privacy

Beyond Incognito

2 minute read Updated

Block your computer from making requests to known ad and malware servers.

I read an article on Medium titled How to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour. The article provided a number of tips for staying secure digitally. One of the tips was to use the Tor browser because popular browsers such as Safari and Chrome were not private enough – even in private mode.

What the author didn’t tell you was that it’s possible to increase your privacy without switching browsers using Dan Pollock's hosts file. A quick look at the file describes exactly what it does…

Encrypted Internet with WireGuard and Manjaro Linux

8 minute read Enclosure Updated

How to install and configure WireGuard on Linux Manjaro, a step-by-step guide.

One of the motivations behind dual-booting Linux on my MacBook Pro was to take back control of my personal data. Not just because Apple uses faux encryption on iCloud. And not because macOS has been shown to leave users open to eavesdropping exploits. But because when I use my Mac with macOS the operating system gratuitously beams out activity records1, sharing information I’d rather keep private with people I don’t personally know nor have I ever met. And without the ability to shut it off, I find my privacy – the sentient and autonomous nature of my very being – constantly under attack.

In many instances, privacy is threatened not by singular egregious acts, but by a slow series of relatively minor acts which gradually begin to add up.

I've Got Nothing to Hide and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy

In this short guide I’ll show you how to encrypt and route your local Internet traffic through a fast, modern, and secure VPN tunnel called WireGuard using a free and open source operating system called Manjaro Linux. I will explain how to install WireGuard on Manjro, share a simple means of establishing and testing an encrypted Internet connection, and leave you with next steps and personal experience to help further your understanding and gain confidence getting started.

Surfing the Uncensorable Web

11 minute read Enclosure Published

Getting it on with ZeroNet to enjoy a Web without information gatekeepers.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you already know the guy behind WikiLeaks, who was living at an Ecuadorian embassy in London, was recently arrested and now facing extradition to the United States – the country I’m originally from – and the country which forces tax payers to fund the second-largest stockpile of nuclear weaponry ever created.

But perhaps you didn’t know that WikiLeaks was at one point hosted by Amazon. Yep, right up until political pressure caused them to take it down. Afterall, nothing says freedom like a fear of misbehavior in a country with the highest incarceration rate in the entire world. I suppose Julian Assange’s situation could be worse… Maybe, had he also been practicing Falun Gong in China. But I digress. And there’s no telling what’s going to happen.

DarkDuckGo

3 minute read Published

Improve your search privacy on DuckDuckGo using custom URL parameters.

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine since it was introduced to me by a colleague in Chicago. This was before I was able to close my Google account but some time after losing hundreds of photos leaving Facebook. And though I was aware DuckDuckGo maintains a hidden service for Tor users it wasn’t until recently I felt confident enough with my OS security to safely use it.

Rather than just bookmarking and using the DDG onion site, however, I decided to leverage some of the nifty URL params they’ve made available. Following is a quick rundown of the URL params I’m using to customize my DDG search experience for use with Tor. In After Dark fashion I’ve decided to name them “DarkDuckGo”.

Unbrick a Micro SD Card using Tails and macOS Mojave

7 minute read Published

Learn to dual-boot a Mac using a second operating system running Linux and use it to troubleshoot hardware problems by unbricking a Micro SD card.

Recently, while creating a physical back-up of my Mac, I ended up corrupting the Micro SD card I was using to perform the back-up operation. This translated into a one line cautionary alert inside the related blog post:

Caution: DO NOT attempt to remove the SD card or adapter during this process.

Turns out removing an SD card during a 100+ GB 77,000 file transfer from a Mac to an SD card isn’t the best idea – despite what a five year-old might tell you.

After several hours of toiling with Disk Utility, diskutil and dd on macOS the furthest I got was to experience the same issues as another individual who posted on Apple Exchange 3 years ago - their question unresolved, until now.

Managing Passwords on Android

2 minute read Updated

How to secure your passwords and keep them synced between devices.

After hacking Android onto an HD2 previously running Windows Mobile I quickly became challenged with the task of recalling passwords for frequently used apps – apps like Telegram, ProtonMail, Binance, Snapchat you name it.

And although long-term password management may feel like a burdensome task to some a steadfast approach is critical for security and relatively painless for anyone who’s been using a KeePass port the last decade.

Secure Your Digital Life

8 minute read Updated

Safeguard your privacy online. Arm yourself with knowledge and use these tips, tools and techniques to secure your digital life.

I’m no Steve Wozniak but I carry a healthy distrust of computers. After hearing of the Equifax data breach affecting the privacy of more than 145 million Americans, learning Uber paid and tried to cover up the loss of 57 million driver and passenger records and seeing the lasting impact of the Meltdown attack I’m starting to understand the gravity this quote from Woz:

How Free Speech Dies

3 minute read Published

On the suppression of free speech in today’s increasingly digital world.

I’m back in Bali after a trip to Anarchapulco and Chicago to pick up my cats. It was my first time back in the United States in over a year. Instead of a warm welcome back to my birth country I was promptly detained by a CBP officer and put in holding room while they ran a background check and attempted to obtain personal information.

After declining to give CBP my address in Bali and questioning them as to whether or not I was under arrest they were kind enough to inform me I was free to go at any time but that my passport belonged to the U.S. government and wasn’t my property.

It would appear surveillance states like post-9/11 USA don’t appreciate having their own citizens outside their visibility. That certainly wouldn’t suit the “Deep State” if such a thing existed now would it? The experience was very disheartening to say the least.

Breaking Up With Authenticator

3 minute read Updated

Why you may come to regret using Google Authenticator for two-factor auth.

One of the first things you’ll learn when you create your first bitcoin wallet is to set-up 2FA. The two most common forms of 2FA today are standard telephony and security tokens, which come in both the hard and soft and variety.

If we took hard U2F tokens off the table, we’re left with software and telephony. Which of the two would you choose? Well, it depends. Let’s explore.

4 Years Without Facebook

3 minute read Updated

How social media controls you. From a free-thinker in a society controlled by social media.

After a four year hiatus, I recently rejoined Facebook to give it another shot. Here’re some insights I gained since I left.

Take Flight with the Monero CLI Wallet

3 minute read Published

Be your own bank. Store your secure, private and untraceable cryptocurrency and keep it safe from prying eyes. Learn to take flight with the Monero CLI wallet.

Monero is a secure, private, and untraceable cryptocurrency. It is open-source and accessible to all. With Monero, you are your own bank. Only you control and are responsible for your funds. Your accounts and transactions are kept private from prying eyes. Learn how to install the Monero CLI wallet. There’s only one way…

Arise, you have nothing to lose but your barbed wire fences!

Timothy C. May, The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto