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Gabriel Custodiet episode and Privacy and Security


msdosfx
Posts: 14
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(@aaaa)
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I really enjoyed the latest show, combining many of my interests. I would just like to share some info that people in the privacy/security community might be familiar with, but might be new and useful for people in the THC community. Also, I would like to bring it back to the fore that many premium THC members got doxxed due to some update glitch in the forums and this still hasn't been formally addressed by Admin. The doxxing is still present in search engine results of users real identity. Anyway here are some tools I have gotten into related to privacy/security

For a phone I use a Pixel 4a that I purchased with cash at Best Buy. I flashed this phone with Calyx OS. I have a Mint Mobile SIM that I purchased with cash and activated with fake name and address, but I keep this SIM in my wallet and only put it in my phone on rare occasions when I need data and don't have wifi access. I don't use the phone number associated with my SIM ever for calls or texts. I only use Signal or I use JMP.Chat to send regular calls or SMS. JMP.Chat also allows me to send calls or SMS texts from my computers. I have a Garmin GPS that I purchased with cash for Navigation. Magic Earth is also a good phone app for GPS navigation, but since I don't have a SIM in my phone, this isn't a viable option. I use my phone as a music and podcast player, camera, notes, but I don't do streaming stuff. I download podcast episodes, and I keep my music library on my phones hard drive. I don't miss having data when away from wifi, in fact I love it because it is like winding back to the days of answering machines and makes me a lot more present in the world. Here are the Apps I use, almost all are from F-Droid

F-droid: app store
Aurora Store: Google play store proxy
Calyx Firewall app: blocks permissions of apps in an easy to use interface. Only available on CalyxOS
Shelter: work profile and app locking
Signal: text messages, calls, video calls
Cheogram: SMS, SIP calls, regular phone calls via XMPP using the JMP.Chat service
Gcam Mod: Camera
Open Camera: Camera
NewPipe: Youtube proxy
Podverse: podcast app
AntennaePod: podcast app
NordVPN: Always on VPN. Proton or Mullvad is more trustworthy than Nord, but I have a longterm subscription
Aegis: 2 Factor Authentication
Voice: Audiobooks
Poweramp: music player
Shuttle: music player
SyncThing: file syncing from computer to phone and vice versa
nextcloud: self-hosted cloud storage
nextcloud notes: cloud notes
nextcloud tasks: tasks app
Protonmail: email host and app
k-9 mail: email client
Samurai wallet: bitcoin wallet with whirlpool for cleaning bitcoin history
Cake Wallet: Monero wallet
Firefox: browser
Element: app for accessing Matrix messaging and chatrooms
Tusky: app for accessing Mastodon, Pleroma, Pixelfed

I keep the apps with network access in my work profile and keep them locked when not in use

I can make one of these lists for my computers later, but this is already longer than anyone is going to read. Message me with any questions or if you need any help flashing CalxOS or LineageOS. 

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TylerTexas23
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(@tylertexas23)
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Joined: 12 months ago

Hey man. I’ve been a plus member for about a year now. I’m a real novice with tech at the moment. I was fairly knowledgeable around 2000-2015 but I’ve stepped away from learning more since then. I’ve let my phone dumb me down. I’m interested in getting more private. I have at&t and an iPhone 6plus I’ve had since 2015. I’m about to get a laptop but we can talk about that when it’s in my possession. Where should I start? Mint SIM card? Downloading the programs you were talking about? Do I need to unlock my phone? Or does that even matter? Idk man. Lol anything you’re willing to help me with I will appreciate. Thanks 

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msdosfx
(@aaaa)
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@tylertexas23 If you are keeping your current phone, here is what I would do. I haven't had an iphone for many years so I apologize if some of this is not possible on iOS. Don't try to hack an iphone. Iphones have great security, but not great privacy. LineageOS has great privacy but not great security. GrapheneOS or CalyxOS is great in both departments but the user experience and flashing experience is better on CalxOS in my opinon. Stock Android has decent security and the worst possible privacy. But these ROMs are for specific Android phones, so lets get back to your phone. I would remove the most invasive spying apps off of your phone: instagram, facebook, tiktok, twitter, amazon, etc. I would stop using them, but if you still want to use these I would use them in the browser using a decent browser like Firefox or Brave on your computer with a VPN active. You could also use them in browser on your phone with a VPN active. For VPN I would get Mullvad, ProtonVPN, or Nord. Nord is not as trusted as far as denying subpoenas but you can get very good deals with coupon codes. I would go into your settings and remove network permissions for any app that doesn't need it. Your calculator doesn't need network access or location, Your calendar doesn't need your location data, your camera doesn't need either. Weather apps are a spying gateway too, but really this can be applied to most free apps. That is why they are free and not Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Start using Signal instead of SMS and calls whenever possible. Turn on disappearing messages in Signal. There are other great encrypted messaging services, but the user base isn't there yet. Basically minimizing your number of apps and minimizing their permissions is a good start. That will keep the apps from spying on your and selling your info to advertisers or feds. Also, on iphone I would avoid using icloud services. I think there is a beta for syncthing for ios. This allows you to share folders between your computer and your phone without having all your photos and phone info in apples servers where they are scanning everything. Also, use a pin number lock on your phone, or some method of keeping your phone locked.

