Posted by Author H. Michael Sweeney
TOP 5 Reasons for, Signs of, Methods of, and Solutions for Internet Spying On YOU
The threats are many, sophisticated, and endless. Solutions need not include PANIC (usually), and are largely simple and inexpensive, though nowhere near being fun.Copyright 2012, Proparanoid Press, H. Michael Sweeney — All rights reserved. Permissions to reproduce granted on request, only. Top five reasons for Internet spying
This article is especially useful to the TI — the political control technology Targeted Individual, and any person who has reason to believe someone is actively trying to snoop their Web activity or who deals in Web activity of a highly sensitive nature.
My approach to addressing security and privacy is not merely talking about the threats to educate, but how to detect if one has a problem, and then to provide a functional solution. It’s one thing to educate, another to illustrate, and yet another to resolve. Only by all three, is the end result adequate, provided there is no failure along the way which impedes.
Reading this (lengthy, but in outline form so you can quickly navigate to areas of interest) article, you will learn:• There are 5 basic kinds of privacy compromise/targeting to worry about; • There are (often) 5 symptoms or clues targeting is taking place (when not blatantly clear); • There are (often) 5 basic methods of carrying out such targeting; • There are (often) 5 things you can do in defense or response; • There are some very reliable and free Open Source tools which can help reduce risk; • There are some new and potent tools for those more concerned or more at risk of targeting.
By way of introduction, I write as published author and consultant, lecturer, on privacy and security matters, abuse of power issues, and political control technology. My purpose in writing goes a bit beyond the obviously important educational issues, or even the somewhat obvious self-promotion of my books. That is because I, with the help of others, have subsequently developed some specific tools and services which additionally address the threat to privacy and security inherent in daily use of the Internet.
One of these is a completely secure email alternative called NeVir Spies, and a new concept I’ve temporarily called Web Walker which provides a totally secure Internet alternative with some very unusual features and capabilites which go well beyond the topic at hand. More on these tools at article end — very informative.
That said, there are many people much more savvy than I on WEB security (as opposed to real-world security problems). So, if after reading this, you want to know more, there is likely better advice than mine out there, especially if you prefer it more technical in detail. This post, however, I’m betting, is the most centralized one-stop reading resource you are likely to find, and it therefore covers more bases, more comprehensively, in general.
And, speaking of ‘general,’ some general advice applies to all Web security issues, ‘in general.’ It’s all common sense, of course, and you’ve heard (most of it), before, but I’d be remise if I didn’t include it here in case you have not:• Frequently change passwords and if anything odd is going on, change ALL passwords. • Do NOT use simple to remember passwords based on ANYTHING about YOU, and DO NOT use answers to security questions ABOUT YOU. If you must use simple to remember passwords and face security questions, base them and the answers on someone famous who died long ago, someone random. Then all you have to do is remember their name, and go look it up on the Web if you forget the hard part. • Avoid writing passwords down, because you should… • Remember that your computer security is only as good as security of access to your computer. If anyone can get to the computer, there are many things they might do to compromise its security, obtain passwords, etc. If it does not stay with you or reside on the other side of a pickproof lock, it is at some risk. • REGULARLY run your Norton’s or similar. • Never respond directly to an ‘official’ email from any account requesting verification of information or asking you to log in using a link unless you were expecting that exact email to arrive. Manually use the Browser to go to the site and log in. • Never undertake financial transactions or fill out informational forms involving personal information at a Web site unless the url starts with https:// instead of http://. That little added ‘s’ tells you it is Secure by means of several means not present in general surfing. • Avoid downloading files or programs from unfamiliar sites of questionable repute, especially when they are in other countries and the topic is something you wouldn’t want people to know you were interested in (i.e., porn, drugs). • Never put a long list of email addresses in the To: or Cc: blanks unless those people are already conversant collectively (do not assume just because you got an email with that long list that this is so). Instead use Bcc:, or you violate THEIR privacy. Tell everyone you email to to never include your email on such a list unless Bcc: • Never give out someone else’s email contact unless you get permission for the introduction — just as if it were a phone number. Offer instead to pas the email addy of the inquiring party along to the person in question. • Here are ten more technical things which you should be aware of explained more fully at georgedillon.com, (linked for you, here) as they deserve their own explanations (I especially endorse ‘Do not trust Microsoft products,’ including their operating systems. Historically and almost consistently, in addition to select spying instances of actual on customers by Microsoft itself, they are poorly designed with respect to security issues and hackers/attackers take advantage. They are the primary source of the great weakness of PCs compared to Macintosh for security and reliability, and the reason so many security steps and layers are advised:
Top five reasons for spying on you
5 Top Reasons For the Internet Spying on YOU (etc.)
It happens to us all, every time we use the Web. Most of it is undetected, and generally harmless. Too much of it eventually bites us in unexpected ways beyond our control. Some of it is dangerous, even beyond the draining of checking/savings accounts or total identity theft.
Most of it we volunteer unthinkingly, especially with what we do on social networks like Facebook, which is a giant spying mechanism of great social usefulness to us, and a goldmine of information to corporations and government. Every single mouse click, almost, is giving away information.
