Pardon my absence....

This forum is for threads of general content. Feel free to post anything you wish (within reasonable boundaries, of course).
User avatar
DeathScythe
Antiquated Ska fan
Posts: 85
Location: Texas

Pardon my absence....

Post#1 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:27 am

Hey guys, feel like I should explain my absence here as I haven't posted since later April. I missed a whole, seemingly eventful, month.

The TL;DR here is the following: My desktop PC was non-functional, and I am so opposed to mobile typing that I refused to visit until my desktop was functional again.

Now, it's going to get a bit tech-y, which will bore most of you, but for the record.

I am a very privacy-focused individual when it comes to online activities. There are two malevolent forces at play: the U.S. government, and what I call, the "corporate web". Hackers are almost a non-concern for me, but I do take measures nonetheless.

So, my previous setup was as follows: dual-booting Windows and Qubes OS, with Qubes OS handling all of my online interactions, while Windows handles my gaming habits. Qubes is a security and privacy focused OS that compartmentalizes all different parts of your PC, down to application level if you desire it, into separate virtual machines.

I recently invested in a VPN, and while I'm aware of the risks there, I ultimately trust my VPN provider more than my ISP. At least my VPN provider claims to not keep records, my ISP explicitly does. And so i see the value of trying to funnel my activities through that VPN, even if I'm going to be using TOR/Whonix later.

I had a heck of a time considering how to get my VPN software into dom0 on Qubes (explaining that further is a complicated tangent), and then I began considering, what do I do on Qubes exactly, that I couldn't either do on a Windows, Whonix virtual machine? Not much, I thought.

Unfortunately this was a rabbit hole that just FUBAR'd my desktop habits for the last 6 weeks.

I tried multiple operating systems and setups, but was never satisfied.

Then I learned about something: Creating a qube in Qubes (a "qube" is how Qubes refers to its various virtual machines), specifically for the VPN network connection, and only allow network connections from any other Qube through that.

This was some miraculous epiphany that has somehow evaded me for 6 weeks. And all it took was a Google search.

So the end, of pausing everything I was doing in the name of privacy....I am dual booting Windows and Qubes.

I could elaborate on why I need Windows, despite how great "gaming on Linux in the modern era" is, but that's also a lengthy tangent. So, that's the explanation. A non-functional computer because of my own meddling.

It will take me a while to catch up on the conversations I was having before my absence, as well as all of this new content, but I'll be working at it this weekend.

User avatar
Sephiroth9611
Of Hidden Rank
Posts: 232
Location: Off-world colonies
Contact:

Re: Pardon my absence....

Post#2 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:22 pm

Hey, glad to see you back. Privacy is important. I don't worry about it much myself as I live a boring life.

Are you into encrypted email?
Since October 3rd, 2000 | "Quite a thing to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."

User avatar
DeathScythe
Antiquated Ska fan
Posts: 85
Location: Texas

Re: Pardon my absence....

Post#3 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:53 am

No, I don't focus on email privacy, for these reasons:

1. Most of what I'm using my email for, are accounts where my identity isn't deniable, like my bills, and services I subscribe to.
2. Personal communications are happening on my mobile device via text, primarily, or phone. I'm not writing personal emails to anyone. The only purpose I can think of for my email, outside of #1 above, is job applications, where still my identity is known.

And so whatever I use my email for, even if I pay for something fancy like ProtonMail, will still be connected to me personally. Basically, I've seceded the territory.

My solution is to isolate that part of my online activities in its own virtual machine where it can't interact with or be interacted with any other virtual machine I use. This is the, "Email & Work" virtual machine I use.

Right now, I'm not using that virtual machine, and so this online profile and activity isn't connected to those activities, all the way down to IP address.
Last edited by DeathScythe on Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:56 am, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
Cloud Strife
The Original Roleplay Creator/Moderator
Posts: 142
Contact:

Re: Pardon my absence....

