Category Archives: Freedom of Speech

Financial Freedom – How to keep your data secure and private

[The following post about cybersecurity was stolen by the creator of Hacked .com and Crypto Coin News .com in March of 2017.  It is my original work.  The creator of those sites stole it from me without payment.  Do not visit either of those sites.]

cybersecurity

Your most important information exists within cyberspace.

With each passing day, that information becomes more valuable, as well as more vulnerable.  Cybersecurity also becomes more important.

There are two main parties that want your information: cybercriminals and overreaching government spy agencies.  The former want financial information first and foremost.  The latter want everything.

According to William Binney, a former high-ranking official at the National Security Administration (NSA), everything you do online – email, banking, credit cards, surfing the web, etc., all get recorded and archived by spy agencies such as the NSA.

Why do they want this information?  For criminals, the answer is simple: to profit.  Either through direct theft or by selling bulk information to third parties, cybercriminals seek to make a quick buck for relatively little effort.

Government spy agencies, however, have even more nefarious intentions.

All stored data can be used against you at any time, for any reason.  Sound paranoid?  It has happened before.

The Importance of Privacy

The United States Federal Government (USFG) used such data in order to direct IRS agents toward impeding the actions of conservatives within the Tea Party movement.  The IRS targeted members within the movement with increased scrutiny, in some cases auditing them for no apparent reason.

When this information came to light, the presiding Acting Director of Exempt Organizations, Lois Lerner, was eventually put on trial in front of a congressional committee for her alleged crimes.  In the end, she would face no criminal charges.  Her infamous testimony consisted of only four words: “I plead the fifth” (referring to the fifth amendment of the constitution of the United States of America, which defends against self-incrimination).

Unlike corrupt politicians such as Lerner, pleading the fifth may not always be an option for the rest of us everyday citizens.  Everything you do, when watched and recorded for years, can amount to self-incrimination.  It has been estimated that the average person commits about three felonies a day, just going about their daily life.  This has occurred as a result of an explosion in federal laws and regulations, as well as those laws becoming more and more vague and malleable.  If you become a target for whatever reason, your data can be sifted through, and within it, something will be found to charge you with.  This occurred with members of the conservative Tea Party movement, as well as members of the liberal Occupy Wallstreet movement.  This shows that the state does not take sides in terms of politics.  Anyone disrupting the status quo can be labeled a threat and dealt with.

Perhaps the best speech ever given on the subject of privacy comes from Glenn Greenwald, the journalist at The Guardian who first broke the Snowden story:

In addition to so-called “privacy” concerns (which have more to do with potential government overreach and protection of individual rights than just wanting to be private), cybersecurity has shown to be of the utmost importance in recent years.

Historic Hacks Shed Light on The Value of Security

A number of high-profile hacks have happened in the recent past.  Among them are the Yahoo hack (largest in history), hacking of several large retailers and their customer’s data, and a laundry list of cloud-hosting companies such as Dropbox being compromised (do a search for “cloud data break” or “cloud hacking” – you’ll be shocked).  That’s not to mention the recent Meltdown and Spectre revelations, which dwarf everything else in terms of cybersecurity flaws.

Now that you’ve been terrified by the insecurity of the Internet and the potential misuses of your data (if not, you should be), this brings us to the question: what can be done about it?

 Fortunately, there are several steps that anyone can take in order to make the vast majority of one’s online activity, including financial data, both secure and private.  And as we will see, they are simple, easy, and affordable.

Let’s begin with something most people do every day: email.

Cybersecurity Basics

All of your emails can be accessed and viewed by the company that holds them.  The company can also be required to hand this data over to government spy agencies.  This isn’t very secure at all, and it’s definitely not private by any means.

