Tag Archives: privacy

Who’s looking through your Windows?

I’m not a tech blogger, nor do I play one on TV. I would if anyone asked, I’m sure. But let’s be honest, no one is asking.

But sometimes, things in life just sort of can’t be ignored. I recently bought a little tablet hybrid. Meaning it’s a tablet with a detachable keyboard. I put much thought into my purchase. I chose one with decent reviews from a company that seemed to have good customer service. I chose one that can be charged from 100 -240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal so it could be charged about anywhere, it has good hardware, good ports including a SD card slot that can give me 128 GB extra storage besides the 64 GB it comes with. It has a trackpad, I found out last year trying to blog off my PlayBook that inserting hyperlinks without a mouse or trackpad is a hyper-nightmare. It comes in Rouge Pink.

It also came with Windows 10.

Perhaps I should say the poor thing came infected with Windows 10. I haven’t read much good about Windows 10, and personally I left windoze behind when I bought a new computer infected with Windoze Vista. The word Vista still makes me a little nauseous.

After obsessively checking the FedEx website about 5 times a day the little thing finally arrived. I charged it for the requested 9 hours while I was at work. Hey, I couldn’t use it, but I could look at it’s shiny pink shell. And smile. Ahh yes, the plans I have for you little hybrid!

Finally, 9 hours into my shift and it’s the “q” word. In my business we don’t say the “q” word meaning lack of utter chaos. Saying the “q” word aloud brings down utter chaos upon us. I fire it up and am greeted with it’s cheerful start up logo, then it’s time to set it up. The first screen basically says we are going to set things up, like time, date and language. The “next” button is in it’s usual spot to the bottom right of the page. There is some small writing in the lower left. It says you can customize settings. Ok, let’s. I click on that. Had I done the express set up as I suspect many do this is what I would have missed.

Privacy per Micro$oft
Privacy per Micro$oft

Followed by

The spyware known as Windows 10
The spyware known as Windows 10

I’m sure you are not shocked to find all these settings were turned ON by default. All of them.

And once you shut those off? You also need to go into app permissions, because by default their apps (many of which can’t be uninstalled) have permission to access everything. To get a browser different than Microsoft’s Edge to work required using command line and doing a command line reset. You know, the usual stuff.

So, automatically connect to things shared by my contacts. MicroSnoop will know who all my contacts are. It tells you it is collecting your browsing habits and sending the data to MicroSnoop, it basically collects everything about you and sends it to MicroSnoop. In fact, it is basically turning my little rouge pink traveling buddy into one little tracking device. Sort of like having Bill Gates staring through the window at everything you do…the voyeur.

Pity the people that want to keep their Windoze 7 or 8. Windoze 10 is being pushed off on them if they have recommended updates turned on. In addition to badgering them frequently to upgrade, it’s now just downloading and installing it. Oh, and on Windoz10, you can NOT turn off installing updates, at least not like before.

I realize we are already being tracked like crazy. A friend of mine was telling me about recently doing a google search for HazMat gear. When she logged into Facebook the next time she was greeted with many ads for HazMat materials. You know, the usual stuff that pops up on most womens Facebook pages.

This article has a more humorous take on it, but it’s still true.

Many states are trying to implement the REAL ID act by hook or by crook, in my state it was by crook, but hey, we have a dem governor. There are a host of potential expensive problems created for citizens and their states. But you have to admit, sure will be handy having all that data on people in one giant storage bin. Biometric data, friends, surfing habits, web searches. Even obamacare helps out. The majority of the veterans denied their Second Amendment rights have been turned in by the Veterans Administration. Now even if you’re not a veterans you too can experience the fun since your medical records are now electronic and can be accessed by a whole lot of people other than your doctor. Gee, even your children help out with data collection on the family unit via common (rotten to the) core helpfully pushed along by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Shock, gasp, awe, astonishment? Not so much.

So with all that tracking going on, I really don’t need my little pink hybrid friend ratting me out to MicroSnoop and any other giant data bases with whom they chose to share information. It’s no one’s business if I surf Drudge, Israeli news sites, Second Amendment sites and listen to the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Matisyahu, Tom T. Hall, Glenn Campbell and Yossi Azulay on YouTube. It just isn’t.

I waffled on writing about this, but when I saw this line in Kit’s column

Understanding how to set up and maintain those networks and infrastructure is the difference between a stagnant movement and a liberty resistance.

I decided to go ahead. Crucial to networks is their ability to do their job, as it needs to be done. For a few hundred years tyrants have known to maintain control, data collection is invaluable.

