.
  7. If you look at anything like anti government sites, anything involving illegal stuff like the dark web, or something you don't want to run the risk of the government, your ISP, or anyone else finding out use TOR, what TOR is is complicated but I've dropped a video below that explains it more.
  8. Use a VPN, I'm using Nord VPN, paid $99 for the 3 year plan and can't complain. 

 

Protip: If you're using the brave browser just click: [ File > New Private Tab With TOR ] and boom, you're now browsing using TOR. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brave Browser:

 

 

 

 

A video explaining the future features coming to the  Brave Browser:

 

 

I'll probably edit this later to add/clarify some points.

Edited by Mercer
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Appreciate you taking the time to write this out. Will drop chrome on Monday. 

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@Mercercan you explain that Bose lawsuit a bit more? @diggityand myself have been discussing similar repeated incidents happening. 

 

Like talking about cat food... Never looking it up or anything or buying it online. Simply discussing it in person with someone and then suddenly getting ads for cat food served up shortly after. 

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I use TOR if I'm doing something sketchy or looking up stuff I shouldn't be be otherwise I still use chrome.

 

Did not know about duck duck go will look into that, appreciate the recommendation. I do use ABP thought so the adds aren't so much of an issue these days. Didn't know they sold aback door, it would explain the few adds that seep through.

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@misteravenBose designed an app that you'd be encouraged to use after buying bluetooth headphones. The app actually served little function as it was not needed to actually pair any of their wireless headphones. I think the only functionality I found was being able to assign the headphones a unique name.

 

Long story short they got busted spying on people through the app. Someone looked into the massive bandwidth the app was using while running idle, and discovered it was using the microphone in the headphones to record your voice, and either pick out keywords, or send everything in to servers at Bose for analysis.

 

A friend of mine was telling me about the small school he was attending to learn react native one day, and when I got home I had an add for that same programming school. I had already deleted facebook by then, and at the time couldn't figure out how my phone was able to pick up my conversation while stashed inside my backpack and I came across an article like this http://fortune.com/2017/04/19/bose-headphones-privacy/

 

Crazy shit considering I always had either my QC35's or QC30's on me. Both cost $300 & $350 respectively, but that still wasn't enough money for Bose.

 

I dropped well over 2 grand on Bose over the last 3 years. Both my wife and I rock QC35's, and before that both had QC25's, I bought 2 pairs of QC30's, and a couple of speakers. Could probably get in on the lawsuit since both my wife and I had the app as soon as the QC35's dropped.

 

2017-05-08-093710.jpg.a3b9a51ee9a6df936a242c111d00c323.jpg

 

Random shot in my garage of some of my Bose boxes, or should I say Bose wireless wiretaps.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Kults said:

I use TOR if I'm doing something sketchy or looking up stuff I shouldn't be be otherwise I still use chrome.

 

Did not know about duck duck go will look into that, appreciate the recommendation. I do use ABP thought so the adds aren't so much of an issue these days. Didn't know they sold aback door, it would explain the few adds that seep through.

@KultsUsing brave for regular browsing, then clicking file > open new private tab with TOR, makes it much easier to access TOR instead of opening up a new browser and waiting to connect. Seems like Brave connects to TOR faster than the TOR browser does. Plus this keeps your "semi public" browsing history while off of TOR  much more private.

 

I've got my search engine set up as Duck Duck go by default, and go to google.com when I need it which is rare. DDG even has image search. I found out about it reading articles on how to use TOR properly, and noticing Google makes the "Not A Robot" verification/captcha process near impossible while using TOR. 

Edited by Mercer
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9 hours ago, Mercer said:

@misteravenBose designed an app that you'd be encouraged to use after buying bluetooth headphones. The app actually served little function as it was not needed to actually pair any of their wireless headphones. I think the only functionality I found was being able to assign the headphones a unique name.

 

Long story short they got busted spying on people through the app. Someone looked into the massive bandwidth the app was using while running idle, and discovered it was using the microphone in the headphones to record your voice, and either pick out keywords, or send everything in to servers at Bose for analysis.

 

A friend of mine was telling me about the small school he was attending to learn react native one day, and when I got home I had an add for that same programming school. I had already deleted facebook by then, and at the time couldn't figure out how my phone was able to pick up my conversation while stashed inside my backpack and I came across an article like this http://fortune.com/2017/04/19/bose-headphones-privacy/

 

Crazy shit considering I always had either my QC35's or QC30's on me. Both cost $300 & $350 respectively, but that still wasn't enough money for Bose.

 

I dropped well over 2 grand on Bose over the last 3 years. Both my wife and I rock QC35's, and before that both had QC25's, I bought 2 pairs of QC30's, and a couple of speakers. Could probably get in on the lawsuit since both my wife and I had the app as soon as the QC35's dropped.

 

2017-05-08-093710.jpg.a3b9a51ee9a6df936a242c111d00c323.jpg

 

Random shot in my garage of some of my Bose boxes, or should I say Bose wireless wiretaps.

Majorly fucked up! And that’s a commercial third party looking to make money. Obviously there’s parties out there will much worse motives and likely much more access. 

 

@diggityyou reading this?!

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Posted (edited)

@misteraven

 

Yes, believe it or not Apple does store your browser history from all versions of safari in the cloud, (including deleted browser history).

