More ways to avoid government (or other kinds) of surveillance

Security & Privacy

In internet wasn’t meant to become a surveillance tool — but we now know that it has become exactly that for government spies and others.

In a recent post we gave you a few ways to keep your privacy online, including F-Secure Freedome, which offers radical new ways to surf safely anonymously without letting anyone know where you are.

Mikko Hypponen and Sean Sullivan from the F-Secure Labs discussed Freedome in the latest Labs webinar. Both Mikko and Sean said they always use a VPN to surf the web and that Freedome is a “VPN on steroids.”

Mikko explained that the most crucial aspect of a VPN is being able to trust the provider who encrypts your data.

“We think we have something to offer here because we’re not a startup,” he said. “We’ve been in this business for 25 years. If you have to trust your traffic through someone, we believe we’re a trustworthy partner to do it.”

You can watch the discussion and find out why Mikko now feels “naked” when he’s not using Freedome:

Later in the Webinar, Mikko and Sean answered a question from a viewer about other tactics for avoiding government or any other kind of surveillance.

“Get angry if you feel like it,” Mikko said, pointing out that real way to solve government spying is by exerting political pressure on elected officials.

Beyond that, he had some basic “hygiene” advice.

“Encrypt,” he said. “Encrypt your hard drives, your email, use VPN, run Tor, run Tor nodes. Encryption works.”

“Less is more,” Sean added, noting that he tried to keep as small a “footprint” as possible. “I prefer to have as little software installed as necessary.”

He noted that if you use lots of untested apps and don’t keep your software patched “you’re going to leak. You’re going to leak all over the place.”

Sean also encouraged people to think about what they’re sharing online, even when a conversation is supposedly private.

“Don’t flash your boobs on a webcam,” he said, referring to the recent revelation that a British intelligence agency was monitoring Yahoo! web chat feeds.

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