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articzebra

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About articzebra

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  1. If it's built into Metasploit (which it is) you can more than likely assume with high confidence the source code has been dissected and analysed as per excitement and intrigue about such a massive leaked exploit. EternalBlue was massive news in the IT security community and so when the source was released by ShadowBrokers from the NSA (allegedly) it will have been run through the mill to find out how it works. I mean, dude, you're posting in a hacking forum run by hackers who are connected to the IT security industry who are also hackers, some at a very very high level and represent the cream of the community - do you really believe source code will be willingly supplied to the public without it ever having been looked at? The entire Metasploit framework by which you can run EternalBlue exploit is open source and you can freely and publicly look at every piece of code in the framework, including source code for exploits. Here is the EternalBlue exploit on Exploit-DB, which is run by the company who develops Metasploit: https://www.exploit-db.com/exploits/42315 As you can see on that page, the whole exploit is available to view publicly before downloading. It's also been verified which means the code has been analysed and tested and that the exploit works. How do you think the IT security community finds out how these exploits work in the first place? They do what hackers do; take things apart and then test to see if they can get a result that they shouldn't be allowed to achieve. Quite simply, that's what you see here with this exploit and it's in the Metasploit Framework so you can trust the developers of Metasploit to not have infected their own customers and users with a backdoor they themselves work towards building and also learning how to secure against.
  2. For a start, DON'T go installing anything else from unknown sources, on here or off. That would just be suicide. I'm not completely aware of how Apple smartphones work primarily because I've never had one. What I do know however is there is a feature built into Apple smartphones which allows you to track devices based on their phone ID (or something like that?). I don't know the specifics but I read somewhere that if you can hold of the device unique number (?) you can effortlessly track it's location. Again, this is not bona-fide factual information I'm providing but a clearly tangled assumption based on articles I've read. I don't know if it was a temporary vulnerability and has since been patched or whether it's a feature built into iPhone. Also, it's not difficult to imagine that you've been infected with spyware. From what I'm aware and again I'm no expert with Apple in the slightest, you need to jailbreak an iPhone in order to really do anything malicious with it. I'm guessing it may be possible to jailbreak it remotely just like you can root an Android phone remotely, or at least I've read somewhere. The limitations on tracking someone with an iPhone that is NOT jailbroken reduces the range and effectiveness to which someone can do anything malicious and I'm guessing this is a built-in security function. Again nothing I'm saying is concrete and so you are best off doing your research. However, if someone is capable of tracking you no matter what you do, it's safe to say someone has purposefully targetted you in some way or another with the sole purpose of being able to persist in their tracking. That in and of itself should be easily guessed considering that any sort of spying with the abiity of persisting beyond a blind attack shows that whoever is behind it is continuing to attempt to track you. Some basic interventions would be to change your phone number, completely format your phone and even try and wipe it completely with some sort of software that will not just perform a surface format but will purposefully ensure that all of the selected partition has been completely wiped, and replaced with useless data that cannot be recovered very easily. For example with Windows you have special software like DBAN that will not just format your hard drive but COMPLETELY nuke the motherfudger to the point where recovering data that was once there becomes pretty pointless. The same can be said for Android devices where you can get software that can securely remove data from the device. The only downside I'm aware with most smartphones these days, they are designed by default to have data made recoverable. I know governments have pushed quite hard to have the ability to backdoor smarphone devices and find ways in and I'm guessing this would also extend to the ability of data being recoverable even if you think it isn't and so - how can you be sure that your data has been wiped and that your device has completely been reset? I don't think you can, to be honest. One option would be to just get another phone. I'm sure that being stalked and spied on by someone else is considered a crime in your country and therefore it wouldn't be difficult to strike up an agreement with your phone provider and either get their technicians on the job and/or get a new phone altogether. Then you would have to choose new accounts across the board; all the way from your email addresses to passwords for these email addresses. You may even have to wipe any devices you have at home like your laptop, desktop etc because it may be possible the person has simply gained access to your home network and then been able to intercept traffic on it and got in the middle of this data and manipulated it to his/her advantage. It may very well be a game, or a prank, or something that isn't serious at all. The question is; do you want someone being able to freely spy on you? A global reset would be advisable. I would change ALL my passwords, set a LONG and difficult password for my home network, disable WPS, disable auto-login on my browsers, securely erase any hard drives, install a decent firewall on my home computer, decent antivirus, install recent software updates and patches, prevent any inbound connections to my home network, wipe my phone and potentially get a new one and at the least change the number. You should also report this to the police because this is a crime where I'm from (UK) and could be considered harrassment/stalking and potentially come with some sort of hacking charge as well combined. What may have started as a joke by one of your friends could actually be something a lot more serious depending on how you look at it and what sort of relationship you have with this person. You could also setup canary tokens on your home network ie your laptop, desktop, NAS, phone etc. These tokens will trigger whenever someone accesses the same directory, loads an image or views emails etc. They can be really handy in identifying an attacker or at the least knowing when you've been compromised. You could lay these tokens around and create a honeypot whereby you can collect evidence of a breach regardless of whether you can identify the attacker. If you know someone IS breaching your devices then you can take it further and report it but also take the necessary actions. You could also lock down your home network and assign strictly known MAC addresses to login. You can do this through your router. You can also use VPN on your mobile device too, this will encrypt your connections. You can also disable your location, location settings and find ways to prevent your location leaking. Smartphones these days are treasure troves for personal information like location data and the like and it's why governments love breaching them, and they can do very easily from what I've read. Anyway, hope this helps! Appreciate it's a lot and may be convoluted but hope it helps :) I'm no expert at all and so don't take my words for gospel.
  3. I've been using some of the work done by Daniel in my lab environment and I some of his work has been featured in popular frameworks and scripts. Thanks for the share!
  4. Hi guys, I think I've got to 'that' particular point in my journey to understand penetration testing and ethical hacking. And it's led me to the belief that many of the frameworks and automated scripts are likely to be flagged by antivirus/IDS. How I came to this conclusion? I've tried out many of the frameworks from Veil to Metasploit and although they are all incredibly useful and are by no means obsolete in their usage and potential they do end up being flagged A LOT by virus scanning. I do my scanning with scanners that are known not to share results, by the way. That being said, I'm beginning to wonder if learning how to program will make the process of exploiting a system easier. My question is; Will AV detect a program based on it's behaviour? If so, is it likely to flag any program which acts suspiciously? I'm aware that modern AV uses more than static detection and depends on heuristic analysis as well as sandboxing etc. So, how far does the knowledge of programming go towards developing and compiling something which is likely to evade AV detection? I mean, obviously it has to depend on certain factors like how well programmed your malware is and no doubt how obvious it is at performing certain actions etc. Can anyone who develops/compiles their own code enlighten me on this area a little more? I've read articles online pertaining to highlight the advantages of coding your own programs and then executing them but I've found so far that none really give any sort of information on the advantage compared to using automated scripts and frameworks alone. If I was to begin learning how to create a backdoor in Python, compared to an automated backdoor made in Metasploit or Veil, what are the chances of it being detected? Also, how would you factor in utilizing common evasion techniques like packing and crypting and file pumping etc when these tools are usually, from my knowledge anyway, likely to have been reverse engineered? Thanks guys!