Some information we have stolen from us despite the care we think we have exercised, and that would seem to most of us to be rather rare, but I happen to know that more of it goes on than we hear about, and we are often victimized in ways which we do not detect, and do not realized have harmed us, or their potential to do so. Some information is used against us in ways that are part and parcel of further assaults on privacy and security. Read on…
1) Criminal Financial Gain. Everyone is a potential victim, and we all get shot at in hopes it will be us. Before you can be Phished (tricked into revealing confidential information), they have to know you are an Netizen (a WWW user) and where on the Net you are (your email, social network and Group memberships, etc.). So they snoop you out, and then snoop you for vulnerability (i.e., lack of paying full attention or even gullibility), and then phish you or attack with a virus or similar technical assault; Signs, Methods, and Solutions:
a. You get email from someone you know which promotes (something) which urges you to open a file or take an action, but which is not quite like what they would normally send, and the message accompanying it is overly simple so you can’t tell if it ‘sounds like something they would say.’ This likely did NOT come from them, and means yours or their email account has already been hacked or, far less likely, both theirs and your email addresses were obtained from someone else who was hacked. If you open the item or take the actions urged, you risk your email account or computer being hacked, infected with a virus or similar, or becoming a Scam victim via participation; What to do about it:
i. Do not take the actions suggested, therein. Natch!
ii. Contact your friend and advise them their system (or a friend’s) has likely been hacked, with explanation. They should change their Web passwords and run their Nortons or similar. You should do the same (do it regularly, at least). Macintosh users may yawn at this notion, but we are not completely impervious from suffering system issues resulting from failed virus attacks and eventually resulting in unwanted operational inconveniences.
iii. Delete the offending message, unless your friend confirms they really did send it, and you care to follow up with it knowing it actually safe.
iv. Advise your friend that they should notify everyone on their email list of the situation to insure they do NOT respond to the described message, with apologies if they should have been a recipient.
v. Contact all your other friends via all avenues (email, social networks, groups, in person) with similar warnings that such a message is dangerous and should not be acted upon regardless of who it seems to be from.
b. You get email from a stranger (as if they know you or perhaps accidentally reached you through a typo) or a ‘company’ similar to the (a, above) in nature. Often, it will be a message indicating some action or obligation has been taken on your behalf which you do not want, such as confirming an order for Pizza, an airline reservation, subscription, etc. Or, it may simply be annoying SPAM. This is likely a snooping expedition and may be a phishing attempt, as well; What to do:
i. Do not respond, not even to unsubscribe to SPAM (unless you repeatedly get the same offer from the same address). Such risks confirming your Netizen existence and defines you a working target, or worse, directs/redirects you to a phishing experience.
ii. If concerned the obligation really did take place, go directly to the Web site of the entity involved and research it there. Often, you will find they have options for reporting fraud, phishing, etc. Document (screenshots, copy/paste/witnesses) what you find/do, so you can get out of any wrongful obligation the turns out later to be existent, after all.
iii. Create a filter in your email Client or Web mail options to block similar messages based on key word content and sender information.
iv. Keep the message for a period of 90 days in case of unexpected consequence to be used with your documentation from step (ii), above.
v. Same as step (v, item a), above.
c. You get a message from a stranger who wants to help make you rich, is sexually or romantically reaching out, or has some kind of deal too good to be true;
i. Same as steps (i, iii and v), above.
ii. If the message names a legitimate business or agency, consider step (ii), above. The Secret Service has a Web site for such complaints as well. However, IMO, they simply gather statistics and seldom do much more with the information. I have more information about how to detect and defend against this type of fraud at my Web site than do they — and in glorious color to make it easier to absorb.
iii. Same as step (v, item a), above — but you need not do so every time, you simply want the general warning out there as an educational exercise.
d. You get the famous Nigerian Scam (aka 4-1-9 Scam). Someone rich died or some other event has caused millions of dollars to be in limbo and someone who just happens to have access to it also just happens to come by your email address and wants someone to help share that money with him through some simple sounding and fail-safe scheme. They always ask for information about you. There are many other clues and signs, as well as the link (above) to my Web site.
i. Same as all steps in (c) above.
e. Variations of the above (a through d) delivered not by email, but via a social network or Group posting;
i. Same as if from email source, except that the social network or Group may have special reporting options as well; such as a moderator to whom it should be reported.
2) Commercial Financial Gain, at your expense in a quid-quo-pro sort of way. Everyone IS a victim in that same way, or worse, but it is completely legal. There is zero information about you which is not valuable to someone for this purpose, and it is therefore a commodity almost every major player seeks, uses, trades or sells to make money based on the definition of ‘You’ and your preferences, likes, dislikes, and habits; Signs, Methods, and Solutions:
a. You get SPAM email or Web pop ups or ad banners which reflect your general interests, either at the moment (e.g., you are searching for something the ad relates with), or overall interests;
i. Web search engines use predictive marketing analysis (aka predictive analytics) about your search terms and what they know about you already through prior uses or shared information to ‘guess’ which of their advertising clients will most likely earn your business with an ad; consider using a Web Anonymizer (see separate dialog at article end) which veils your identity altogether . However, this will mean that your favorite Web sites will not know it is you and will not support auto-log in for account information, custom settings, etc. That does not mean you cannot manually log in and continue normally from there, unless an extremely secure site such as a Bank.
ii. Many Web sites use analysis of what pages you visit and how long you stay on a page, and what buttons you click or roll the mouse over… also in predictive marketing analysis; not much you can do about that short of not going to the Web site — but it’s a matter of quid pro quo. You get something about them from their Web site, and they get something about you for your having done so.
iii. Each Web site you visit may exchange ‘cookies’ with you, which are data bits which allow that Web site to recognize and acknowledge you as a prior visitor to when you next return, which in turn can further reveal what you like for predictive marketing purposes; consider turning off your Cookies option in your Browser Preferences. However, doing so will mean your favorite Web sites will no longer recognize you when you return, and auto log in, custom features, etc., again won’t work properly. So you have to remember to turn them back on if you want quid pro quo benefits.
iv. Some Web pages may contain ‘pixel bugs’ (aka Web bugs, picture tags, pixel tags) which sense your presence on the page and reports that information (to someone). Pixel bugs are sometimes covertly placed without the page owner’s being aware, but more often, they arranged for it as partners with some third party. This works like cookies for marketing purposes, but can be more powerful. They are built into the graphics which make the page visually or informationally attractive. Often, a graphic thought to be popular is ‘bugged,’ and placed on the Web for others to copy and use, greatly amplifying its value; learn more, including some technical defensive options, here.
