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Questions tagged [surveillance]

A broad program of constant observation/interception of communications and behavior of individuals and organizations by state and (rarely) non-state actors, including foreign and domestic intelligence agencies.

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536 votes
18 answers
118k views

Police forcing me to install Jingwang spyware app, how to minimize impact?

Chinese police are forcing whole cities to install an Android spyware app Jingwang Weishi. They are stopping people in the street and detaining those who refuse to install it. Knowing that I may be ...
Citizen's user avatar
  • 2,751
163 votes
8 answers
29k views

What are the implications of NSA surveillance on the average internet user?

It would appear as though the tinfoil hat-wearing were vindicated today, as news broke of the true scale of the U.S. government's surveillance of its citizens' online activities, conducted primarily ...
nitrl's user avatar
  • 3,003
128 votes
11 answers
453k views

Can my employer see what I do on the internet when I am connected to the company network?

This is an attempt at a canonical question following this discussion on Meta. The aim is to produce basic answers that can be understood by the general audience. Let's say I browse the web and use ...
INV3NT3D's user avatar
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84 votes
2 answers
42k views

Best practices for Tor use, in light of released NSA slides

It has been known in the security community that a tool as versatile as Tor is likely the target of intense interest from intelligence agencies. While the FBI has admitted responsibility for a Tor ...
nitrl's user avatar
  • 3,003
83 votes
8 answers
13k views

Do advertisers listen as we talk?

A person talks about a certain thing (product or service) with another person and a short time after the talk the person gets the advertising of the discussed thing on the mobile or desktop device. I ...
Evgeniy's user avatar
  • 721
76 votes
3 answers
4k views

Did US and UK spy agencies defeat privacy and security on the internet?

This question is meant as a canonical question in regard to the US and UK spy agencies compromising end nodes and encryption between nodes to spy on people they suspect to be terrorists. However, this ...
Lucas Kauffman's user avatar
48 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why would the government collect Wi-Fi SSIDs via manual door-to-door questioning of citizens?

I live in a country with little freedom on the Internet (not as strict as in China, but some sites, particularly anti-government sites are inaccessible without a VPN). Recently the government just ...
Ooker's user avatar
  • 1,591
43 votes
2 answers
827 views

What leaked mass surveillance capabilities have not been explained by vulnerabilities we have learned about since 2014?

At the end of 2014, there were reports and talks about the cracking capabilities of the NSA and other Five Eyes agencies, based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The analyzed data revealed that, ...
tarleb's user avatar
  • 1,200
33 votes
6 answers
7k views

Why did Poitras and Greenwald put their batteries in the fridge?

cnet.com says: Even in Snowden's room, the group took precautions not to be overheard. Greenwald and Poitras would remove the batteries from their mobile phones and put them in refrigerator of ...
d33tah's user avatar
  • 6,564
31 votes
3 answers
20k views

Surveillance: blocking laptop's microphone from spying on you?

It is a known fact that your laptop camera can be hacked to spy on you. While the most often mentioned remedy is very low tech yet effective, everyone seems to omit the fact that the microphone can be ...
daniel.sedlacek's user avatar
26 votes
6 answers
14k views

Can governments intercept end-to-end encrypted Whatsapp communication through lawful interception?

Since Whatapp started end-to-end encryption with an option for users to verify keys, many government security agencies, like the Indian one, red-flagged such use of encryption. Now, Yesterday the ...
CrownedEagle's user avatar
26 votes
6 answers
13k views

Spying on a smartphone remotely by the authorities: feasibility and operation

French lawmakers agreed to a justice reform bill that includes a provision granting police the power to remotely activate suspects' geolocation, microphone and camera (source). Following the senators, ...
Yann Rimbaud's user avatar
24 votes
3 answers
36k views

How practical is a laser microphone and how to protect against it?

A laser microphone is a "surveillance device that uses a laser beam to detect sound vibrations in a distant object". - Wikipedia. It's also known as a Laser Based Listening System (LBLS). Firstly, ...
Bob Ortiz's user avatar
  • 6,675
23 votes
5 answers
6k views

Never spell a word the same way twice?

A long time ago I was reading about Renaissance-era ciphers and I remembered this quote: David Kahn, author of The Codebreakers, quotes Giovanni Battista Porta who published, in 1563, a famous ...
jackvsworld's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
3k views

Does the telecom provider need physical access to the SIM card to clone it?

In many dictatorships SIM card cloning is used by the police (working together with the telco) to spy on dissidents, journalists etc. Some people say that you need the authentication key on ...
Pedro's user avatar
  • 239
19 votes
5 answers
41k views

Tor and regular browser side by side. Does that make sense?

Can I use a Tor browser session and a regular Firefox session side by side without corrupting the security of the Tor session? E.g. when I download a new Eclipse version or when I'm searching for ...
Andreas's user avatar
  • 293
19 votes
3 answers
568 views

What expectation of privacy is there with US-based vendors with the LavaBit and SilentCircle shutdown?

Lavabit hosts a secure messaging service that was recently shut down. Likewise SilentCircle has preemptively done the same thing with their email-based service. It seems that the justification for ...
makerofthings7's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
4k views

Can my ISP see which VPN protocol I am using?

I know that my ISP can detect when I am using a VPN, but can it see which protocol I am using?
E. M.'s user avatar
  • 171
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

How to find all the microphones in a room?

"Smart" devices are all around us nowadays and many of them have built-in mics which can be be misused to spy on you in cases when the device is hacked (which is rather probable to happen as there are ...
Ivan's user avatar
  • 361
12 votes
5 answers
1k views

Is there any security benefit of not using email services recently associated with PRISM?

After the recent disclosure of several major email providers cooperating with NSA, is there any real security benefit of not using these email services and choose some alternative instead? Such as ...
Petr's user avatar
  • 517
12 votes
4 answers
4k views

How to airgap a smartphone?

I'm looking to use my smartphone purely as a portable computer, with no network functionality, in order to protect my privacy. Is removing the SIM cards from it enough to airgap it? Or do I need to ...
anon's user avatar
  • 121
12 votes
2 answers
2k views

If we can no longer trust NIST, what are viable alternatives? [closed]

Regarding the Guardian article about NSA control over encryption, there was this gem deep inside: Independent security experts have long suspected that the NSA has been introducing weaknesses into ...
schroeder's user avatar
  • 131k
12 votes
1 answer
717 views

What is going on with my download of the recent Apple security update?

The update in question is the Mavericks combined update which, among other things, claims to fix the recent SSL vulnerability/gaping hole. This issue really annoyed me, so I decided to procure Apple'...
CHT's user avatar
  • 229
11 votes
4 answers
4k views

Does HTTPS encryption on a site prevent the NSA from knowing you visited its domain / the URL?

The reason I ask whether HTTPS protects the metadata of your Internet activity from a wiretapping entity on the backbone like the NSA or not, is the following scenario: Say I am browsing the ...
user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is it possible to examine a Huawei device to answer definitively whether or not there is a security risk?

There has been a lot of news lately, and in the last few years, about Huawei being a security risk. Can someone explain what the basis is for the risk, other than speculation? Is there not a way to ...
BogBody's user avatar
  • 213
10 votes
1 answer
527 views

What steps should I take to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises in a recently purchased home?

After buying a house from another party (i.e. not new construction) what steps should I take to ensure the previous residents have not left behind anything unpleasant for me? I'm not worrying about ...
user204925's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
4k views

Can a VPN avoid the Prism Surveillance Programme?

This is causing me major concern and i can understand it is for a lot of users as well. I have nothing to hide but it's the moral aspect of snooping which has ticked me off. Can a VPN avoid the ...
Waddas's user avatar
  • 193
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

How to obtain privacy and authenticity with DNS?

I use pfSense (Unbound) as my local resolver. Historically I've pointed it at root recursive resolution, because I perceived my main threat as trustworthiness and recency of data (poisoned/invalid DNS)...
Stilez's user avatar
  • 1,694
8 votes
3 answers
4k views

Does excluding Tor nodes by country improve privacy? [closed]

Here's the situation: the government of West Nauru is known to run a lot of TOR exit nodes and to collect a lot of data on the traffic, using extra large arithmometers to collate & correlate stuff....
Deer Hunter's user avatar
  • 5,337
8 votes
5 answers
2k views

How to protect myself online from the government? [closed]

I need something trusted and secure. I need to make “onion layers security” with the most secure and hard to hack/crack software. How to protect yourself from the government on the internet? I’m ...
user77680's user avatar
  • 105
8 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is my ISP BGP/DNS hijacking?

I've noticed some very suspicious activity from my ISP. Sometimes I would notice that when I ping google.com it would resolve to an IP which is owned by my ISP. I currently don't have an example ...
Someone's user avatar
  • 81
7 votes
2 answers
712 views

Is personal email hosting really secure?

One of my friends has his own personal email hosting. Let's assume for the sake of argument that it is "secure", meaning that no third party can read the emails in his server either through hacking or ...
Randomblue's user avatar
  • 1,715
7 votes
1 answer
3k views

How long does the system encryption key stay in RAM

The thread title says it, i would like to know how long a system encryption key will stay in RAM or CPU and will be therefore be extractable using boot attacks. I read somewhere that encryption in ...
Junior J. Garland's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to find out whether an ISP adds a perma-cookie to my requests?

I am interested in finding out whether my (or any) current ISP (Internet Service Provider) uses a technology known as "perma-cookie" oder "sticky cookie" when I am browsing the internet. This ...
Marcel's user avatar
  • 4,093
7 votes
2 answers
390 views

Are there any known cases where antivirus software has deliberately ignored malware?

Are there any known cases where antivirus companies for some reason have choosen to make their product allow/ignore malicious software? The reason could be government coercion or former trustworthy ...
qnyz's user avatar
  • 211
7 votes
1 answer
337 views

Single point of failure: can US government requests for passwords be a vector for attack?

In recent news, CNET has reported requests for passwords, hashing and/or encryption algorithms and salts from U.S. government agencies: The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet ...
Deer Hunter's user avatar
  • 5,337
7 votes
3 answers
17k views

how can I tell if I'm under IMSI cell phone surveillance

I've recently had an encounter with the law, the details of which I won't disclose here since the case is still in court. They took my phone, naturally. I deactivated it as soon as I was released ...
user49347's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
433 views

How to protect against unwanted photographs?

Problem Possible defenses against the attack vector of facial recognition via unwanted photographs. Background The advance of facial recognition technology has promoted unwarranted photographs from ...
nonthevisor's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Does HTTPS protect you from fingerprinting by the NSA?

We've established that, for all intents and purposes, HTTPS hides what page you visit on a given server from NSA backbone wiretapping, but not the domain itself. But that's only IP / domain ...
user avatar
6 votes
7 answers
3k views

Is PGP combined with a regular web-based email service secure?

With the disappearance of private email services like Lavabit and Tormail (http://www.dailydot.com/news/email-anonymous-hushmail-lavabit-nsa/) it seems that we will need to resort back to standard ...
user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
165k views

Are VISA gift cards untraceable?

I was in a retail store today, and these people were discussing how easy it is for people to use stolen credit cards, and buy those visa gift cards without being traced after they purchase the gift ...
andyADD's user avatar
  • 171
6 votes
1 answer
331 views

I have a conceptual idea for a network that could obfuscate the geolocation of a mobile station. I would appreciate short, critical feedback

I am a student in network engineering, and I have a technical essay due on November 18th. I can choose the topic of the essay myself. I have a conceptual idea of a network that could help obfuscate ...
Magnus's user avatar
  • 377
6 votes
5 answers
792 views

What steps can be taken to secure snail mail?

Alice has decided to stop using electronic communication with her friends and relatives. She believes analog media are generally more secure and private. Her friends and relatives, however, neither ...
dark_pixel's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why do people use "burner phones" rather than Signal or similar solutions?

Why do people use burner phones rather than Signal or similar? I would imagine that if you are high value target the police or intelligence service would simply eavesdrop every phone call passing the ...
d-b's user avatar
  • 489
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

How is leaving a telephone on the ground a "classic anti-surveillance technique"?

I am curious about a comment made in evidence at the London Bridge terror attacks inquest by the lawyer representing several of the victims' families: There were "opportunities galore" to ...
bertieb's user avatar
  • 256
5 votes
3 answers
576 views

How risky is to use non-free wireless network driver?

Intel wireless network adapter in my computer requires a non-free driver to work. I don't want to install non-free software to my debian system. However it is a notebook and without wireless network ...
harmancode's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
321 views

Does the iOS 10 keyboard click sound divulge too much?

The updated keyboard in iOS 10 has at least three distinct "click" sounds that I'm aware of: a high click upon entry of any normal character; a mid-range click when entering a space, toggling shift, ...
smitelli's user avatar
  • 2,085
5 votes
1 answer
704 views

Government/ISP tracking of internet activity trivial to evade?

The recently announced Investigatory Powers Bill in the United Kingdom will mean that ISPs must store the internet activity of everyone for one year. Anyone who wishes to evade such tracking can use ...
Qwerky's user avatar
  • 751
5 votes
1 answer
7k views

Can the GlobalProtect VPN of my company track websites when Disabled?

I just installed the Global Protect VPN from my company on my local machine so I can access our servers remotely. I just "agreed" to the following statement: VPN Connected This system is for ...
O.rka's user avatar
  • 153
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Government Surveillance VPN or TOR [closed]

As some of you may be aware the UK government has pretty much passed a new surveillance bill. For those that wish to read in more detail can do so here http://www.computerworlduk.com/security/draft-...
Smush's user avatar
  • 51