  5. Choosing a VPN provider is hard if you want to have a greater level of privacy. Many are free and they fund their existence through marketing and other means which sometimes means they may sell your information on to make a profit. Some will have sketchy privacy policies and there are many free VPN providers today popping up which won't be as sincere as others. Some will claim they don't keep logs but I can bet that most do and because it's hard to prove whether they do or not you have to take their word for it. Many providers in the past have claimed to not keep logs only to be involved with legal action and suddenly they do have logs to hand over to the authorities. Then there is server location for the VPN connection in question; if it's a server in a country where there are laws that give government easy unquestioned access to user data you are merely putting on another pair of jeans hoping to prevent an arrow piercing your flesh. Also, VPN on it's own is not an ultimate solution. You can connect with VPN and Tor to increase your privacy, you can also use proxies as well. You could use DNSSEC and DNS over HTTPS to help prevent DNS leaks although many VPN solutions offer this built into their services it is common for VPN software to leak data every now and then. Software like DNS Crypt can help to add a little layer of privacy when using the internet as it can be used to prevent your default DNS resolver (your ISP) from being revealed. You can also disable OpenGL and WebRTC to prevent data leakage, limit referrer data being transmitted to the destination address, disable offline cache in Firefox, prevent canvassing, disable webcam/microphone accessibility in browser, disable telemetry configurations, you can also prevent Google from sending links to download links you access for scanning for malicious content (which it does by default in Firefox). You can also help prevent browser footprinting, tracking cookies, social media beacons and find a program like BleachBit or CCleaner to wipe your browser data after a session to prevent any sensitive information from potentially being accessed in any way.
  6. The sad reality is, at least from what I've read; most security experts put the emphasis on security on the individual and following pretty much straightforward op sec. I read a research paper by Google which conducted research on both the average user population and security experts around the world to find out what the average user believes is enough to protect them and then what the expert believes is enough. The experts put emphasis on methods like regular software updates, password managers, 2FA and forced HTTPS whilst the average user put emphasis on antivirus and specific software solutions. Most experts avoided recommended software to protect the user against specific threats. The naivety of modern society implies we can be secure if we download something from the internet and when you think about it it's not so different from how most of the western world believes they can just turn up at hospital to fix their issues in life or seek therapy hoping for a quick fix to their issues. It's never been that simple. I read another article about information security and it pretty much said this; the only way to truly protect yourself is to choose to become completely isolated from any network whatsoever ie have NO connection to the internet, local area networks or utitlize any sort of connectivity whatsoever that connects one machine to another. A simple example of this is how the pros advise on stopping your phone from being compromised; put it into a faraday bag. The only down side to this is you can't use it at all! From what I've read that's pretty much the same for computers like laptops and desktops etc. In 2012 the "Five Eyes" hacked into a Belgium telecommunications company which gave them unparralled access to a large portion of the worlds telecommunications data from Europe to the US and beyond. One of their intentions was to intercept traffic in order to access it before it was encrypted and/or received by the intended destination address ie a server. In 2014-15 they hacked into the network infrastructure of Iran and had control of pretty much every single critical system in the country. Their real intentions were to stop them from making weapons grade nuclear material but they also had a backup plan if it was to spark a war and their plan was to take down every single system that made the country run; banks, energy plants, the financial economy etc. Such attacks render an app from the Play Store pretty much obsolete I feel. Not just that but then we can talk about the mass surveillance conducted as we speak by the US government. They recently began building their very own data farm to store the world's data they have/are sucking up. I think it's pretty dumb to assume that your phone calls, text messages, email etc have not inadvertingly been intercepted by these programmes and are sitting on a hard drive somewhere. What about MITM attacks the government can do very easily by setting up rogue APs and cell towers? They've been selling hardware like this for years. Whose to say they haven't already used it in your area? You may encrypt communications on your computer but very few are that technically gifted to have specialized cell phones to circumvent surveillance. Then we have the issues with ISPs complying with government surveillance and their requirement to allow the government access to their data whenever these governments wish. It's pretty naive to assume downloading software is going to save you. Sure, PGP will encrypt your emails for example but whose to say the software you used to encrypt the communications hasn't been backdoored or has an unknown vulnerability? The NSA have a collection of 0 day exploits for endless amounts of software and they also can implant on a whim exploits into software and hardware. I read the other day how a popular PGP software had a flaw whereby an attacker could compromise the encryption of a PGP key rendering it fairly useless and easy to decrypt. The Tor network has had flaws in it and yet people use it often believing it offers the ultimate protection; rogue exit nodes just to name one example. It's now also becoming known that the government can deanonymise users of the Tor network and even websites hosted on the Tor network. Sure a VPN will help but whose to say your VPN provider hasn't been compromised? Whose to say they don't keep logs? Says who? Them? How do you know? HMA ratted out a customer a few years back who was believed to have hacked a number of companies using a HMA VPN account. They were asked to comply and provide details and so they did and the resulting after effects was the individual in question was revealed and later arrested. Just think about how the government themselves have been hacked in the past. Just think how ransomware has taken over many parts of the US and these attacks have been targetted at the US government, namely in the very area where the NSA works - Baltimore. The government have trouble preventing attacks from happening and sometimes it's as easy as opening a dodgy attachment and you're in. The EternalBlue exploit was known for a long time by the NSA and was only patched some years after when the ShadowBrokers leaked it to the world and the NSA had to in decency report the vulns and subsequently the SMB exploit was patched. Whose the say there are not these sorts of inherent vulns in the very software you are using right now? How can you protect yourself when your system could now be compromised by a bad guy simply executing a particular set of instructions which gives them access to your system? Goodbye to your protection then. VPN won't matter when persistence has been planted and the backdoor firmly opened. The best security is to get off the grid, disconnect from the WWW and completely isolate yourself and your digital life from the outside world. Even then, look at the attack on the air gapped Iranian nuclear power plant not that long ago. It was air gapped! And all it took was an insider to plug in a USB stick into a computer and the rest is history. Goodbye to your AV, firewall, VPN, encrypted chat software etc. Game over. You lose.
  7. It would depend on what you use VPN for. Most people are not say political dissidents who are potentially being deliberately and consistently monitored by government entities on their whereabouts, their intentions, their social life and what they are attempting to do with/against/for the government. In this case most VPNs would be out of the question due to a whole number of factors. One could be the fact that many VPN providers are not nearly as secure as they make out, they have servers in countries where the law states they HAVE to cooperate fully with government entities and law which means logs, logs, logs and unchallenged subpoenas. NordVPN is one example of a provider whose primarily based in the US (if I'm not mistaken) and so despite their reputation being so huge, they also are under the jurisdication, at least from an information security and privacy perspective of the US government. That means it's very likely they have already been compromised in terms of at least coming to an agreement on information sharing and gathering. If they haven't, they would have to assume they have in order to maintain maximum protection and privacy. Many other VPN providers are based in countries where these laws are in place. Many are not and so they are typically more feasible as a VPN solution because they have no legal obligations to a higher authority. Then again, if you look at examples in the past of websites and services in countries where these regulations and laws were not in place, a handful were also eventually compromised by the long arm of American law, namely P2P sharing sites, anonymous email providers, offshore hosting providers etc. Then you have the level of security in the software you use. A VPN is only as safe as the method of implementation it comes with. If you're using a buggy or vulnerable program to connect to a VPN, the chances are it can be manipulated and your real IP address revealed. Also, things like WebRTC which can leak your IP address even when you're connected through a VPN, DNS leaks, MITM attacks and even random disconnects whereby at least for a few moments your originating IP is out in the open. Then you have opsec and whether you ruin the protection offered by a VPN. Things like DNS over HTTPS, DNSSEC, no filters, no log DNS resolving will mean your traffic doesn't go primarily through your ISP before going to the internet. You can have amazing VPN but your DNS can leak quite easily or can be made to leak easily which makes VPN obsolete when an adversary knows what ISP you are using and a general geographic location. Then you have the privacy policy of said VPN providers and whether they sell your personal information, browsing history, logs and more to third party companies in order to reimburse server costs and maintainence etc. I know many do this, especially the free VPN providers and so whilst you may have found a way to connect to the internet more securely you've also just backdoored your own privacy by agreeing to have your personal data sold to the highest bidder, which could be anyone, and usually is anyone as well. It's not hard to buy personal data on the internet; email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, payment details, birthday, friend lists, likes, dislikes etc. Just look on any dark net marketplace and you'll find 'fullz' for going for as little as $5 a pop and that usually contains some hundreds if not thousands of live data. What if you pay for VPN? Payment details are often logged and even if they are not logged, it's easier for governments to obtain financial information than it is for them to freely obtain browsing history, IP addresses, websites visited, cookies, clear text passwords and other communications. All they would have to do is demand customer payment details and they have now tied you to a bank account and potentially to decades of activity. Paying with cryptocurrency is a better option but still has it's drawbacks. Basically, you have to assume that NO company is going to take the fall and end up in court and potentially face prosecution for not handing over information about customers; be it logs, payment details etc. So that leaves you with very few options at least if you're someone who really really needs privacy and ideally anonymity. And you have to assume VPN is not a panacea for privacy and anonymity. Then again, if you just want to connect to the internet through a VPN and don't care for all that and more you could pretty much use any VPN you like.
  8. It can be easy to form a reply which is biased towards your own preferences, beliefs, philosophies in examples like this and so I think all that stuff should be left out. You can monitor someone pretty easily, especially if they use the same computer. In fact, it's probably the easiest thing to do when and if you share the computer. You could use something like TeamViewer which can be setup to be configured so to not require authentication upon logging into the machine. I'm not sure how far you can take TeamViewer in terms of discretion though, I think no matter what you do with TeamViewer the branded menu pops up at the bottom of the screen informing the user there is an incoming connection and then subsequently shows a connected session as well. The only alternative would be something like VNC whereby you can monitor what's going on much like TeamViewer but usually with reduced functionality. The only solution for something like this would be assuming total control over the system by means of installing a remote administration tool which has been specifically designed to be discrete and powerful. TeamViewer will work but it can easily be uninstalled, reconfigured and even blocked from connecting through the internet ie firewall rules etc. VNC would also work but again, if you're using a known branded product, the chances are, it's not going to be hidden away on the system which means more chance of your presence becoming visible. A RAT on the other hand will operate completely silently (if setup correctly) and will allow you to monitor and control users logged in on the system. It will also quite easily pick up passwords and anything else sent and received in clear text so then it becomes a question of whether knowing exactly what your daughter is saying or doing and why is actually acceptable in this instance. I mean, sure, monitoring someone for their own privacy and safety, especially your own kids is great but reading their incoming chat messages, knowing all their passwords, and potentially knowing their secrets? Yeah, that's probably not acceptable in any decent person's mind. I can understand where you are coming from with the desire to watch her movements whilst she uses the computer but I would advise ensuring what you do does not go over the threshold for actions considered ethical and acceptable. I mean, if you wouldn't want this whole thing being blown out of proportion and thrown in a newspaper (not that it will happen but it's a wise idea to act based on what if such a situation could happen) it's probably a good idea to stick to something minimal and not completely instrusive and well, weird. I've read quite a few articles about family members, partners and so-called 'friends' going to ridiculous lengths to see what the other(s) are doing and it never looks good from an outside perspective. What you do now could come back to bite you in the ass and so self preservation and your goals with all this should be completely ironed out and make complete sense before committing to potentially invading the personal privacy of your daughter. Again, not that I'm saying that what you are asking about is wrong because hell, the fact that sites like this exist which show HOW EASY it is to exploit computer systems, to steal info, to manipulate people, to hack etc makes for implementing solid contingency plans and security frameworks. I just don't think most dads want to be THAT dad who goes THAT far, if you get what I mean? There is protecting your family and then being a control freak and potentially abusive and yeah, having studied counselling/therapy for quite a while; being able to assume control over the private lives of another person, be it family or friend or whoever, can be abusive if taken to the extremes. That being said, securing her computer is completely acceptable in the context of providing basic security and privacy and the MORE secure it is I would argue, the more acceptable and commendable it is. You could start by ensuring all the software she is using is as safe and secure as it can be. That means removing Internet Explorer, Edge and all other browsers with obscene about of consistence security flaws. Ensuring she uses a VPN and that the VPN client is reliable. You could even configure the computer to connect automatically to a VPN server as apposed to not doing. Just the other day I was able to simulate a Flash Update on my lab version of Windows and then download a payload using IE as the first target to exploit and so talking about IE, and browsing, it's frightening how easy it is to take advantage and get into a system. Firefox is so much more secure and many of the simple stumbling blocks you find with IE and Edge for example just aren't there with Firefox. That being said, it's also A LOT more customizable and so you can mod Firefox to the point where it's a whole lot more safer and secure. Make sure all software is updated in general. Making sure the system is clean moreover is probably a good start which means ensuring it hasn't already been compromised or is easily a sitting duck and waiting to be compromised. Here are a few good extensions you can get to add for Firefox just that little bit more security and privacy; - NoScript Security Suite (when configured correctly will block ALL scripts on a website, even the ones which aren't potentially harmful. Yup it will BREAK a website if it has to and it won't load at all or will be completely messed up if NoScript is enabled but this is good because it means you can choose what scripts are running and from who, where and when. It's also installed on the Tor Bundle (or was) and so that says a lot about it's potential for increasing security and privacy - HTTPS Everywhere (extension that pushes traffic through the encrypted HTTP protocol and can even be configured to ONLY accept traffic through HTTPS, which can admittedly break some sites which do not offer complete encryption but is well worth getting because it enforces a very important feature of web browsing to be active and in use at all times) - AdBlock Plus/uBlock (Both amazing extensions for blocking pretty much ALL of the popups, malicious ads and even scripts and trackers found on the internet and have been around for a long time, especially AdBlock) - Privacy Badger (another great extension for customizing what trackers are enabled on what site and combined with other extensions like AdBlock, Disconnect etc add even more layers of privacy potential) - Disconnect (same as above, great extension for blocking and monitoring trackers on the web) - Facebook Container (this will prevent Facebook from following you around the web and can be set so that the Facebook icon/beacon is not enabled on the sites you visit so it cannot identify that you visited the website upon which the icon/beacon was placed) - LastPass (very popular password manager which can effortlessly store as many passwords as you can throw at it which makes securing them a lot easier and also you can forget them as you can easily log in and autofill them when visiting websites) In certain version of Windows 10, especially the ones about the Home edition you can go into your Local Group Policies and enforce specific controls on the computer, either on a user basis or globally on the system; things like removing access to the registry, control panel, task manager etc can be done. Other settings like ensuring a password is of a certain length, disabling Microsoft account login, dialling up UAC to require credentials on every significant system change. Disabling and hiding the built-in Administrator account, enabling tampering mode in Windows Defender, configuring Windows Defender to be more strict and more aggressive. There are lots of options. Also, you can use software to apply website blocks which work client-side which means so long as that program is running, it doesn't matter whether someone uses a VPN or not to attempt to bypass the limitations, they aint getting through. You can find lists of known sites to block and can download and then import them as necessary. Chances are, you won't be able to block them all and many people find ways to get through these filters. I can remember doing it quite easily at school many many years ago and that was industry level protection, meant for enterprises and education environments, not a worried dad trying to prevent his kid(s) from accessing the wrong sites. You can take this as far and wide as you want. It all depends and why you want to do it which is of course your own story and you have your own reasons. Again, it's probably a good idea to think about this and work out both the pros and cons. Ultimately, you will no doubt end up falling back onto using a RAT or something very similiar to get the job done properly and many of the most popular variants have ALL the tools you could ever need to monitor someone/something/people and they are commonly used in a perfectly legal context in workplaces and closed environments for the purpose of protecting a network and it's vast amounts of users. You can also use them illegally too and if you wanted to piece together someones day to day life by merely tracking everything they do, everything they write, click, type, download, upload, install, uninstall etc. As someone mentioned above, you could fall back on Metasploit and a reverse shell backdoor and perhaps follow up with a bind to ensure a level of persistence. You could also backdoor the computer before someone else uses it which will save you having to effectively social engineer your own daughter and/or compromise the system in the process. That being said, Metasploit payloads are well known to AVs these days and most can pick them out easily without much trouble if they are simply executed fresh from being compiled out of Metasploit. That may mean encoding, compression, encrypting and even modifying the actual source code itself to evade detection and so you are now playing a cat and mouse game with your own computer and it's antivirus solution. If you disable it and revert back to say Windows Defender you leave it open to being exploited for real by real bad guys. If you have a good AV your backdoor will no doubt inevitably get detected if it's like any that is generated with little to no aftermarket configuration and/or knowledge about AV evasion etc. So how do you get that thing onto your system without compromising the system itself in the first place? And without disabling a whole load of features and potentially leaving the system open to further backdoors from people who really are bad in intentions? I've found to get past Windows Security alone in a lab environment requires several laborious steps and often trial and error and experimentation to reduce the AV detection by as little as a few numbers and then to get it past Windows Security whilst ALL of it's critical features are enabled. I can get past it easily by disabling it but then again that's a lab environment and not a computer I would share with a potential daughter and so that's a big difference. Anyway, there's my rambling and thoughts on the matter. Hope all that made sense. No one can tell you what to do. Just know your intentions and know the limits and at worst, imagine the worst case scenario and how it would impact you and the relationship with your daughter before committing to any decisions.
  9. This question keeps coming back to me after deciding to embark on a journey towards better understanding IT security, especially how the bad guys get into systems. For me I have been able to spend anywhere from a few hours to a whole day behind the computer screen. How about you? How long do you typically spend behind the computer? Also it doesn't matter whether it's your job, hobby or whether you just browse the web and seldom drop into a few different subjects out of mere interest. I was going to create a poll but then realized that option wasn't available
  10. There has been a lot of controversy as to what Microsoft does with the telemetry they receive from the Windows OS. Apparently it logs a lot of information, depending on how you use Cortana. I first heard about the privacy concerns a while ago. Data is the new gold. These big corporations want as much data as they can get so they can integrate the intelligence they receive from the data into new products, and so they can target more people and in turn grab more data about more people in the process. When I got wind of the privacy invasions of Cortana, it was with Windows 8. That was when a lot of people were forcibly disabling Windows Defender because it really didn't work at the time as well as it does now. I also got wind of ways to Cortana off. You can disable Cortana from the registry without much hassle. Also, you can disable telemetry collection from the registry as well. That's the first thing I do when I install a copy of Windows 10; deactivate and disable all the features which collect too much information. You also can go into your settings and choose not to have ads tailoured to your specific ID, have minimal system reports sent back to Microsoft etc. As for being a spy, I really don't think or believe Microsoft is a spy agency. You would have to be a spy agency in order to work at the heights Microsoft does and with the power, money and responsibility Microsoft has in order to plant spyware in an operating system. I mean, to have software in millions of computers around the world that does that sort of stuff is NSA level spying and intelligence gathering and would also be considered malicious, and illegal. Microsoft will work with governments around the world and they share information and they collect it and no doubt sell it too. But as for spying? No. I think there's big confusion around what companies do with people's data. No genuine company aims to collect data in order to exploit it's customers. Microsoft is in the business of bringing an operating system that is known without doubt around the world to customers. They might be rich and powerful and their practices might not have been ideal in the past (there are very few companies with perfect track records) but as for deliberately going against the general public in order to collect data? There is being cautious and practicing good op sec and then there is bordering on delusional and paranoid believing that others are conspiring against them. Your typical computer user will go about their daily activities with no malicious interference from other parties. This will be likely be the case for the entirety of their lifetime. Unless they encounter infection from a malware of some sort, they will unaffected. True, they may tick boxes which grants companies the ability to collect data and this in and of itself is a concern for privacy and they might get tracked around the internet with cookies and beacons (Facebook, Google etc) which is also a privacy concern but are Facebook, Google and Microsoft intentionally targetting you? Do they want to know what time YOU get home? Who YOUR girlfriend is? What underwear YOU specifically wear? What YOUR specific hobbies are? No. They couldn't give a damn, much like everyone else. They are in the business of making money and these days, like I said above, making money involves generating data on customers, potential customers and the landscape in which they conduct business, and even further out than that. They aren't waking up in the morning to spy on Joe Bloggs from 22 Sunset Avenue or Jessica Lastname from 77 Bendy Road. They are casting a wide net which has no deliberate or intentional targets. Mark Zuckerberg doesn't wake up in order to find YOUR I.P address so that he can intercept YOUR personal information from YOUR internet service provider. Facebook would be considered creators of spyware if that was the case, which means your antivirus software would detect URLs and content provided by Facebook as being malicious. Same with Cortana. If antivirus companies really have our back, and there are many antivirus companies out there who are on the