 

With the recent EU privacy rules that passed European user's found out Apple was storing their browsing history on their servers (as opposed to on your device's browsers). Apple disclosed their browser data storage, including that they even stored your deleted browser history to conform with the new EU law. They only disclosed this information to European customers, then played it all off as an innocent mistake that they've now "fixed".

 

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/02/09/icloud-storing-deleted-safari-browser-history/

 

 

I use Brave Browser on my iPhone, but I don't sync it with my desktop browser history. I have the advantage of a "free for life" (1Password) password manager out of early adopter status back when the business model wasn't subscription. So storing things like passwords to log in/out of random websites isn't an issue for me.

 

For anything more than a minor privacy concern I also have TOR browser installed, along with Nord VPN which is always running in the background. Nord was the best $99 I've spent recently, 3 years of VPN that doesn't slow me down too much, and allows me to access any website I want to, from anywhere on the planet. Really came in handy for the EOS ICO which I banked off of to cover a lifetime of VPN.

 

Edited by Mercer
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@MercerInstalled and trying Brave on iPhone now. Detected a few quirks where clicking links don’t react, but restarted and think it cleared up. Really usable so far, but just started. 

 

New Safari was supposed to have a bunch of probably stuff built in but guessing it’s more a gesture than anything. 

 

Definitely going to look into the VPN service you suggested, since even Brave warns that your ISP can still collect your entire history / activity which almost defeats the purpose of browsing privately. 

 

Hoping you’ll jump back into that crypto thread man! What was the thing you were mentioning about 12oz collecting alt coins somehow?

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Also got those of you reading this thread thinking... Well I don’t do anything wrong so why should I care that my government seems what I’m doing, cause they’re just trying to protect me...

 

That argument is akin to saying, I don’t care if a cop watches me shower cause he’s not going to touch my privates and is only watching to make sure I don’t get raped. 

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Thanks @Mercer

I’m exhausted with instagram right now. Serving me ads based on conversations I’m having when not even in my phone. A week or two back I was getting served Ben and Jerry’s and escape room ads from us trying to decide what we wanted to do. I never searched either of these on a my phone. This eavesdropping is out of hand. 

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@MercerWhile on subject of privacy, what are you using for messaging? 

 

Also want to point out on the eavesdropping that  I have denied Instagram access to my microphone and camera but that isn’t slowing it down at all. 

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This Brave browser (mobile version) is giving me issues. Lot of links / buttons simply reload the page instead of going where they’re supposed to. 

 

@MercerYou getting issues like that all? Also noticing it’s near impossible to select all in the URL field. Are you familiar with Aloha browser or any other private browsers as an alternative? Link: https://alohabrowser.com/

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Bummer... Aloha appends an add to the bottom of the page. Does appear to offer free VPN though. Wonder if there’s a paid version without the ad?

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15 minutes ago, diggity said:

@MercerWhile on subject of privacy, what are you using for messaging? 

 

Also want to point out on the eavesdropping that  I have denied Instagram access to my microphone and camera but that isn’t slowing it down at all. 

Check out Telegram: Telegram Messenger by Telegram LLC https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/telegram-messenger/id686449807?mt=8

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Just figured out you can turn off ads in Aloha for $0.99 (option to pay $2.99 and $5.99 to support). 

 

Just started using it so can’t say it’s better than anything else but no issues clicking links or buttons so far and does have built in VPN. No desktop version unfortunately. 

 

Interested in hearing your thoughts on it @Mercer

 

 

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@misteraven When I first started using it I had issues since sites by default had all their javascript disabled. After a while I turned down the shields for sites that I actually needed to work properly, and avoided some sites I probably shouldn't be on in the first place instead of letting them use Javascript.

 

You might be experiencing links that have just been #'d without and actual URL in the href="     " and javascript is used to put the actual link in as opposed to just HTML so it can track when it's clicked and who's clicking it. A lot of the clickbaity type sites like "business insider" had links like that, but I just stopped going to them or allowed the javascript..

 

If you're unable to select text in the url bar, something may have gone wrong with the instal. Sounds like an OS issue, as opposed to a browser based issue. I'd try re-installing, and rebooting the iPhone after install to see what happens.

 

Also, I've never heard of Aloha.

 

@diggityHave telegram installed but don't really use it much since nobody I message regularly uses it. I'm a fairly anti social person these days and haven't used Viber, Kik, or What's app in a very long time. I'd say 90% of my communications are work related, and since I'm in the public safety sector, it's some boring shit to listen in on. My work issues iPhones, my local, and overseas friends tend to be well off enough for iPhones, or they get hand me down iOS devices when I go visit them. So they're almost all on iOS/iPhones making almost all of my communications through iMessage these days with very few green text bubbles.

 

No idea what  apple does with all that info, but considering all my contacts are in the cloud anyway I don't think I'm able to do too much to keep Apple out of my business 100%. Luckily their business model is still focused on selling devices, as opposed to selling your data, so for now I think it's worth the risk.

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As far as instagram goes, I wish there was a Virtualbox type app you could install other apps inside and shut them down 100% when you're not using them. I'm not paranoid enough to know all the spyware apps, I just remember some of my Dev friends being like "Whoa, WTF you have facebook installed on your phone?" a couple of years ago and was convinced I should delete it. In all honesty I should delete instagram myself and just re-install if needed but I'm not ready to yet.

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i doubt i can get all of my contacts to move over to another system so moving over to an alt service might not be realistic.

 

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Use an obscure browser that no one else would possibly try to open up and use if on your computer.

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