 

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Kerfl-APPLE

I know, it’s usually kerfluffle, but it this case, kerfl-APPLE seems more appropriate. I realize it’s not strictly gun related, but considering privacy is a part of freedom, this bothers me. I have certain things in life, just like we all do that we consider our private information. It seems daily what the government will allow us to keep private shrinks. Of course, there is always a “good reason” for the need to violate our privacy. I’m still miffed that when I buy a phone now there are presidential alerts that I can not unsubscribe from. Barry didn’t buy my phone, he doesn’t pay my phone bill, and yet, there is that stupid Presidential alerts so he can address me any time he feels the need. Frankly, I doubt there is anything of interest he could say thatI would find it worth having this feature. Well, except “I resign, effective now”.

So back to Apple and the iPhone. I don’t have an iPhone, so I don’t really have a horse in this race. But as I understand it Apple’s iPhone has a reputation of security. The San Bernadino terrorist ***** (I’m not giving the name, let it be lost to time) had a government issued iPhone.

The FBI wants to crack it. The problem is, after ten attempts to access the iPhone, it automatically wipes clean. This particular iPhone the FBI wants to explore? The FBI has now admitted they’re the ones that directed the Police to change the password to the iCloud back-up, and they have access to all the data in the iCloud which had been recently updated. But as there is more info on the phone than in the cloud, they want the phone cracked. They want Apple to create a “backdoor” to their software. They want a version of the OS that will allow the FBI to use their brute force software to get into a phone without causing it to erase.

This does not bode well for the Americans with an iPhone.

According to TechCrunch, the government is asking for three things from Apple:

  • Disable or bypass the auto-erase function of iOS. This erases your phone if too many wrong passwords are input. A commonly enabled setting on corporate phones — which the iPhone 5c owned by the government agency for which ****** worked — is.
  • Remove the delay on password inputs so that the FBI can ‘guess’ the passcode on the phone quicker, without it locking them out for minutes or hours, which is what iOS does to stop any random thief from doing this kind of thing. The inputs would be lowered to around 80 milliseconds, which would allow the password to be guessed in under an hour if it were 4 digits and significantly longer if it were more.
  • Allow the FBI to submit passcode via the physical port on the phone, or a wireless protocol like Bluetooth or WiFi.

So once Apple has built the new OS with the backdoor, the government can access people’s iPhones if they need to, or have a good reason, or want to.

But so can a good hacker.

As Wired pointed out, after Edward Snowden’s bombshells, the American people that care about this sort of thing really sat up and took notice. They wanted better encryption and better safeguards for the privacy and security of their personal data. The later iPhones no longer even have the capability of being opened by Apple. The earlier ones did have a keyhole, and Apple had the key, not so with the newer ones. Apple threw away the key. Sort of like Ladar Levison, owner of Lavabit trashing his own servers and destroying all his work to protect the privacy of his email customers who paid the princely sum of $8 a year for a secure email account.

Wired also pointed out FBI director James Comey’s claims that if Apple doesn’t cave the US is “no longer a country governed by the rule of law.” is well, crAPPLE.

A former head of the NSA and the CIA is also saying Apple shouldn’t give in to the FBI, and why.

What I think it boils down to? The FBI is using the one iPhone of ***** to demand Apple weaken it’s security, leaving owners of it’s product at risk of government intrusion, as well as vulnerable to hackers, and making the pricy phone a bigger target for theft. Not to mention, as one of the article pointed out

the fact that the government would be weakening the security of a private company’s product, potentially impacting the civil liberties of American citizens and foreign nationals worldwide that use those products.

That’s always good for a companies reputation and profitability, right?

But not to worry, we can trust the US government not to break their word not to spy on Americans! They would never, rarely, seldom, not without a good reason, likely spy on people they have promised not to spy on.

Knowledge is power, the more knowledge they have of people and their private information the greater the leverage, right?

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”~~ Benjamin Franklin. Wise man Ben.

Some of our great comments on this brought this little video back to the front of my mind.

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FEELING A BIT, WELL, DUMB

A friend sent me a story the other day about how Chrysler cars could be hacked and controlled. This is not a trifling deal like the Iranian nuke deal either. This is a big important deal if you happen to be driving one of these vehicles that is connected to the Sprint wireless program Uconnect.

Hackers can cut the brakes, shut down the engine, drive it off the road, or make all the electronics go haywire.


Uh oh.

