NSA and Friends

Internet privacy has recently become a pretty big issue in the news these days. With the news of Eric Snowden leaking NSA info about Americans being spied upon, the age of the internet is in full swing. By doing anything on the internet, you can be tracked. Based on what you do on your computer, someone is able to create a profile of you and get to know who you are and what you do without even meeting you. Privacy is a big issue. I personally have privacy issues. I hate that a google search of the name “Jordan Elkin” can bring up a ton of information about. While there are many Jordan Elkins in the world, it is pretty easy to determine which search results are related to me and which aren’t. A quick search on myself brings up a Linkedin profile, a baseball website, a sound cloud DJ page, and some college athletic sites with athletes by my name.

This brings up the issue: How am I supposed to keep myself safe on the internet and away from people who could potentially want to ruin my good name. A great example (well, sad, yet relevent) is the case of Jerry Sandusky, disgraced Penn State coach. Jerry Sandusky went to prison for molesting children. A man by the same name, Gerry Sandusky, a Baltimore sportscaster had his life ambushed when the scandal broke out. He received death threats consistently and was considering changing his name. He did not and now everything is for the most part ok. 

Enter Tor: The Onion Router, an online web browser that is built to give you privacy. You can use it for all purposes, including ones that are not so legal. Tor uses certain protocols to encrypt all of your data sent between you and the websites you visit to essentially make you anonymous. We know that because of the recent Silk Roak bust, Tor can be cracked and what you do on Tor can be used against you. I have personally used Tor just to explore and see how it works. It is cool, but it IS SO SLOW! Tor is literally like going back to the ages of dial up internet.

Anyway, speed is not the point of this post. Security is. Recently, the NSA tried to crack Tor and gain information about users. Like most things the NSA does, it tried and failed and to compromise Tor. Unfortunately for those of us who want privacy, the NSA did find some vulnerabilities in the Tor browser. Tor is based off of Mozilla Firefox and there are vulnerabilities in their code. Therefore, the NSA was able to track some users and find out what they were doing. They then applied this to find the creator and mastermind behind Silk Road. As I have already blogged about Silk Road, I’ll stop right here. Your information is never as secure as you truly think it is. Do the right thing on the internet and keep on the proper side of the law. Hey, you never know what will happen to you. Till next time.

 

-Jordan

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