Tag Archives: tutorial

Test your VPN through Terminal – Linux Tips

computer-VPN

Do you use a VPN to connect to Internet and increase your privacy? If you are one of the many you would be sure that the VPN you are paying is really working properly.

You can always use, via browser, one of those dedicated websites that check your Ip and, in some cases, test the real effectiveness of VPN and/or use Terminal.

But, for my experience, if you prefer to test your public IP without using the Terminal, the best tutorial for this specific task has been published by http://www.tecadmin.net.

Get Public IP using Linux Terminal

Recommended!… if you are looking for an extra test that you can manage directly from Terminal.

Simple Terminal Commands to check 32/64-bit Version and Installed RAM on Ubuntu Computer

linux-logo

Courtesy of nixpal.com

When you want to check if you have a 32-bit or a 64-bit Linux you can open a Terminal and just type:

file /sbin/init

or

arch

If you prefer to know how much about the RAM you installed on the PC, type:

free -m

or

grep MemTotal /proc/meminfo

for more detailed info you can try:

cat /proc/meminfo

or

grep MemTotal /proc/meminfo

if you prefer to monitor your RAM in real time.

screenshot-bin-bash1

Courtesy of validwebs.com

3 steps to install DNScrypt to improve your privacy – Ubuntu version

Also if you use OpenDNS to improve your standard of privacy, you are not protected by “last mile” dangers but you can boost your security installing DNScrypt on your digital device. DNScrypt “works by encrypting all DNS traffic between the user and OpenDNS, preventing any spying, spoofing or man-in-the-middle attacks”.

DNScrypt “is a protocol that authenticates communications between a DNS client and a DNS resolver” and it “is not a replacement for a VPN, as it only authenticates DNS traffic, and doesn’t prevent “DNS leaks”, or third-party DNS resolvers from logging your activity”.

For this reason you have to be conscious that DNScrpt is just a -very good- improvement of your privacy but not the definitive solution to all your privacy concerns.

DNScrypt is so versatile that you can install it on every kind of device you prefer. In fact it is possible to download DNScrypt for servers, IOS, OSX, Android, Windows and Linux computers (DNScrypt-proxy version). Obviously the installation and setup will vary a little depending the OS you installed on your device.

Concept-Skyscraper-Feeds-on-Air-Pollution-Uses-It-to-Grow-433607-2

Image from softpedia.com

Here we are talking about DNScrypt installation on Ubuntu.

For this purpose I suggest to use the Terminal that allows you to install DNScrypt i just 3 steps:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:anton+/dnscrypt
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install dnscrypt-proxy

Last but not least, you need to interface the Internet traffic of your computer through the DNScrypt-proxy. For this reason you have to Edit your Network Configuration and add the address 127.0.0.2 to the “DNS Servers” line as for the below screenshot:

DNSCrypt

Now you can start DNScrypt just typing:

sudo dnscrypt-proxy -R opendns -a 127.0.0.2:53 -u okturtles

Where, in my specific case, okturtles is the name of the remote DNS resolver I decided to use. I chose that specific risolver from the list I found into into my computer after DNScrypt-proxy installation:

/usr/share/dnscrypt-proxy/dnscrypt-resolvers.csv

As usual in similar situations, you may want to spend another couple of minutes to configure your computer to start DNScrypt at the computer boot. Open the Session and Startup manager through the desktop Dash and Add this specific command to the Application Autostart menu:

sudo dnscrypt-proxy -R opendns -a 127.0.0.2:53 -u dnscrypt

HTML5 Privacy Matters: DOM Storage. How to solve it in only 2 steps!

Recently I started an online course that was created using the Google Course Builder.

After I registered the course I was not able to access it because “my browser didn’t allow the web storage” and, for this reason, a message informed me that it would be necessary to use a up-to-date browser as Chrome or Firefox.

The only problem is that I always use Firefox. Obviously a “particular” version of Firefox where I also added a bunch of different add-ons to enhance the privacy protection level of my navigation and, for this reason, the Google course was not available for me.

Normally I would have decided to quit the course because I prefer not to modify my Firefox configuration after I spent so much time searching the best add-ons to preserve a minimum of privacy.  But, in this case, I really wanted to attend the course and so I decided to manually operate on the Firefox configuration to “solve” the problem and allow Google to keep all the information it would have considered as essential.

This is the list of what I did:

– open Firefox and type:

about:config

in the address bar.

– search for:

dom.storage.enabled

and change its configuration from “false” to “true” double-clicking on it.

