How not to be spied on

It looks as though the major NSA tricks are:

  • Taking over routers using tricks similar to those botnet operators use to take over individual computers.
  • Twisting the arms of major corporations to backdoor their products and share information, for example Skype.
  • Encouraging the adoption of flawed cryptography with hidden backdoors through its standards arm, NIST.
  • Taking over individual computers using tricks similar to those of botnet operators. However they do not take over most people’s computers, since doing so indiscriminately on a large scale would get them caught and people would adopt methods to protect their computers, as against botnet operators.

Supposing this to be so, the software published by Guardian is likely to be fairly spy resistant, among them Ostel, a secure skype replacement.

Your contacts will still show up on NSA’s contact tracing if you use Ostel, but they will not be able to listen in your calls. The bit they are most interested in is your instant messaging, since their computers can grep that information. Ostel’s instant messaging is not secure. Perhaps it will be secure soon, but it is not secure now. Gibberbot instant messaging is secure in that no one can listen in, provided both ends use it, but you can still be contact traced.

Torchat provides instant messaging that cannot be contact traced or spied upon, though it is not as instant as you probably used to, installing it is painful, and getting your friends to install it apt to be more painful. It requires Tor, and due to the current NSA scandal, so many people are joining Tor that it is going down under the load. Tor is Snowdened under.

And, what leads me to suppose that Skype, and therefore Microsoft is entirely in bed with the NSA? Create a web page, that has no links leading to it, which therefore no one should ever hit on. Mention that web page in a skype instant message. Someone, presumably the NSA, will download it.

The efficient way to transmit video and speech, and the way with the least lag is as directly as possible between the two peers. Instead, all skype voice and video goes through a central location in the US, introducing significant additional lag and very substantial additional costs and complexity for Skype/Microsoft.

One Response to “How not to be spied on”

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