Your Best Personal Defense In The Ongoing CyberWar, by AJS

One of claimed “time traveler” John Titor’s most alarming predictions was for a war beginning in 2015 between Russia and the United States. The prediction was made on the old Art Bell Coast-to-Coast AM radio show in the 1999-2000 era. The war would eventually go nuclear and be quite destructive resulting in great loss of life. The good news according to Titor was that the country weathered the physical destruction and came out stronger than ever. With some large cities destroyed it eliminated many governmental sectors and urbanite populations dependent upon government handouts.

Now, in retrospect we know the war did start but not as expected. Some probably pictured ICBMs incoming then a flash of light and then …well you know the drill. Instead it was an invasion of the Ukraine territory of the Crimea by Russian forces. To disrupt defensive operations there was a cyber attack on business and government entities in the Ukraine. From a small room in a building in Moscow a staff of about 20 people released the malicious software that infected much more than operations in the Ukraine. It shut down many banks some even in Russia and most importantly international shipping giant Maersk. Maersk Line is a Danish international container shipping company. There was no flash of light but instead all the computer screens went black. Suddenly trucks were showing up to docks even in far away US with perishable foods and medicines yet could not be unloaded from trucks to ships or ships to trucks. There were thousands of trucks lined up and not moving around the world. Political authorities were notified but were of no use. Maersk from headquarters in Denmark worked 24/7 to get things back up. Obviously they succeeded but at great cost. The war had started. And we are still in it.

So how does this affect you? If you have a cell phone and computer you are vulnerable through your equipment, its operating software, and your personal habits.

Your equipment may not be secure. If you value your privacy and want to protect your personal data you have to be on guard from possible attack. I liken it to the situation of a sniper sitting in his or her nest with a good rifle with bipod and scope. He or she is scanning up wind with the sun at the back and looking for a target at about 500 meters. At this distance the target does not even realize he or she is being scoped. The best thing you can do, as you are the potential target, is be hard to find. If you can’t be acquired the sniper will pick a more accessible target. That is your single best defense. Be hard to find.

Some Smart phones are more secure than others. A review will show you the better ones. Also if you have a router it should be reasonably new say a year or two. There has been tremendous technological upgrading in the last few years and better software patches. Be sure you reboot your router every week. Most people don’t ever reboot so the upgrades never get installed. It may be as simple as pressing the button at the top of the router. It should be noted that one of the fallacies of the specialty insurance field is that you are completely covered when they sell you a policy. They are in business to collect premiums. But if you file a claim they may deny it because you did not upgrade as the small print in the policy said you had to do. If the hack is considered an act of war you will not be allowed a claim as war is typically excluded for coverage. You are best to take the precautions that would be essential to get the policy and forget about the policy.

Other Vulnerabilities

If you have software on your computer and it is one of the large established legacy systems it is likely very buggy and needs upgrading constantly. One of them has an “upgrade Tuesday” on a regular basis. Also if you have a virus checker and maybe even two different packages be sure to use them. Also do not allow anyone to put anything on your computer via an unencrypted thumb drive. Folks may go to the local library and download a recipe for pie then take the thumb drive home and when installing the document file also inadvertently install malware.

I used to teach at a university where it was common to have to scan the computers after every user left the work station. Some students delighted in installing their latest malware creation on public devices. I and other faculty were infected several times despite our precautions. “Scan, scan, scan” the libratory technician said. I even found one virus on a brand new device straight from the factory. I told the technician and he notified the factory.

Run Virus Checkers Regularly

You should scan your system every day. I have two virus checkers. One I use daily and the other maybe twice a week. Yes, one will catch things the other missed. There are 17 commercial virus check packages out there that I know of and you improve the odds of catching things if you use two. Even if you used all 17 some things would get by. When a nation/state such as one of the usual unfriendly suspects they have smart people and clever devices. But like the sniper example, don’t become an obvious target and they will pick someone easier.

Use Strong Passwords

Current surveys show only about four (4) percent of telephone and computer users use safe computing habits. Change your password once in a while. Make it 20 characters long and include a capital as well as small letter and a punctuation and number and special character available on your smart phone key pad. Keep track on a personal password manager. For example, in a text or document file put the date at the top of the page. Then list the company, the ID you use for user name, perhaps it is your email address, then the password such as “Thisisstupid.@qwerty5”. This would meet the test of a good password. It is at least 20 characters long. That tells someone who is trying to hack your system that you are one of the 4% who is smart and has taken preemptive defensive measures. Most likely he or she will go on and try to hack someone else.

An analogy would be putting the club on your steering wheel of your automobile. Sure, a professional car thief is not deterred but it does give him or her pause as the effort to cut it when another vehicle is likely in the area which would be easier and quieter to obtain. Make it easy for the sniper to pick another target and make it hard to victimize you. A word about passwords would be that you may have a twenty character password but many financial institutions still use legacy software and may only read the first 6 or 8 characters of yours. I found this out from a professional hacker who mistyped his password into his bank account and was surprised it let him in anyway so he called the bank manager and asked what happened.

Some professionals always use the “I forgot my password” option when signing in to an important account. It requires them to go through a second authentication. Trying to sign in to a computer account then the second authentication to their Smartphone means an added measure of security. And it keeps the password changed to divert anyone obtaining a list of passwords in text format if the system gets hacked.

Never open an e-mail from someone you do not know. Just clicking on it may download the malicious software. Even if a big company tells you your account is frozen and you have to click on a link to open it, don’t do it. This is called phishing and is responsible for most hacking of individuals. The big companies do not operate that way. Separately, write to the company with an address you know is valid from a search engine search if you want to double check its authenticity.

Sadly most individuals will get hacked some time maybe even several times. If you keep backups to your files on a daily basis you will reset to yesterday and not to zero. Maersk did that but the backups were running when the malicious attack occurred so their backups were destroyed also. The only backup uncorrupted files were in an African nation that was completely shut down because all the electricity was off as is occasionally the case there.

Small businesses usually do not survive an attack. Most go out of business within a year of a hack. The person who sells me produce at the Saturday Farmers Market has an old truck and $4,000 in the bank. If his account is drained by a Bad Actor (jargon term for thief), then he is out of business.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I have tried to make the reader aware of how serious the situation is. It is not covered on the mass media because they are into other things. But, there is a war going on right now and you are in it. Take precautions and you increase the probability of your survival. Your Best Personal Defense In The Ongoing CyberWar is to have newer equipment, keep your software up to date with upgrades, and watch your personal habits regarding change your passwords occasionally, don’t open emails from people you don’t know, never clink on a link in an email, assume emails from big companies don’t require you to click on an embedded link to do anything. If you are careful and avoid being a target a bad actor may still prevail but at least you will not be the target. – AJS




29 Comments

  1. I’m a caveman in this high tech world. I’ve had my computers infected with some of the most advanced spyware that spooked the guys that removed it, and one actually caused my computer to self destruct. Lost a pile machines and huge amounts of data to viruses. Nothing I did to protect myself worked for one reason or another. Then one day I was introduced to Ubuntu, and other Linux operating systems. Linux operates using common browsers, and mostly looks and feels like Windows. Because I mostly cruise the net, Linux is all I really need. It is not user friendly when attempting to download and use new software. Sometimes Linux is a real pain to find software for, but after many years of use, I’ve never a lost another machine to viruses, nor spent a dime on getting it debugged. I would use a Linux operating system to browse the net, and a Windows based machine air-gapped for everything else. And Linux has allowed me to use older and slower machines others give to me, as they are corrupted, or too slow. I simply install a light version of Linux, and I have a new machine to use. Linux has made it possible for me to afford to have a computer, and access the net.

    If you have a have an older machine that is too slow, or giving you problems, talk to a computer guy about installing a light and fast version of Linux. Linux operating systems are available for free over the internet, however, you’ll need to create a bootable USB drive, or a CD. The software for creating a bootable disk or USB is also free. Use your good Windows machine to create one, and install it on the old machine that you no longer have a use for. If it works, then use the Linux machine on the net, and protect your new Window machine by keeping it off line most of the time. This has be a very successful strategy for myself, and saved me hundreds, if not thousands I do not have. I have not lost another machine or been effected by a virus for over 6 years. And should this machine be hit with a virus tomorrow, I will simply wipe the entire hard drive and install Linux again. Linux is not as user friendly as Windows, but it is simply the best way for me to operate on the net. I also do not have any personal, or sensitive information on my machines, zero. And I have my own brand of internet security that I cannot unfortunately share.

  2. Good about mentioning the threat, but there wasn’t enough room for a thorough discussion, and it would be lost on most anyway who want the convenience of having a cyber-spy-butler and maid in their home.

    You can get feature phones, or even a satellite phone (not as expensive as you might think) and those can’t be tracked the same way as smartphones.

    Leave location off. When on, only use GPS, not “improve accuracy” which doesn’t really.

    A router can be a shield and firewall, but most aren’t properly configured. Even a cheap (under $50 -I like GL-Inet models) can be configured to encrypt and block ads and malware.

    And get off and block Facebook. It even tracks you if you don’t have an account or aren’t logged in. Google too to a lesser extent. (This also means instagram and whatsapp and anything else).

    In comic Irony, one of the pastors in the Redoubt complains about the NSA and foreign contries snooping on our internet and location. His sermons are on YouTube and he invites me to let Zuckerburg follow my every move on Facebook.

    And ultmately we don’t need this instant gratification. If you want a slower life, get a pen and use paper and send a letter. Print the photo (drugstores often have photo departments that can print out digital photos). And you can get a post office box.

    A final word is you should be willing to pay to have your cyberlife secured. Most won’t even read about 3-2-1 backups. They will pay to have their guns adjusted, or for a tactical course, but not to have a computer security consultant review their setup. Ok Google, have Alexa record everything while Siri gives my data away to whomever has my iPhone.

    1. You make some important points, tz. Especially about using paper and pen with a stamp.

      I chuckled at your reference to Alexa and Siri. Unfortunately, many men treat them like a mistress.

      Carry on

  3. This information in support of your article. Also, in keeping with the tenor of your article, we already have excellent counter snipers on our side of the battle. What we are really lacking is defense as you correctly point out.

    Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, does not often do interviews but this QA is very telling. If you have not already read the book Lights Out by Ted Koppel please ad that to your reading list. We are already at war…

    Ryssdal: What keeps you up at night?

    Dimon: Well, I worry about a little bit of everything. But, you know, if you ask me, the thing that we really have to do it better is we’ve got to fix these issues. I think these issues are holding us back and tearing us apart: jobs, skills, wages, all those various things. But if you ask me about a risk? Cyber. We are not prepared for cyber, and it’s already a cyberwar. Companies like JPMorgan and hundreds of thousands of others are attacked every day by state actors, criminals, and we don’t have the authority in place to have the proper response and protection. The government knows this, by the way, but we still haven’t fixed it. And that’s information sharing, the ability for not us but for the American government to take offensive actions. It needs to be made a part of trade. People have to know there’s a huge price for cyber. Cyber could take down an airplane. It can close down electrical grids. It could be a disaster. And I think if we don’t move really really quick, we’re making a mistake.

  4. I avoid leaving files of password information on any device because that file becomes a high value target with everything needed to own me/us. I also do not trust password managers because they are an extremely high value target to get many people’s information if one can be exploited.

    To save personal and password data in a file, I recommend using a Linux live-boot DVD such as Knoppix (link below) to create your file(s) on a USB drive. (LibreOffice is included in recent Knopppix DVDs.)

    http://knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html

    1. (In case original post was lost; it is not coming up in my browsers.)

      I avoid putting passwords and related information in a file on any device because it creates a high value target with everything needed to own me/us. I also avoid password managers because they create an extremely high value target to get many people’s information if one can be exploited.

      I recommend using a live-boot Linux DVD such as Knoppix (link below) to create one or more files on a USB drive. (Recent versions of Knoppix include LibreOffice.)

      http://knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html

      Not mentioned in the original post, you can encrypt your password files and/or password file system for additional protection of the physical media. Just make sure you don’t ever forget that password.

  5. I think we need to differentiate between cyber crime and cyber-warfare.

    Cyber crime is directed at anyone with the purpose of stealing information with the end game usually being to end up with their money or with loans/credit cards in their victims name, or otherwise stealing from the person. Think identity theft.

    Cyber warfare is the state sponsored or terrorist sponsored activity of using the digital realm to disrupt, delay or destroy a targets critical infrastructure such as the electrical grid, communication infrastructure, transportation, banking/finance, etc. they can also steal classified information on weapons systems, plans, etc.

    Many (but definitely not all) insurance policies now has some type of identity theft coverage. If you take simple precautions like keeping up to date with your software patches/updates, have a good anti-virus software, being skeptical of emails before clicking on links and good passwords and secure your WiFi (look up war driving) you shouldn’t have any problems. I have “phishing attacks” directed at me often at work. They are getting better (harder to tell they are phishing attacks) all the time. If in doubt don’t open the email or click any link inside it.

    Cyber warfare on the other hand is some we need to have long term preps for. The normal food, water, medical, etc. Everyone thinks main cyber attack will be directly on electrical grid but I think it will be on communications systems that help “balance” and watch the grid. If your “blind” it’s hard to see a problem. I found the mention of Maersk shipping very interesting from a supply line stand point. You shipment of “XYZ” that you need that is coming from Asia is re-routed to Russia. Imagine having a program that could change the locations/destinations within bar codes.

    The other main issue with cyber warfare is that we and other countries do not have publicly stated strategies. Think about the down of the nuclear age, when should we use them? If we kept that a secret the nukes didn’t have a deterrent affect then. For example we told the Soviet Union you enter the Fulda Gap tactical nuclear weapons are on the table. Herman Kahn’s book “On Thermonuclear War”, was all about this. We have nothing like this for cyber warfare. On top of that China’s use of EMP is actually in thief cyber strategy. Basically what it comes down to is what are the red lines? You take down our electrical grid it’s an act of war. There is nothing that I know of that delineates any red lines. With that said it could get out of hand really quick and the next thing you know someone goes Kinetic.

    To be prepared for cyber warfare is to be prepared for TEOTWAWKI.

  6. To add to the article and other excellent suggestions, this is what we do. Every computer we regularly use runs Linux Mint. We have one Windows computer that is for the singular purpose of programming Motorola spread-spectrum radios, since I have not been able to find a way to do that with the linux system. In a nutshell, this is our security, and we never, ever assume it is bulletproof or even bullet resistant… like many have said, if it’s important, print it out and lock it up.

    1. Router – Linksys router running DD-WRT – this is open-source router firmware that replaces the firmware that comes with the router. However, be careful, do your research, as you can “brick” the router if you don’t follow directions accurately and a 30-plus character wifi password WPA-2 (makes it harder to guess), however, there are software packages that can even figure these out given enough time… that’s why so many characters… they may move on to easier pickings.

    2. Linux Mint (currently version 19.3). I would disagree with one commentor… finding and installing software is now incredibly easy, and with the exception of the radio-programming software, free, open source and extremely well-written programs exist that can replace virtually everything available for Windows or Mac, now even including video-editing software.

    Also, when installing Linux Mint, or Ubuntu, or any of the other flavors of Linux, as long as you are not “dual-booting” with Windows or Mac, you can choose to encrypt the entire hard drive during installation. With a sufficient password or passphrase, this will make it effectively impossible to extract your data if your computer is stolen or removed by some unfriendly entity. You also want to set a very strong password (again, I use a 30-plus character passphrase).

    3. I use a VPN on every computer. You want one that does not log your activity, and if you choose to use Linux, one that has a graphical client (such as PIA – one subscription can be used on up to 10 computers). Also, enable the kill-switch, so that the network disconnects if you lose the server and revert back to your local isp. This can happen, which is why I no longer program the router with the open-vpn, because there’s no indication if you lose the encryption, short of checking it every couple minutes (at least not that I have found).

    4. Enable your firewall. I used to have the firewall set to “reject” incoming traffic, but have since learned that that actually sends a ping back to an invader that there is a unit rejecting the intrusion. Now I have it set to “deny”, which simply drops the traffic without alerting the intruding party. I think this is better.

    5. Backups. This is self-explanatory, but in the event of an EMP, you should have your critical data and photos saved on an optical drive (DVD or CD). You might also buy an old, used laptop, install Linux, and store it in a galvanized trash can. This way you [might] be able to access your data again someday.

    6. Passwords – this is easy. You can use four or five unrelated words, separated by a dash, if necessary throw in a capital letter or number, and make it 20 to 30 characters long. It’s a lot easier to remember something like “Trimmer-Bible-Quarry-5-Antelopes” than something like “5*[}v0O3#.<dqiM6p", yet much more difficult to guess or brute-force attack.

    7. Never, EVER let someone use your computer as your root user. Set up a "guest" user for them with limited access. This is easy with Linux, and I imagine not to difficult with Windows or Mac. Same thing with your router… if you must, set up a guest session with an easy to remember password, and limit their access to web only, so they cannot get into your network.

    8. Ditch google. Get protonmail for your email, or Mailfence (which also has a very nice calendar function which you can incorporate through Mozilla Thunderbird and other email clients). Use DuckDuckGo for searches, and block Facebook. If you must use facebook, Firefox has a tool that sandboxes your facebook account so it cannot see what else you are doing on your browser.

    My better half was at the bookstore one day some years ago, and had these tools implemented while she was online on their "free" wifi. After awhile another woman (apparently somewhat frustrated) asked her what kind of computer she was using. My wife proudly told her she was using a secure linux system. The woman left shortly thereafter, having never accessed her computer… but who knows who else's data she compromised.

    This is easy stuff folks. I am not a computer expert, nor IT person, just someone who is aware of the dangers out there and doing everything I know how to do to protect our systems and our data. And so far, no viruses, malware, data breaches, ransomware, or anything. And no, I do not run antivirus or rootkit analyzers on any of our systems. With Linux, they're really unnecessary, as you have to ACTIVELY install something like that, and most viruses and malware still target Windows machines.

    Good luck, and get started protecting your data. A 1TB SSD costs about $100, and a cable is available from any computer store that will allow you to plug in your old hard drive to your new system via USB so you can copy your important data. Hope this helps somebody, and thank you very much for the article!

    1. RE: Radio Software

      Radio software comes with Skywave Linux. It’s not all there, but it contains much the popular stuff including RTL-SDR software, digital modes, chirp etc. And yes, software is becoming easier to find and up load. Fortunately I do not need much.

  7. I’m one of those people who can’t remember what I had for breakfast but I can tell you the phone number my mother made me memorize when I went off to kindergarten. So here’s a good password system for people like me who don’t like to get too fancy with password managers and various encryption devices. And you can leave this password list laying around in plain sight on top of your desk, though I prefer to keep mine in a three-ring binder slightly disguised among the clutter.

    I list the account, followed by my password prompt (not that we actually have passwords for SurvivalBlog) like this:

    SurvivalBlog.com — BettySue’s mate

    Again, that’s just a prompt. The only BettySue I ever knew sat next to my fourth-grade hearth throb, Sally Smith, who was the cutest little redhead ever. We had a paired desk arrangement so they were seat mates. That was the ’68-’69 school year. So using a substitution system, that Sally Smith password becomes: $@lly$m1th6869.

    Nobody looking at “BettySue’s Mate” would have a clue what it means, unless perhaps my old fourth grade teacher took Biden’s advice and learned to code, and is now hacking from her wheelchair at the rest home. (Seriously though, the names, grades, and years were changed to protect the innocent.)

    On your prompts, you can use nicknames for people, pets, and places that were nicknames that only you knew about, which an intruder looking at your password prompt list would be clueless about. Private jokes work great also.

    We were visiting far-away relatives 1970 when I was a kid. My cousin John Smith whispers to me one afternoon, “Come here!” We sneak up into the attic and he hands me a lit cigar, “Try this, it’s been soaked in rum.” Wow, it was pretty cool and I’ve never forgotten it.

    My password prompt becomes: “Rum stogie year.”
    The password is: J0hn$m1th70

    We all have a lifetime of experiences so it’s easy to change passwords frequently, and we get to stroll down memory lane in the process.

    I’m also bilingual so that adds an extra layer not only in my passwords but also in the prompts on my sheets. Some of my lesser-used prompts take ME a minute to figure out so I feel pretty safe leaving them on my desk top in a 3-ring binder.

  8. Great article along with some very helpful comments. A few additional ones.

    – You need to be a little tech savy, but you can ditch your stock router and install Pfsense on a firewall device (I use a APU – Pcengine). Along with blocking rogue attacks, you can greatly reduce adds which eat bandwith and are often a source of attack if you click on them.

    – A second option is Sophos XG Firewall. You can either install on a hardware device, or on your machine.

    – Consider using Veracrypt to create encrypted partitions for your data. I use this along with KeePassx to store passwords.

    – If your bank or other establishment offers two-factor encryption, use it.

    Also, very good advice to use Duckduckgo and a VPN (NordVPN as good reviews) as some have added. And definitely ditch Google!

  9. Nothing is safe online or on your phone or doorbell. The system was designed to let the commercial development have certain abilities and these can be exploited. Whenever you hear about a safer system or product etc, that only means they haven’t been hacked yet. It all can be hacked and that is because the hardware and software was designed for easy use and maximizing utility/ability. This won’t be remedied because it is intentional. That is why whenever I hear about somebody or some country downloading critical information I am gobsmacked that someone was stupid enough to make it available to the internet. Understand that if you use the internet your location, your computer ID, your service provider and other information about you is known to anyone who wants it. And if you use any of the more popular apps, email, google, facebookm, etc. that your name and the names of the people you know are also known to anyone who wants it.

    Regarding passwords. I hate the new requirements for passwords. It makes it impossible to create one that you can remember. On those rare occasions when I order something from Amazon or get reservations to camp at national parks I do not remember my password so I must always create a new one. How is that helpful? Let ME decide what my password is, don’t force me to include $#@%& and not include anything memorable.

  10. Even if you are living in a cave in the middle of nowhere…… Your personal information is still “Out There”… It gets there by your doctor, pharmacy, DMV, Back Ground checks, your employer, the US Government (Social Securities, Medicare, food stamps, property taxes and the list goes on)… It’s not your pass words the bad guy is after, it’s the banks, money institutions, etc pass words. Changing your pass word makes the average American feel all Warm and Cozy…. The Boogey Man is around every corner.

    Hobo

  11. You can use facebook to your advantage. Go to facebook and enter fake info about yourself, starting with your birthdate. I know a person who was contacted by the Post Office. He was told someone had tried to steal his identity using his name and birthdate and social security number. He found out the person had used the fake birthdate on his Facebook page. On Facebook I am “an importer exporter, a marine biologist and hope to one day work for Vandelay Industries.”

  12. Security for me means:
    Lifelock with Norton (not sure about using Norton VPN, I have trust issues)
    Norton and Windows defender virus protection. Running both.
    Norton and Windows firewall
    Brave browser, shields up
    Tor window in Brave browser, depends on where I’m going on the web
    No Google services except Google maps
    DuckDuckgo
    Camera and microphone, denied access to any app
    No Facebook account (or Twitter or any other social network services)
    Email, only check online, never download to computer.
    No use of online banking services
    No use of debit card except at the bank during operating hours and only the lobby ATM
    Removed MicroSoft Office and any program (apps) that I don’t use
    Libre Office. Password file on secure thumb drive, printed hard copy when changed.
    Daily virus scan, quick scan. Weekly full system scan. Both programs.
    Shred everything with name, address, bar codes of any kind, any possible identifiers
    Crosscut shredder

    Issues:
    My router comes with the ISP, unfortunately no option for using my own
    Low knowledge on Linux based systems, don’t know which one to use, there’s so many
    No optical drive on either computer
    Cameras and microphones on both computers no way to physically disable (I hate that)

    1. Charles: Couple of thoughts.
      1. You can run the router between your ISP router and all your computer systems… just use the ISP router as your source and plug the DD-WRT-programmed router directly into that, then access the internet via your router (flashrouters can sell you one pre-programmed if you are unsure of how to flash a router).
      2. Linux requires no more knowledge than Mac or Windows… plug and play today. I use Linux Mint, it’s the simplest, looks remarkably similar to Windows in terms of functionality, and just works. No more than simply learning a new operating system, and you practically have to do that every time you upgrade Windows anyway.
      3. You can get a usb optical drive for about $30 at Walmart. Cheap investment for priceless backup possibilities.
      4. Tape on the camera (see Tunnel Rabbit’s note), and even windows should allow you to disable the mic or at least turn down the gain… (although [there are] trust issues with windows) – with Linux, a quick online search will show you how to disable the input altogether.

  13. I am rooting for the internet to get wiped out or hacked to the point of utter uselessness.
    The industrial revolution has provided numerous footholds for evil. The internet is one of ’em. I’ll do fine without it.
    Electricity itself is the biggest, however we’ve (Christian Luddites) run into the moral roadblock of destroying the grid, because so many have unfortunately, been made life and death dependent on it. (don’t forget—we didn’t “need” it 130 years ago)
    However, the ones that aren’t so good with morals might take down the grid anyways. It almost seems as if we’re being primed to accept that “Iran” doing just that, is inevitable. Right now, it looks as if major system disruption is going to be brought to us by the system and blamed on Iran.
    Independence from electricity and living simple should be priority. Along with enjoying it…..:)

  14. Antivirus apps are of little use these days. The bad guys have online resources that will test their malware against all AV apps, and tweak them to avoid detection.

    Patch, patch, patch
    use long passwords. password length is more important than complexity
    do not use the same password for multiple sites
    use a password manager
    use 2 factor authentication, preferably not SMS based

  15. The Governor of Texas told a press conference this week that 10,000 cyber attacks a minute, most from Iran, are being directed against the State. I am sure he was lying to me. The Russian hack of the DNC was a lie, evidence shows the data was downloaded to a thumb drive by an authorized user. The great American cyber attack was the Stuxnet attack against Iran. Iran had their centrifuge control systems isolated from the internet so they couldn’t be attacked. Our DIA put the Stuxnet worm on thumb drives and had them distributed around Iran. A tech eventually bought one and plugged it into a computer connected to the control system. BOOM. As sophisticated as cyber crime is said to be most penetrations come from employees opening up phishing emails. What are you going to do? nobody can resist free naked pics of Meghan Markle.
    I’ve operated this E Machine with Windows7 for 5 years with absolutely no virus protection and have never had a problem. I don’t know what to believe…

  16. @Hobo, I work in the cyber security space and, currently, phone numbers are the most valuable commodity as they reveal more about a person than anything else.

    There are password managers which are very safe. KeePass comes to mind. You need to choose a very secure passphrase for the master password though.

  17. Snug in my cave, keeping a wary eye out for woolly mammoths, I live with one land-line phone. I’m grateful not to be sharing a party line as I did long ago. Humans lived without cell phones for at least a million years and I believe in tradition. I use Duckduckgo and keep no information on my computer. Passwords are chosen by randomly looking at a favorite book and choosing a partial line such as “forcingthesurvivorstoaskforthecessation”. Or, if I’m in an English mood, I might use “nowherkehowshegantopayethatgonneherofhergracepraye”. (Chaucer,”The Hous of Fame”, lines 1449-1550) Other languages, such as Latin, Yiddish, Gaelic, etc., also make great password phrases.

  18. My long dead grandfather(PaPa) said 1-when the wall comes down its because the egg of evil is ready to hatch. 2-We will mine the landfills to get out the stuff that government didn’t dispose of the right way (he saw all the stuff that the military buried so no-one could use it). 3- after are civil revolutionary war we would kick all the other tin horn government’s ass and the world would finally be ready for the stars. 4-he firmly believed that all companies,churches,and civic groups should be limited to under 500 peaple. Government must only have elected people. That means that the bureaucrats would leave when the reps and senators left. He also said “no government-backed retirement.” We each must do it for ourselves and families. The last one is just me I don’t like the metric system. It is a solution to a problem that never war real. We like to talk about the NWO the UN and World bank but it all started before all those ideas and it was the metric system.

  19. @Charles K.

    Is is pretty simple to purchase a 3-party router and load your own software on it. The ISP will never know the difference and you will have a much more secure system. I typically use OpenWRT along with OpnSense and you can screen out the worst of bad guys…

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