Alternatives to the many mainstream email providers do exist.  One of the most popular is Protonmail.  Protonmail uses advanced encryption on all of its servers.  This makes it much more difficult for your messages to be intercepted.  In addition, even the company itself cannot access your data.  From

“ProtonMail’s zero access architecture means that your data is encrypted in a way that makes it inaccessible to us. Data is encrypted on the client side using an encryption key that we do not have access to. This means we don’t have the technical ability to decrypt your messages, and as a result, we are unable to hand your data over to third parties. With ProtonMail, privacy isn’t just a promise, it is mathematically ensured. For this reason, we are also unable to do data recovery. If you forget your password, we cannot recover your data.”

This also ensures that ProtonMail cannot hand over your information to spy agencies, even if it wanted to.  In addition, your most sensitive information, such as financial communications, will be far more secure.    

ProtonMail provides free accounts with a 500-megabyte storage limit.  For a small monthly fee, you can also upgrade to accounts with additional storage and features.  If you can afford it, I definitely recommend this option.  Not only will you support their efforts, but you also get added features such as using your own domain, access to aliases, and priority customer support.

If for some reason you don’t like Protonmail, alternatives do exist, but won’t be covered in detail here.  If you’re interested, just do a search for “ProtonMail alternatives”, or something similar.  (Side note on search engines – for privacy concerns, do not use Google – they keep an archive of everything you search for and click on.  Consider as an alternative https://www.startpage.com.  They use Google’s results, but do not track your movements.  In addition, they allow you to view external links using a proxy server, meaning your activity will appear to be coming from a server other than your personal computer or mobile device.). Duckduckgo.com is also a reasonable alternative.

Your email can be made secure and private with relative ease, but what about your browsing habits and IP address?  Options exist there as well.

Tor and VPNs

The two most common options for securing and protecting what you view and do online include the Tor network and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

The following definition of Tor comes from Pcmag.com:

“Tor (The Onion Router) – The largest implementation of onion routing, which is a method for transmitting data anonymously over the Internet. Run by volunteers, there are approximately a thousand Tor proxy servers on the Internet that provide the routing paths.”

In essence, Tor works via a network of proxy servers.  When you utilize Tor, the network makes it appear as though your device is communicating with one of their servers, rather than whatever you are really doing.  This provides anonymity and some measure of cybersecurity (although the Tor network has proven to be vulnerable in the past).

While Tor is a free service, VPNs come with a small price.  For as little as three to four dollars per month, you can both encrypt your activity and cloak your IP address.  VPNs are a great step to take toward better cybersecurity, and an easy one to use.

The following definition of a VPN comes from whatismyipaddress.com

“A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network technology that creates a secure network connection over a public network such as the Internet or a private network owned by a service provider. Large corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies use VPN technology to enable remote users to securely connect to a private network.”

 A VPN can connect multiple sites over a large distance just like a Wide Area Network (WAN). VPNs are often used to extend intranets worldwide to disseminate information and news to a wide user base. Educational institutions use VPNs to connect campuses that can be distributed across the country or around the world.”

For a list of popular VPN services, search for “Top Ten VPNs”.  Shop around for the best deal.

When using a VPN, you can typically install it on up to five devices.  So your laptop, smartphone, tablet, and two other devices can all be made secure and anonymous.  It’s simple enough that if you can access this webpage and read this article, you can install and use a VPN.

You can choose between a number of servers to route your IP address through, located in locations around the globe.  Most often, a server in your home country will have the least delay.  When using foreign servers, you may experience a slight lag time in browsing.

To be sure, securing your communications and computer system will not mean much if your accounts do not have the appropriate safeguards in place.

Encrypted Passwords & 2 FA

Now let’s turn our attention to more local aspects of cybersecurity.  One of the first things to do that is even easier than what has been described so far involves using encrypted passwords and two-factor authentication (2 FA).  Most financial institutions (e.g., PayPal and Bank of America) now provide options for two-factor authentication.

2 FA works by requiring (you guessed it) two factors in order to verify your identity.  First, you will need a password, which I’ll tell you how to encrypt in just a moment.  Then, you will be sent either an SMS text message or email containing a six-digit numerical code.  You will enter this code before gaining access to your account.

