Saturday, May 27, 2023

How Your De-Googled Phone Can Still Track You

When people think of privacy, especially when it comes to communications, they might think that a de-Googled phone will offer them complete privacy when they communicate with others.  De-Googling a phone is fairly simple--buy a Pixel phone, watch a few YouTube videos on the topic, install Lineage/Graphene/Calyx/etc on the phone, and you will be on your way to cell phone privacy.  Kind of.  Besides the cardinal rule of privacy--nothing you do digitally is 100% private and secure--there are several ways your phone activities can still be tracked even on a de-Googled phone...

  • The phone can be linked to you via the IMEI number if you purchase the phone online (like on Amazon) or in a store (like Best Buy) with a credit card.  When a phone is sold, the IMEI number is often attached to the sale and using a credit card allows the phone to be connected to you.
  • If you decide to do an end run around this process and go into a store and pay cash for the phone, you should probably do this at a store not in your area and give it a six months "aging period" (ie: leave it in the box and don't even turn it on for several months).  I'm not sure how long store surveillance videos are kept these days, but many a criminal is found on nearby store surveillance video buying the shovel/duct tape/tarp needed to hide their criminal activity, even if they paid cash for the items.  
  • Never connect your de-Googled phone to your home/work/school wi fi network.
  • Don't use your de-Googled phone to call friends/relatives/others who can be traced back to you.
  • Don't use/carry your de-Googled phone along side your normie phone (the phones will ping together for  period of time which is pretty much a dead giveaway when it comes to who has the de-Googled phone).
  • Never log into apps/email addresses that can be traced to you like email/Amazon/Facebook/etc.  Doing this immediately links your identity to the phone.
  • Don't use your regular sim card in your de-Googled phone.  Again, this immediately links your known identity to the phone. Pick up a burner sim for the phone.
  • Put the sim card in the phone when you need to use it then immediately remove the sim when it is no longer in use.  The sim card can be tracked through IMSI catchers to locate and eavesdrop on your phone activities.
  • Use a microphone blocker device on your cell phone.
  • Turn off the bluetooth on the phone as well as location permissions.
  • Only charge your de-Googled phone with your own charge-only USB cable to avoid juice jacking.
  • Keep your phone in a Faraday bag when not in use.
  • Use a VPN when using your de-Googled cell phone.
  • Never give your de-Googled phone number to friends or family.  Most people will add the number to their contacts and it will be vacuumed up by any social media services they use.
  • Use a secure browser and ad-blocking DNS servers.
  • Never use your de-Googled phone for 2FA.

tldr; if you want 100% digital privacy, don't use or bring digital devices (cell phone, smart watch, iPad, etc) with you.  I have no doubt that the first thing the cops did when this young lady was killed by a group of guys throwing rocks at cars, was geofence the area.  Geofencing shows all cell phones in a certain location at a certain time and since pretty much everyone--criminals included--carry their cell phones with them at all times, it was a no-brainer to determine who the rock throwers were.  Don't want a digital tracking device to track you?  Don't carry a digital tracking device.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Circumstances May Change But Prepping Remains the Same

I haven't been particularly active on this blog for a while.  It's going on two decades since this blog started and at this point, I feel like I sound like a broken record.  No matter the current TEOTWAWKI situation (climate change here, a debt ceiling there, disasters happening all around), the basics of preparedness will never change...

  • live below your means
  • be debt free
  • have a stockpile of money, food, and resources
  • have multiple sources of water, power, and food
  • stockpile knowledge
  • be situationally aware, but don't panic over every disaster-mongering news broadcast, prepper video, or click-baity blog post
  • be in excellent physical (and mental) health
  • teach and help others when possible
  • if you choose to have firearms, be trained and be safe with them
  • set a good example and raise your kids right
  • do your own research
  • protect your privacy
  • practice simple living and minimalism
  • have multiple sources of income
  • stay away from the legal system--and all other government systems for that matter--as much as possible
  • be prepared to bug out
  • be equally prepared to bug in
  • be resourceful, clever, creative, inventive, and quick-witted 

...I believe that about covers it...