v. VERY DANGEROUS in some cases: Many software downloads and some purchased software contains back door reporting routines to monitor what you do on your computer (may be limited to a given type of activity, such as Browsing, or specific matters related to use of the software, or may be more invasive, including obligating you to things against your best interests, sometimes with a financial impact). This has in the past been especially true of certain free games, on-line TV watching utilities, select computer utilities, and even major purchased software packages and operating sytems (yes, even big firms like Microsoft); READ the fine print in the user agreement and know what you are letting yourself in for (the nature of what they consider quid quo pro). Note: some illegal use of this method has been encountered, where the compromise of privacy/security was NOT mentioned in the user agreement, essentially converting the package into a virus in function. Know the reputation of the source, search the Web for complaints (but remember, no one makes a product that does not generate complaints from someone about something, and that often, problems arise which are user/user system specific because of unique configurations of their system or usage — so READ the complaints for relevancy to your use and privacy concerns).
3) Political Gain, often in opposition to your best wishes. Identical in nature to Commercial Financial Gain, but used for political purposes to sway opinions, most often with disinformation calculated to target what defines ‘You.’ Your opinions are shaped for you in subtle ways. It is a form of Political Control Technology. This often leads to item number 4, below, where you fail to bend and your bending is deemed extremely important; Signs, Methods, and Solutions:
a. Also the same as Commercial Financial Gain, except that you can more easily be aware of and control your interaction with political topics most of the time. The tricky stuff is the disinfo built into what should otherwise be nonpolitical in nature. Everybody has a belief structure, and it easily finds its way into whatever they write with or without their conscious intent, but there are people paid to write things ‘off topic’ in ways which infect on purpose, and with great scientifically calculated psychological impact;
i. In addition to thoughtful reflection (be wary, think logically and critically), it may help you to read up on the 25 Rules of Disinformation at my Web site (my most popular document with tens of millions of downloads).
b. In Groups and Social Networks, you can count on ‘packs’ of members or friends participating in calculated diatribes, often staged arguments egging you to join in to get your views and or to alter your opinion. Often, the group is actually one person, a trained specialist (cyber troll) who has multiple fraudulent identities for the purpose, any one of which can troll for people to suck into more focused dialogs sans any need for staging an argument, but they usually join in at some point to ‘confirm’ the ‘validity’ of the preferred message;
i. Same as (a, above), but actually, its easier to detect, even laughable.
4) Political Paranoia, outright spying on you out of fear of what you believe or might do in their wildest nightmares of potentials. If you are an activist or outspoken in ways not in synch with the mainstream (politically incorrect) on ANY TOPIC, have participated more than once in a given topical protest movement, visited an activist’s Web site or site of the politically incorrect, YOU ARE A POTENTIAL TARGET. Governments (all of them) so covet their power that (most of them) feel any dissent or opposition must be presumed a threat and dealt with before it can actualize. This all too often leads to item 5, below; Signs, Methods, and Solutions:
a. You find a sudden burst of requests for new social network friends or members to your group, and the dialogs/posts resulting soon thereafter tend to be inflammatory or inquisitive on political beliefs. Or, you find them somehow magically added without requests, or the requests read ‘secret request’ or some other no-such-thing-exists. You may also find others simply seem to dovetail perfectly with your beliefs with continual favorable commentaries to your own, someone trying to get close enough to you to pump you for information, later. These efforts can be as insidious as agent provocateur in nature, and/or attempting to build a comprehensive psychological profile of you for further targeting (item 5, next); What to do about it:
i. Same as (a of item 3) above (be wary, reflective, and think critically);
ii. Do not REACT instinctively to inflammatory matters. Stop, Think (what is really going on, what to they really want), ACT (according to your best interests) — ACT, don’t React. This is a good habit to employ in ALL DAILY MATTERS as it will keep you out of needless arguments which harm relationships and impede daily progress. I wish I would follow this advice!
b. You have a sudden explosion of SPAM and Phishing email, and the like. This may be an attempt by an Agency or Military cyberwarrior to infect your system with a spying virus for their own unique purposes. It can happen for other causes, too, of course, and is not a conclusive symptom in and of itself. But it is often coupled with curious events in your life and environment which imply some form of snooping in the real World; surveillance, following, surreptitious entries, odd telephone behaviors, etc. This would be an escalation step less frequently employed — a preparation for (item 5, next), and most certainly part of it;
i. Please consider my book or ebook (ProparanoidPress.com), The Professional Paranoid: How to Fight Back If Stalked, Surveilled, Investigated Or Targeted by Any Agency, Organization, Or Individual.
ii. Review some of my other blog posts based on the book:
- In the Rearview Mirror: When You Think You’re Followed;
- Your Cell Phone is a Government Agent Spying on You.
- You find more sexually related outreach or SPAM than normal, or PORN related popups at the oddest times and places. Someone is trying to develop a psychological profile on you. See item 5 for a very caustic example of how dangerous that can become;
iii. Consider a one-time adventurous response to determine if it is targeting of this type, or generic SPAM/marketing outreach unrelated to spying as such. You WILL encounter unpleasant material by prurient standards. If it is spying related, there will be subtle signs. Again, see (item 5).
iv. Do NOT respond at all (and for any such event where you elected option (i), above), delete or block sources where possible, as well as the specific message. Complaints may be in order if there is a means of contact, such as the Social Network or Group moderator.NOTE: Any of (items 4, above, or 5, below) may additionally mean the FBI, CIA, DOD, or NSA (and variously other agencies of government, both foreign and domestic, as well as corporations, and criminal groups they partner or compete with) are specifically targeting your entire Internet activity (and beyond) by any number of means:
- All have admitted to or have been reported as employing signal capturing and analysis methods. A van can park near your home and capture router signals, or even just the RF (radio frequency) signals generated by your computer, in which case whatever is on your computer screen is on theirs. If you have a Cable or Satellite, or Microwave ISP source, those signals can likewise be intercepted and analyzed, either at your home, or at the ISP’s location. There will be varying success levels with the analysis attempt, and not everything will get through. Your phones and fax systems are subject to like attack capabilities, as hinted at in the above linked blog post.
