Phone privacy

Which Countries Have the Least Internet Freedom

This week we received an email from our friends at comparitech.com. They’ve put together research and awesome infographics of privacy in other countries, including internet privacy. There’s some really surprising information here and you should check it out.

https://www.comparitech.com/blog/information-security/cyber-security-statistics/

They’ve pulled together data from 10 different sources to provide a comprehensive picture of not only which countries have the best and worst track record in terms of Internet freedom and cybersecurity but also those countries that are least prepared and most vulnerable.cyber internet attack

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What Information Can be Found With a Phone Number

When you consider connecting the dots to create a picture, imagine your phone number as the dot that connects everything else they know about you.  Even if they have it all, it is up to you whether or not they have the dot with your phone number to complete the picture.phone hacker

All it takes to find everything is to just find that phone number connected to one of the many things we already know like your facebook account (which requires a phone number) or any shopping card from a corporate retailer you may have given your number to.  Do you still believe those corporations don’t sell or trade your private information?  Well even if you do, it doesn’t matter because they are all systematically hacked a bare minimum of every 3-5 years.

Any email you get for free is being picked off as we speak.  It doesn’t matter if you gave the provider any phone information or not.  All you have to do is reveal your phone number in the text of an email and boom!! Mission accomplished!!  Free emails mine everything that comes across your screen, including drafts.  Why do you think they always want you to “secure” your email account with a phone number?

If you have connected to an old friend or new business acquaintance by email or social media and given them your phone number in a message it is connecting you to that phone number and that media account.

It’s called the world wide WEB for a reason.  Everything you do is sucked into a giant computer and maintained for profit and micromanagement of the public.  A good researcher can take an unknown phone number and use cell towers to “pair” it with other devices already known to be in your name.  For example: a burner phone (see our article on burner phones https://privacyliving.com/2016/05/17/what-is-a-burner-phone-how-can-it-help-me/ ) can have its owner pegged pretty efficiently when it is continually detected near the same owner’s normal cell phone or other smart device.  This can include cars with smart devices embedded in them.  By detecting an unknown phone continually traveling to the same places and staying at the same address all night along with already known devices it is easy to deduce that you are the owner.

As you can see, being truly anonymous requires some serious work but it is possible.  You can always pick up a copy of “Disappear in 24 Hours” by Lonn E Wolfenstein if you want to do a total makeover.  The book is available at Brave New Books in Austin TX or can be ordered by clicking the products link at the top of this page.

Privacy is officially no longer safe around modern technologies such as smart phones, smart TVs and the like. This is something that we always kind of knew, but it’s now been confirmed in the latest Wikileak.

Via the WikiLeaks press release (courtesy of Naturalnews.com):

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

“Year Zero” introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones

Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-03-07-vault-7-bombshell-just-vindicated-every-conspiracy-theorist-the-cia-can-spy-on-anyone-through-tvs-iphones-smart-phones-and-windows-pcs.htmlcia hacking code phone

How Safe are your Wi-Fi Connections and Apps?

When you have your cell phone or other smart device with you the NSA is watching.  We all know that but sometimes we need to be reminded.  Keep in mind that there are no known exceptions to this rule.  If there was one I would be skeptical, but if you have to have a phone, why not get the most secure phone possible?

After reading and hearing all of the negatives posted about the Black Phone from Silent Circle I am still a supporter.  I think many of the negative reports are coming from competitors and sold out individuals who care more about the quality of their “selfies” than they do about being watched by data mining corporations and foreign governments.wi-fi-privacy

I will concede that the Black Phone is not exactly what I would build.  For example: I don’t think a camera belongs on a phone at all, unless it is self-contained in its own compartment with zero internet capability. However, I commend Silent Circle for their innovation in the areas of Wi-Fi and App security.blackphone-privacy-cell

Wi-Fi Connections

The Black Phone has the capability of automatically shutting off Wi-Fi when you leave the range of your current connection.  This is a no nonsense security measure but it doesn’t serve corporate greed.  On most phones, when you leave your current Wi-Fi network, your phone will continue to search for another.  This is dangerous.  Even if you don’t like the Black Phone please keep your phone on Airplane mode if you are not using it in a secure area of your choosing.

Apps

When you sign up for most apps, there is a multi-page agreement that nobody wants to read.  Within that agreement you give up your privacy, but most people do it because they want the app.  With the Black Phone there is a way to get many apps without giving the corporate bullies access to your camera and contacts list.

I realize this seems like a commercial but I am not being paid by Silent Circle.  It just seems like a decent product they are producing here in a world that knows nothing but theft and fleecing of consumers.  Below I have an interview from 2014 about the qualities of the Black Phone.  There is now a Black Phone 2 with even more features and sells for just under $600.

Check it out if you wish to boost privacy, but keep in mind you are never 100% safe on a phone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbtSNAD4JJY

 

The Police May Be Tracking You and Your Phone

Recently a friend told me a story of a first hand account of police knocking on his door at 3 am looking for another person.  He was completely caught off guard and terrified for the first few minutes of them banging on his door because he thought he was being robbed (they did NOT identify themselves as police). This is a fair assumption if you wake up in the middle of the night and someone is ringing your door bell and banging on your door. Burglars frequently do this to determine if someone is at home or not – after all, they typically don’t want to hassle with homeowners in the middle of stealing all of your possessions.

Now before I get to the rest of the story, which is quite interesting, I should say that apparently the police are trying to use Stingray technology more and more these days (Read our blog about it here: https://privacyliving.com/2016/05/08/you-cant-hide-from-the-police-if-they-have-stingray-tracking-device/). You’ll recall that A Stingray is a device that mimics a cell phone tower and allows law enforcement to gather information about you by accessing your cell phone. There was an article this week, oddly enough, that questioned whether the older Stingrays would even function on a 4G or greater cell network, during an operation where local police called in the Feds – but that’s a discussion for another time.

police swat team at your door

So back to the story. My friend wakes up at 3 am, he hears pounding on his front door, door bell ringing and he sees a flash light outside his window and shadows. He’s groggy, confused and scared. The fight or flight response is taking hold in his body and he’s preparing to defend himself in the event that the burglars kick in his front door. He calls 9-11, explains the situation to the operator and she asks him to hold. Seconds later, she tells him to open the front door – it’s the police. Huh?!

It turns out that the police had been using an unidentified device to track a person’s phone and the search had erroneously led to my friends front door. He explained to them that he didn’t know the person they were looking for and that he lived alone, but they still asked to search his home, which he reluctantly allowed.

The lesson to be learned here is that you should never let anyone you don’t know in your house for any reason. Period. Even if it’s the police. And second, the police will use any means necessary to find you or someone else if given the means to do so. I hate to generalize here because I’m a supporter of the police in general. But it’s important to be aware of the state of law enforcement these days. Be safe out there.

 

 

Secure Phone Messaging App

There are dozens of messaging apps for iPhone and Android, but one in particular continues to stand out in the crowd. Signal is easy to use, works on both iOS and Android, and encrypts communications so that only the sender and recipient can decipher them. – Theintercept.com

Read the full article here: https://theintercept.com/2016/07/02/security-tips-every-signal-user-should-know/

Net 10 Wireless Burner Phone Review

I am in the process of experimenting and reviewing the different phone services available that can be used for burner phones.  Over the next few months I hope to bring you the inside story on all the phones that I personally experiment with and use in the privacy field when it really matters.  Today I’m sharing my experience with Net 10 Wireless. ..net 10 wireless phone burner

If you have any questions about the frame work and necessities of a burner phone I recommend you read the blog I wrote called “What is a Burner Phone? How Can it Help Me?” https://privacyliving.com/2016/05/17/what-is-a-burner-phone-how-can-it-help-me/

I initially spent around $70 at a dollar store buying a ZTE smart phone and a Net 10 phone card that would give me 1000 minutes.  (I like the ZTE because to me it seems easy to navigate and the price is usually reasonable on the ones with the small screen.  I just hate spending a lot of money on a phone that I know is going to end up in the bottom of a swamp soon.)  However, this is strike one for Net 10 because it turns out that the 1000 minute phone card was not “compatible”.

How Did I Figure Out Compatibility?

Here comes strike 2.  The way you activate the Net 10 plan is by either logging into a website or entering a code on the back of the phone card or by calling a 1-800 number and doing the same.  The problem is the phone is not active when you get it.  So you have to either use a separate computer or phone to activate the account.  Since I think Waffle House is the last place on the planet that actually has payphones in its parking lot anymore, and I was nowhere near a Waffle House, I had to use the laptop computer of a trusted source in order to attempt to activate the account.  That unfortunately created a link between my friend and my burner phone.  This is no good.  All Net 10 Wireless would have to do is create 611 access on all of their phones prior to activation and this way a new purchaser could use the actual burner phone to activate that specific phone without establishing a trail.

I then had to use one of my old burner phones to make contact with customer service and find out why my phone card was not compatible. (Yet, another trail leading to a phone that may or may not be mine. Not good)  As it turns out, they don’t do a minute plan for smart phones and I was required to buy another unlimited phone card for $50 more.  Then I was able to return to another computer (another trail) and activate my phone.

The next problem came when my internet service was not working at all.  This forced me to call 611 and speak to customer service. (This of course leaves an opportunity for someone to trace my voice).  Customer service at Net 10 Wireless was excellent and I give them a good grade for their technical support.  The only problem is that this again, was not necessary and my internet should have been active from the day I activated the phone.  If I had been in a jam I wouldn’t have had the time to sort this out and it could have ruined an entire operation.

There is one last problem.  I was smart enough to make the call from a very busy intersection next to an interstate highway and another major highway but for some reason they needed my address to remotely work on the phone.  I didn’t find it suspicious at the time because this is just an experiment.  But how scared I would have been if I was in the middle of something big and I had to risk my safety so that my internet could be repaired.

Some of the issues I had could have been prevented and If I were to start over right now, I believe I could get the same phone to be anonymous but it would still require some creativity.  Just remember that with Net 10 you can use a friend’s computer or phone to activate it and as long as that friend doesn’t crack under interrogation, then you have a good anonymous burner phone.  If you don’t think that is possible then maybe Net 10 is not for you.  As far as using the web, I can’t say if that was business as usual for them or if you won’t have any problems.

I give Net 10 Wireless a grade of C+ because even in the conditions I described here, it will still shield you from most trouble.  There are a few things they could do better but I am glad there are companies out there like Net 10 that don’t involve giving a name and address.

Why You Are Not Safe on Facebook

Never consider yourself safe or your conversations or whereabouts private when using social media such as facebook. Just like your friends, your enemies too use facebook.

http://www.globalpost.com/article/6772142/2016/05/26/salvadoran-gangs-use-facebook-track-down-victims

tattoo gangster central america

What is a Burner Phone? How Can it Help Me?

How do you securely communicate?
Many people are looking for an effective way to communicate without being monitored.  These people are not terrorists.  For the most part, they are normal people that value privacy.  Others may be government officials with information that needs to be sent quickly but in confidence.  Many more of these people are private business owners with a Million Dollar idea but are afraid the idea will be intercepted by unscrupulous business people or foreign governments.
burner phone girl
This is where the idea of the “Burner Phone” comes in.  A burner phone is one that is not attached to your name in any way and it can be effective in some scenarios.  On many occasions I have warned, however that due to facial recognition software on cameras, “phone pairing”, cell tower pinging, and voice recognition software this is not perfect.  The NSA, Chinese Government, and Russian Government are likely to know who you are and listen to you if they find you of interest.  Of course we know the NSA is listening and reading all the time, so you should know up front that you are most likely not going to skirt them.
The Purpose of a Burner Phone
Despite my warnings above, the burner phone does serve a purpose.  If you are trying to avoid anyone other than the above, you have a good chance of privacy.  A former spouse or lover, another employer, business competition and criminals out to get you can be thwarted with the proper use of a burner phone.
There are several ways to get a phone without having your name attached to it.  The easiest is to go to a gas station (check for cameras if you are very paranoid) or chain store that sells prepaid phones or phone cards.  You must use only cash if you wish to avoid a credit card trail.  I will eventually write a burner phone review of multiple brands, but for now let’s continue learning about the essentials.  A review of something you don’t know how to properly operate would be useless.
The Essentials of a Burner Phone
Unless you want to create a “burner email” don’t bother getting one with internet access.  This will just complicate things.  Secondly avoid a phone with a camera.  If there is no option then make sure you put black tape over the camera holes before you even turn it on.  Some have cameras and finger print ID in the screens so avoid screens if possible.  The simpler the better, because if you intend to protect your privacy you will destroy and trash this phone on a regular basis.  This means getting a new number and everything. So save some money and get a simple one.
The most important essential of a burner phone is a removable battery.  Phones can be remotely turned on and monitored, as well as pinged on the nearest cell tower.  This is why you should never use your burner phone at work or home, and when done the battery should be immediately removed until the next use (preferably at a busy intersection or shopping center away from places you frequent).  The last tip is almost as important as removing the battery.  You must never allow your burner phone to be on in the same area as your main phone.  You can easily be identified when the two signals are paired together.
Who are you talking to?
If you are talking to a person who has not bothered to use these tactics you can also be identified.  If you talk to someone a lot on your normal phone and then all of a sudden you call them from your burner phone, you can easily be found out.  Perhaps the wise thing to do, is to get 2 burner phones; one for you and the other for your business partner.  Talking itself is a problem.  This is why following procedure here can only be mostly successful.  Voice recognition software used by many governments and high-tech corporate thieves will identify you in less than 1 second.
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You Can’t Hide From The Police If They Have Stingray Tracking Device

Recently, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Police Department had to admit in court that they had used a Stingray to track a suspect prior to his arrest and jailing. – What many would say is a blatant violation of the 4th Amendment.

american flag camera spying

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The ultimate goal of this provision is to protect people’s right to privacy and freedom from arbitrary governmental intrusions.  Private intrusions not acting in the color of governmental authority are exempted from the Fourth Amendment. – Cornell University Law Online.

“Thanks to EFF and the ACLU, the government has finally admitted it secretly used a Stingray to locate a defendant in a Wisconsin criminal case, United States v. Damian Patrick. Amazingly, the government didn’t disclose this fact to the defendant—or the court—until we raised it in anamicus brief we filed in the case.”
As we wrote in a previous article on Stingrays and ISIS, aka cell-site simulators, act as a fake cell-phone tower. They can provide an exact location of where a particular cell phone is located without the user knowing.

“Stingrays are especially pernicious surveillance tools because they collect information on every single phone in a given area—not just the suspect’s phone—this means they allow the police to conduct indiscriminate, dragnet searches—in some cases on up to 10,000 phones at one time. They are also able to locate people inside traditionally-protected private spaces like homes, doctors’ offices, or places of worship and can be configured to capture the content of communications.”

Read more at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF): https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/04/eff-and-aclu-expose-governments-secret-stingray-use-wisconsin-case

stingray van spying privacy