frontline of information security - wouldn't Cortana be dubbed as spyware? Wouldn't there be a war between antivirus software and Microsoft? Some sort of legal battle to get Cortana freed from detection and quarantine? Beacons would technically be spyware then. The Facebook beacon, which allows you to connect to services around the web by logging in with your Facebook account, would be malicious and therefore blocked by antivirus. There is being privacy focused and putting your privacy and security as a top priority and then bordering on delusional. Most companies are not out to get you. They don't want to know what you get upto and where you are going. They simply conduct activities which generate revenue for the company. Data makes money. Profits make the fat cats happy. The process continues. It's the organizations and entities that have put their focus solely on collecting information to purposefully exploit people, perhaps even without their consent and their ticking of a box, whose intentions are not honest, you should be worried about. Those guys are the real bad guys.
  11. There's nothing puzzling about. If you've been on YT for longer than a few years and have glanced out beyond your own scene you will have seen that channels have been threatened with video deletion, suspensions and bannings for quite a long time. I can remember when they started attacking drug harm reduction videos back in 2015 and began silencing channels which were uploading trip reports, genuine videos I may add, which were not in any way harmful to the viewer. Much like a hacker showing how they hacked a computer in real time, these guys were uploading their experiences on psychedelics so that the wider world could get a sense of what the experience was like, at least to look at. They then went after videos which had ZERO filming of actual drugs or drug experiences and took down videos educating people on the risks taking psychedelics, purely because of the content and the choice of words in the video title. Certain content uploaders were changing their titles to avoid the algorithm ie "t!h!is is N0T a tr!p Re...Port! video". The worst part of it all is how they can and will demonetize as many videos as they possibly can in order to get you to comply which for a person who relies on income from ads on YT is pretty harsh. YouTube has long since been a sitting duck. Ever since they brought in monetization through ads they also welcomed in the long arm of the empires behind the advertisment industry which have A LOT of power considering they are responsible for pretty much all purchases made around the globe for household items, beer, cars, technology etc. The advertisement industry began to get mad at YT because their customers (big corporations) wanted to choose what adverts went on what videos. That meant that YT had to change their rules and start enforcing ways to change how adverts were placed which meant changing the content of videos on YouTube. It's mainly a slow process of letting big corporations define YT like they have defined television; by pushing out what they don't want and bringing in what they do want. It also tries in with those who are in government who lobby on behalf of these big corporations to have laws put into effect. That's what happens when you get bankrolled by big industry. The answer has long been decentralized CMS, like that of dark web marketplaces. No-one can in theory take down content because there is no authority in charge of the content in the first place, besides the guys who own the servers and they have historically kept their ends of the bargain for example you look at the timeline of active dark web services. Many simply get taken down by authorities and are not actually regulated by said authorities until the last minute. If there was a version of YT which was held within a space that could not be regulated by any overarching authority and was not funded or had any reason to be funded by big corporations who support, or are partnered with the government, videos like these would not be taken down, accounts deleted and/or suspended and videos demonetized. Sadly, the whole of the internet is going in this direction; towards a world similiar to that of Bitcoin and the dark web. When the protocol behind that fails, another one will be created, ad infinitum. This is nothing new though. And if you ask the opinion of the finding fathers of the internet we know today, well, they are hardly happy about the repressive online world they see around them today but it has been something predicted as happening since the boom of the internet pre-millenium.
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