- Most of these government bodies are not above employing virus attacks by conventional means. Just because you get a virus or were phished, does not mean it came from a criminal. It might be Men in Black, with or without legal authority, with or without official cause.
- FBI (and others with like tools) can obtain a warrant to install Carnivore or similar software at your ISP to gain complete access to your email, directly (and as many fear, everyone elses’ email going through the ISP). These warrants are incredibly easy to obtain. The new unconstitutional blanket warrants are even easier to get, and cover (everybody, more or less).
- Often warrants are not even necessary, especially with the larger ISP firms of the telecommunications industry flavor (think cellular), who give away information just for the asking if it comes from ‘the good guys.’ Many of these firms consider themselves extensions of the Federal Government for all practical purposes, and many (including Facebook, Google, et. Al) are invested in heavily by the intelligence community (CIA, most notably) who, in exchange, is granted unusual access to information and system control (ergo, they become weaponized when desired).
- The Internet was created by the military and ‘given’ to the public for use. However, the handful of key firms which constitute the bulk of infrastructure tools needed for the Internet to even function are essentially military-intelligence community contractors, which provides yet one more tool in the government’s spy arsenal.
- Internet 3.0 (a nickname for the effort to ‘improve’ the Internet by Congress) in the name of cyber security is eventually going to get past Constitutional roadblocks in Congress and will become a major censorship and spy tool for all government levels and agencies. If you have no clue, learn about SOPA and CISPA. See the closing section of this post for a breath of fresh air and relief.
- The Internet Kill Switch (another nick name — each government on the Planet wants one, including the United Nations) is likewise such a tool, one likely to be thrown whenever government does not like what we are doing (e.g., Occupy, especially after seeing what the Internet did to help overthrow Middle East tyrants), or want us to know what bad things government is doing (e.g., Martial Law, military takeover, extreme blunders that kill or destroy massively, etc.). The closing section addresses this, as well.
5) Political Control Targeting, where you are deemed a viable threat to an agenda or cyber-powerful governmental (hey – I got hate mail from the Clinton White House and enjoyed much Web sabotage and other fun things while he was in office… and while Bush before him… and Bush after him… and Obama, now).
This means they fear you and feel they must deal with you more proactively, typically because their spying has revealed that other people listen to what you have to say and believe you, or your opinions are thought simply too dangerous to be heard (like many of mine, nasty truthsayer ‘terrorist’ that I try to be). Truth is oft seen as a thing too dangerous to be allowed free expression which might enable and empower a fully informed public, and must not be allowed to contaminate the lies of an errant government and/or a controlled media;
a. Your social network starts having a lot of unfounded complaints against you resulting in curtailed services or functions, having to repeatedly provide your password, etc.;
i. There is usually no recourse whatsoever, though I tend to ask my friends if any others are having the same problem, and complain so they understand the Social Network in question is infiltrated by government spying and engages in political control targeting (Facebook, that means YOU).
ii. See this blog post for more detail on Social media infiltration and solutions.
b. You start getting denial of service BOMBS — posting bombs to your social network or group, and/or email bombs to your email, which make it next to impossible to actually make good use of them for their intended purpose. I can get over 100 posts a minute, so by the time I see one from a legitimate friend to which I’d like to respond, and finish my current activity that I might do so, it’s scrolled off pages and pages away from access and very hard to find, and puts me thousands of posts behind in any attempt too keep up. In email, it will be SPAM bombs (and watch out for that especially when it comes time to renew your Web domain name or other key matter — this is a tool to get you to fail to see the advice notices that you must act soon before the expiration date, and is how Web sites are hijacked by Men in Black;
i. Same as (a), above.
b. Porn redirects, where you find yourself unexpectedly at a Porn site, or by intention, end up experiencing the phenomenon referenced in item (4) above, which IS a psychological profile being run on you. A variation may be porn content or links magically appearing in your own Web content, or other signs of criminal hacking. Its not that uncommon, actually — just ask yourself, who benefits to figure it out;
i. Consider running test to see if it is a psychological profile attempt (WARNING, if so, it should prove to be a disgusting experience). I suggest documenting the effort as described in (b of item 1), above, for your own protection. I’d tell you to use an anonymizer, except that if detected to be in use (easy to do), the test will fail:
- A step you may need to repeat six times or so before the answer is revealed: arbitrarily choose a link at the porn site to access specific content offered (a pic or vid). OK if that’s where it takes you, return and try again. But…
- If it instead takes you to yet another Porn Site, it may be a profile attempt. Now undertake step one at this NEW site. Again, repeat up to six times.
- If by the sixth new site you still remain conscious from the visual assault on your moral sensibility, and you have thus far encountered nothing but ‘normal porn,’ with nothing seemingly illegal, you are NOT being profiled, but simply a (would-be) victim of PORN scammers who make money off of redirects. The kind of site a porn addict would abhor but puts up with when encountered and abandons after experiencing multiple redirects.
- To make clear, if you INSTEAD start to see bestiality, torture/rape, pedophilia type images, congratulations: you have reached a CIA operated Web site (by some accounts, they have thousands of such sites). Don’t worry, it won’t land you in jail. That’s not their agenda. But if you continue to click on images, your sexual profile starts to be built. Once it is in hand, it may be used at some point to manipulate you or to target you with blackmail, etc, or sexual outreach intended to compromise you. So naturally, you shouldn’t click on those images. Hey, shame on you for even being there in the first place, right? Um… what was that URL, by the way?
