Email Self-Defense – Secure your email in 30 minutes!

Email Self-Defense

In light of the bulk surveillance issues that have found their way across the web, the Free Software Foundation has launched a guide to help secure your email communication. The guide recommends free software tools like GnuPG and Enigmail to secure your email. All you need is a computer with an Internet connection, an email account and about half an hour.

Read the guides:

Protect your privacy with Self-Destructing Cookies

With Big Brother spying and advertising agencies attempting to give you targetted advertisements, protecting your privacy online is getting even more important than earlier. Meet the “Cookie”, the biggest helper to tracking your movement is sitting on your computer via your browser. If you’ve never heard, here’s a direct definition from Wikipedia: A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while the user is browsing that website.

With Big Brother spying and advertising agencies attempting to give you targetted advertisements, protecting your privacy online is getting even more important than earlier. Meet the “Cookie”, the biggest helper to tracking your movement is sitting on your computer via your browser.

If you’ve never heard, here’s a direct definition from Wikipedia:

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while the user is browsing that website. Every time the user loads the website, the browser sends the cookie back to the server to notify the website of the user’s previous activity. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember stateful information (such as items in a shopping cart) or to record the user’s browsing activity (including clicking particular buttons, logging in, or recording which pages were visited by the user as far back as months or years ago).

If you’re using Firefox, then you have many solutions that help protect your privacy. One really awesome solution is Self-Destructing Cookies.

Self Destructing Cookies

Self-Destructing Cookies automatically removes cookies when they are no longer used by open browser tabs. With the cookies, lingering sessions, as well as information used to spy on you, will be expunged. Websites will only be permitted to identify you while you actually use them and can not stalk you across the entire web. This is the closest you will get to cookieless browsing without breaking every second site or tedious micromanaging.

The add-on identifies tracking cookies by their behaviour and so doesn’t require a blacklist to work. The add-on also supports localStorage and treats this just like a cookie jar that saves cookies temporarily when you visit the current site. When you close the last window of the site, the cookie jar will be emptied. This ensures that when you jump to the next site, the tracking cookie cannot be used because it no longer exists!

Self Destructing Cookies - LocalStorage

This add-on complements blacklist-based solutions such as Adblock and Ghostery very well. You can whitelist sites whose cookies and LocalStorage you would like to keep without an active tab in the Firefox cookie exception list, which can also be conveniently accessed from the add-on’s preferences, or an icon in the Add-on Bar.

Facebook Privacy: Stop search engines linking to your timeline

By default, Facebook allows search engines like Google or Bing to index your public timeline. This allows people to search you out even if they are not on Facebook. While they won’t be able to access your profile, you might not want to let your timeline be viewed on search engines.

By default, Facebook allows search engines like Google or Bing to index your public timeline. This allows people to search you out even if they are not on Facebook. While they won’t be able to access your profile, you might not want to let your timeline be viewed on search engines.

But, Facebook allows you stop search engines from accessing your timeline. Here is how you go about blocking them.

Access the Facebook Privacy Settings via the drop down and hit “See more settings”.

Facebook Privacy settings

You’ll be lead to the Privacy Settings and Tools page.

Facebook Privacy Settings

Hit Edit on the last option as per the screenshot above and uncheck the tick box titled “Let other search engines link to your timeline”.

Facebook - Stop search engines

It will take a few weeks for the search engines to stop showing links to your timeline when people search for you.

Like this tip? Share it with your friends on Facebook by hitting the button above!

How to protect your privacy on LinkedIn by hiding your Public Profile

I love LinkedIn. At the time of this post, I am nearing 1,000 connections there. Unlike generic social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn has managed to maintain its niche of being a business connections site.

I love LinkedIn. At the time of this post, I am nearing 1,000 connections there. Unlike generic social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn has managed to maintain its niche of being a business connections site.

And, as a business connections site, many of you might have uploaded your CVs and most probably your detailed information is available to everyone on the internet, including showing up in search results.

LinkedIn gives you the power to easily customise which you this information is available for public viewing, while your contacts will be able to view all your details. I’ll show you how to go about hiding this information.

Navigate to your Settings page by clicking your name. You’ll be prompted to login. Once there, select “Edit your public profile“.

LinkedIn Settings

LinkedIn will view a new page with your profile available for you to see along with several options available to turn on or off as below:

LinkedIn - Public profile

You’ll see above that I’ve unchecked many of the boxes which effectively turns off a lot of details from my profile. If you’re very secretive, you can select the very first radio button called “Make my public profile visible to no one”. This will completely turn off your public profile and only those who are on your connections will be able to see your details.

This is what my public profile looks like now. How does yours look?

View Ajay D'Souza's profile on LinkedIn

Facebook introduces new Privacy shortcuts

A few weeks back, we posted about the reawakening of an age old chain message that concerned Facebook users posted in an attempt to protect their privacy. I don’t think it is in response to this, but Facebook released a new feature that aims to put privacy controls more into the hands of the users instead of tucking them away into screens they won’t get through. You’ll find the new settings in the top right of your Facebook just next to your photo.

