Monday, January 4, 2016

Security consciousness

There are several apps in development to combat an increasingly hostile environment where everyone, and their relative, is trying to track us and figure out who we are, often without just cause.  Sure, in some cases warrants are obtained, but these devices get everyone's information, not just the "official target".

Most people have heard of Stingray devices that are used by federal, state, and local agencies throughout the country.  When I was last in Washington state heard that Tacoma, WA. had purchased, and supposedly used(using?) at least one Stingray.  Here is a recent article about one consumer group that's suing them.  Here is another article by a local television station confirming it, more or less.  If they're using one (or more), who knows who else could be.

There are a few apps that can detect these fake towers with variable accuracy, such as SnoopSnitch or AIMSICD. These apps are still in their infancy, but everyone who can use them I would suggest you give it a go.  They are not foolproof, but something is better than nothing.  I have downloaded AIMSICD and not quite sure what to do with it yet.  There is also a cell phone which can detect, and avoid, these fake cell towers, yet don't recall name and can't find information on it.  It was about $3,000.00 though, so a little pricey for most people.

Reason am writing this down is two fold, one is so don't forget, the other is to let people know.  Was searching for another place to host my 3D printer and arduino code and I eventually wound up on the AIMSICD page, which started the whole thought process again.  It's up to us individuals to protect our privacy, if we want to, as everyone wants to strip it away.

For any internet searching I do, I exclusively use StartPage, which is a secure search service that anonymously searches Google on your behalf.  StartPage also has a proxy available and this lets you browse pages securely.  What this proxy does is it loads the page on a remote computer someplace, and then forwards it to you.  This ensures no cookies or other tracking software is directly on your computer / device.  So, if want to search for a pink flamingo's without anyone knowing, it's all on you.

Have a happy and safe New Year!

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