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Join a Club!

Want to expand your social circle, give back to your community, and learn a few things in the process?  Join a club!  Here are some to consider...

  • HAM radio club.  These clubs will teach you about HAM radio communication, offer contests and challenges, and increase your radio knowledge considerably.
  • Walking club.  Besides being great exercise, these clubs will show you little-known places even in your own city.  Examples here, here, and here.
  • Shooting club.  Your local gun club is a great place to shoot, learn tactical skills, and meet with like-minded people.  In addition to searching for a local club, this and this organization are also worth joining.
  • Hiking and backpacking clubs.  You can find these clubs on Meet Up as well as by Googling the topic and your local area.  This is a great way to get out in the wilderness with fun, interesting people.
  • Maker clubs.  When TEOTWAWKI comes around, your maker skills are going to be a top priority.  Learn these valuable skills now at a maker space in our community.
  • Gardening.  Learning how to grow your own food is a vital skill.  With both local and national gardening clubs to join, you will be well on your way to food self sufficiency.
  • Random, specific knowledge clubs like orienteering, hacking, lockpicking, hunting, etc.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

100 Privacy Tips (Part 4 of 4)


76.  Continually reinforce the need for OpSec with your family.  You don't want your spouse or kids telling their friends about the armory in the basement, the stash of gold you maintain, or the two year's worth of food you have stored for an emergency.

77.  Be aware of KYC laws and how this can impact your banking/other business activity.

78.  Don't talk to the police besides the basics of identifying yourself.

79.  Beware that if you are connected to the grid, your utility usage can make your private life habits public knowledge (and be used to prosecute you in some cases).

80.  Speaking of utilities, don't allow companies to use remote access programs to access your private data.  Examples here and here.

81.  Beware of how your activities can put your personal information on display.  This can be things like race tracking or even getting your name in the paper for something you have done.

82.  When traveling, especially internationally, take extra care with your device security.

83.  Take steps to improve the privacy of your home such as following these tips, walking around the exterior of your home both during the day and at night to ensure people can not see into your home, covering anything in the garage you don't want the neighbors to see when you open your garage door (like your gun safe or stored food), etc.

84.  Take a look at your work environment and institute as many privacy and security tips as possible (examples here, here, and here).

85.  Take privacy precautions if you will be participating in a protest.

86.  Teach your children about privacy and do your best to keep their personal data (photos, cell number...basically everything kids regularly post on social media these days) off-line.  This education also includes personal privacy topics as well.

87.  Biohacking, implant tracking, and even cyber hacking your vehicle are the "brave new world" of privacy problems.  Examples here, here, and here.  

88.  Before you have guests, the housekeeper, workmen, etc come into your home, securely store cash/jewelry/prescription meds/guns/mail/personal papers/etc. away from prying eyes.

89.  Make your car as generic looking as possible.  Keep the interior clean and bare of anything that would attract thieves or privacy snoops, and for the love of God, don't put bumper stickers on your vehicle.

90.  Similarly, before you leave your vehicle with the valet or mechanic, only give them the vehicle's valet key (not your whole keychain), and lock valuables (firearm, cash, registration info, anything with your personal info on it) in your glove box.

91.  If you want to be in for a shocker when it comes to how little digital privacy you have, download your Apple or Google data.

92.  Take steps to avoid cross-device tracking, including browser isolation, using an air-gapped computer, etc.

93.  Use physical devices to secure your cell phone and laptop including camera covers, privacy screen protectors, microphone blocker device, USB data blockers, etc.

94. Learn how to hide from drones.  More info here.

95. If you need to take extreme measures, consider using a disguise when you go out.

96. Keep up with new privacy/tech topics as this subject changes very rapidly.  On YouTube, check out The Hated One, Rob Braxman, Techlore, All Things Secured, Wolfgang's Channel, Sumsub, Shannon Morris, Naomi Brockwell, etc.

