All posts tagged “Protect”

Protect your work from digital thieves

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Protecting your intellectual property online can be a legal minefield, so it’s important for anyone operating or posting their work on the web to be aware of where they are most vulnerable. As a partner solicitor at Blacks Solicitors LLP in Leeds, specialising in media, music and entertainment law, I regularly work with clients in the web development, graphic and web design sectors.

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How to protect yourself from troublesome clients

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Not all clients are good at communicating. In the latest installment of our clients from hell mini-series, Denmark-based graphic designer Maria Grønlund offers sage advice on how to deal with clients who don’t respond and their nightmare cousins – clients who don’t know when to give you the space to work…

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Alpinestars’ Wearable Airbag for Motorcyclists : The new Tech-Air Street System detects crashes and deploys in milliseconds to protect the wearer’s vital organs

Alpinestars' Wearable Airbag for Motorcyclists

Motorsports outfitter Alpinestars has reached another milestone in its illustrious 50-year history. After giving professional motorcycle racers and track riders the Tech-Air Race electronic airbag suit—which in essence inflates at the very moment……

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4 Extreme Ways People Protect Their Privacy

Edward Snowden may be old news as his leaks on the US National Security Agency (NSA) have just passed their one year mark. However, international relations have soured since then and changing the public’s damaged perception would be an uphill challenge.

The impact of the NSA leaks also affects us, the average citizen of today. We are more sensitive about our social media accounts’ privacy settings, as evident from our reactions when Facebook experimented on manipulating our timeline feeds. With this heightened sense that someone is always watching us, tech trends and our Internet habits have changed as well.

1. The rise of the anonymous and ephemeral apps. More people have started using Whisper, Secret and Snapchat especially teenagers. Younger people in general have a greater awareness in online privacy which lead them to change their Internet usage habits. Of course, there’s a slew of other reasons as to why they change their online behaviour and this is just one of them.

2. Major tech companies have beefed up their security. This came about when the Snowden revealed that Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Apple provided their users data to the NSA through the agency’s PRISM program. Tech companies initially denied this until the evidence showed that they did unwillingly in accordance to the law, to their horror. To date, Google and Yahoo have enabled encryption for email. Facebook encode the site and all its data in SSL whereas Microsoft took the legalistic route by demanding for a reform in the law.

3. People are more aware of anonymous browsing sites like DuckDuckGo and Tor. After the NSA and its PRISM program broke on Jun 6, 2013, DuckDuckGo saw an increase of traffic and search queries of 3 million a day. Tor’s usage undoubtedly increased too but the NSA knows when you are on the browser. Its security is top notch though as the NSA has repeatedly tried and failed to breach the browser.

4. The emergence of a new tech privacy market. This saw the creation of the Blackphone which was much touted as an NSA-proof phone. Besides the Blackphone, Boeing came up with a self-destruct phone and free Internet provider FreedomPop invented what it dubs as the Snowden Phone that has a feature to wipe out the phone’s contents.

The above are however relatively tamer measures compared to the extreme ones below:

1. Hiring a Digital bodyguard

Glenn Greenwald is among the first few journalist that Snowden leaked the documents to. His reports on the NSA leaks that were published in The Guardian have put him almost on the same pedestal as Snowden. It has also unwittingly, put Greenwald at high risk of the NSA (or other foreign spies) intercepting the top secret information that he still receives from Snowden.

(Image source: Mashable)

Enter Micah Lee, digital bodyguard and tech security extrodinaire. Lee was hired to join The Intercept, the media outlet Greenwald set up with fellow journalists, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras, to help secure the journalists’ computers. To do that, Lee had to replace the operating system to Linux, install firewall, disk encryption and other various software.

(Image source: Mashable)

So good was Lee at his job that he ended up helping other journalists from other media outlets to secure their computers and brief them on computer security. No journalist is safe as there have been reports of the US Department of Justice demanding some to reveal their sources in the past as well as obtaining phone records from news wire Associated Press.

Although hiring a digital bodyguard for reporters is not widely practiced at other news outlets, it may soon be, as long as the NSA continues to poke around. So far, the only other media company that adopted The Intercept’s security modal is The Washington Post, which hired privacy and security researcher Ashkan Soltani to work alongside the other reporter working on the NSA leaks, Barton Gellman.

2. Going low tech

Among the countries that were spied on by the NSA, Germany felt the most insulted. Not only were their leaders spied on like chancellor Angela Merkel whose mobile phone was tapped for years, an agent in their intelligence services was found selling confidential documents to the US. The agent has since been arrested. This also led to the expulsion of another top CIA officer residing in Germany.

(Image source: Mashable)

International relations with the US, needless to say, worsened at this point. It got so bad that it brought about an increase in encryption services as well as a decline in technology use. Politicians eventually came up with the idea to invest in and communicate internally with typewriters. There are also talks to play classical music during parliament sessions to deter anyone from listening in.