Keeping your cell service provider from spying on you is a little harder. Your SIM card when in the phone pings your location in relation to cell towers at the sub-operating system level. So no matter what ROM you are running, this is happening when your SIM is in the phone. It sends your IMEI and location. So there are a few things you can do to improve privacy. 1 is to decouple your real identity from your IMEI. This means buying a new phone and SIM and setting up cell service with a fake identity and address. Mint seems to be the easiest to do this. You can buy in cash and you can pay for continued service with a privacy.com account. Your IMEI and location will still be sent to the carrier, but they won't know who owns the device unless your phone number is tied to your identity (i'll get back to this). They can get a good idea of who might own the device since the phone probably spends from 7pm to 7am in the same location every day though. So the more extreme option, and less feasible for most people, is to not have a SIM card in your phone, or not have one in your phone when you are at home. So if you are using the cell number that is tied to your SIM this could be a problem. What I have done, is decoupled my SIM and the phone numbers that I use. So I never use the cell number associated with my SIM, and my SIM is mostly not in my phone. I did a less extreme version of this before though. Here are the two paths:

1 anonymously purchased SIM and phone, SIM card always in phone, SIM phone number never used, real phone number from previous carrier ported to JMP.chat, second number purchased from JMP.Chat for setting up anonymous services online with SMS verification, VPN always on, all calls and SMS with go through the data of the SIM which is encrypted by the VPN until it hits the servers at JMP and is anonymously bridged to the clear cell network. I suppose you could use the SIM cell number as your second number for setting up online services as long as you never use your real name when signing up.

2 anonymously purchase SIM and phone, SIM card not in phone. same, same...

There is also MySudo for setting up additional numbers, and Hushed but I don't like their privacy policies. But using those at a minimum, you would be giving out different numbers to untrustworthy online services that will likely sell that number to spammers rather than your real cell number which is certain tied to your identity in various databases. There is also Silent.Link which seems pretty cool, but potentially could be expensive depending on use case.

I would check out the OptOut Podcast, Techlore on Odysee or Youtube, Rob Braxman, The Hated one, Reddit r/privacy, or better yet check out privacy rooms on Matrix using Element. If you want to get a new phone, don't get Rob Braxman's phone though. Message me and I will give some recommendations.

 

Pursuing privacy now is an extraordinarily difficult and never completed process, so don't get overwhelmed at the seeming futility. Even just deleting a few apps will be helpful and also will improve mental health and presentness. I also prefer to use local files rather than streaming. That way I can deny network access to the app that plays the media, I can play media when I don't have network access, and I don't have spotify or audible making a psychological profile of me based on the media I consume, because I don't use their apps. It also reduces the amount of bandwidth being consumed. You will never hear the environmental propagandists talk about a movement away from streaming services, because they are such a good spying tool. Bandwidth and processing for bitcoin is bad but for completing the Google/Meta/Amazon/Spotify/NSA/CIA/FBI/NWO panopticon is great.

Any, good luck. As you can tell this is a passion of mine, so I am happy to help further with any specific questions.

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TylerTexas23
(@tylertexas23)
Joined: 12 months ago

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Posts: 9

Wow alright man! That’s a lot to unpack. Thank you for your time! I really appreciate it man. I definitely want to avoid a physiological profile. That’s pretty concerning. Not something I’ve heard about.

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msdosfx
(@aaaa)
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@tylertexas23 The psychological profiling going on may not be quite as nefarious as it sounds, but it could definitely be used by the state or a bad actor like Cambridge Analytica. It is all algorithmic so it is being done to everyone and the primary known purpose would be for targeted ads and targeted content. But say hypothetically, if audible knows that you like to listen to books about agorism, anarchy, the Zapatistas, Project Gladio, etc, and Spotify knows you listen to certain anti-authoritarian podcasts, then you can see how this information would be of interest to the state or whomever.

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msdosfx
(@aaaa)
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@tylertexas23 In brief, almost all of those apps I mentioned are for Android-based phones only. Changing to Mint is not an improvement in privacy, except that you can purchase a SIM and set up service with a pseudonym. Mint probably has a worse privacy policy than ATT, being that they are a reseller of T-Mobile and are much cheaper than basically any other service, so I suspect that they might sell your number to spammers, but I don't know this as fact. But basically you can't trust any carrier in the US because we have no legal privacy rights as per cell service. 

Best steps to take on iphone is to get rid of apps and minimize app location and network permissions.

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TylerTexas23
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(@tylertexas23)
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Sounds good. I guess all I really need to do is play with my settings and delete the Amazon app. I’ve already deleted all social media moths ago. Just couldn’t stand it anymore. Thanks for the help! 