After this fast change in the Firefox’s configuration menu I was able to attend the Google course but….. I am conscious that my privacy is a little bit less protected because now Google can store up to 5 MB of content on my browser. In fact, before HTML 5 we were used to “cookies” and we were able to “manage” (better: erase) them also if, as the LSO Flash cookies, they were more persistent than usual. Moreover in the old html times, the space available for cookies on your local browser was 4 KB (yes… KB) but now, in the Html 5 era, a single website can easily manage and permanently store till 5 MB on your browser. And this is the reason why I decided to protect my privacy disabling the DOM Storage on Firefox and this is also the reason because I will disable DOM Storage as soon as I complete the Google course…
DOM STORAGE
If you are not a simple user but you prefer to directly and consciously operate on the Firefox configuration to improve your privacy level, you would read this interesting post by BestVPN.
————-

References:

Configure OpenDNS on your Ubuntu Computer through DDclient in just 6 steps – Tutorial

1 – Why should I change DNS? 
You “use” them in any moment, every time you are in front of a computer but usually you don’t consider to directly manage or change them because you think that it is not worthy to do anything with them. 
On the contrary, you know that many different online companies offer dedicated DNS addresses you can use to substitute the default DNS addresses provided by your ISP.
So, at this point, your main question is “Why should I change DNS on my route or my computer”?
For example, for one or more of these different reasons:
– to have a chance of a possible increasing of speed and reliability when you surf Internet; 
– if you want to delegate to a third “professional” part some security tasks (e.g. third party security filtering to protect yourself against phishing or viruses);
acces websites that are normally geoblocked by commercial policies/agreements or censorship imposed by Governments;
parental monitoring if you prefer to have a rough idea of what websites your children visit or if you whant to filter some specific contenents.
2 – Choose a reliable DNS provider
If you decide that you want to try a different DNS provider you need to choose a reliable one. A quick search on Internet will help you to find the most appropriate DNS Provider for your needs.
In this specific case we are examining how to configure the DNS from OpenDNS.com so, if you want to test it, you have to sign up for a free account on opendns.com or simply copy the DNS addresses you find in the bottom right of their homepage or sign up for a OpenDNS.com free account. In the last case, you have the possibility of monitoring your traffic in a professional statistical way and probably you will satisfy one or more of the reasons that may explain your choice to use different DNS. 
3 – Install DNS from OpenDNS on your router
If you want to use OpenDNS on your LAN you have to configure the router through the its configuration interface. The way you can do this varies from one router to another but in all the popular models you will easily find a specific sub-menu where you could activate the “use predefined DNS” option compiling the two addresses provided by OpenDNS.
In this way all your LAN traffic will be pipelined through OpenDNS and you will not need to singularly configure each computer you have.
dns4

Image from: oriental-press.com

4 – Install DNS from OpenDNS on your Linux computer
4a – Preliminary configuration.
The problem with opendns.com is that it doesn’t provide an official tutorial to correctly install its DNS on a Linux machine. For this reason you can follow this brief notes that I wrote after installing it on a Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Ubuntu computer.
Go to the OpenDNS.com support page dedicated to the installation on Ubuntu and follow their instructions:
I exactly followed all the instruction till the point 8 but, when I had big problems when I typed:
sudo ifdown eth0 && sudo ifup eth0
because this message appeared:
ERROR unknown interface eth0=eth0
The matter is that my ethernet is really named eth0 (I double checked using the commands ifconfig and netstat -r -n) but it was not possible to operate on it.
To solve this problem I used the Poorak’s Blog suggestion and I had to open the interface file via Terminal with:
sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces 

– or if you prefer:

sudo gedit /etc/network/interfaces
and manually add these lines:
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp
then I restarted my networking
sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart
4b – Install DDclient on Ubuntu if you have a dynamic IP
Normally the Internet Service Provides provides a dynamic IP to users that may change over time. So, if you don’t want to pay more to obtain a static IP, you need to install a software that could constantly communicate your actual IP address to OpenDNS.com. In my case, I dedcided to install DDclient to be able to continue to properly use the OpenDNS.com services.
To install DDclient I preliminarly had to install coreutils through Terminal:
sudo apt-get install coreutils
and the required SSH and SSL sockets:
sudo apt-get install ssh libio-socket-ssl-perl
and finally the DDclient:
sudo apt-get install ddclient
At this point you manually edit the configuration file:
sudo nano /etc/ddclient.conf
(or, if you prefer sudo gedit /etc/ddclient.conf)
typing:

