Amateur Radio (a.k.a. Ham Radio)   George's Place  May 31, 2016
Privacy and Computer Security (It's far worse than you think!)
  • Browser add-ons to protect your privacy (applies to all operating systems):

    • DuckDuckGo - The capable search engine that doesn't track you.
    • Ghostery - Ghostery is my favorite browser add-on. While it can optionally forward your web activities to marketing groups, it does so without identifying you. That's how they stay in business! I'm fine with that. Everybody wins!
    • Privacy Badger - From the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
    • Ad Block Plus - Blocks tracking, malware domains, banners, pop-ups and video ads.
    • ublock - Their motto: "Content. Not Clutter."

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation - Defending your rights in a digital world.
  • Electronic Privacy Information Center - A public interest research center in Washington, DC.
  • Gibson Research Corp. - Steve Gibson is one of the good guys. His site is especially useful to MS-Windows users.
    Attention: MS-Windows version 7 & 8.1 users:
    • Without your knowledge or prior consent, Microsoft has quietly downloaded 6.5 gigabytes of MS-Windows 10 files to your computer, offering you a "free" OS upgrade. Free? Yeah, right. The primary purpose of doing this is to gain access to your data and acquire the legal right to use that data as they see fit.
    • Why? . . .
      • There is speculation on-line that Microsoft made an agreement with the DHS to surreptitiously access data on your computer. Imagine that, all without your knowledge, consent or a court order! Can this really be true? Perhaps.
      • Would Microsoft ever collect and sell your data to others for profit? Perhaps.

    • According to the MS-Windows 10 user agreement, one that few read but everyone must agree to, you now share ownership rights to everything on your MS-Windows 10 computer with Microsoft, who then has the legal right to redistribute your work files as they see fit. Are you unhappy about that? You should be. However... You agreed to it!
    • What can the MS-Windows user do to protect himself or herself and remove that 6.5GB of garbage? Once again, Steve Gibson comes to the rescue with Never10.

  • If you can hold out, here's some good news about MS-Windows 10.

  • "Microsoft’s Windows 10 is a privacy nightmare." Here's how to protect yourself  
  • Some excellent thoughts on MS-Windows 10 and how to protect yourself by a former Microsoft employee who actually likes MS-Windows 10. This is a a "must watch" for anyone considering MS-windows 10. Be sure to watch the entire video! (It's a shame that one must do this much to achieve anywhere near the level of privacy Linux has out of the box!)  
  • What Microsoft and its partners know about MS-Windows 10 users...
     MS-Windows 10 collects the following information and sends it to Microsoft:

    • Everything you type on the keyboard - MS-Windows 10 comes with a built-in keylogger.
    • MS-Windows 10 can listen to your microphone and engage your web cam in the background without you even knowing.
    • Logins and passwords to Web sites, social networks, fragments of email messages, chats and text messages
    • Your geolocation coordinates - GPS or approximate IP-based coordinates
    • Your web browsing history, including search queries
    • Wi-Fi access points and their passwords
    • List of installed applications
    • The names of music tracks you’re listening to. Why is this important for homeland security?
    • Call logs
    • Your calendar entries, events and meetings
    • Your address book
    • If you encrypt your hard drive or eMMC memory with BitLocker, recovery keys are automatically uploaded to Microsoft OneDrive. Microsoft Privacy Policy allows disclosing those keys to government agencies.

    Future MS-Windows 10 updates are rumoured to disable features if the system discovers what it considers to be “incompatible” or “unlicensed” software or hardware components. What can possibly go wrong here? (Did George Orwell have a crystal ball?)

    If you still want to use MS-Windows 10, there is some help available from SoftOrbit's Privacy Protector for Windows 10. Expect similar utilities to become available as knowledge of MS-Window 10's extensive "back doors" becomes commonplace.

    Here's a final thought for your consideration: How long will it be before identity thieves inevitably exploit the back doors put into MS-Windows 10 by Microsoft? What, if anything, can be done about it?   

  • Linux News

    • There were reports in the Linux media that Linus Torvalds, creator and current head of the Linux kernel development team, was approached by unnamed authorities and "encouraged" to place an undocumented back door in the Linux kernel. His response? "Go forth and multiply!" (my words, not necessarily his!) Linus is indeed a genuine hero to both individual computer users and honest businesses.
    • In the highly unlikely event a "back door" was somehow written into the Linux kernel source code, it would surely be discovered by the kernel developers and others during subsequent Open Source code review & testing.
    • If an end user or distro publisher compiled a Linux kernel from publicly available Open Source code, there would be no malware because there could be no "hidden" code. That's one of the many benefits of Open Source software.
 Monitor Adjustment
    Adjust your monitor's brightness and contrast to see all twenty levels of illumination in the image below.

    monitor adjustment

GNU/Linux Topics
  • Six reasons Why You Should Use Linux. Some valid ideas to seriously ponder.  
  • Linux is all about choice. For example, here is a comparison of eight of the many Linux desktop choices. BTW, your desktop choice involves more than just appearance. Each desktop typically has a unique way of doing things.
  • Linux distributions (commonly called distros) are released for specific uses: high performance computers, old PCs, servers, appliance control, firewalls, disk maintenance, etc. (There's even a distro designed to rescue corrupted MS-Windows installations!) Compare Linux distros at DistroWatch
  • Getting started with Linux: The Complete Guide.   
  • Linux can run many MS-Windows and old DOS programs, including games. This screen shot (1440p) shows one of my concurrent Linux desktops running a modern MS-Windows program for my LAN-based Software Defined Radio and an old DOS based Motorola semiconductor databook:

    linux desktop

  • My Linux system: I began using Linux in 2001 with very early versions of Mandrake Linux. Years later, I used Ubuntu. After growing weary of Ubuntu’s new "user hostile" Unity interface, I moved to Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop. BTW, I retained all of my work files during these migrations. Sweet!

    I use two monitors for my Linux installation. One (1080p) is positioned just above my radio gear and displays Ham Radio software. It works with a small wireless keyboard and mouse. The other (1440p) uses a traditional wired keyboard and the same wireless mouse. It is located on an adjacent table along with the CPU box, networked photo/document printer, networked photo/document scanner, LAN RAID 0 drives, LAN backup drives, ethernet/WiFi router, DSL modem and UPS system. There's an additional backup system kept off-line.

My Favorite Links:

  About George's Place
      First created in antiquity using Notepad and Windows 3.
      Now updated using Bluefish for Linux.
      This site best viewed using anything but MS-IE, which can change colors.  

 Comments regarding the form or content of this site are welcome. 


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