CategoriesHow To GuideInternetPrivacy

How to Install Tor Browser on Windows

One of the great things about the internet used to be the anonymity of it. You have the freedom to share information without compromising your privacy. However, with technology becoming ever better, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay hidden on the web. If you are looking for privacy over the web, look no further than using Tor.

What Tor is

What is Tor and how does it work? To fully understand Tor, it needs be broken down into separate parts. That first part is called onion routing. Onion routing is a system designed to block any kind of efforts to track communications. It allows two ends to communicate to each other without letting either party know who exactly they are communicating with. It also ensures encryption.

The second part is the Tor network. The tor network is a large connection of servers that are operated by volunteers. These servers run onion routers that funnel internet traffic through virtual pathways. In simple terms, they scramble the traffic in a way that makes it almost impossible to track who is talking to whom.

The last part is a Tor browser. Most browsers are set up to store information on the user. If you allow your browser to store your password for any site, then it is tracking information on you. The normal browser stores cookie files and browsing history. Both of these are information stored on you so that it can either deliver a better service to you or deliver advertisements based on your general interests. Neither of these support efforts towards privacy.

Installing a Tor Browser on Windows

The first step to installing the Tor browser is to go to the website at www.torproject.org/download. Download the version for your operating system. Follow the installation directions in the same way for normal applications. Once the installation is complete, run the browser. From here, you’ll be able browse the internet anonymously with limitations.

There are limitations and considerations to using a Tor browser. First, the tor network only provides privacy and encryption while inside the network. This means that any communication passed once outside the network is vulnerable. Next, the tor browser does not protect all of your computer’s activity. If your computer is not going through Tor then it is not providing anonymity. Also, it does not protect against document downloaded through Tor while online. If you download a document while using Tor, do not open the document. If you must, start a virtual machine and open it within the machine while it isn’t connected to the internet. The last thing is not allowing plugins to run on the Tor browser. Plugin extend the functionality of a browser. However, they are extension that run on your computer that have the ability of opening holes in your security.

The Deep Web

While anonymity can provide a place to freely share ideas, it can also be a source of illegal activity. With that being said, the Tor browser allows you to surf websites that operate illegal and sometime immoral activities. Websites like “The Hidden Wiki” do not censor some material that others may find offensive. To sum it up, Tor browsing offers anonymity but at its price.

CategoriesInternetPrivacySecurity

How Do SSL Certificates Work?

How do you exchange private data over the internet? Part of the answer lies with SSL certificates. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates work by creating a private line of communication in which allows private data to be delivered.

The main problem with communication and security over the internet is eavesdropping. Others may be able to access the data exchange between your computer and the website’s servers. This is also called a main-in-the-middle attack. SSL certificates are a way of ensuring that no one is able to intercept and decrypt this information.

To better understand how SSL certificates work, let’s imagine a boy is being picked up at the train station for the first time by someone who he’s never met. How can he know for sure to trust the person picking him up? The answer is simple. His parents write a letter signed by them stating they trust that individual. By trusting his parent’s authority, the boy can now trust the person picking him up.

This is quite similar to how SSL certificates work. Web sites can create certificates and have them signed by something called a CA or Certificate Authority. An example includes DigiCert. By having them signed, browsers can then identify website and servers by their certificate. They then know if they can trust them. This is the basic concept of how SSL Certificates help to identify and trust the websites we are communicating with.

What about actually communicating? What if two people want to talk in that same train station without worrying if someone else is listening? The answer lies with keys. To illustrate the concept of keys and how they help with encryption, imagine each of the two people have a box and a set of keys. The keys are labeled private and public. They exchange their public keys. Now, each person has a private key, the other’s public key, and a box.

The basic process works like this: One person writes a message and places it into the box. They then lock the box with the other’s public key. They then pass the box along. Once the box is at its destination, only the person holding the private key can open the box locked by its very own public key. If the other person wants to send a message back, they can send back a letter in the box locked with the other’s public key. The entire communication, also called a session, can go back and forth securely using this method.

This is much like how SSL certificates are used to create private and public keys. Web servers send the user a copy of its public key along with the certificate. The browser can then decide to trust the website based on this information. If it does, it can then send messages back and forth simply by encrypting and decrypting keys.

Identifying websites that have and use SSL are easy. Simply look for the lock at the top of the browser. Never exchange private data unless there is a lock up at the top of the browser. If there isn’t, there is not an acceptable level of encryption being used on that site. Anyone who sells anything online needs to have an SSL .All banks and e- commerce sites need to have an SSL to help ensure security.