- IMPORTANT. You cannot trust these and many other porn sites. Just visiting one can result in attacks on your computer’s security and your privacy, such as makes running Norton’s or similar IMMEDIATELY after the test a wise step. Again, Macintosh users should DEFINITELY take this advice regardless of the reliably resistant nature of their system. DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, undertook a special program evaluating the security of the Macintosh Operating System looking for ways to exploit it. I’m thinking they didn’t find any, given that no one else really has in the last three decades, but what does that tell you about governments potential intentions to spy and capabilities?
c. You discover that at times, you can’t locate Web content that used to be there, can’t reach people by normal means, or you hear people can’t find your content, or reach you. It could be a Web glitch, or it could be that your Web activities or content is being selectively blocked, a form of sabotage known as black listing. This, too, can spill over into the real World — welcome to the daily life of being a TI.
i. Its usually done at the Server level, so it can be at your ISP or the host ISP to your intended destination or recipient, or an intervening ISP between the them (most Web activity will relay the data through a daisy chain of a number of ISP servers making up the ‘Internet’). Start by contacting your ISP, and asking the destination/recipient to check with theirs, if you can find a way to make contact. Any decent whois service (enter whois in your search engine) can help with finding a way to reach someone.
ii. You can employ a tracking utility to see where the series of relays between ISPs comes to a screeching halt, and contact them. I like VisualRoute because it is highly functional without requiring geek knowledge, but supports geek use, too. It can also help spot eavesdropping in the data stream and address other Web technical problems. Learn more here. There are a lot of other good ones out there, and computers have some built-in capabilites, per this video lesson.
d. You should, with confirmations of any of the above, consider yourself under a full surveillance net, even though it may not yet be true — you need assume it true or soon to be true. Your home has been or will very likely be entered into covertly, bugs and or cameras placed, and you may eventually become targeted with electronic weapons (that is another topic altogether);
i. Contact me immediately for a free Helps Kit and some free online consultation (its what I do). Do not outreach to authorities of any kind, as it is intended you do so that you might officially earn the label of paranoid, or worse. It is a means of discrediting you and part of an organized effort at making you a political, social, and ultimately, financial zero.
ii. Increase your levels of awareness and review and improve security at home, work, and your vehicle. Talk to your family.
iii. Get my book, The Professional Paranoid. Natch!
iv. Install a Primus pick proof lock, a lock designed for government needs and so good that government does not want you to even know it exists, and thus, the manufacturer (Schlage) does not talk about it, and their dealers (well established Locksmiths, only) try to sell you an alternative when you ask for it, even though they make more money on the Primus. Also, not all dealers are authorized to sell it. I have a long dialog on this topic with clients.
v. Keep up whatever you are doing, because it surely must be Good in the Face of Evil, or you would not be targeted in the first place. Unless you continue to fight it, Evil will only get bigger and stronger — and worse for you, others like you, and our future generations. Do not fear them and their cowardly tactics. Remember it is THEY who FEAR YOU and your BELIEFS, and what you have to say or do about it so much that they are willing to risk revealing themselves as the true sociopathic fascists they are.
Top five solutions for Internet spying
Other Privacy Solutions Available
I mentioned Anonymizers (not to be confused with or thought affiliated with the group, Anonymous). This is a tool which can be free or for fee, can be undertaken by simply visiting an Anonymizer Web site and ‘activating’ anonymization per instructions found there, or by use of software they provide to turn it on or off at will on the fly. What it does is it strips away all elements of your basic user identification information, such as cookies and much more, and replaces it with their own, generic version. Thus when you subsequently visit ANY other Web site, it cannot possibly know anything personal about you other than you may volunteer once you arrive. You can play with one to see what it is like with and without use at anonymouse.org.
They don’t always have desired results, because a given site may refuse access for cause, or fail to function fully, or slow down a notable degree. Not a huge problem. The real problem is not that, but trustworthiness. There are a lot of anonymizers out there to choose from, some with very slick Web sites and marketing programs, which in my book, does not mean anything regarding trust, and if anything, is a mark against more than for trusting them. Perhaps I’m just living up to my name, and being ‘paranoid.’
But within a year or so of their first appearing on the Web by nobodies anyone ever heard of, and their popular use, they started going by the wayside and being replaced by newcomers, or merged or were taken over by other firms, and ‘improved’. To my way of thinking, governmentals and other smart people with agenda of their own, have sought to replace them or compete with bogus anonymizers which allow only THEM to see what you are doing.
Think about it… and how easy it would be to arrange, and in realization that if you don’t want others to know what that is, then that information may reflect something extra valuable, or which dovetails with someone’s agenda or political concerns. So they bait you, seeing you as perceived bad guys or as potential targets for (some agenda-driven purpose) to use their service that they may spy on you effortlessly. I’m especially wary of those based on downloaded software, which could afford additional backdoor access to sensitive information. I know there are good ones that can be trusted, but I have no way of knowing one from the other, for sure. Ack!
There is only ONE clear-cut exception I’m aware of, though any of the original firms going back to the 90’s in dating are likely OK, today, unless taken over or merged by some other firm, in which case I get nervous, again. The exception is called TOR (The Onion Router), which is Open Source. Open Source means public code that anyone can read (with some technical skill), and that being the case, it can’t be tampered with or contain threats to security without being detected and reported (that’s one advantage, the other being that it is FREE).
Yet TOR has its own inherent problem which should ALSO be addressed if used to send secure information such as an email message: you should additionally provide some form of adequate encryption of that content. This is a bit of a non issue with respect to simply visiting and using Web sites, however, though using a regular anonymizer AND Tor should likely make such visits even more secure. Learn more about anonymizers, here, and more about TOR and the encryption issue, here. Then there is also the greater issue of anonymous email, which you can learn about, here.