But to be fair, it seems that the only reason that the article is about Chrysler products is because the investigators are

a tiny team that lacks the funding to keep buying cars and the time to break into them.

Uh oh.

Sprint, as network controller could block the hacks, but has not said if it will do so, just that it is working with Chrysler.

You can read the whole article yourself.

I can save the team some footwork and expense though. Government Motors onStar is a huge liability. At the very least to your privacy, and that’s NOT if it’s hacked. Turns out that onStar collects quite a lot of information on vehicles and sends it to Government Motors. Well, and third parties, not defined or designated. But hacked, why yes indeed. An article came out yesterday that onStar can be hacked and it seems Government Motors is far less willing than Chrysler to acknowledge or discuss fix. Government Motors told the hacker who contacted them it had fixed the vulnerability.

Kamkar said he discussed the fix with representatives from GM, but their efforts failed to thwart the attack method he uncovered, which uses a device he built and dubbed ‘OwnStar.'”

“They have not yet fixed the bug that ‘OwnStar’ is exploiting,” he told Reuters.

I’m shocked, shocked I say. Uh oh.

You can read the whole article yourself.

Beyond that, some people are incredible creatures called “nerds”, and they read changes in things called “Terms and Conditions”. Some of these “nerds” have blogs, where they put in regular people language what these things say. One such “nerd” detailed what he found out about the changes in onStar’s terms and conditions and what it meant for regular humans. Not good stuff, but if you use or have used onStar you might want to give it a read.

You can read the whole article yourself.

The right wing conspiracy publication known as USAToday came out with an article a couple years ago talking about the pending installation of “black boxes” into the moving data collection devices that used to be known as the family car. USAToday does a nice job of detailing what all can and will be collected and again how it can be used. The black boxes are not the same as onStar, this is a separate avenue of data collection. Although we have nothing to fear from this. Nothing at all.

Fears have been “blown out of proportion,” says Mukul Verma, a former top GM safety expert who is now a consultant. “I don’t think there is any chance of it being used or misused without people’s permission.”

You can read the whole article yourself.

Uh oh.

Sure makes one wish for the good old fashioned cars doesn’t it? One you could just drive. Yeah, I did when I needed to get a car a couple years ago. I knew exactly what brand I wanted, and hunted and hunted and hunted for one. Most of the dealerships I stopped at or contacted gave me the same information. “I’m sorry ma’am, but since cash for clunkers happened those are hard to find. In fact good used cars that people wanted that they could just buy outright are VERY hard to find. But we have a really nice Chevy Cruze, or this gently used Chevy Volt. If you don’t mind a little singeing, we have almost all the burn smell out of it now. Can give you a really good deal on it.” Ok, I admit, I made up the last part about the Volt, but not the rest of it.

Yep, I do love technology, I really do. I adore my phone, my computer and my tablet. But let’s be honest, they have vulnerabilities. I suppose if you choose to get one of those cars with that kind of technology you can decide for yourself the risk to benefit ratio.

But any time you get something with mechanical moving parts and introduce electronic control into it I think there is probably a risk. We should each get to decide if we take the risk or no.

That being said the last electronic I wish to draw your attention to is the “smart gun”. From Bearing Arms today comes a article about rifles using TrackingPoint technology. A married couple has figured out how to hack into TrackingPoint. They can use a wireless connection to change the information and even the target the gun tells the shooter they are aiming for. Wired details all the work the couple did and what all they can do with it.

You can read the whole article yourself.

Uh oh.

Smart gun technology, you know, the kind gun grabbing politicians keep telling us will keep us “safe”. It will prevent the “evil handguns that only have a purpose to kill” from doing so, according to Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who wants them banned. Seeing as how they have no “sporting purpose”. Smart gun technology, like having to wear a special watch to be able to use your gun. What could go wrong with that? Or your gun has to recognize your fingerprint to use your gun. While you may be annoyed your spouse used your toothbrush, I’m pretty sure if they need to use YOUR gun, it is important.

I don’t hate technology, but it does seem we are losing choice in just how much of it is allowed into our daily lives. And it seems to me, that when the direction that push is coming from is the government, the results won’t be good. After all, what could go wrong?

From the Bearing Arms Article

By their computerized nature, any computerized “smart” gun can be rendered inoperable just as the TrackingPoint was in this test, and some smart guns are rumored to have been designed from the ground up to be rendered inoperable with the push of a button by either the manufacturer, or by government itself.

Uh oh.

Ok, this one is just for a grin. No “uh oh” honest.

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