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Security OverviewWe understand that most anonymization and privacy technologies were developed in a spirit of altruism in order to help users in repressed countries gain free access to the Internet and all of its benefits and we commend the developers for this bold move.

However, after months of reviewing some of these excellent technologies, we believe there are serious flaws. Not in the technologies themselves, but on how they are used, or rather, not used. The problem with securing your system is that there is so much to learn and so much to set up and use that most people won’t bother with it. These anonymization technologies are great for the “bad guys”, like terrorists, who are constantly working at staying invisible. But for the rest of us, who feel we don’t have anything to hide, we’re not so vigilante about security. Unfortunately, in light of recent events, it’s a good bet that the government is not going to protect you from itself. The best protection of your privacy is you since no security is going to be effective if you don’t use it.

We know of a security expert who spent months designing a complete security program for a high-rise building. He thought his technology was unbreakable. An old timer hired to test it told him to turn the system on and close the door behind him. The old timer then kicked open the door, grabbed all valuables within reach and said, “Now you know about a smash and grab”.

The lesson learned was, your security system is only as good as its weakest link. For online security systems, if they’re slow, hard to use, inconvenient or simply unavailable, the average user will not use them, period. Therefore, understanding the vulnerabilities of a computer system’s security and devising protection of it that will be effective and usable, is the key.

There are three main areas of security to concentrate on when connecting to and using the Internet:

  1. Ground Zero, the starting point
  2. The network connection to the Internet
  3. Using the Internet itself

Online Security: 3 Main Areas of Security

Ground Zero

In order to access and use the features and benefits of the Internet, you go through a chain of events. You start your computer, open your browser, email program or any application requiring Internet access, then connect to the Internet, usually through your router then to an Internet Service Provider.

Note: as the Windows Operating System is by far the most used worldwide, we have provided a special section entitled, “Securing Windows” to be used with Ground Zero.

The first vulnerability in this chain of events is the computer you’re working on. We call this starting point, “Ground Zero” and it’s the most important link in keeping your chain secure. If there is any malware installed on your computer, hackers could already be infiltrating your computer system and stealing sensitive information. Ground Zero covers how to be secure at the place where it all starts: your computer.

How They Hack You, describes the various ways hackers and other “bad guys” gain access to your system. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to prevent attacks.

Internet Connection

In order to surf the web and check your email, you must first connect to the Internet. After you’ve secured your starting point, or Ground Zero, the next step is Securing Your Connection. If your connection is not secure, you are vulnerable to attacks. How They Track you, describes ways your comings and goings on the Internet are followed and Securing Your Connection describes ways to  make yourself safe when connecting to the Internet.

Using the Internet

Now that you have secured your starting point with Ground Zero and have established a Secure Connection with the Internet, you’re ready to, Use the Internet Securely. This describes ways you can hide or obscure your Internet use from those who would track you without your knowledge or consent. Even if you’re, “doing nothing wrong”, it is galling to think that you’re being watched secretly.

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