With regards to Encryption, that topic also deserves some comment. Your email service provider, likely your email client (e.g., Outlook) and Web mail (e.g., gmail), almost always provides for some level of encryption for security, much of it essentially functionless to sophisticated spying groups like government. I suggest that if you truly fear compromise of very sensitive data transmission over the Web, that you employ some heavier guns. There are numerous commercial products out there, but like anonymizers, I worry about built-in back doors with some of them. Once more, Open Source to the rescue: PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) continues to be a very popular and thus far quite reliable and easy-to-use solution. Learn more here.
Top five internet spying symptoms
New Solutions from Proparanoid
My approach to addressing security and privacy (de javu), to educate on the problem, provide a means to detect the threat, and find a means to resolve it. And also, again, I’m not particularly a Web technologist. So what follows are the results of a lot of thinking not just by myself with my approach in mind, but also with the help of people who know more than I do about Web security. We hope to advance the state-of-the-art in privacy and security.
NeVir Spies is nothing terribly new in the World, except with respect to how it is implemented and made available. It is in the category of a Virtual Private Email Network (VPEN), such as normally employed by large companies for internal email communications in an Intranet (a closed Web like construct for private corporate network connected computers). A VPEN is combined (for Web hopping between distant sites) with HTTPS, the secure form of Web servers (as opposed to HTTP, which are far less secure), to provide a truly secure email service with superlative features.
NeVir Spies is a variant on this theme with some added compenents which allow levels or layers of security and flexibility as the client may deem important. Like all commercially available VPENs, it is more costly than the free email accounts available with Web mail and through your ISP, who includes email with their monthly billing charges. It typically costs about as much as a good ISP, so using it effectively doubles your monthly outlay, but it gives you something the ISP cannot: assured email confidentiality, and some extra features in most cases. There is a lot more to know. Learn about it, here.
Now, this may sound strange… but don’t rush out to sign up for NeVir Spies right away, unless you have an urgent need. That’s because its about to get a whole lot better, thanks to my newest notion, now becoming a project in works… Web Walker:
Web Walker is a completely new and ultra low cost, fully wireless alternative to the Internet, itself, one which is ultra secure and private because it completely bypasses the ISP and telecommunications companies, and thereby, government. YOU become the ISP as well as the communications medium, in a very real way — and of course, you have no need of government involvement in that which you can legally undertake on your own. Even so, it remains compatible with, and is not intended (yet) as a complete replacement of the current Internet. Yet it affords a reliable replacement should the WWW be shut down or be compromised due to sabotage or natural disaster.
As an Open Source Project (OSP), it means free access — no ISP bill, though some nominal expenses can be involved in some cases for select users, and it can represent an income source for others, or the same select users. It does have some up front investment costs for some, but not all, because they might need to upgrade their equipment’s capability or perhaps have more of it if wishing to have more direct involvement.
That cost can be spread out among other users so as to seem negligible, which is where the nominal expenses and income are derived. As intended to be implemented, it will include NeVir Spies as an option, and do so in a considerably more economical fashion, and with a portion of the income going to offset select operational expenses to help keep Web Walker free to most users. In fact, some users will qualify for free NeVir Spies, and that’s why I’m not urging you to jump into NeVir Spies directly. However, it will be many months before Web Walker is available for general use by the public, so if your security need can’t wait… contact me now, anyway — especially since there will be ways to access Web Walker ahead of public availability in its testing and debugging phase. Guinea Pigs needed.
Web Walker, which will also need a new name, addresses EVERYTHING in this post one way or another, though it may not seem like it with superficial review. Its unique design will mean that even those users who might be deemed as system operators will not have access to the actual information transmitted (unlike an ISP or telecommunications system), and therefore, there will be no place for government to go with a warrant to access said information. It addresses all forms of spying and privacy concerns on the Web, especially political spying and targeting, and specifically addresses Internet 3.0 and the Kill Switch. Take a look at it.
If Hilary Clinton fears she and her governmental friends are loosing the (dis)information war (with citizens) because of the Internet, today, wait until they see what we can do when there is no way to use eavesdropping, tampering, or censorship to counteract it. Truth (the Pen) is mightier than Lies (the Sword). That’s Web Walker.
- Netcraft Warns of Rise in Phishing Attacks That Rely on HTML Attachments (news.softpedia.com)
- Phishing Scams Are Out to Steal Your Identity (creditrepair.com)
- It’s Easy to Protect Yourself from the “Phishing” Net Ally Bank Works to Keep Your Money Secure (ally.com)
- Simple ways to secure your online banking (fidelity.com)
- Over 90 Percent of Targeted Attacks Derived from Spear Phishing Emails, According to Trend Micro (virtual-strategy.com)
Posted by Author H. Michael Sweeney
The Growing Case for Government Targeting via Social Mediaby H. Michael Sweeney, copyright © 2011, ProparanoidPress, all rights reserved permissions to reproduce available on request to pppbooks at comcast (net) In two parts. Dateline Portland, OR August 15, 2011
Part I, The Social Media Beast and its Masters
I write this as an activist, investigative writer with seven books generally on abuse of power, privacy, and security matters, and a consultant to targeted persons. So I get an awful lot of feedback from countless persons on the issue this article regards. Namely, that social networks are nothing more than government tools for spying on and targeting the politically incorrect among us. I fear there is truth in the supposition.
I’m on Twitter and FaceBook, and switched almost exclusively to FaceBook as I can get more reach there more quickly than on Twitter. Tweets tend to be more frivolous and for whatever reason, are less likely to share. In the space of time it took me to get 25 Followers on Twitter, I had over 500 on FaceBook, and the quality of exchange was much higher. Kudos to FaceBook on that score, at least — though I think that may be premature given how things are of late, as will be reviewed in Part II of this blog.
