The Feds Want to "Collect It All"...
by Doug Hill
“This is a big deal.” Privacy expert and Laissez Faire Letter contributor Mike Leahy knew what was at stake upon learning of the mass surveillance programs headed up by the NSA... your privacy, as well as the privacy of every other person on earth
Mike emailed me in the days following the Edward Snowden leaks, the now infamous whistleblower who exposed the dirty little secrets of the NSA.
He summed up their plan in one sentence...
“Collect it all.” “Collect as much information about as many people as possible and keep it stored… just in case.”
In case of what? Who knows. But it’s certainly not good. Because you know they’re using it for their own purposes... not yours. It’s interesting however, the information they’ve collected hasn’t foiled a single terrorist attack since the Patriot Act gave them the legal right to ‘bulk-collect’ your data. So what exactly do they need all that information for? Whatever the NSA believes is necessary.
Since Snowden’s revelation a year ago, Mike has been uncovering free market solutions to share with you. Below we share some of his easy to follow instructions on how to live a more private life, if you so choose.
Let Mike Leahy tell you one easy way you can secure your private information without having to download any complicated computer program.
There are literally thousands of articles and tips available online about keeping your PC, phone, or other digital devices secure. Often, the advice given in one article contradicts the advice given in another. You’re left frustrated and without a clear idea of how to protect yourself.
(1) Never log in to your computer under the “administrator” account, except to install software.
This prevents users from making changes to a computer’s operating system and software and from accessing the computer via an online connection.
By following this rule, you limit the potential for inadvertently downloading malware, spyware, and other destructive code. Quite simply, running a computer as an administrator gives every program you run unlimited access to your computer. It also increases the possibility of security and privacy breaches exponentially.
Logging on as a user prevents hackers from:
In general, using your user login restricts access to your data and prevents hackers from disabling your anti-viral software and causing damage to your hard drive.
- Installing software on your computer that allows them to see what you type on your keyboard or monitoring your network
- Installing a program on your computer that you never see. Some viruses “run in the background” and can control your computer, collect information, and send information to the hacker
- Modifying the add-ons to your browser software that enhance your browsing experience but could leave your computer vulnerable to attack through the browser
- Installing spyware or other malicious code.
(2) The use of robust password protection is critical to maintaining your digital security and privacy.
A password is a secret character string used to authenticate a user’s identity. Password strength is a function of its length and complexity. The key to a strong password is the unpredictability of the characters that it incorporates.
For example, most common passwords can incorporate uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and the various symbols present on a typical computer keyboard. The more variables used (known as “key space”), the stronger the password.
If you have a 26-character set of potential password elements and you increase the password length from four to 12 elements, the resulting “key space” increases 200 hundred-billionfold.
That number is incredibly large. Here’s an analogy.
Imagine that the length of a password represents the distance between two points. A relatively “simple” password consisting of eight characters would only be 11 inches long.
Add another character to that and the distance jumps to 57 feet. Better, but not great. A 10-character password would be about 3,500 feet long. And an 11-character password would be 41 miles.
But if you were to add one more and create a 12-character password, that would represent a distance of 2,600 miles! To put that in perspective, that’s roughly the distance between San Francisco and New York.
Prudence favors longer passwords over more complex passwords. So remember to use at least 12 characters for any password you create!
Don’t Fall Into This Trap!
It is also very important to remember that password complexity can be compromised by adherence to popular methodologies that suggest using a specific pattern of potential elements in developing a password. Most articles about password security suggest adopting a password creation method of using “at least” eight characters. They further suggest including at least one capital letter, one lowercase letter, one “symbol,” and one integer.
But remember the old saying, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.”
Most people who adopt this approach follow a similar pattern. Their password begins with a single capital letter followed by five lower case letters, and then by one symbol and one integer.
Passwords based on such patterns may meet complexity and length requirements.
Hackers and snoops are aware of these patterns and will attack passwords accordingly. So remember to avoid conventional wisdom patterns for any password you create!
If you never go to the Web as an “administrator” and you follow the above simple password rules in your Internet use from your personal computer, you will be more secure in your computer privacy than 97% of all personal computer users!
Click to download our entire privacy report “Make Yourself Invisible to the NSA” And whenever Mike comes across something you need to know about, you’ll see it in Laissez Faire.
2015 Laissez Faire Books, LLC