Tag Archives: DNS

100 Days to Privacy Online: Day 9 – Blocking Ads on Entire Network with Pi-Hole

Everyone nowadays uses some sort of ad-blocking plugin in their browser. But the issue with many is they use up local system resources blocking the ads. Making everything slower, which is counterproductive. A more efficient and cleaner way is to get yourself a Raspberry Pi and install Pi-Hole on it.

A Raspberry Pi is a small very affordable computer sold for hobbyist, teaching, and projects. There are a lot of fun projects that can be done with them.

What you’ll need for this project:

For this project I suggest installing Raspian Lite as the base OS.

How to get Raspian on your Micro-SD card

Now that you have your card loaded you can enter the boot partition of the card and add an empty file named “ssh” (no extension). This will enable SSH when you boot the card in the Raspberry Pi. Once done with this step eject your card and insert it in the Raspberry Pi. Plug in the Cat-5 cable to your router and plug in the power (micro-usb) cable last. You will see it booting up with lights flashing. After a few minutes check your router to see what IP address the Raspberry Pi listed in the web interface. Everyone’s routers are different so going into that is beyond the realm of this howto. Searching should get you any info you need on this.

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100 Days to Privacy Online: Day 4 – Protecting Your DNS Usage

A lot of even partially tech savvy people know the IP address for Google’s DNS (Domain Name System) servers, 8.8.8.8 which is easy to remember. But you have to also consider what your usage of DNS says about you. It is a treasure trove of data about your likes and opinions. Every time you click a link or type in an address in your browser you query a DNS server. This is usually the ones provided by your ISP when you connect to the Internet. It is also how you get served those custom search result error pages when a site does not exist. So your ISP or whomever you use for DNS can tell A LOT about you from the sites and links you click on. Even your hobbies, interest, sexual propensities and more.

Seems like something you should want to keep private and protect from marketers and advertisers, right?

There is hope! You can manually change the DNS servers your computer or whole home network use.

There are two good ways to help protect your DNS queries. The first would be to use OpenNIC DNS and choose servers with no logging.

Even better is to use DNSCrypt which encrypts your queries to DNS servers for added security. If using with OpenNIC can see from servers list which supports it.

What Your DNS Says About You

image_thumb88I know many people that just type in the usual Google public DNS when they need to add one to a computer or server. It’s easy right!? Just remember 8.8.8.8 and/or 8.8.4.4 it’s a no brainer! But what are we REALLY doing when we use Google for DNS?

Your chosen DNS servers translate domains (xyz.com) to IP addresses (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx). So your name servers know every domain you have accessed since they did the job of translating them to IP address of the servers hosting the site. This is some pretty juicy information for a company like Google or even your ISP that provides your DSL or Cable Internet access. If you are already using Google services like search and Gmail using their name servers adds to the bounty of information they collect about you.

Maybe you just hate that your ISP hijacks your browser every time you type in an address wrong? Giving your their recommendations that are ad driven.

“How can I not leak all my information!?”

OpenNIC DNS can help solve this issue and give you some added features. It is simple to change the DNS servers.opennic-logo-sm411

You can also take it one step further and use DNScrypt to secure your queries. Just choose your closest geographic OpenNIC DNS servers from the list that offer DNScrypt support.

Another added bonus of using OpenNIC is they support Namecoin (.bit) domain names and offers for free a list of their own Top Level Domains (TLDs).

It is hard to wean yourself off of services like Google that are in actuality a key player in what many call the surveillance economy. Which equates to giving your information and privacy away for free services. A simple change like your DNS and using a search engine that does not track you can be a huge step to taking back control of your privacy.