CategoriesHow To GuideLinuxOpen SourceUbuntu

How to Install Ubuntu from a USB Flash Drive


The above video shows how to install Linux Ubuntu 15.10 with a USB

(As of this writing – 14.04 is still the newest stable release, instructions for installing either version are outlined below:)

Don’t feel like paying for a Windows registration key with that OS? Ever thought about trying an open source operation system? There are many other options out there for people who want a newer OS but don’t want to pay for the cost of Windows. For example, let’s take a look at Ubuntu:

Ubuntu is an open source operating system that’s been around since 2004. It is based on the Linux operating system family. Its uses range all the way from personal computers and mobile devices to servers.

You can install Ubuntu easily even from a USB. First, go to the website and download the OS. If you’re interested in the desktop version of Ubuntu, you can go to http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop. They currently have two releases: 14.04.13 and 15.10. Each release has a version for either 64 bit or 32 bit. If you have less than 2 GB of RAM, download the 32-bit version.

You’ll download the file as an .iso file. An .iso file is a digital copy of a disc. Take this .iso file and place it onto your flash drive. Once this is complete insert it into the computer in which you wish to install Ubuntu.

The computer will need to boot from that flash drive. Most computers have a boot menu that you can get to when the computer first boots up. Once you access this, you can tell the computer to boot from that flash drive. After these changes have been made, you can then boot from the flash drive.

Once you are booting from the USB flash drive, you will see the normal menu to select your language. Go through the installation guide. You will be given the option to install Ubuntu on your computer’s hard drive.

The requirements to do this are pretty simple. Your USB flash drives needs to have around 2GB space. The Ubuntu site lists that it’s possible to have a 1 GB flash drive as long as the .iso file has enough space.

There are things to consider when using this method. One of them is speed. It would be faster to use a CD/DVD disk due to the limitation of standard USB 2. Also, it is possible to use other standards of USB such as 1.1. However, speed will be great affected. USB 3 can also be used.

CategoriesSecuritySocial Media

The Importance of Two-Factor Authentication

Security is not about whether something can be cracked or hacked. The fact is that, given enough resources, anything can be hacked. This is especially true for social media accounts. However, the goal is to balance security measures with the severity of what would happen if the account were to be hacked. The more sensitive the information, the more security measures need to be used. In other words, in order to better secure and ensure privacy over the internet, multi-factor authentication needs to be used. If you want to better secure your social media accounts, use two-factor authentication.

Methods of Authentication 

Multi-factor authentication simply means combining ways to ensure the right people are able to access a system. There are different ways or factors that allow someone to be authenticated over the internet or any other system.

The first one is what the user knows. This is usually something like a password. In order to log into an email account, someone has to know their username and password. This is using only one factor in authenticating someone.

The next factor or method of authenticating someone is what the user or person has. This can be a badge or an ID. You are being authenticated by something you have on you. A driver’s license can be identified as this method as well.

The last factor is what the person is. This can be fingerprints, DNA, and even retina patterns. This means that biometric scanners are a way of authenticating you by what you are. Some laptops have fingerprint scanners which only allow you to use the computer if you are scanned and authenticated.

Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is the balance between resources and risks. Hackers may steal your password to your social media accounts. However, it would be more difficult for them to steal both a password and your mobile phone. By including your phone in your security setup with your social media accounts, you are using two-factor authentication to better secure your privacy.

For example, Facebook allows you to use your phone to control login approvals. When you log in, Facebook will send you a code to your phone. You then put in the code that they send you. The two factors in this authentication method are what you know and what you have. You have to know your password and have possession of your phone in order to log in.

Hacking Your Social Media Account with Just Your Email

Hacking into a social media account that doesn’t use two-factor authentication is simple. All a hacker needs is an email password. Email accounts are easy to know. After all, everyone usually has their email address as public knowledge. From there, a hacker can narrow your password to something you are familiar with. Rarely do people have complicated passwords. A hacker would possibly try different passwords at intervals so not to cause any locks on your account.

After a given period of time, a hacker could come to the right password. After that, all the hacker would have to do is click the “Forgot Password” link on any social media site and they would send the password right to the hacker. This is all with one- factor authentication.

The Best Security Method for Social Media

The best method for privacy on social media sites is including your phone in your privacy settings. Most social media sites and even Google include features to send codes right to your phone. This method allows you to use two-factor authentication in order to gain better security and control over your social media accounts.

Resources

https://www.facebook.com/about/basics/how-to-keep-your-account-secure/login-approvals/

CategoriesSuggested Media

The Story of Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz – The Internet’s Own Boy

Aaron Swartz was a beloved programmer, hacktivist and prodigy who committed suicide while under federal indictment for his alleged violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). He was well known for his involvement in the development of RSS. He also co-founded Reddit. The following video is a documentary provided by Anonymous Official.
 

In addition to his well known projects, Aaron Swartz was also involved in the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Demand Progress, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), PACER, Open Library and Tor2Web

Photo Credit: Open Knowledge

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