A few weeks back, we posted about the reawakening of an age old chain message that concerned Facebook users posted in an attempt to protect their privacy. I don’t think it is in response to this, but Facebook released a new feature that aims to put privacy controls more into the hands of the users instead of tucking them away into screens they won’t get through.

Facebook Privacy settings

You’ll find the new settings in the top right of your Facebook just next to your photo. You have 3 main sections as above with sub-sections.

Who can see my stuff?

This gives you one click access to control who has access to which part of the information. As you can see, I have my future posts on a custom setting which controls exactly which groups of people I have given access to.

Additionally, you can check your Activity Log which gives you a detailed of history of everything that you have been up to on Facebook, including your posts, comments, photos you’ve shared and have been tagged in, games you have played, etc.

The third feature that I have always loved the most is the “view my profile as” which is the third option above. This tool lets you see what your timeline looks like to the public or a specific friend. Go ahead and check if that not-so-special someone has access to your profiles!

Who can contact me?

This controls who can send you messages and who can send you friend requests. If you don’t want random people contacting you, I suggest changing these settings to Friends and Friend of Friends respectively. This won’t stop them all, but it will definitely reduce the random messages people on Facebook who are not on your friends’ list can send you.

How do I stop someone from bothering me?

You can block someone to unfriend them and prevent them from starting conversations with you or seeing things you post on your timeline. But, remember if you share the same groups with the person, they can still see what you post.

What do you think of the new Facebook options? It’s mainly a repackaging of existing options, but I think it is a good step forward in giving people a better control over their privacy.

Stop posting the Berner Convention message on Facebook

It is a hoax! Over the past 24 or so hours, I’ve seen quite a few people posting this message: In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention).

It is a hoax!

Over the past 24 or so hours, I’ve seen quite a few people posting this message:

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.

Contrary to the belief of many users, posting the above message will not copyright anything that you post on Facebook. If you haven’t already read Facebook’s privacy guidelines, I suggest going through Facebook’s Data Use policy.

If you’re wondering if you’re information is being shared, Facebook clearly tells you that they don’t share personally identifiable information with advertisers.

We do not share any of your information with advertisers (unless, of course, you give us permission). As described in this policy, we may share your information when we have removed from it anything that personally identifies you or combined it with other information so that it no longer personally identifies you.

Then what do you do you protect your privacy on Facebook?

Facebook gives you several options to protect your privacy. You should configure the default privacy settings that governs all that you post. And you can always control what content you choose to make public on a post by post basis.

Choose what you want to make public on Facebook

E.g. I choose to keep my settings to Custom above which is shared with Friends excluding certain groups.

There is some information that is always public. This is your name, profile pictures and cover photos. If you are uncomfortable keeping this information public, you can always delete your account. This is an extreme measure and you will lose all data.

Remember the whole purpose of social networking is that you share information, depending on your level of comfort. Do not share any pictures or information that should not be shared. Once put on the web, it is very difficult to remove the information.

Lastly, if you’re wondering what the “Berner Convention” is? It is actually another indicator that the message above is an hoax. The actual term “Berne Convention” is an international agreement governing copyright, which was first accepted in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886

Have you configured your default privacy settings on Facebook?

[Via: TOI]

Internet Explorer 9 with Tracking Protection

Almost every site on the web today has some kind of tracking inbuilt, be it the simple ads that you see or the pieces of code to track site visits or even the social networking buttons. Some may retain this information as you browse from site to site, while others don’t. The power to choose who to stop tracking is present, but is limited with most browsers requiring some kind of an addon / plugin.

Almost every site on the web today has some kind of tracking inbuilt, be it the simple ads that you see or the pieces of code to track site visits or even the social networking buttons. Some may retain this information as you browse from site to site, while others don’t. The power to choose who to stop tracking is present, but is limited with most browsers requiring some kind of an addon / plugin.

The new Internet Explorer 9 brings this feature to you inbuilt into the browser.

But, the new IE’s features do not stop just there. Internet Explorer 9 has many new features including:

  • A new JavaScript engine which isn’t as fast as Chrome 4 or Opera 10, but is very close
  • HTML5 support, the new standard of the web
  • Addon performance manager to get rid of those memory hogging addons
  • Hardware accelerated text and graphics which now means you can play those crazy flash and shockwave games without realising it is in your browser
  • A clean interface that gives maximum focus to the content and not the browser!

This is still a beta so if you’re not the strong of heart, I suggest waiting a while. But, if you just can’t wait to see the beauty of the web, you can dive right in by following the links below.

Read more about Internet Explorer 9’s Tracking Protection
Download Internet Explorer 9 Beta

Protect your Email with Temporary Inbox

Ever register on a site and then find out that your inbox is clogged with emails from there? Hence, it is usually recommended that you signup at sites with a secondary email address. Or, you can create a disposable email address at temporaryinbox.

Ever register on a site and then find out that your inbox is clogged with emails from there? Hence, it is usually recommended that you signup at sites with a secondary email address.

