We live in a time where both States and hackers have a keen interest in your private communications and contents. Even if the State fights, very rightly, against terrorism, we think at NBS System that it does not excuse everything, and that overriding judges to get access to private conversations goes fundamentally against the principles of individual liberties that have to regulate a democracy.
Let us understand eachother clearly: we do not entice you to use anything on the Web in an illegal way, or to do illegal things. Justice is an entity we completely respect, and the public authorities usually aim at protecting individuals. If the public authorities and/or Justice ask you to provide them with the content of a conversation or an email within the frame of a legal proceeding, you will have to, and that is a good thing. We, as a hosting company, answer positively to every injunction from the judges or the State. In the same way, one must not exceed the encryption limits set by the State: it is the law, and each and everyone of us must respect it.
However, the State is not the only one who likes mass surveillance: hackers are also very interested by your data. The right to a private life being an immutable right that has to be respected, everyone has to be able to protect oneself in a legal way. The worst part of it all, in the current context, is that the “real evil ones” use, for most of them, these legal protection techniques, while the average citizen does not. This puts dangerous people out of range of the authorities while legitimizing, on the other hand, a mass surveillance of the population by the State.
That is why NBS System launches a series of three articles for you to be able to protect your life and data online. The first one sums up a few simple actions, easy to set up, to provide you with a first protection line. In the second one, we will deal with encryption for only you, or the person you want to, to be able to read your mails, files, etc. In the third one, a last, we will provide you with methods to anonymize your Internet connection, so that nobody can track the websites you visited.
Passwords are the first protectors of our data. It is thus vital to have strong passwords, in order to limit the risks of hacking. However, one can hardly understand what a strong password is without knowing the methods used by hackers to guess and break them.
To know everything on these methods and create an efficient password policy, read our dedicated article : “HowTo: have a password strategy” .
A password manager can also quickly become essential if you work on several tools and multiply the number of passwords you use. We advise you to use the following managers:
There are a lot of malevolent software going around on the web: viruses, worms, Trojan horses… These are pieces of code that can disrupt the functionning of your computer (slowdowns, access and use for illegal means, etc.), or result in data theft or an usurpation of your identity, whether to trap your friends, or for worse purposes. And these malevolent software can easily be transmitted: they can be hidden in a legitimate program, upload themselves on your computer when you visit a website or when you open an email, among others means… An Internet user can not even realize that its computer has been infected!
It has been a while since the need for an antivirus got anchored into the collective mind, and it seems that most of the people have one on their computer. It thus seems obvious, but it is of course vital to have an up-to-date antivirus, as well as an anti malware to minimize the likelihood of having one’s computer compromised. To install them, one only needs to go to their respective websites. Here are a few software that we advise you to use:
- Avast, a free antivirus
- Avira is also free
- Kaspersky, a charged one
- Eset NOD32, also charged
- MalwareBytes, a free anti-malware (there is however a Premium version)
Some IP addresses are known as malevolent (trapped IPs…). Automatically blocking them, with an IP blocker or a firewall, enables you to easily avoid interaction with them, without significantly slowing down your connection. Antiviruses tend to offer individual firewalls more and more often, but when in doubt, use an IP blocker!
If you want to, you can even add some IPs that you want to block, like the ones contained in the “DROP” and “EDROP” lists of Spamhaus, which are both famous and free.
When you visit a website, you are exposed (sometimes without even knowing it) to some more or less serious risks: tracking, non secure connections… Websites sometimes record a lot of data on you, which can lead, if they are compromised, to a public exposition of the latter.
There is a very simple solution to create a first line of securisation on your browser: extensions.
Here are thus a few browser extensions that will allow you to improve the protection of your private data:
- Adblock Plus blocks advertising, trackers (such as cookies for instance), and prevents you from visiting websites whose domain name is considered malevolent.
- uBlock Origin also blocks advertising and trackers, but also claims not to consume a lot of resources, which means that it does not impact the performances of your browser. It is available for Firefox and Chrome.
- Disconnect, there again, blocks trackers, which enables you to benefit from a private navigation. There are also paying versions of the application, offering other securisation options.
- HTTPS Everywhere encrypts your connections on the websites you visit, for the information you might give the website (login, password, credit card number) to remain unreadable by a potential hacker. This applications makes your HTTP connections HTTPS, where the S stands for Safety.
Also use the incognito mode, which exists on all browsers!
The installation of these tools should allow you to secure your browsing on the Internet without changing your habits too much. Of course, for everything to be perfect, we advise you not to use tools that are known to be invasive, obfuscated or spying such as Skype, Facebook Messenger or others, which obviously monetize your data. It seems obvious, but some things are better when said! Also avoid to multiply the number of websites where you create accounts, limit the personal information you share on social media… And read our following articles on the matter! Next publication: July 19th, for our article about encryption.
Source: Philippe Humeau & Julien Voisin