Post#4 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:29 pm

So you go to the darkweb since you use TOR?
Image

User avatar
DeathScythe
Antiquated Ska fan
Posts: 85
Location: Texas

Re: Pardon my absence....

Post#5 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:37 am

So you go to the darkweb since you use TOR?


So, for those that don't know, "dark web" refers to certain web domains, which under TOR protocol end in .onion, or it the case of I2P, "eepsites", ending in .i2p, which are available only to those using said protocol, and unavailable to those using just their ISP provided access.

They are used for a lot of notorious things that are illegal: identity theft, child porn, etc. They are also used in countries that don't have free speech, i.e. China, for free expression that can't be censored by the government because they are totally anonymous.

I think, primarily for the latter reason, that their existence is good, but no, I don't have a specific use for these domains.

I do use TOR protocol to obfuscate my traffic, though. TOR uses "exit nodes" that allow you to use it to browse regular internet anonymously. I2P doesn't have this, it's just for anonymous hosting. I don't use I2P. So for most of my frivolous net activities, I'm passing net access through ISP - Firewall VM - VPN VM - Whonix VM - VM-in-use (Usually a disposable VM) combo. That's a lot of network hops and makes me feel pretty safe. (Edit: Whonix is just TOR via virtual machine, with some other differences)

When it comes to anything where bandwidth is important though, such as gaming, I just use my ISP - Firewall - VPN combo, because TOR is slooow.

The risk you take with VPNs, is that maybe they do actually log your traffic despite claiming not to. But, I know my ISP logs my traffic, and they don't make any claims to the contrary. And so, I consider it better than default, but not impossible to be compromised. I actually think those using offshore VPN companies have better prospects for privacy than those of us using US-based ones. Unfortunately, I fall in the latter category. I'm evaluating it.

(Another edit: Apparently I2P does have an anonymous browsing component, after some reading... I'm not super-familiar with I2P at the moment.)
Last edited by DeathScythe on Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:57 am, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
Cloud Strife
The Original Roleplay Creator/Moderator
Posts: 142
Contact:

Re: Pardon my absence....

Post#6 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:12 pm

Oh I was just always curious bout the dark web in general...the creepy side of it. Cause I heard shit wild. But, carry on.
Image

User avatar
DeathScythe
Antiquated Ska fan
Posts: 85
Location: Texas

Re: Pardon my absence....

Post#7 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:54 am

It's definitely used for creepy things, but it does provide a service that is necessary, and perhaps will be increasingly so as time goes on.

You're probably censored right now, you know, if you're American anyway.

Almost all of America's ISPs are blocking a popular torrent site, which I'm not going to name outright, but it's initials are TPB and it's a .org. And likely if you try to access it right now on a clear connection it will seem to not exist.

But, it continues to exist, at the same URL, just as it has for over a decade. It is visible through TOR protocol, or even with a VPN. Our ISPs have just decided: we don't get to go there. I'm not some major pirate or anything, and there are other torrent sites anyway, but I can't tolerate that sort of fascist stuff.

And if we had ANY ISP available that promised not to censor, and to protect my privacy, I would pay extra for that. But it just doesn't exist. So this is what I do.
Last edited by DeathScythe on Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Cloud Strife
The Original Roleplay Creator/Moderator
Posts: 142
Contact:

Re: Pardon my absence....

Post#8 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:14 am

Yeah I don't wanna go into the deep web myself..nah not willing to risk it.
Image

User avatar
DeathScythe
Antiquated Ska fan
Posts: 85
Location: Texas

Re: Pardon my absence....

Post#9 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:53 am

There's likely nothing there for you specifically unless you wanna do crime or something. Still, remember TOR browser's additional function in providing free (as in libre, not gratis) web browsing to oppressed peoples, when you hear it come up.

User avatar
Cloud Strife
The Original Roleplay Creator/Moderator
Posts: 142
Contact:

Re: Pardon my absence....

Post#10 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:07 am

too much risk to use it for me. I'm not very knowledgeable in that area.
Image

Return to “General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron