5 useful tips to reclaim your digital autonomy and stay safe online!

5 useful tips to reclaim your digital autonomy and stay safe online!

this video is brought to you by Nord VPN support the show and use the offer code Linux gamer and get 75% off a three year plan plus an extra month for free there's a link in the description hey everybody it's your friend and your guy in your favorite biased dude who makes Linux seem like it's only for the elites gardener the elite gamer I guess this video is brought to you as always by my 125 amazing patrons including the support of web freak web freak my dude thank you so much for your support I couldn't do this without you holy moly guys it is it is incredibly warm in my apartment and I wanted to do a video that I just realized it's going to take me a really long time to record so if I have like sweat stains under my pits by the end of this video you know why I've been I'll probably be doing this for a while this is gonna be awesome this is really exciting because I'm making a video about protecting your privacy online now a lot of you are gonna be you know fully in on this already and that's fine but I'm kind of like hoping to build this video towards towards people who might not necessarily already be Linux users or who might not you know think about their privacy online as something that I take seriously this is going to be sort of a an overview of what you can do to take back your digital autonomy and secure yourself from surveillance companies and marketeers and and from data breaches and I think that this is going to be a lot of fun so if you like this video you can hit that like button it really helps to show it gets the message out there to more people yeah you can also hit that subscribe button if you want to like see more content like this and you're new to the channel you can also go over to lb ry that's beta L bi Y dot TV slash @thelinuxgamer and you can check that out because I'm over there and I have all the same content going on over there it's open source and it's distributed and it's really cool so the first thing I wanted to talk about is divesting yourself from private surveillance firms alright so companies like Google Amazon Facebook right how much do these companies actually know about you have you ever asked yourself the question like my what am i comfortable with these companies knowing about me and and if you actually ask yourself that question and you look at the evidence the answer is probably they know way more about you than you'd actually be comfortable with right think about this if you have and you regularly use a gmail account think about all the information that comes in through Gmail right think about how much Google knows about you just by looking through your email you get receipts for your online purchases through your email you conduct business and do personal dealings in your email and some banks will send you personal details in your email so Google notes all that about you plus if you have an Android device or you're using a Google app or Google services on your iOS device Google knows your phone number your IP address your location they probably have access to your text messages what apps you use and how long you're using them for right they know where you work when you sleep they know what searches you query what sites you visit right they potentially even know your user names and your passwords for most of the sites that you visit Amazon is no better I mean how many times have you gone on Amazon and then switched over to Facebook and what you just search for on Amazon is right there in your Facebook feed they know what you want they know what you search for what you can and can't afford they might have a microphone or two or three in your house right now they know what shows you watch through Kindle Fire or through their streaming services they know what music you listen to and they use all of that information to manipulate you both Facebook and Google track everything that you do online I mean they are integrated into a substantial portion of every website that you visit on a daily basis and they they track everything that you do and all the clicks that you make on these websites and aggregate that down into this what I've taken to calling a parallel entity which is this hollow database shadow that you create as you go through the internet and are being tracked by these different companies and what's even scarier is that Google and Facebook and Amazon they're all expanding the role that they play in your life it's not enough for them to know a little bit they have to know everything they are offering you new services to attempt to lock you into their ecosystem for example if you spend a thousand dollars on the Google Play Store you're less likely to go to a competitor and if you have an Amazon echo there's a good chance that they're pushing these services on you for example Amazon Prime unlimited by diminishing the quality or functionality of other music streaming apps so what can be done I mean I've kind of laid out of grim picture here what can be done is pretty simple divest if you have an Android phone you can install something like lineage OS on it or flash another custom ROM and by all means do not use Google Play services or any apps that require it use a web browser like Firefox are brave rather than Chrome and stop shopping on Amazon stay log out of your accounts when you're on the web and if you have to log in go in through private browsing mode so that your cookies and sessions aren't stored if not delete the accounts wholesale so most of the rest of this list is going to help you mitigate the impact that these companies have on your life and your browsing habits but what's important to know and to realize here is that if you take control of your digital autonomy and you escape from the walled gardens that these companies have created that are meant to surveil and collect data about you it's a great first step and it helps you change your frame of mind when it comes to online privacy in your digital autonomy next up is using a VPN now VPNs are SuperDuper important 87% of people who use public Wi-Fi have at some point or other done something risky on public Wi-Fi whether it's something like checking your email or logging into an unsecured account or checking your bank statements this information can be snooped by third parties that's why VPNs are really important a VPN or virtual private network is an encrypted tunnel between your device