97. If money is no object, you can hire a cybersecurity team to assist you with all manner of digital security.

98. Don't want your consumer purchases used to track you?  Become a maker.

99. Brush up on privacy laws that effect you.  Examples here, here, and here.

100.  Mind what you say when speaking to people.  Many people inadvertently give away a lot of personal information when having friendly conversations with others.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

100 Privacy Tips (Part 3 of 4)

Moving right along...

51.  Clear up any legal/financial problems so you will not be encumbered by the legal/court system (also consider expunging or sealing your records if this is needed/possible).

52.  Do not rely on any government assistance programs.

53.  For even more privacy, consider renting a home which includes all utilities "off the books".

54.  Own a pre-1990's vehicle which doesn't have a "black box", On-Star, etc.

55.  Do not drive a company/commercial vehicle (examples why here and here).

56.  Be aware that the dashcam you use to protect you is also recording everything you do and say.

57.  Also be aware that when you call 911 you are being recorded (even before the 911 operator answers).

58.  Avoid CCTV/facial recognition cameras by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and mask when you are out in public (which isn't nearly as unusual post-pandemic as it was pre-pandemic). 

59.  Develop a wide skill set that would allow you to work "off the books."

60.  Go backpacking in a remote area for a couple of weeks (this may drop you totally off the grid if you do not bring any electronic devices with you).

61.  Use a notebook and pen for taking notes as digital notes can be compromised.

62.  Scrub your metadata from photos and email headers.

63.  Use non-digital home security options to safeguard your home.

64.  Learn how pre-digital surveillance societies did things (examples here, here, and here).

65.  Engineer a "normal life" and a separate "private" life.

66.  Improve your health and fitness to the point you don't need ongoing prescription medicines, ongoing medical monitoring, etc. 

67.  If you need another reason to avoid social media, realize that these services can and do share your most personal data (examples here and here).

68.  Become aware of old fashioned spy-craft skills.

69.  Learn how to avoid online scams and phishing attacks.

70.  Use items that can not be digitally tracked (old fashioned alarm clocks, "dumb" TVs, non-digital cameras, etc).

71.  Become familiar with Tor, Tails, and the Dark Web.

72.  Realize that the most mundane appliances can be used to track you (example here).

73.  Continually update your knowledge of surveillance self defense.  Also this.

74.  Learn about OSINT techniques then use these research skills on yourself so you will learn what modifications you need to make to enhance your privacy.

75.  Also, regularly Google 'how to protect my privacy' for new and updated techniques to use.



Tuesday, March 7, 2023

100 Privacy Tips (Part 2 of 4)

Continuing on...

26.  Shop thrift stores, garage sales, swap meets, etc where you pay cash for what you buy and there is no log of your transactions.

27.  Don't use store apps when shopping (don't even keep these apps on your cell phone) so your purchases won't be tracked.

28.  If you must buy online, shop directly through store websites instead of buying on Amazon.

29.  Consider concealing your voting information (this varies by state).

30.  Crosscut shred all documents with your personal information on them.

31.  Remove your personal information from people finder sites.

32.  Take your cyber security seriously (here's how).

33.  Consider using crypto for private financial transactions.

34.  Consider using your passport for definitive ID instead of you driver's license (your passport does not have your address on it like your license does).

35.  Consider being unbanked or underbanked.

36.  Consider getting a second passport.

37.  Consider getting your medical/dental/mental health care outside of the US.

38.  Learn how to barter.

39.  Live off the grid.

40.  Grow your own food.

41.  Don't have a conventional home camera security system in your home.

42.  Do not have any smart appliances in your home.

43.  Live with a simple living/minimalist/buy-it-for-life mindset.

44.  Learn about ghost guns.

45.  Have lots of non-digital entertainment options (board games, hobbies like sewing and knitting, fishing gear, etc).

46.  Do not use commercial (or any) DNA testing services.

47.  Be a gray man.

48.  Use a faraday bag when necessary.

49.  Use maps/an atlas when traveling instead of a GPS device.

50.  Be completely debt free.