Despite this extreme switch to low tech, Germany isn’t the first country to do so. Soviet state Russia quickly invested in some 20 units of typewriters following Snowden’s expose last year in a bid to avoid internal communications from being leaked. Each typewriter is said to have a unique signature in order for documents typed on it to be easily traced back to.

3. Using make-up

One of the revelations that was released over time was that the NSA collects images for facial recognition. The Atlantic associate editor Robinson Meyer was concerned about this fact and wondered if there’s a way to thwart the cameras that are probably tracking him down. Meyer eventually decided to apply an interesting make-up called CV Dazzle and wrote about his experience.

(Image source: Adam Harvey)

CV Dazzle was invented by then New York University student Adam Harvey for his Interactive Telecommunications Program in 2010. Inspired by WWI naval camouflage called Dazzle, the make-up includes obscuring tonal areas of the face such as the cheeks with paint and draping hair across the nose bridge. At the time of creation, Harvey merely wanted to get around Facebook’s newest feature which uses facial recognition algorithm for auto-tagging photos.

(Image source: The New York Times)

Wearing CV Dazzle while going about his everyday life, undoubtedly made Meyer stand out. He did however note that when he tested the make-up with his iPhone’s camera algorithm, it couldn’t register his face. How effective CV Dazzle has against facial recognition technology in the long run however remains to be seen.

4. Modifying clothes

Building on the work he has done with CV Dazzle, Adam Harvey went on to develop a range of clothing dubbed as Stealth Wear. The artist and privacy advocate collaborated with fashion designer Johanna Bloomfield to create the clothing whilst he was experimenting on metalized fabric. Stealth Wear is meant to hide the wearer from thermal imaging cameras and drones.

(Image source: Adam Harvey)

Harvey is not the only one to get into anti-surveillance clothes judging by the emerging popularity of wearable tech. Montreal fashion designer Ying Gao had came up with dresses in 2013 that will deconstruct when exposed to a camera’s flash. This year, Austrian architecture firm Coop-Himmelblau came up with the Jammer Coat which shields wireless signals from the wearer’s phone, rendering the person invisible to tracking software or search engines.

10 Free Crypto Apps To Help Protect Your Online Privacy

Many of us have uploaded our lives onto the Internet, to the point that we cannot imagine living without it. We use online services that we entrust to keep our data secure and private. Unfortunately, many of us don’t realize that it’s not truly secure as they are subject to many third parties that can view its content, from the company providing the service to the government itself.

Most of the time, we might not mind this but sometimes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. From sensitive personal data to work related materials, we all have information that we wish to keep private. When we use the word crypto, we mean that these apps will help you make most of your online activity more secure and private, shielding it from being spied upon. With that said, here are 10 free apps that will help you protect your online privacy.

1. Tails OS (Operating System)

Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) is built upon the idea of privacy and anonymity for the user. Everything that could be done and every tool that could help has been added to the OS. For one, it is a live OS, meant to be run on a CD or a USB drive, leaving absolutely no trace of your activity on the computer’s drive.

Second is that every single connection through the internet must be relayed through the Tor network, meaning that your online activity will be anonymized. Every app in the OS has been configured with privacy and secrecy in mind. For example, both the e-mail and messaging client includes encryption tools. [Get it here]


2. Replicant (Operating System)

Replicant is a mobile OS based on Android that aims to replace every single bit of proprietary software on the phone with free (as in speech) software. The reasoning behind this is that those proprietary components could have a backdoor access in them to your phone and data. With free software, the source will be open and can be subjected to scrutiny.

Currently, Replicant is able to run mostly on Samsung devices, mainly the Galaxy S series and all of the software included is free software, meaning no Google Apps such as Gmail, Maps, Play Store, etc. It comes with its own app store, F-Droid, that is filled only with free, open source software. [Get it here]


3. Tor Browser (Web Browser)

We have briefly covered the Tor Project on this site before and how it works. As a brief recap, Tor works by bouncing your online activity through several relay proxies that are part of the Tor network. Doing so will help obscure the point of origin and the requested content made from your machine.

The Tor Browser is a modified version of Firefox that is provided by the Tor Project, which gives the user an easy way to access the Tor network. In addition to Tor, the browser includes other tools to help with the anonymizing process, including NoScript (to prevent any sort of script from running) and HTTPS-Everywhere, which enables HTTPS on websites by default. [Get it here]

Tor Browser

4. OwnCloud (Online Storage)

When you are using an online storage provider such as Dropbox or Google Drive, you are trusting them with your data and its security. There have been several instances where the security of the data held by these companies have been compromised. The best solution is to create your own cloud.