and a remote trusted server this means that attackers on public Wi-Fi like at a coffee shop or at a hotel wouldn't be able to snoop on your traffic if you're using the internet without a VPN your ISP your cell carrier or other actors have access to a host of information about you DNS lookups host names unencrypted traffic in metadata can all be used to build a profile about you and all of that can be traced back to your IP address VPNs act like a buffer between you and the web securing your DNS queries encrypting your browsing traffic hiding your IP and stopping metadata collection now that's where Nord VPN the sponsor of this video comes in now I've been working on this video for months literally months and I knew that I was gonna talk about VPNs so I reached out to Nord VPN and I said hey guys would you be interested in supporting a video that I'm about to make on on digital privacy and they jumped at the opportunity nor VPN was ranked number one by VPN mentor at CES 2019 and I've partnered with them to get you guys an excellent deal sign up using the offer code Linux gamer and get 75% off a three year plan plus an extra month for free Nord VPN offers 256 bit encryption on all your web traffic and connecting to their service is super simple using their mobile app or their desktop app beyond just securing your web traffic you can also use Nord VPN to stream content from outside of region locked areas like if your if you want to watch something from Netflix but it's not available in your country guess what you can pretend like you're in that country and use Nord VPN to spoof your way it's access to that content I've been an Orion customer for quite a while I stand behind their product I love their service and I couldn't be happier that they're sponsoring this video and like I said Nord VPN was the first and only company I reached out to to ask if they wanted to help sponsor this video and they responded and they were awesome about helping out so thank you to Nord VPN all right next up using free and open source software I wouldn't be much of a fostered if I didn't talk about using free and open source software this is one of the simplest and most effective things that you can do to help ensure your privacy online right now there are some projects that don't give a crap about your online privacy but those generally aren't considered free and open source they're generally just part of the the whole open source as a fad thing right now does using free and open-source software meaning that you only use free and open-source software not necessarily and does Foss software necessarily make you more safe not by the strictest definition of open-source however it is a step in the right direction it's important that the software that you run is compatible with the GPL it's important that the community standards of the project have some kind of ethics behind them like the Debian social contract and it's important that the software you use doesn't include telemetry components or binary blobs that can't be audited so what are the benefits of running open-source software versus proprietary code it's pretty straightforward proprietary code puts you as the user into an ecosystem that the company that made the software has control over where generally speaking open-source software puts you at the center of your computing you as the user have oh oh my light died you as the user have ultimate control over your computer your software and what you do on it generally speaking free and open source software isn't gonna have telemetry or binary blobs in it it's not gonna track what you're doing and and and spy on you essentially if you want to use something like Steam something that's closed and proprietary you know I'm not gonna shame you in fact I I use Steam as well but you need to be aware of the risks and truthfully it is better for you to use closed software on an open platform where you have more control that rather than using it on a proprietary system but just be aware that the code you don't have access to might just be doing something you wouldn't be okay with in the background if you use proprietary software right now there are tons of alternatives available if you use Dropbox or Google Drive you can use next cloud and I've actually made a video about next cloud here if you use Chrome try Firefox and if you're on Windows or Mac OS why not give Linux a spin next up we're going to talk about password managers and two-factor authentication no matter how careful you are on the internet you have no idea and no control over how third parties are storing or even securing your information last year there were over a hundred and eighty distinct data breaches many of them leaking stuff like clear text or hashed passwords usernames email accounts and even more sensitive information even organizations like the US Air Force Newegg Amazon Google and Facebook these huge companies and organizations all had breaches so there's no organization that's really immune to this and what's worse is that if you use the same username and password across different accounts on the internet and one of them gets breached then they are all breached so one that's one of the reasons that I use next cloud passwords next cloud passwords is a free and open source app for next cloud that lets you do some awesome things not the least of which is generate secure passwords for your accounts so you install the next Club passwords app on next cloud which is a server-side program but you install the next cloud app on your system and then you can get the browser extension which lets you get passwords from the from the app but you can also save passwords to it using the browser extension and there's also the Android app which lets you do the same thing essentially in next club passwords you can also store other types of information for example if you need to back up your two-factor authentication recovery keys or even pesky security questions that you know banks often ask that you always forget the answer to or at least I do that way you don't have to call tech support and be like no I really am the dude all right you just gotta let me into my freakin account but I think my favorite thing about next cloud passwords is that it checks your credentials to see if they've been compromised in other data breaches and that's super awesome and it also makes it super simple to create and manage secure complex and unique passwords for all the services you use but there's another way that you can secure