This week is “Privacy Week” on Knightwise.com where we are going to focus on applications, tips and tricks to keep YOUR data safe from prying eyes. “Why ? ” you might say .. “I have nothing to hide”. Are you sure about that ? Then lets strip the blinds from your bedroom so your neighbours can enjoy the saturday-night “bow-chicka-bowow” action with your spouse .. or since we are at it , remove the doors from ALL public bathrooms … You won’t mind to squat in plain sight, do you .. you had “nothing to hide”.
The point I am trying to make is that privacy is not only a basic human right, “Keeping your privacy” is also becoming a very personal statement in this world where everybody seems to spy on everybody. In this series of articles we won’t teach you how to stay out of reach from the NSA or stuff, but will give you some basic pointers on how to keep your personal information away from script kiddies, nosy network administrators and the small minority of malevolent hackers that might actually be out to get YOU. The fact of the matter is : Getting your hands on other people’s information is just too darn easy these days. What if that nerdy kid in the coffee shop is keeping track of all the url’s you are visiting. What if the stalky network admin at work has an extra special interest in your traffic, what if there is a Pinapple hotspot in operation without you knowing it (Check out the special we did on this interesting device HERE ) “So WHAT ? WHAT can they see ?” you ask ? lets illustrate with a little video here.
So you see : Your privacy is not always guaranteed. Tag along on our privacy week and pick up some pointers on how to keep your privacy .. private.
Free wifi is great. It’s like finding an oasis in the middle of the desert that gives you the ability to quench your digital thirst before you wade into the offline sahara once again. But “Open and Free” wifi comes at a price. Being a shared network medium, it means that all traffic on the wireless network is visible to all users on that network , should they care to take a peak.
With networking tools like “Wireshark” it is fairly easy sniff traffic on an open wifi network and intercept all kinds of unencrypted traffic. That traffic can consist of what URL’s you surf to to what passwords you use (if you have an unsecured connection) .. They are all there for anyone to sniff, download and analyse.
To keep your browser traffic private all you need to do is encrypt it. One of the ways to do this is of course use https connections where you can, but if that is not possible there are alternatives. You can set up your own SSH proxy server. This means you will be creating an encrypted tunnel from your laptop, TROUGH the internet, to your home server. Once there (behind the security of your own firewall) your traffic heads for the internet. Its like surfing at home, but you are in fact ‘away from home’.
The only thing you need are :
– Access over SSH to a linux server. ( Check our our tutorial on how to set this up)
– A copy of Firefox.
Setting it up is quite easy , and we will probably do a screencast on the issue in season 8 of our podcast, but instead of boring you with a lot of text , we are going to point you to the excellent podcast episode Kurtis Adkins did for Hacker Public Radio on the topic. Take 20 minutes and listen carefully. When you are done (and have the ingredients above) you will be able to secure your webtraffic from anyone who wants to snoop around. (Hackers, scriptkiddies or nosy sysadmins)
Link : Curtis Adkins on : Setting up and using SSH and SOCKS (Hacker public Radio ep 1422)
Its Go-go-gadget review time again as we get our greedy little geek hands on the latest gadgets from Samsung. We do an in depth review of their new Phablet the “Note 3” and turn ourselves into Michael Knight (from Knightrider .. remember ?) as we slap on the worlds most advanced smart watch : The Galaxy Gear.
So have you ever wondered what the humidity level is like in your living room ? Or how far the temperature drops outside during the night. Would you like to know the decibel level in your house during the night or the overall air quality ? It might not seem essential information you CANNOT live without but its just a small selection of the information offered by the Netatmo weather station.
Now some say that weather stations are for old uncles with bushy nose hair who like to smoke a pipe, drive a volvo and quote Carl Sagan during birthday parties. Who tell you (while using dramatic gestures) that the amount of hectopascal pressure is ..”Too damn high” for the time of year.
And lets face it .. as an information junkie having access to this kind of information is just too cool to pass up. But you’re not a creepy uncle (yet) and surely lack the bushy nose hair .. and you are a geek .. So what do you do.
169 euro’s later you might find yourself the proud owner of the Netatmo weather station. Forget old school weather station contraptions that are bolted to the outside of mouldy cabins in the woods. These 2 battery powered cylindrical devices (one for the inside and on for outside) have sensors for temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, Decibel levels, Air quality and more. Nice if you are “in the room” but with the wifi hookup you can access this info anywhere you go.
A very easy setup process lets you setup an account with Netatmo and install their mobile application on your favorite Android or IOS Tablet or smartphone to access your weather station from anywhere.
I must be honest : At first we thought .. What are we gonna DO with this ? But the fact that you can access the “real time” indoor and outdoor weather stats on your portable device ANYWHERE is pretty darn cool. But the real fun starts when you start looking at the “logs” of all the sensory information collected by the Netatmo. Instead of just “sayin” the weather was good the last week, you can just whip up your phone and show off a very detailed graph of the moisture level in your garden over the last 23 days.
The power of the Netatmo lies in its well designed apps for the IOS and Android platform. Though the sensory range of the Netatmo is “limited’ ( We find that a Geiger counter would be a nice geeky addition) the total package is pretty cool. The sound meter is great but may give you the accidental ability to find out what weeknights your parents have sex. Whether you will be using your Netatmo on a daily basis once the gadget-factor wears of is something that we don’t know but it sure is cool to play with.
At a 169 Euro’s for the basic set (additional outside modules available) the Netatmo is not cheap but if weather stations are your thing , this is one of the best geek-friendly ones you can get. With its high build quality, pretty design and perfect app execution the Netatmo never ‘rains on your parade’ .