Amateur Radio (a.k.a. Ham Radio)     April 17, 2016
Privacy and Computer Security (It's worse than you think!)
  • Browser add-ons to protect your privacy (applies to all operating systems):

    • DuckDuckGo - The 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 purpose of doing this is simple: 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. ...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 agrees 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.

  • What Microsoft & Their Partner(s) Know About MS-Windows 10 Users...  
     MS-Windows 10 collects extensive amounts of information about its users. The following information is collected and transmitted to Microsoft:

    • Everything you type on the keyboard - Windows 10 comes with a built-in keylogger.
    • MS-Windows 10 can listen to your microphone and engage your webcam 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
    • Information about your listening preferences including the names of music tracks you’re listening to.
    • 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 by request.

    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 is it going to take before identity thieves 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 manager 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 his!) Linus is indeed a genuine hero to both individual computer users and honest businesses.
    • If a "back door" were somehow written into the Linux kernel source code, it would surely be discovered by the kernel developers during subsequent 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.

GNU/Linux Topics
  • 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 on Linux
  • 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:

  • 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.

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


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