Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
I Ramped Up My Internet Security, and You Should Too

Here’s how ProPublica reporter Julia Angwin upped her defenses against hackers and spies


Some people make dieting resolutions in the New Year. I make security and privacy resolutions, because those are the things that keep me up at night. After all, as a journalist, it's important for me to give my sources assurances that I will keep their communications confidential. And in today's world, that is an ever-more-difficult task.


Everyone 2014 journalists or not 2014 faces an increasing array of attacks on our security and privacy. Even if you're not the U.S.'s intelligence chief, whose email was recently hacked, it's smart to up your game. So this year, I thought I'd share my resolutions.


1. Software updates

It's not sexy, but at the top of my list is updating my software to the latest versions. Nothing else matters - not fancy encryption or strong passwords - if you're using software that contains gaping holes that any criminal or spy can penetrate.


And I hate to break it to you, but all your software is as holey as Swiss cheese. The software updates you receive are just patches for the holes that have been discovered so far. More holes will be discovered later. What's more, updates are basically red alerts to hackers, pointing them to the holes.


So I've just updated my phone and computer operating systems, as well as all my Web browsers, software and phone apps.


2. Ditching old, buggy software

Next up is ditching old, unused or poorly maintained software. Using software is a commitment. If you don't update it, you are wearing a "hack me" sign on your forehead. So if there are programs or apps that you don't use, delete them.


This year, I decided to ditch my instant messaging client Adium. I was using it to enable encrypted chats. But like many cash-strapped open source projects, it is rarely updated and has been linked to many security vulnerabilities.


Instead, I switched to Tor Messenger, an encrypted messaging program that is run by the Tor Project, a nonprofit that makes the anonymous Web browser that I already use. By the sad standards of underfunded open source security tools, Tor is relatively well-financed and so I have some hope that its tools will continue to be updated.


Tor Messenger links up with my existing Gmail and Jabber chat accounts, and is encrypted and anonymous by default.


For even more privacy, I also signed up for Ricochet, an encrypted chat program that runs on the so-called Dark Web. One downside: You can only chat with other Ricochet users. So far, I have all of two buddies on it. [INSERT SAD EMOJI HERE!]


3. Upgrading my passwords

Passwords are, of course, the definition of unsexy. But you gotta have 2018em, and they should be long and unique (no re-using between websites). I use a password manager, 1Password, to generate most of my passwords.


But for my most important accounts, such as email and my bank, I use a method called Diceware to generate passwords that are about 30 characters long and made up of dictionary words that I can remember. (Thank you Chase for allowing 30-character long passwords 2014 not all banks do, strangely.)


If your passwords are long and unique, you don't need to change them every few months, as most companies incorrectly force employees to do. But I'd been using the same Diceware passwords for a few years now 2014 and I figured it was time to create new ones.


4. Upgrading my encryption key

After getting all the basics out of the way, I finally got to the fun stuff: Secret coded messages! Who doesn't love encryption? Modern crypto scrambles your communications so well that FBI Director James Comey has spent the past year complaining that it's too hard to crack.


Most of my encrypted communications take place on Signal, an easy to use phone app. But for email, I use Gnu Privacy Guard, a much older and more complex program.


I've long been haunted by the fact that when I set up GPG four years ago, I didn't create my encryption key in the most secure way. This year, I decided to finally fix it. To set up my keys correctly, I had to find a computer that never touches the Internet and follow the instructions in this helpful guide: "Creating the Perfect GPG Key Pair."


My new key seemed all pristine and shiny. And my old key - which I am now revoking - was like an old sweater that I was tossing. It had served me well, but it was time to go.


In fact, closet cleaning is probably the best analogy for my New Year's security project. At the end, I felt cleaner and lighter 2014 the same way I do when I toss out old clothes. And perhaps that feeling was its greatest benefit. I may not be able to foil all the hackers and spies across theInternet. But I can sleep better at night knowing I have tried my best.


ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.








AJL shareholders meet, decide to resume National Herald publication
Lucknow : The Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) that published National Herald, Navjivan and Quami Awaz newspapers has decided to resume their publication following an extraordinary general meeting of its shareholders here on Thursday.
It was also decided that difference in compensation given to workers in Lucknow and Delhi, when the newspapers were closed, will be removed.
AJL managing director Motilal Vora had a given notice in Lucknow-based newspapers last month for an extraordinary general meeting of the AJL on January 21. 
Among other things, the notice proposed to seek the approval of the shareholders for turning the AJL into a Section 8 company (non-profit company) under the Companies Act, 2013. 
While the National Herald was published in English, Qaumi Awaz was published in Urdu and Navjeevan in Hindi.
The notice had come a day before Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi appeared before a trial court in Delhi in the National Herald case on the complaint of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. Vora, who is also Congress treasurer, was among those summoned in the case.
The National Herald newspaper was launched during the freedom struggle in 1938 by Jawaharlal Nehru, who went on to become independent India's first prime minister.
The paper originally served as a mouthpiece of the Congress. However, over the decades, circulation dropped and finances dried out, and it finally closed in 2008 with a debt of Rs.90 crore.
In a bid to keep AJL afloat, the Congress party gave the company unsecured, interest-free loans for some years up to 2010. On November 23, 2010, the AJL was taken over by a newly-floated company called Young Indian Private Limited (YIL) with the Gandhi family loyalists Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda as directors.
The All India Congress Committee allegedly decided to assign the nearly Rs.90 crore debt owed to it by AJL to YIL, thus making it the owner of the debt in the books.
In December 2010, the AJL is said to have decided to transfer its entire equity to Young Indian in lieu of the Rs.90 crore debt. Young Indian paid Rs.50 lakh for this acquisition.
The AJL, which originally owed Rs.90 crore to the Congress, became a fully-owned subsidiary of Young Indian by virtue of this decision and transaction.
In December 2010, Rahul Gandhi was appointed its director and in January 2011, Sonia Gandhi also joined the board as a director. Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes too were appointed to the Young Indian board on the same day.
As per documents, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have individual shareholdings of 38 percent each in the company while Vora and Fernandes hold the remaining 24 percent in equal parts.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.


Five hurt as Mercedes climbs on Mumbai pavement
Mumbai : Four women and a child sleeping on a pavement were injured as a speeding Mercedes car ran over them in Mumbai early Friday, police said here.
The driver of the vehicle was reported absconding as the police made investigations.
The five were rushed to Sir J. J. Hospital for treatment.
The speeding Mercedes rammed into two other vehicles before climbing on the pavement and running over the persons sleeping near Masjid Bunder.
However, the police managed to trace the driver and have detained him for hit-and-run accident.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.


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