Or, you can create a disposable email address at temporaryinbox.com

A temporary inbox is a disposable email address, which doesn’t require registration and can be used to avoid spam. Use this email address in forums, lotteries, erotic sites or wherever. The spammers will never find out your private email address.

temporaryinbox.com

Why use temporaryinbox.com

  • You want to stay anonymous
  • You hate spam in your own private inbox
  • Every time when you want to signup at an adult site with your daddy’s email address, you get "address already in use"
  • The mails will be deleted automatically after 6 hours
  • You can delete the mails manually as well
  • You don’t have to register the account first to use it
  • This service is faster than all other similar services

The additional feature that temporaryinbox.com offers is a Firefox Extension, and IE Toolbar and a Opera Widget.

As for me, well I have never used a disposable email. And, I strongly advice against using one on any blog, because the blog developer may not be very happy about it.

Where do you use a disposable address, if you have?

Google Adsense to launch Interest-based advertising. Update your Privacy Policy

Google Adsense Team announced the launch of interest-based advertising. This will be offered to a limited number of advertisers over the next few months as part of the beta before a full fledged launch in late 2009. So, what is interest-based advertising To develop interest categories, we’ll recognize the types of webpages users visit across the AdSense network.

Google Adsense Team announced the launch of interest-based advertising. This will be offered to a limited number of advertisers over the next few months as part of the beta before a full fledged launch in late 2009.

So, what is interest-based advertising

To develop interest categories, we’ll recognize the types of webpages users visit across the AdSense network. As an example, if they visit a number of sports pages, we’ll add them to the "sports enthusiast" interest category.

This will ensure that your visitor will see more relevant ads based on their past browsing habits.

Isn’t this spyware?

I’m no legal expert, but it does seem that Google is snooping at your data. This is possibly the reason why all Adsense publishers have been asked to update their privacy policies.

I’m pretty sure that most likely, you’re going to have anti-spyware software flagging Google Adsense cookies as spyware and prompting users to delete the same.

Update your Privacy Policy

About this time last year, you were asked to update your privacy policy due to Google Adsense. You’ve been asked to do the same this year as well.

According to this help page, your posted privacy policy should include the following information about Google and the DoubleClick DART cookie:

  • Google, as a third party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on your site.
  • Google’s use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to your users based on their visit to your sites and other sites on the Internet.
  • Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy.

I’ve updated the Privacy Policy out here on Techtites in accordance with the requirement.

Remember to update the privacy policy on your site as well. The deadline for this is April 8, 2009.

Bypass Blocked sites with Proxybonanza.com

This is a paid review of Proxybonanza paid proxy service. If you’re browsing the web from an office or school, you’re most likely on a highly restricted network. Many public networks block video sites like Youtube and Metacafe due to the high bandwidth that these consume.

This is a paid review of Proxybonanza paid proxy service.

If you’re browsing the web from an office or school, you’re most likely on a highly restricted network. Many public networks block video sites like Youtube and Metacafe due to the high bandwidth that these consume. Additionally, several other social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut etc. also end up being blocked. Honestly, I never understand the purpose of the latter, but then network admins do not want you spending all your time “networking” when you should be working.

One good method to bypass this is to setup tor. However, you’ll find browsing to be terribly slow. Additionally, it is also possible to block tor proxy IPs since it is an openly available list.

Then again comes in the issue of privacy when browsing sites. If you don’t want the websites you visit to detect your details, you’ll want to use a proxy.

Here’s where Proxybonanza’s proxy service comes in. Proxybonanza provides proxy IPs that support anonymous SOCKS5 and HTTP protocol. Thus, you can even use it programs that require socks5 proxy support.

Features:

  • Proxybonanza offers 2 kinds of proxy service: shared proxy and exclusive proxy (dedicated)
  • very reliable service with 99% uptime and very good connection speed
  • USA based proxies
  • IP authentication with exclusive packages
  • money back guarantee
  • up to 128 IPs
  • socks5 proxy and http proxies

Getting started is very simple. Either pick the shared proxy or exclusive proxy. There are three plans each based on the bandwidth. In case of exclusive proxy, you receive a dedicated IP address. These also offer you more bandwidth per month. The smallest shared plan gives you 3GB bandwidth which should be sufficient for most users. If you keep running out of bandwidth, you can always upgrade to higher plans or buy more bandwidth.

Once you signup and pay via PayPal, your account is setup and you can login to your user panel and view the IPs allotted to you.

Proxybonanza.com User Panel

You will then need to configure your browser to accept proxies. Read how you can do it with:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Internet Explorer
  • You can also configure your other programs, like Yahoo! Messenger or Bittorrent to use these proxies. Now, try to open that blocked site. I tried YouTube.com.

    You’ll be prompted to enter your username and password here.

    Login to Proxy Server

    On entering the details you’re in. Now, you can browse to any of the sites. You will need to login again if you close your browser.

    I tested viewing a few videos at YouTube and they streamed at a decent speed. Again, this depends on your internet connection. Overall a worthy investment if you want speed and privacy and are willing to pay for it.

    Are you already using Proxybonanza? What has been your experience so far?