Now, when it comes to passwords, what is considered secure?  Hackers can use sophisticated cracking programs in order to try millions of potential character combinations in a matter of seconds.  To defend against this, you must create a complex password.  A few simple methods exist to do this (side note – remember when John Podesta had his email account hacked and the data released to Wikileaks?  Believe it or not, his password was: p@ssw0rd.  Hah!  It’s no wonder he got hacked!)

First, take a word.  Let’s try: security.

Let’s add some special characters – secur!ty&.

Now throw in a few numbers – 1s3cur!ty&

Finally, add capital letters – 1S3cUr!Ty&.

Now you have a far more secure password.  Yet it can be made better still.

This example is only ten characters long – a bare minimum.  I recommend at least twelve to fifteen characters or more.  This can be done either by adding random characters or creating a physical pattern on your keyboard.

For example N^B%v4c3X@Z! looks random and very secure.  But if you type these characters, you will see a pattern.  The pattern alternates between a letter on the bottom line and a number on the top.  The first four holding Shift, the next four without Shift, and so on.

This is just one example out of an infinite number of such patterns that can be created.  If someone looks over your shoulder, they may decipher the code with ease.  But in this digital age, that’s not our main concern.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, allow me to mention a few random facts.  Let’s briefly look at Secured Socket Layer (SSL) tech and Google account options.

Websites can obtain an SSL certificate.  This encrypts the data sent between the site and its visitors.  For most sites, the simplest version will do.  For e-commerce sites, however, a more elaborate (and expensive) version will be required.  When you see the padlock symbol in the URL bar of your browser, along with https:// instead of HTTP://, you can be assured that no one will access anything you submit to that website (email address, credit card numbers, etc.).  This blog does not have an SSL certificate for the simple fact that readers don’t enter any information here other than an email address (because you subscribed to my mailing list, of course).

Even having taken all the steps above, Google can still track much of the moves you make online (in some online communities, Google gets referred to as “Big Brother”, and for good reason!).  They do this by tracking your Google account, connected to your Youtube, Gmail, and Google Plus accounts.  If you don’t use those three sites, just delete your Google account.  But if you do use them, you can either go into your account or click the arrow displayed on a Google Adsense ad.  You can then access your options and turn off many of the tracking features (this takes a bit of poking around, but if you’ve read this far, I trust you’re more than capable of getting there on your own).  In addition, you may want to delete what has been tracked up to the present.

Summary

So there you have it.  If you do everything described above, you will be taking some serious action toward making your activity online more secure and private.  The more business you conduct online, and the more wealth you store within the digital realm, the more vital cybersecurity becomes. 

We should all feel a personal obligation to take this matter into our own hands.  We must not allow spy agencies to do as they see fit with our data, violating our rights in the process.  And we must remain vigilant against the ever-growing threat of hackers and cybercriminals.  One can work toward accomplishing this by utilizing encrypted emails, VPNs or the Tor network, SSL certificates, and encrypted passwords combined with two-factor authentication.

As a disclaimer, keep in mind that the author of this article has no formal education in matters of cybersecurity or computer science.  What has been described results from little more than self-education and is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

There’s more to cybersecurity than one article can hope to describe, as one might imagine.  Protecting your data from all manner of digital predators grows more vital with each passing day.

I encourage you to educate yourself on the elementary aspects of cybersecurity.  It will be worth it.

Freedom of speech today

Oppression of freedom of speech comes in many forms. The most overt form arises when dictators control the flow of information and silence all dissenting voices. Countries like Saudi Arabia are prime examples.

However, more covert mechanisms of controlling freedom of speech and freedom of thought also exist. Those in power utilize more subtle and hidden forms of oppression in wealthy Western countries where the populace is more likely to stage a successful revolution.

