security

Encrypted Internet with WireGuard

9 minute read Enclosure Updated

How to install and configure WireGuard on Manjaro Linux, a step-by-step guide.

One of the motivations behind dual-booting Linux on my MacBook Pro was to take back control of my personal data. Not just because Apple uses faux encryption on iCloud. And not because macOS has been shown to leave users open to eavesdropping exploits. But because when I use my Mac with macOS the operating system gratuitously beams out activity records1, sharing information I’d rather keep private with people I don’t personally know nor have I ever met. And without the ability to shut it off, I find my privacy – the sentient and autonomous nature of my very being – constantly under attack.

In many instances, privacy is threatened not by singular egregious acts, but by a slow series of relatively minor acts which gradually begin to add up.

I've Got Nothing to Hide and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy

In this short guide I’ll show you how to encrypt and route your local Internet traffic through a fast, modern, and secure VPN tunnel called WireGuard using a free and open source operating system called Manjaro Linux. I will explain how to install WireGuard on Manjro, share a simple means of establishing and testing an encrypted Internet connection, and leave you with next steps and personal experience to help further your understanding and gain confidence getting started.

The Bomb I Took on 30 Flights

2 minute read Enclosure Published

I thought I bought an Apple; what I got was a lemon. A flammable one at that.

Years ago I built my own computers from parts sourced by a Chinaman who ran a small warehouse in an industrial park in Westmont, Illinois. No big box retailer could beat him on price and so I eventually became a loyal customer of Han’s. My most frequent purchases were 3.5” SATA drives which I used for system backups.

When I moved to Bali I chose not to lug around those large SATA drives. Instead I bit the bullet, dropped a cool three grand on a MacBook Pro and started paying for iCloud – expecting Apple to keep my data safe. Sadly that was a mistake.

Beyond Incognito

2 minute read Updated

Block your computer from making requests to known ad and malware servers.

I read an article on Medium titled How to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour. The article provided a number of tips for staying secure digitally. One of the tips was to use the Tor browser because popular browsers such as Safari and Chrome were not private enough – even in private mode.

What the author didn’t tell you was that it’s possible to increase your privacy without switching browsers using Dan Pollock's hosts file. A quick look at the file describes exactly what it does…

Securely Access 08chan on ZeroNet

2 minute read Published

How to use Tor and WireGuard to access ZeroNet without revealing your IP.

Daily Beast reports 8Chan refugees are leaving DARPANet, commonly known as “the Web”, for a new home on ZeroNet and doxxing their IPs in the process.

Getting on the ZeroNet can be done more discretely, however, and it’s not hard if you’re running Linux – even if running Linux on a MacBook Pro:

Alternatives to Firefox on Manjaro Linux

6 minute read Updated

A quick rundown of Firefox browser alternatives you should be aware of.

Last week Firefox suffered multiple zero-day vulnerabilities, prompting renewed interest in a browser discussion thread on the Manjaro Forums.

Ironically the reason I’m using Manjaro in the first place is because macOS itself had several zero-day vulnerabilities recently, prompting me to perform a serious back-up of macOS and all my files on iCloud.

Thankfully switching browsers is trivial compared to switching operating systems on macOS. So herein I’ll show you how to easily install a few different browsers so you can try them out and decide for yourself which you prefer.

Burying Firefox's White Tab of Death

3 minute read Updated

How to change the Firefox New Tab page for suitable display in low-light.

I don’t know about you but I really like dark interfaces. Dark interfaces use less battery on AMOLED screens, reduce eye strain at night, and help protect you from shoulder surfers and nosy bar flies. Plus they just look good.

Which is why I was a bit miffed after installing ghacks-user.js to lock-down security in Firefox Quantum. I finished setup right before bed, opened the browser and – WHAM – my entire room illuminated with New Tab page:

Managing Passwords on Android

2 minute read Updated

How to secure your passwords and keep them synced between devices.

After hacking Android onto an HD2 previously running Windows Mobile I quickly became challenged with the task of recalling passwords for frequently used apps – apps like Telegram, ProtonMail, Binance, Snapchat you name it.

And although long-term password management may feel like a burdensome task to some a steadfast approach is critical for security and relatively painless for anyone who’s been using a KeePass port the last decade.

Secure Your Digital Life

8 minute read Updated

Safeguard your privacy online. Arm yourself with knowledge and use these tips, tools and techniques to secure your digital life.

I’m no Steve Wozniak but I carry a healthy distrust of computers. After hearing of the Equifax data breach affecting the privacy of more than 145 million Americans, learning Uber paid and tried to cover up the loss of 57 million driver and passenger records and seeing the lasting impact of the Meltdown attack I’m starting to understand the gravity this quote from Woz:

Spoofing IoT Device MAC Addresses

2 minute read Updated

Connecting devices like the RPi or Apple TV to public networks requiring browser-based auth can be a drag. But that shouldn't stop you from hacking your way in. Find out how.

Imagine your sitting at a cafe on some exotic island after your last visa run to Sim Lim Square in Singapore where you picked up a CCTV Wi-Fi camera to protect your valuables and nerd out on gadgets.

You unbox your new toy only to realize you can’t connect it because the cafe you’re sitting at is using a captive portal.

Gah! What to do… Shell into the device and use wget or curl? Fuggetaboutit.

You reach into your Tortuga carry-on bag, pull out your laptop and do the only sensible thing you can think of—spoof the device’s MAC address.

Here’s how to spoof the MAC address of an IoT device using macOS.

The Web We Have to Save

3 minute read Published

Regarding Sir Tim-Berners Lee's article on saving the Web

In March of 2017 Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web posted a short article on The Guardian covering three things we need to do to save the Web.

To paraphrase, they are:

  • Increase individual control over sharing of personal data
  • Improve diversity in Social media and Search channels
  • Create more transparency behind political advertising

The third of which is, in my opinion, really just an extension of the second, so let’s briefly cover the first two and what you can do as individuals to address Tim’s concerns right now. When you’re finished, you’ll have a deeper understanding of how to protect your privacy online.

Password Protection with PassKeeper

3 minute read Updated

How I lost all my passwords but it didn't affect me one bit.

After recently losing a USB flash drive with all my passwords on it, I was grateful for the precaution I took by storing my password data encrypted using Brad Greenlee’s PassKeeper password manager.

PassKeeper is a Windows utility that allows you to keep a list of accounts with usernames, passwords, and notes. This list is stored encrypted.

passkeeper.com