Is your computer hosting a government spyware or bots? Is your computer a window into your private world for prying eyes? Do you even know? It's not paranoid to think that the government tries to monitor your internet habits or computer contents. given the current popularity of marijuana as a target, if you are a cannabis connoisseur you really have no choice but to be considering computer security...
The Federal Government has declared that privacy rules don't apply to internet messages, email addresses and web pages the suspect is contacting. This outrageous decision can be read here. In this case the government was able to spy on an individual's surfing habits and some of the evidence against this individual came from the government's agents tracking his computer use. The court upheld his conviction and sentence. One of the ways the government can do this is by infecting your computer with spyware, viruses or trojans. This is similar to how thieves access your credit card information online, although thieves generally install key logger trojans. If this sounds implausible -- in January 2007 Mark Klein, a AT&T systems analyst who was actually involved in installing equipment for the NSA on the internet to improve the government's ability to observe its citizenry blew the whistle on this domestic spying. His mindblowing interview can be read here. For further information the full legal standard for the intelligence community in conducting electronic surveillance can be read here.
So what can you do to protect yourself, your computer and your privacy?
- Keep your computer current and up to date, installing all updates, and regularly scanning for vermin. If you are new to computers and need to learn more PCPitstop is a great place to start.
- Additionally your machine should have anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, anti-adware software, and a firewall installed. If you do not own such software, don't worry as we have located the best free antivirus software (Avast!), antispyware (Spybot, Ad-aware, SpywareGuard - install all of them) and firewall software (Kerio personal firewall) for you.
- After you have the software installed - you should thoroughly scan your computer and remove any and all spyware etc. You can also scan your computer online for free here.
- Thereafter you should regularly scan your computer every week. In fact here's an easy five step guide to protecting your computer.
- Assume you are a target and stay protected. Always assume your email can be made public and treat it so. Be discreet. Be an activist and let your pot-loving friends all know how to stay secure.
- Keep your software up to date, particularly the operating system and the various media players. You can check to see if you are up to date here for media players.
- Join one of the activist organizations working to keep cyberspace free of government control, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Read and stay current on computer security, because what you don't know will hurt you. And return to this page often for our updates on the cannabis connissour's computer security.