100 Days to Privacy Online: Day 12 – Bitmessage

Most people who use email know it is not very secure. It’s been compared to mailing someone a postcard. Meaning anyone who gets a hold of it can read it. Yesterday we covered using Mailvelope to encrypt emails using PGP. Today we discuss Bitmessage.

From Bitmessage site:

Bitmessage is a P2P communications protocol used to send encrypted messages to another person or to many subscribers. It is decentralized and trustless, meaning that you need-not inherently trust any entities like root certificate authorities. It uses strong authentication which means that the sender of a message cannot be spoofed, and it aims to hide “non-content” data, like the sender and receiver of messages, from passive eavesdroppers like those running warrantless wiretapping programs.

You can use Bitmessage for direct contact or use it for the equivalent of an email list that they call “channels”.

Download Bitmessage

Help Installing Bitmessage

100 Days to Privacy Online: Day 11 – Mailvelope for Encrypting Email

Mailvelope is a Firefox plugin to add PGP encryption to any webmail provider. PGP stand for Pretty Good Privacy and is a standard means of public key cryptography. This plugin allows you to use it without the need for using an email client.

You can also use Mailvelope to encrypt files.

When you visit a common webmail provider you will see the Mailvelope icon in the compose box:

This will open the Mailvelope editor to compose message in. The reason is to secure it from the email provider prior to encryption.

Add Mailvelope to Your Browser

Detailed Install and Usage Instructions

100 Days to Privacy Online: Day 10 – Using SearX for Privacy Friendly Search

Let’s face it. Search engines collect a lot of information about us to use for advertising and other reasons. For those trying to have privacy it can be tough going. We have covered DuckDuckGo in our first day’s post. But wanted to get into more detail. A good option for search is using a SearX installation or even run your own.

SearX is what is referred to as a Meta Search Engine allowing you to search multiple engine like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and more. You can go into preferences and choose which search engines to use. Along with having great files, news, and social media search options.

By using an installation that does not log visitors you are able to search all major resources without them building profiles on you or saving your search history. All searches look like they come from the SearX install.

 

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 8 – Chrome vs. Firefox and Decentraleyes

It is important to note that the various plugins recommended in this series may be available for Chrome, but are most certainly available for Firefox.

Why don’t you like Chrome?

Since this series is about privacy it in some ways disqualifies Chrome as being considered. It has a spotty (at best) history of decoupling itself from Google as a whole. Even recently it has made questionable choices. You may have better luck with the Open Source version of Chrome, called Chromium.

Decentraleyes Plugin

Decentraleyes is a plugin that works with your current ad-blocker to stop 3rd party content delivery networks. This helps protect you privacy since many developers use these often free services to save time and money. But in exchange for having these services interwoven into their own sites. Decentraleyes has local versions of many of the files these sites use to load them instead of allowing them access. Insuring that it will not break the site you are trying to load.

From site:

Websites have increasingly begun to rely much more on large third-parties for content delivery. Canceling requests for ads or trackers is usually without issue, however blocking actual content, not unexpectedly, breaks pages. The aim of this add-on is to cut-out the middleman by providing lightning speed delivery of local (bundled) files to improve online privacy.

Add Decentraleyes to Your Browser