your accounts and that's through two-factor authentication it's one thing to have your accounts stored behind a long string of random characters it's another thing altogether to have 2-step verification for your logins and there's kind of a hierarchy of two-factor authentication the at the lower end is text message and email verification of a login you're likely to have seen this with banks and some other services you log in with your username and password and then they send you a special secret key like five or six characters long in an email or a text message that then you use back on the login screen to verify that you have access to a device or an account but there is an issue with this as this can become quite insecure if you're not careful or you know SIM card spoofing is also a things having an attacker call your cell phone carrier and be like hey I'm so-and-so can you just change my SIM card to this other SIM card and now they're getting your text messages on their phone it's crazy the better solution is time-based one-time passwords or TOTP authentication if you're into brevity setting up totp is pretty simple and straightforward generally you'll have a QR code when you go to set it up and you'll use your phone's app or another device to scan that that QR code which then loads up a special key in the app and generates a special password once every couple seconds that you can use to login with there are tons of apps available a really popular one is Google Authenticator now I'm not big on Google obviously so instead you can get something like free OTP Plus from f-droid on Android you can also use something like genome Authenticator on your on your computer or when the Libra 5 comes out that's gonna be sweet anyway this is just a more secure way of doing two-factor authentication it's better than SMS it's it's better than email verification because you know if you're using the same account an email address and password for your email account as well as compromised guess what they have access to that now too so I like totp it's it's really cool it's really fun it's like a little game a little bit and finally privacy extensions and JavaScript alright so you've made it this far you've divested from corporate surveillance you've set up a VPN your drop the proprietary software and you've set up secure authentication methods all of these are great steps and it's all about changing your mindset I've saved this one for last and some people are probably gonna say that I should have put this one up front but honestly I'm not sure if that would be a good idea I think that if you want privacy you have to change your mind set right you have to think about your information and your security more than just enabling a browser extension and forgetting about it would actually allow you to do I'm not trying to say that enabling a browser extension is a lesser form of security or privacy protection it's it's an essential part of it I think that it's part of your complete online privacy breakfast but what I am saying is that it's just too easy to enable a privacy extension and see the little badge in the top right corner of your browser and then feel like you're protected without taking any of the previous steps mentioned above and that's why I left this for less because this really is about changing your mentality when it comes to your information and security and privacy online so the first thing that you should do as I've mentioned above is stop using something like Google Chrome and instead use something more like Firefox Chrome will be killing support for effective privacy tools going forward we're not exactly sure when that's going to drop but they have signaled that that's gonna be happening at some point in the future so if you care about your privacy use something like Firefox I would also recommend that you try one or two different extensions get a feel for them and how they work but you don't need to run them all at once in fact you're probably just gonna break things if you run 2 or 3 or 4 at once but I like a couple of extensions docta goes privacy extension is awesome you block origin is also great and they both block trackers and malicious advertisers as well as add analytics networks social media widgets and other malignant content and Firefox just rolled out a bunch of really interesting tools including a tool that will let you subvert browser fingerprints and if you don't know much about that there's gonna be a link in the description about browser fingerprints it's that's some scary stuff if you want to go a step further and and just block all JavaScript there are extensions for that no script is a good one that I would recommend because you can actually selectively re-enable JavaScript for for different from different sources on the web from different web sites that's really cool alternatively you can just outright disable JavaScript altogether at the browser level I wouldn't recommend doing that that's kind of overkill in my opinion and most websites are just going to stop working completely you'll you'll be left to a handful of sites from the 90s if you disable JavaScript wholesale but even no script will break a lot of websites and some of the privacy extensions can break websites as well even Firefox is tool when I enabled the when I enabled the tracker blocker in Firefox the little like button in on Twitter disappeared I was like what the hell and it's because it comes from a source that that that Firefox has deemed to be an insecure tracker just an interesting fact I thought that was very interesting but what's important here is using these tools judiciously and using them in concert with the other things that I've talked about in this video once you adopt the mindset of privacy and security you're well on your way I want to thank Nord VPN again for sponsoring this video if you want to get an awesome deal seventy five percent off a three year plan you can head over to Nord VPN comm and sign up using the offer code Linux gamer it really helps to show out if you do that too and you'll find links down in the description for all of that thank you so much guys for watching if you believe in the work that I do you can support this show with a monthly contribution over on patreon or you can pick up a t-shirt there's a link in the description but no matter what you do when you hit that like button or share this video with your friends don't forget to subscribe to see more from me the Linux gamer and as always thanks for watching

43 thoughts on “5 useful tips to reclaim your digital autonomy and stay safe online!

  1. Hey guys, I just wanted to say thanks again to NordVPN. I never thought I'd be able to work them and they made it super easy. Check out my link to help the show and get 75% off your a 3 year plan, plus an additional month FREE: https://nordvpn.com/linuxgamer

  2. I want to de-googleify my life. I can think of drop-in replacements for almost all google services except Gmail. I always hear that running your own mail server is not a good idea. What's a privacy seeker to do?

  3. I also don't get the idea of using an online password manager. What if your password manager gets breached? I write my passwords in a file that's inside a KDE Vault (encrypted folder) that i can open with a keyboard shortcut.

  4. Privacy is key and I love your videos but pretty much this whole video is about Nord VPN. IDK about Nord VPN but I really don't have to money after my bills every month. And Firefox isn't better, I used to use firefox before all the firefox/Mozilla went shady, IDK how they are now. My email is gmail, I know it is run by Google but I can't move from google, it will be to much hassle cause I use youtube, gmail, google calendar, and drive ran by google including sync.

  5. "5 useful tips to reclaim your digital autonomy" yet immediately begins with an add for NordVPN! The worst of the worst when it comes to VPN providers! Anybody in the tech should know that!

  6. Does anyone know of a good privacy Firefox Addon that doesn't block ads as well? I've tried ublock origin and DuclkDuckGo Privacy Essentials, but they both blocked ads. Also, before you go "Well but Google Ads is basically a tracker" I know. I just want to support the people who create the content I consume on the internet.

  7. No VPN provider operating in any of the FIVE EYES countries cannot provide you any privacy at all. So, please stop being a shill. You really should have known better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oja3UzuuqGQ

  8. As I am watching the video, no lie, an email came through from Amazon to buy a book from one of its recommdations.

  9. hey guys, use https://librem.one/ if you need a VPN, Purism is the only company that is for your freedom, the VPN is great and you get a end-to-end encrypted email too.

  10. And don't forget, Dollar Shave VPN club isn't just for razors. We provide AES encrypted shampoos, digitally signed shower gels and much more, all with original scents such as public key and sandalwood, or my personal favourite, anonymised lemongrass. Protect your bathroom privacy today.

  11. Good solid tips… remember if you are a criminal u might consider way different securities. Same goes for government workers and such. These tips are just for normal people trying to protect themselves (their privacy) from big tech companies. And no, u cant be 100% secure and alone… 100% privacy is when the rest of the world is DEAD. Work together….

  12. Even better than TOTP for 2-Factor-Authentication is using technology like U2F or WebAuthn hardware keys as those protocols also protect you from Phishing attacks and can be more convenient than unlocking your phone and typing the 6-digit code into the browser.

  13. Well, do you trust Nordvpn more than your ISP…
    So most of the Websites have https enabled as well, therefore: nobody will read your traffic, as long as you don't do something stupid.

  14. no just NO … you cannot route all your data through a VPN service and trust this company is any better then Google Facebook or Amazon. NordVPN and read EVERYTHING you do online then. VPN is even worse then using Facebook or Amazon.

  15. Two things I'd like to add:
    1- You don't need to stop shopping on Amazon, you just need to not allow them to know who you are on the internet. You can do this by using a separate browser (or one that allows for different environments, such as Epiphany with its webapps);
    2- A good alternative to Nextcloud is Syncthing. They're not exactly the same, one is for creating a storage server and the other for syncing files accross devices, but Syncthing may be all you need, requires basically no setup and is not centralized which makes it a lot more reliable and easier to manage.

  16. I've been exploring Android without Google for a while, and for some users they'll be frustrated living without the Google Play Services. The best solution I've found so far is the MicroG which is a reimplementation of Google's proprietary APIs. You'll most likely trade some privacy for this, but MicroG is built on the principle of maintaining some privacy.

  17. Hi! Been doing my best to migrate to Linux. I’ve got Fedora installed but so far it’s just been headaches getting things to work. Should I keep working at it or try a different distro? I’m just a developer trying to move to a Linux desktop. I’m use to GUI-less servers but never used a desktop till now.

  18. Firefox on Windows is resetting my about:config custom settings! I've found Waterfox for Windows – it's firefox, but stripped down from privacy-invading features. Firefox by default is not privacy-respecting. You have to make it more secure by disabling a lot of features. For details I recommend privacytools.io. For Linux it's better to install something like Icecat, or Iceweasel.

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