##
## OpenDNS.com account-configuration
##
use=web, web=myip.dnsomatic.com
ssl=yes
server=updates.opendns.com
protocol=dyndns2
login=opendns_username
password=opendns_password
opendns_network_label

where:

– ‘opendns_network_label’ is the label given to the network you’re updating in your account.
If you have spaces in your network label, replace them with an underscore ( _ ) 
You can find the network label in the Settings Tab of the OpenDNS Dashboard.
– the login is your email address with OpenDNS
– the password is your opendns password. 
“If you have special characters in your password wrap the password in single-quotes ( ‘ ). 
If there are any single-quotes in your password, put backslash ( \ ) before the single-quote to escape the character”.
References:
5 – Start OpenDNS and DDclient on your Ubuntu computer
At this point you have all the elements to start  so you can open a Terminal and type: 
sudo /usr/sbin/ddclient chkconfig ddclient on && sudo /usr/sbin/ddclient service start
On the other side, if you want to check the status of DDclient, you will type:
sudo /etc/init.d/ddclient status

6 – Configure Linux OS to start DDclient at boot on Ubuntu

On Ubuntu is really simple to configure DDclient to start at the computer boot. You have to open the Session and Startup manager through the desktop Dash. Now you are able to Add a specific command to the Application Autostart menu to run DDclient at the boot:
sudo /usr/sbin/ddclient chkconfig ddclient on && sudo /usr/sbin/ddclient service start
If you are configuring OpenDNS through DDclient on a different Linux distribution you can google the right tutorial or follow the guide created on aboutLinux.info.
At this point you will automatically use OpenDNS on your Ubuntu computer. 

3 Good Reasons to persist in using Google ncr = no country redirect

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Image from: marketing-partners.com

Since some weeks ago, I used:

http://google.com/ncr

for my web search and I was able to open the main Google Homepage without to be redirected to any local Goole site.

What I usually obtained was:

1 – less “personalized” search results: the algorithm will be not “contaminated” by my local IP and I will able to find information “cleaned” by local trends;

2 – the possibility to use the “same” Google even when I am abroad;

3 – the security that my searches were always up-to-date respect the global actual trends. For my experience when I search some particular topics as “marketing” I obtain, in the first Google page, fresh news only using Google in its NCR version. If I try to use my local Google homepage I have to spend more time setting the Google’s “advanced search” or trying to understand what information are “really” fresh new.

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Image from: mods2015.com

I found the right solution when I visited ycombinator.com and I found the post created by newman314 that submitted a link that combined NCR and SSL protocol (for a little bit of more privacy).

https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=test&qscrl=1&n…

https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=test&qscrl=1&ncr=1

Where the word “test” is what I am looking for.

Then I also found a faster solution by dragop:

http://www.google.com/?gfe_rd=cr&gws_rd=cr

and, in the same webpage, a shorter version from 3dfan:

http://www.google.com/?gws_rd=cr

On my side I prefer to use this other URL that gives me the same results through an SSL connection:

https://encrypted.google.com

To be sure that the results were really the same and not simply related with the English language and influenced by the IP, I tested this URL comparing them from what I obtained from the above mentioned:

http://www.google.com/?gws_rd=cr

I discovered that what I “received” using encrypted.google.com are really the same links and they are not just the standard local results in the English language.

I know that cookies will not allow me to have real “septic” results but this is the first step to a less passive use of Google search because I would like to be a more active user and not just a passive customer pampered by Google.

Protect your Privacy: use a Self-destructing, single-use File Sharing Service

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Image from infoworld.com

If you need to share a confidential file to one of your colleague and you have not enough time to manually encrypt the file before uploading it to a you may consider to use securesha.re.

This online service let you to share a file through its online service encrypting it before it is uploaded to the securesha.re servers.

DevStash.io uses a 128-bit client-side AES encryption through a SSL protocol. This website automatically offers a 40 charaters long, randomly generated password that can be changed by user if he/she prefers to use its own passphrase.

Moreover securesha.re keep the file reachable in a long, random URL to decrease that files could be discovered through a brute force search.

Last but not least, this website let you delete the uploaded file after a pre-defined amount of time or/and after a pre-defined number of views. The default configuration allows just one view and an automatic deleting after seven days but the views can be extended till 10 and the amount of days reduced to just 1 day.

Personally I normally prefer to encrypt files by myself before sharing them online but I will keep securesha.re in mind in the case I need to share a file and I have not my laptop with me.