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Saturday, 28 February 2015

How I keep my info private


Do you have something to hide? Everyone does unless you're this guy. Most of the time, I actually don't use any special safeguards and treat them as public knowledge or at least government-aware. That wasn't always the case, I was quite the paranoid one and had full disk encryption on all of my devices whether it's my phone or laptop or whatever. I tried tor, steganography, VPN, etc. Nowadays, I rarely do such things, not because it's a hopeless battle, but because it's simply unnecessary. Anyhow, I will share my techniques here just for you guys:

  1. TrueCrypt (or DiskCryptor, etc.): This software allows you to create a virtual container where all files are encrypted and hidden from public sight. The container itself appears to be a generic file, except with a TrueCrypt header you can modify, and usually isn't too slow as long as you're using hardware-accelerated AES. It can even encrypt entire partitions, or your whole system if you want! When your system is encrypted, it appears to be a disk with random, unusable data, but the bootloader show TrueCrypt by default. You can change that to a generic OS not found error or something like that though. There is even a hidden partition mode where you boot into a normal system while another hidden OS is stored on the same drive as "random data". Please use something like this before uploading nude selfies, you'll thank me later.
  2. OpenPuff: Oh, it's just a cat picture. But did you know you can hide sensitive info in that? Here's how. I recommend OpenPuff, because it has the most file formats supported, and appears to be the most secure. Just type a password, select a file to put inside, and select the file you'll use as the bait. Then presto! Just an innocent cat picture. Don't forget to overwrite the original file (or store it on a RAMDisk the whole time), and modify the timestamp!
  3. Your choice of a secure erase tool. I just use FileMenu Tools, because it has that built-in along with other useful utilities. Once again, there is no need for any more than 1 pass, unless you want to waste time and degrade your drive. There isn't even any successful theoretical attacks against a plain old overwrite of zeroes.
  4. SoftPerfect RAM Disk: Anything you store in here is gone as soon as you reboot! Only problem is, you need to allocate RAM specifically for it that won't be used by the rest of the system. I also use it for temporary files, cache, downloads, and write space.
  5. Tor Browser Bundle: The ultimate anonymous online surfing tool. Anything you do here will be reasonably hard to locate, especially if you have NoScript enabled and are blocking flash plugins and the like. Feel like James Bond as you go undercover and fight crime!
  6. A VPN of your choice: This is like Tor Browser Bundle, except they can be associated with your account, but it's much faster and arguably more secure for things like banking. If Tor was James Bond, this would be the police force after such a person. Both can be combined for even more security, whether you don't want Tor to know who you are, or the VPN to know what you're browsing (if they collect such info).
  7. A PGP or GPG tool: These utilities can encrypt and verify the integrity of your emails. With a strong enough key, even NSA will have problems cracking into your cat photos! Some email services have this type of security by default, for example Hushmail.
There are some security that are pointless though. One is auto-wiping after X amount of failures. For an amateur who won't gain access in the first place, you will lose data. For a professional, they will image the drive, make backup copies, and try cracking it as much as they want. Also, most VPN providers are in bed with their host government. So don't put your complete trust in them! Hope you learned something new as always, and have a good evening!

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