OwnCloud allows you to build your own, personal cloud, where you control everything about it, from the disk size to the hardware. There is no third party involved in handling your data, meaning that the chances of someone peeking into your data is lower. The only one responsible and in charge of the privacy and security of your data is you. [Get it here]


5. Boxcryptor (Online Storage)

Even with the risks, there are still reasons to use a third party online storage provider. It’s easy, cheap and convenient. In this case, there are ways to protect your online data from being pried upon. The best way is to encrypt the data stored on your online drive, so that no one will be able to view the contents.

Enter Boxcryptor, an app that will easily allow you to encrypt the files that live on your online storage drives. Boxcryptor will work on the major online storage providers and uses AES-256 and RSA encryption algorithms. The keys to decrypt your data are yours alone so even the company that created Boxcryptor cannot decrypt your data. [Get it here]


6. ProtonMail (Email)

The majority of us rely on email in our day-to-day lives. Most people would prefer it that our emails are kept private, as some of them may contain sensitive information related to work or our private lives. While most of the major email providers have some sort of privacy tools to protect your email, most of them have the ability to read your email, if they wanted.

ProtonMail is a service currently in beta and you have to request for an invite to create an account but it promises to offer an easy way to keep your email safe and secure from any type of snooping. ProtonMail offers end-to-end encryption and no one but the person who holds the key to decrypt them can gain access, not even ProtonMail themselves. ProtonMail is cross platform and you can still send encrypted and unencrypted email to other services. [Get it here]


7. Cryptocat (Messaging)

Everyone loves to communicate with a good messaging app. Did you know that WhatsApp alone processes more that 20 billion messages a day? And what if we told you that that those 20 billion messages are not completely secure? While many of those sent are not important enough to qualify for any protection, some people may need a messaging app that provides security and privacy.

Crytocat is a popular messaging app that will encrypt your messages before it leaves for the intended recipient. It is easy to use and set up, living as an extension in your browser or as an app. The service uses Off-The-Record Messaging, a protocol that is designed to encrypt instant messaging conversations, meaning only you and the recipient will have access to the messages. [Get it here]



8. Pidgin (Messaging)

Pidgin is a versatile, multi-platform instant messaging client, letting you chat with many of the online chat services that you may already be using, such as Facebook, so you can have all of your chat sessions under one app. The app is free and open source, so the source code can be viewed and studied.

The main reason that the app is on the list is its ability to add Off-The-Record Messaging on top of the those protocols. For example, with Pidgin, you and your friends are able to have a encrypted conversation over Facebook, meaning no one but you and the intended recipient will have access to the messages, not even Facebook. [Get it here]


9. Linphone (Telephony)

If you want an internet phone app that is both secure and encrypted, with immunity from wiretapping, Linphone provides both a service and app that can help you with that. Linphone is another free and open source app that lets you place calls using a standard known as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which is an open protocol, unlike Skype, which is closed.

In addition to the app, Linphone has a service where you can create your own SIP account with them to get you started using the app. The great thing about a SIP account is that you are not tied in to the app, and can be used by other telephony apps that support SIP. [Get it here]


10. OnionShare (File Sharing)

A new, command line based app written in Python and created by Micah Lee, who works for Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept news site. If the name Glenn Greenwald doesn’t ring a bell, he is the reporter who broke the news about the NSA leaks. The app has a single purpose, which is to allow you to share your files through the internet anonymously through Tor.

It does this by using the Tor hidden services. When you share a file, the app will create an unguessable .onion URL, which can only be accessed by using a Tor Browser, ensuring anonymity for the parties involved. To share the file, you will have to pass on the .onion URL to the intended recipient. [Get it here]

How to protect your designs from copyright thieves

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Put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard or instrument to record and you create something from nothing. You are the sole legal and moral owner of that sentence, artwork or noise, and laws exist to ensure your rights of ownership are protected.

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This sleek site aims to protect the African elephant

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US-based Viget Labs has created an awareness-focused web experience to enlist support for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s mission to protect African elephants. Its most recent campaign is 96 Elephants, so-called because that’s how many elephants are killed every day in Africa.

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Access a Lifetime of Photos Anywhere with LyveHome: Wirelessly collect and protect thousands of images and videos from all your devices in one physical place

Access a Lifetime of Photos Anywhere with LyveHome

Since the recent advent of streaming music services, these days most smartphone storage is consumed solely by photos and videos—and the more you take, the more GBs you need. LyveHome—an absolute standout at CES 2014—is changing…

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Cool Hunting

Protect WordPress sites with .htaccess

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WordPress is without doubt the most popular CMS at this moment in time, dwarfing other options such as Joomla and Drupal. While this is a good thing for WordPress, it now has a very large and active community contributing plug-ins, themes and fixes, but with this growth it now also has its bad points… When anything becomes this big, people will find ways to attack the CMS in question for whatever reason they see fit. So how do you protect your WordPress site?

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Email Address Encryption. How to Protect Yourself from Spam

How to prevent your email address to be included into spam mailing list? The easiest solution is to convert it into hex. Want to feel safe? Welcome to the blog post.
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