To be fair, understand that I do not write this as an expert on FaceBook or social media in general. In point of fact, I struggle with many aspects of what older hands might consider child’s play. It is a complex topic and even more complex software. What I am considered expert on is my personal experience and the that includes shared experiences with thousands of other users and clients, and the general topics relating to the problem as represented in my books, consulting, and other activities. So I can put experiences into context, and I think I can relate them with logical analysis. Only where a given item of concern may be questionable with respect to deciding it represents a mere technical glitch or misunderstanding of procedure, vs. a deliberate spy or harassment tactic, should my lack of FaceBook experience be much of an issue. ANYONE, may feel free to correct or educate me on any errant matter expressed. (Note: in nearly a year since this post first went up, no such corrections have been offered. Yay!) I will do my best to flag areas where there is a difference between supposition or conjecture, and evident realities, as well as points in between.
I will additionally suggest one might get more out of this article if they also review my blog, 33 Axioms of Fascism.
The Intelligence Community and Social Media
It is well known, or should be, that virtually all of the Social Networks have gained funding and, in many cases, direct negotiated working partnerships with government agencies. Of principal concern are those which involve the military or intelligence community, and their greater apparat, which would include think tanks, research firms, PR firms, financial institutions, Institutes and Foundations, Round Table Groups, and other entities which tend o do their bidding (or be their bosses) or support them in key ways. Collectively, this mish-mash forms what generally represents a spy ring network in functionality. Even Law Enforcement Agencies at the local level are now players. That is a pretty broad-based group, and should be explored more carefully…
Examples might be:
The Rand Corporation, a CIA/DOD think tank which has developed several new information gathering systems for its clients. This includes ExpertLens, a new system “to aid complex decision making, adapting online and social media technologies” and which incorporates the Delphi method, Nominal Group Technique, and CrowdSourcing to collect information and forecast against solutions. These are very savvy ‘products’ which can be customized for a wide variety of needs and uses, and incorporated into pre existing informational collection and analysis systems. Are they a potential threat to privacy in social media? You bet.
Public Relation Firms:
Hill & Knowlton is CIA’s PR firm of choice, who conspired to fraudulently get Americans behind the idea to kick Iraq out of Kuwait. They used outright lies before Congress and in media campaigns about bayoneted babies to steal incubators. Same thing happened, by the way, in WWI, when the munitions industry went out of its way to buy a handful of newspapers responsible for the bulk of public opinion, and insure they told us Germans were cutting the breasts off of Belgian women. Its in the Congressional Record (prior link). Wasn’t true, of course, but it heated up the debate and did contribute significantly to the war mood. HK publicly admits to using social media to shape opinions, which translates as disinformation given that their publicly posted policy on such use in no way reflects the kind of blatant dishonesty which they have repeatedly exhibited.
DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency is actually a corporate-like research entity reporting to the Department of Defense and, secondarily, contracting with major corporations. They are very interested in “solicitating innoative research proposals in the area of social media.” Many analysts see this as a move to track social media for ‘propaganda,’ which from their perspective would be any politically incorrect agenda “so that they can be countered before they can gain traction,” which would, of course, require direct intervention in some way, such as will be discussed in Part II of this blog. This will dovetail nicely with other items in this list, ‘coincidentally.’
In-Q-Tel is a CIA venture capital firm that invests in start ups it thinks can serve Agency needs. They originally wanted to be named In-Q-It, but someone (blush) registered those names (.com, .org, .net) before they thought to do it, and rather than pay me (given the animosity between us at the time) a few hundred dollars for the names, elected to instead spend thousands to change the company name. They have since invested heavily in all manner of Internet spying ventures, and continue to seek new avenues. They have not touched ‘closed networks’ such as FaceBook, as yet, at least not directly. However, they have invested in the makers of software used by FaceBook, Google, Yahoo, and others to develop and operate their social media, giving way to speculation that back-door access is quite likely a problem worth considering.
The Project for a New American Century (PNAC), as I expose in my book set Fatal Rebirth, is a kind of Foundation which has no peers when it comes to treasonous villainy. September 11 attacks, the resulting Gulf Oil Wars, Homeland Security, the entire election and War Cabinet of the Bush White House, as well as their policies, were all laid out well in advance (1997), and all came to pass almost exactly as planned, and on schedule. They are not finished either. Their membership roster included a rogues gallery of war profiteers, Bush dynasty cronies and family, and villains like Richard Perle.
Questions: How is it that the invasion date of Afghanistan was known prior to September 11? How is it that Colin Powell and DOD Generals were trolling other nations in support of a war against Afghanistan before September 11? Without September 11, what justification for a war did they expect would materialize? Talk about prior knowledge. Amen, Truthers!
I use them as example here, because one of their PNAC friends, Arianna Huffington, wrote an op-ed article in Lebanon’s Daily Star entitled ‘Social media will help fuel change in the Middle East,’ essentially giving the ‘idea’ to the youth of Islamic nations as the article spread virally, that they could use their phones and computers to organize against their government(s). This was some several months before it actually happened in Libya exactly as she wrote it. Huffington, by the way, is described as having very profitable business ties to the Israeli arms industry and has been female companion to Mortimer Zuckerman, a pro-Israel media magnate. So what’s a nice Jewish girl like her doing writing for Islamic media about social networks for revolutionaries? Clearly, this is a form of manipulation of social media users for political gain… a form of social media control being used as Political Control Technology.
Round Table Groups:
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is one of the Round Table Groups better known in the U.S., as they are based in New York. Unabashed globalists with an agenda for a One-World Government, they infect every element of the corporate world as well as every institution of government. Mere Congressmen cower in their presence and hang on their every word, most of them being members who, as if talking about a fellow Wizard at Hogwarts, fawn over and point out membership in their speeches as if a medallion for Exceptional Wizardry.