Conspiracy theory

Of all the means of silencing dissenting voices, none have ever proven so fruitful as the term “conspiracy theory”. These two words have an uncanny, almost supernatural ability to shut down all intelligent discourse and rational conversation on almost any topic. All you have to do is mention a simple fact – say, for example, that jet fuel can’t melt steel beams or collapse an entire high-rise building at free-fall speed – and most people will slap the conspiracy theorist label on you.

What’s remarkable is the hypocrisy of it all. You don’t even have to suggest that a conspiracy exists to be called this pejorative term. And yet those who will label you as such in the style of a fifth-grade bully fail to see that they are the ones speaking of conspiracy nonsense. You never said anything about any conspiracy. And yet here they are, accusing you of the very thing they are doing.

Social shaming is a powerful mechanism. Human beings are social animals. We have a built-in need to fit in and be accepted by others. This stems all the way back to our hunter-gatherer times, where being shunned by the tribe often meant certain death.

Today this takes the form of accepting official narratives force-fed to us by mass media. The overwhelming majority of people alive today do not have the courage to face simple facts that may bring unwanted and unpleasant feelings of pain, anguish, fear, or distress. They would much rather believe whatever makes them feel good and ignore or deny everything that contradicts whatever leads to those feelings.

As Ayn Rand once said, “you can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality”. At some point, people’s weakness in accepting reality will always catch up with them. If you lack the courage to face facts, your world will one day come crumbling down around you.

All in all, a tyranny of the mind is a far greater threat than a tyranny by physical force. Those in throes of mental manipulation cannot see how they have been blinded. They will never know or even suspect that they are being controlled, and they would not believe or even care if someone told them. This kind of control has far greater power, as it cannot be resisted.  What cannot be perceived cannot be fought.

These days, most everything is a conspiracy. By making fun of those who ask questions, point out simple facts, or see through various facades, those in power have somehow achieved complete and total silencing of the truth via methods of social shaming similar to those used by children in elementary school.  We must not allow our freedom of speech to be silenced in this manner.

Fight back

Fight back against silence

The only way to combat such mental tyranny is to never back down. How does one deal with a childhood bully in school? Beat him into the ground. There is no other solution. The bully will not understand anything else. No substitute for brute force exists. While we are indoctrinated to believe that violence solves nothing, there are times when nothing gets solved without violence.

Thankfully, being bullied by weak and feeble-minded adults does not require physical violence. It simply involves facing facts, having the courage to state them to others, and never backing down. So not shy away when faced with the conspiracy lunacy nonsense. Do not fail to speak your mind when you know things don’t add up. And don’t hesitate to ask questions to those who sheepishly buy into ideas that make no sense.

That last point bears repeating. Asking questions often can prove far more productive than anything else. By asking someone a question regarding their line of thought, they will have to begin formulating an answer. And in doing so, they will see that their conclusion does not add up.   Often times this is the only way to burst their pathetic little bubble.  Do not let childhood bullies take away your freedom of speech.

Six insane snippets from the Vegas shooting police scanner broadcast

What happened to coverage of the Las Vegas shooting?

Mysteriously, the tragic events at a country music festival in Vegas one month ago seem to have fallen off the radar of mainstream media. Now we only hear about sex scandal after sex scandal involving Hollywood icons. There have been some rumblings of the US Congress failing to act on regulating bump stocks as if that will somehow prevent these kinds of things from happening in the future. Still, several weeks went by without a single mention of the event by most mainstream sources.

Perhaps there were too many holes in the official narrative of what happened that fateful night. Continued coverage only kept contradicting the facts on the ground. The story made no sense. So many things did not add up.

To illustrate this point, we can do no better than to examine the most compelling piece of objective evidence available: the police scanner broadcast. Eighty-seven minutes and four seconds of police radio chatter reveals more about the Vegas shooting than just about anything else. And upon close scrutiny, it becomes clear that what mainstream media was telling us was not the truth, plain and simple.

I won’t speculate on the motives here. Nor will I look for a trail of clues leading back to who did this. Theorizing will have no place in this post. All that will be covered in the words to follow will involve the exact details of what the police were recorded to have said that night, plus a minimum amount of commentary. No conjecture, no interpretation, no bull.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Six most inexplicable snippets

19:47 – “Confirmed two shooters…”

This contradicts the narrative that Paddock was the only shooter. Was he even a real shooter, or was he a patsy? This is the first time the cops mention multiple shooters. But it is not the last.

20:45 – “Victims going into a pentagram…”

 This is one of the strangest parts of the entire broadcast. Yes, it really says that. Don’t believe me? Go and listen for yourself. It seems to be totally out of context, and I have no idea what the officer who said that was thinking. What motivated him to say that, and what was he referring to? Of all the things that could possibly be said, why this?

There are people who claim that these kinds of events are ritualized sacrifices on some level. These people don’t have a shred of evidence to base such claims on. I never gave a second thought to that kind of talk – wrote it off as the typical Internet chatter. But after finding this passage, I began to wonder if maybe, somehow, there’s a kernel of truth in such conspiracies.

22:34 – 22:40 – “Sunrise with one furniture six enemies shall three cities…”

There’s no possible way to make any sense whatsoever out of this one. I don’t even know where to begin. The title of this post is “six insane snippets from the Vegas shooting police scanner broadcast”. I think this quotation, coupled with the title, speaks for itself.

25:49 – 25:57“Know control about three minutes ago a black duly unknown truck looked like a Chevy…”

26:34 – 26:50 – “…Chevy ripped out of parking lot…”

Here’s something that was never reported on the mainstream news, not even once. Black ops teams have been known to drive black SUVs. Of course, they would be fleeing the scene after doing their dirty work. Yet why did law enforcement not pursue these individuals, no matter whom they were? The cops say a black Chevy ripped out of the parking lot, but they never mention any pursuit. So they just let it go?

39:26 – 39:34 – “we’re going to put a shotgun facing the RV that the suspect is supposed to be in…”

What? The suspect is in an RV? Not only was this one not on the TV, this was not reported anywhere. I’m sure some other fringe tin-foil hat blogger like myself covered it somewhere out there on the Internet. But I sure as hell haven’t heard a damn thing about this anywhere else. Who was this mysterious individual in an RV, and what was he or she doing? Why did they have a shotgun facing the RV? Where was the RV and why was it there? None of this makes any sense.

Vegas shooting gets more and more peculiar

In summary, these six snippets from the police scanner broadcast that fateful night shed some light on the insanity of the official narrative. Just from these few moments alone, it becomes obvious that what mainstream media told us cannot be true in the slightest. At the very least, they have lied by omission. There are a few additional points to briefly consider in order to confirm this reality.

  • The windows on casino resorts like Mandalay Bay are equipped with pressure sensors. The slightest impact upon them sends an immediate alert to hotel security with the exact room number the incident happened on. We have to ask ourselves: how could it possibly have taken 72 minutes for law enforcement to reach the shooter(s) with this technology in place?
  • There were at least two shooters. The police scanner broadcast confirms this, as does the photographic evidence of two windows ten rooms apart being shot out.
  • There’s no possible way one man could have carried dozens of rifles and thousands of rounds of ammo to the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay. They say he used the freight elevator. In any establishment, customers are not allowed to use the freight elevator. Why would they be? If this is true, how did no one find curious the fact that this guy had dozens of heavy bags that needed to be lifted up to his room, even though he was staying there by himself?

So many things do not add up. There are so many holes in the story of the Vegas shooting. We may never know what really happened that night. But we can know with absolute certainty that Stephen Paddock was not the only shooter and that he likely was a patsy. There’s no way he could have gotten the equipment to his room. The real perpetrators probably got away in the black Chevy that the cops somehow decided not to pursue.