Security Archives

What Is Freenet Classic OpenNet?

I’ve talked about Freenet here occasionally and while I think it’s easy enough to understand I still get occasional questions about just exactly what it is.  That, combined with the recent fork of Freenet Classic OpenNet from the original Freenet 0.5 project has prompted me to create this video that gives a basic overview of what Freenet is and how it operates.

In upcoming videos I’ll be covering how to install and use Freenet Classic OpenNet as well as several Freenet applications.  Frost, creating basic freesites and inserting them with the Freesite Insertion Wizard, Freenet Utility for Queued Inserts and Downloads and using Thingamablog to create flogs (that’s a blog within Freenet).

You can download Freenet Classic OpenNet or FCON from either

Technorati Tags: p2p, file sharing, repressive regimes, unblockable, freenet applications, encrypted, share files, censorship, anonymous, facilitate communication, freedom of speech, oppressive government, freenet, freenet overview, anti-censorship, freenet video, censor proof

Is Ubuntu’s New Firefox Watching You?

According to a recent Slashdot article it very well might be.  Ubuntu recently released a new extension to Firefox alpha 3 called “Multisearch”.

The first thing that I don’t like about it is that it installs automatically without any warning about potential privacy problems.  For me that’s a deal-breaker all by itself.

Another thing that gets it a thumbs down is that the article also mentioned that it has “other purposes” of collecting usage data and generating revenue.  Exactly how the “generating revenue” part works wasn’t explained that I saw but the simple fact that it’s part of the reason for the plugin is reason enough IMO to yank the sucker.

This means that the next time I start my Kubuntu (that’s Ubuntu with a KDE desktop for those who don’t know) machine, I’m going to start Firefox and go to “Tools” and “Add ons” and deactivate and / or remove that plugin.

Technorati Tags: spyware, firefox, plugin, search plugin, multisearch, ubuntu, privacy

GPS To Become More Problem Than Benefit

I’ve always thought that GPS systems in vehicles was a very two sided thing.  On the one hand you have the convenience of having reliable navigational aids available on demand.  There’s no need for futzing around with often difficult to manage paper maps, they can locate your position to within a very close margin of error and most units these days can also provide some very sophisticated route planning along with step by step directions to make finding an unfamiliar location almost painless.

On the other hand the obvious downside is that they can also easily be made to keep records of your travels, routes, destinations, stops along with date and time stamps for everything.  All it takes is a system such as OnStar to either misuse or allow that data to leak and you lose any hope of privacy concerning when and where you travel. In fact, OnStar type systems also have the ability to remotely monitor audio from withing your car and even disable the vehicle so that it won’t start.

Now enter the government.  It seems that federal fuel taxes are expected to be phased out by 2020, leaving an obvious gap in revenue.  According to one article that I read, one option that is now under consideration is the idea of using a “by the mile” road tax to replace the current fuel tax system.

I can’t help thinking that the government, who can’t even seem to dredge up the sensibility to use discount faucets or cheap coffeepots and bathroom fixtures instead of spending two and three times (or LOTS more!) as retail value (can you say $14,000 toilet seat?) and has shown a growing tendency to track and monitor citizens (remember warrantless wiretaps and NSA email snooping?) will almost certainly use the GPS records that it ostensibly will use for calculating road tax bills and add it to it’s growing thirst for “Total Information Awareness”.

If you think that this sounds a bit extreme just think about the rate at which our privacy is slowly but surely being etched away and it won’t sound so extreme.  Big Brother is indeed watching you and not only that but he’s becoming more of a voyeur by the second.  It wouldn’t be surprising at all to find out someday that new electronics (computers, TV’s, cellphones, basically anything involving communications) are required to come equipped to permit government snooping and tracking of your activities with said device.

“Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to kill me.”  –Anonymous

Technorati Tags: travel records, privacy, gasoline tax, federal fuel tax, surveillance, nsa, road use tax, onstar, travel habits, email snoopng, illegal wiretapping, gps tracking, domestic spying, warrantless wiretapping, government snooping, illegal surveillance, gps

You may recall that back in 2007 the Bush administration had plans to use spy satellites to look in on Americans from above using ultra high resolution cameras.  And just to prove that the Obama administration is at least a few diet pills short of a weight loss plan, this program WAS included in The Obama administration’s 2010 budget request.

Fortunately for the rest of us and our privacy, the program apparently never got off the ground and now the new head of Homeland Security has decided to cut those plans entirely.

I’d like to say that’s the last we’ll hear about such things but I seriously doubt that’s true.

Technorati Tags: obama administration, bush administration, spy satellites, domestic spying, satellite surveillance

Microsoft Sneaks Extension Into Firefox

If you have applied the “Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1” update, you may be surprised (and justifiably pissed) to find out that this update included a new extension being very quietly added to Firefox without your knowledge.

It’s called the “Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant (ClickOnce) Firefox Extension” and according to, it gives Firefox a vulnerability that has plagued IE from the start.  An alleged “Feature” that allows websites to install software on your computer without your knowledge or consent.

As if there weren’t enough problems with “drive by downloads”!

To add insult to injury, the boys in Redmond disabled the “uninstall” button on the extension and have apparently tried to make it very difficult to remove without screwing up your system.  Fortunately, the folks at have put together a very easy to follow set of instructions that guide you step by step through the process of removing the offending plugin.  Click here for instructions to remove that extension.

Technorati Tags: dot net update, uninstall plugin, microsoft, annoyance, evil plugin, unwanted plugin, firefox plugin, drive by download

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