It is not. It is a signpost of treasonous shame. They seek to destroy national sovereignty. Their best known members are, perhaps, Rockefeller, Bush, Clinton, Carter, Brzezinski, and Kissinger. The CFR lay the foundation for September 11 in Brzezinski’s book, The Grand Chessboard, in which he said the U.S. must remain dominant in the World, and that to do that, we need to control the oil production of the Middle East and Soviet fields bordering with the Middle East. It stated that unless there was some catalyst event to justify a war in the the region, there was sadly no way to achieve that. So PNAC set about to insure it happened just that way. Good old American Capitalism at its best.
With respect to Social Media, CFR has published another work which essentially says what we all know, that it is a great tool for civilians to organize and can become a tool for political change of governments, to include their downfall. It goes on to say, that properly managed, it can become a tool to translate unrest toward rapid and undesirable (their perspective) changes to a more evenly paced and acceptable (their perspective) change. They stress the importance of gaining such a tool. So you can bet that somewhere, people are making it so. In fact, pretty much everyone listed.
Lately, the New York Police Department has established their own Social Media Unit to infect social media with the presence of Cops looking for clues. Well, that might be OK if looking for a specific clue from a specific suspect in an ongoing investigation, but NOT if it is general snooping to create intelligence files on citizens — as has been common practice in almost every major city well before Internet even existed. Portland and San Francisco PDs, and 18 other Police agencies were involved in trading such files on 20,000 non criminals who had never been subject of investigations, as well as those who had, with B’nai B’rith/Anti Defamation League, South African spies, and CIA. So we know it happens. In fact, my dossier was involved, obtained through FOIA. A lawsuit against ADL by San Francisco was dropped amid huge pressure common to anyone who says bad things about any Jewish organization. Well, that didn’t include me, then, but it does, now: Bad ADL.
Too Many Masters, Too Few Slaves
In each of the above examples, I simply used the first group or firm, etc., that popped into my head (deliberately skipping over some of the more obvious choices, because I already know the answer, for them), and then Googled to see if they had any truck to do with social media which borders on manipulation or spying. In every single case, it was found to be true. From this we might deduce, then, it is likely that EVERY such agency in each category has already or will soon effect a similar intention or action which can be pinned to its lapel. The problem is, that means literally many hundreds of groups who seek to control and subvert social media networks to their own internal and often insidious needs. The bulk of these I would not trust with my life, much less my Nation’s security, and certainly not my privacy, much less counting on them to obey the law.
But there are only so many such social networks, and only a few of them are large enough to merit attention. The larger they are, I suspect, the more valuable a target they become. The largest of these is FaceBook. So it is perhaps no surprise that charges of spying and digital assault on the politically incorrect should be more common to FaceBook users than any other such media forum. Both because there are so many users (more than 700,000,000, or about 1 out of every five computer users World-wide), and because there are so many wanna’ be system infiltrators who rank them the number one choice for manipulation.
I don’t think that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO/President and creator of FaceBook is dumb, but I think he would be stupid to do the things he has done already to cooperate with these kinds of manipulating bastards, unless the scope of the problem as just described, was not known at the time. You can bet he and his brethren competitors were fed a line of crap which started with ‘National Security,’ and ended with ‘personal assurances,’ and you can bet that 90% of that was bull. I can’t imagine anyone willing to give endless back doors and unchecked control of their cash cow to a bunch of people who, in the final analysis, would probably be shot if there were a revolution right now, and their side lost. But once such a bed has been made… as with a deal with the Mafia or the Tong… you can’t go back and undo it. So whatever state FaceBook and its competitors are really in in terms of bedding with evil partners, they, and we, are stuck with it… at least until that revolution takes place.
As I see it, and as is true for all social networks…
There are three basic paths for abuse to take root
1. Those already inherent in the design or added to it intentionally by the creator/owner of the network which enable their own form of ‘control’ over their client’s experiences, and which could be used in punitive or immoral ways if desired. That does not mean they do so intentionally, but it creates temptation. They would, we presume, be very difficult to discover and almost impossible to prove, but there are clues which might suggest their presence and use. Saying something bad about the media and, in almost every instance, suffering a punitive response, would imply such to be the case.
2. Those added by agreement or as concession to investors or partners. These are undoubtedly on purpose and very likely to be employed to the detriment of end users, where present. These would generally need to be extremely covert in nature and almost impossible to detect. The exception might be harassment or targeting methodologies, but a clever programmer can make these look like glitches. Well, I don’t know of any activist on FaceBook without their glitches.
3. Those obtained by back door access, hacks, etc. You can bet these are in constant wholesale use, where present. Absolutely covert and highly illegal in nature, there will not be any opportunity allowed for discovery, which means that they are not used for harassment. They are snooping solutions, only. Thus short of an announcement of discovery, the end user will never know of its existence, which is also true of the operator of the social media. For this reason, I fear In-Q-Tel’s strategy more than, say, DARPA’s. I fear DARPA’s more than I fear Hill and Knowlton.
This ends Part I.
Part II, will look at some specific facts, issues and actual experiences reported about FaceBook in media and by users. The issues described in the three paths, above, will be considered and applied where possible in an attempt to evaluate. We need a sense of reality, not conjecture, when it comes to charges of spying and targeting, lest the decisions we make be more dangerous by false assumptions.
- Three very insightful articles about transparency on the Internet (empressoftheglobaluniverse.wordpress.com)
- FaceBook wants your Unborn Child (manveetsingh.wordpress.com)
- America’s Fascist Revolution and The Internet as a Counter-revolutionary Force (rogueoperator.wordpress.com)
- Pentagon looks to social media as new battlefield (destructionist.wordpress.com)