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dr_g0rp0n_the_m0nster_slayer
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Does anyone know how to truly eliminate the bloatware from Samsung android phones?

I am guessing that if I eliminated the 50 games and all the facebook stuff I would double my memory and double my privacy.

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msdosfx
(@aaaa)
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@dr_g0rp0n_the_m0nster_slayer It depends on the phone. Some Samsung phones can be flashed with Lineage OS, which would be a move in the right direction for privacy and would remove all bloatware and would remove google tracking. An added benefit is that your battery will last roughly twice as long because it is no longer pinging wifi triangulation and sending that info to google every 5 seconds. If you purchased your phone from Verizon or if it is a special Amazon model then the bootloader can not be unlocked and it definitely can not be flashed with a new ROM https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/#samsung  

To improve your current phone without flashing a new ROM such as Lineage OS

1. Back up your device https://support.google.com/android/answer/2819582?hl=en

2. Perform a factory reset https://www.samsung.com/us/support/answer/ANS00062029/

3. import your contacts, don't reinstall your apps

4. install F-droid https://f-droid.org/en/packages/org.fdroid.fdroid/

5. install only open source apps from Fdroid whenever possible, and only install apps you need. 

6. Turn off location services on everything you can.

7. Use a different navigation app than google maps, such as Organic Maps or Magic Earth.

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dr_g0rp0n_the_m0nster_slayer
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@aaaa Thank you. I never heard of fdroid before.

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msdosfx
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(@aaaa)
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In the news today, over 150 apps on the Google Play store were banned by Google because they were found to have data-mining funneled to US National Security Contractors. This is a bit ironic, considering that Google is probably funneling so much of its own data mining to US National Sercurity Agencies, but just lets you know that the apps are in fact spying on you for the Feds and the advertisers. Open Source apps are better and less apps is better. Here is a partial list of the apps so you can check if you have any of them, but really if the app is free, then you are the product and the app is spying on you (Unless it is FOSS, then people can inspect it and tell if it is spying on you). The list of apps is near the bottom of this article.

https://blog.appcensus.io/2022/04/06/the-curious-case-of-coulus-coelib/

 

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dr_g0rp0n_the_m0nster_slayer
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@aaaa I have another question for you.

I recently made a really bad mistake. I bought an Aspire3 laptop with windows 10.

Are you done laughing yet?

I did not realize how badly Bill Gate's people filled this operating system with spyware and bloatware.

It is a good computer, though.

I used to be able to watch videos by hooking up a tv to the hdmi port.

But after a month it automatically updated and now I can't.

It was my first time using Win10 and I feel sooooooo stupid.

I got so mad that I tried to permanently disable the updates even by going into the registry and changing the target folder.

Bill Gates still managed to sneak in!

Is there anyway that I can ever cut the umbilical cord from that guy with this computer or is ACER totally aligned with him so that I cannot do it without ruining this laptop?

I'm not looking for a how-to.

I am just wondering what your opinion is on the level of spycraft on our modern laptops.

Can we ever escape the tangle of webs?

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msdosfx
(@aaaa)
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@dr_g0rp0n_the_m0nster_slayer I am a CNC programmer and CAD/CAM specialist so I have to use Windows 10 everyday due to the software I use. If it weren't for the software limitations, I would use linux a lot more. But if all you really do is internet stuff and you are not married to any specific software for your job, I would give a linux distro a shot. most any modern laptop can run linux nowadays. Ubuntu, PopOS, and Mint are good for beginners. It is really a lot better experience on linux than 10 years ago, and I think complete novices can do it now easily, especially with all the resources out there to help. 

Also, Tronscript is a great tool for removing malware, bloatware and telemetry from Windows 10. Just make sure you read the instructions very carefully and disable the removal of any tools that you use such as One Drive. You can do that from command line or edit the .bat file in a normal text editor. Just read the instructions carefully a few times, and maybe watch a couple of videos of how to use the tool. Also make sure you are getting a real copy of the latest Tronscript and not some malware version. https://www.reddit.com/r/TronScript/comments/qaw0wm/tron_v1201_20211018_minor_definition_updates/

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msdosfx
(@aaaa)
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@dr_g0rp0n_the_m0nster_slayer Also, you can do a dual boot and have both Linux and Windows on your motherboard, or do a boot from USB. I have a dual boot, but I feel like it can be less practical for a laptop than a desktop since hard drive space is usually limited on a laptop and you have to allocate separate hard drive space for each operating system. There is also the option of running virtual machines within linux if you need to use windows, but that starts to get complicated.

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dr_g0rp0n_the_m0nster_slayer
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@aaaa Thank you again!

I used to do dual boots back with Windows 2000.

I miss those days.

Even now my task manager says it is using 4.8 GB out of 7.8 GB of ram!

I remember when Windows used 800MB at idle.

I assume the rest must be some kind of NSA creepy stuff going on.

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