STINGRAY SPY DEVICES- A THREAT TO YOUR DIGITAL PRIVACY: I've been on Minds now for about three months and have crossed paths with some users whose channels cover some of the topics that most of society does not want to either talk about or think of, which is refreshing given the fact that so many other platforms have the tendency to censor opinions that of which they do not agree with. With that said however, I have yet to come across a post on the topic of the IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) catching devices generically called Stingrays, not the least that I'm aware of anyway. This is an important issue everyone (especially my fellow Americans) should be made aware of is occuring on a daily basis, and how digital privacy is slowly being eroded. Not surprisingly, the mainstream media sources and those in authority have remained mostly silent on this. If you own any kind of mobile device (smartphone, laptop etc) and believe in a right to privacy, this should concern you deeply.  Police agencies around the US are using a surveillance tool known as Stingrays, which can mimic cell phone signals to get access to mobile devices contents. Originally designed for use on foreign battlefields to combat terrorism, these spying devices have found their way into the hands of US Government agencies and Law Enforcement. Police agencies in particular have gone through great lengths to keep information about how the Stingrays are being used from defense attorneys, judges, and of course the public. Through extensive nondisclosure agreements, the Federal Government has been able to prevent the disclosing of details about how Stingrays are being used, and could/have even order evidence withheld or entire cases dropped during criminal trials to protect the secrecy of the spy devices. Aside from violating Constitutionally protected rights (in particular the Fourth Amendment), this exposes a lack of accountability and transparency among Law Enforcement agencies at both the state and local levels, and raises serious questions about the security of our individual rights as the Government's technological capibilities rapidly advances. On LE's part there has been refusal to honor freedom of information requests, deceit towards courts and judges and the general public, only exacerbating these unconstitutional spying campaigns. The Fourth Amendment requirement for a warrant for probable cause has been sidestepped.  Stingray IMSI catchers can either be in the form of a tower that looks similar to a genuine phone tower, or a mobile bundle that vaguely resembles a radio system. IMSI catchers force all nearby cell phones within a given area to connect to them instead of genuine cell towers, and once a device connects a location for the targeted device can be triangulated using its IMSI information. Also once connected, a Stingray could extract just about all forms of data stored on the phone from live monitoring of phone calls text messages and emails, to data from certain apps and stored encryption keys. Details on these spying devices first leaked to the public back in 2013 after a drug deal involving three men raised the suspicions of some advocacy groups. In short, two men made an arrangement with a drug dealer to meet in person, and once they met up the two men robbed the drug dealer at gun point and ran off. The suspects were caught and brought into custody, and sufficient evidence was present to convict them of the crime. The curious part however that caught the attention of some and in this case the defense attorney, was how quick the police were able to identify and locate the suspects in a rather short amount of time. When the two suspects went to court for the first time, the defense attorney starting asking questions that made the prosecution uneasy. There was a minimum three years and a maximum of thirty years in prison for armed robbery that involved drugs in that case, and with all the evidence against the defendants it would have seemed the prosecution had the case lock stock and barrel. In the end, the defendants were offered a plea bargain consisting of just a couple years of probation. A stingray was used illegally to obtain the locations and phone/text conversations of the two defendants, and Law Enforcement knew that if the case went to trial the defense would have pressured the prosecution on details about how the police were able to locate the suspects so quickly, and details on the Stingray would had to have been revealed. The police did not want that to happen, so they pressured the prosecutor to give them a plea bargain that avoided jail time. It is important to note that the Federal Government was involved as well, and groups like the NSA FBI and CIA work closely with LE in most states in making sure the details of such surveillance tools are not made known to the general public. There have been enough documented cases of potentially dangerous criminals that were released back onto the streets or given good plea deals to protect this secret, just to defend a LE tactic that serves as a work around due process and separation of power barriers.  IMSI catchers operate in both active and passive modes. Some active mode operations are extracting stored data such as the cell carrier, force an increase in signal transmission power, interception of communication(s) content, tracking and locating devices, execute a denial of service attack, encryption key(s) extraction, and radio jamming. Using over-the-air signals to identify cell sites and map coverage areas is about the only passive mode operation. So summed up, stingray devices can interrupt and ultimately cut-off communications on targeted devices and extract data even when said devices are locked.  To date, there is not much one could do to protect mobile devices from these fake cell phone towers, although I heard there are some products on the market that supposedly defend against those types of surveillance tactics. There are a few mobile apps that claim to detect stingrays and warn a user if and when one is attempting to connect your device to it, but most of them contain ads and spamware and can't guarantee proper function. There is one app that I know of for Android only called AIMSICD that was created as an open source project by an independent group that works by community usage of the app and reporting fake towers. I cannot tell for sure if that app is still being maintained or not, but it must still be operational as I had used it not too long ago to detect a fake tower about seven miles from where I live, and it worked perfectly. VPN's or Orbot would be relatively ineffective, as once a stingray connects to your device it could get access to your cell carrier directly. Perhaps the best defense against illegal surveillance tactics would be to spread the word about them to everyone you know and encourage them to take this issue up with their local representatives. Take to different social media platforms and voice your opinion on the matter. Nothing will change as long as everyone remains silent and accepting, and big brother surely isn't going to cease using technology to suit their own agenda. We the people need to stand up for our rights, before they are totally eradicated.

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IDENTIFYING AND PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM SCAREWARE AND MALVERTISING TACTICS: Malvertising is no new internet scam tactic, but since an increasing number of people are using smartphones these days the style of malvertising has adapted considerably, and consumers need to know what they could face while browsing on their mobile devices. As the name would suggest, malvertising is a form of malware that could either trick a user into sending money to an address for bogus antivirus software or encrypt files on a smartphone/computer and hold said files for ransom. This particular form of online scam is called scareware, and it's becoming more common than ransomware.  While browsing on certain sites you may get a pop-up ad claiming you have accidentally downloaded a virus (or multiple viruses) and immediately need to download the antivirus software that the ad is displaying. Another type of scam would claim your smartphone battery is outdated and needs to be upgraded. These type of pop-ups can be aggressive, they are difficult to exit out of and all the while may even cause your device to beep loudly and vibrate, which would panic most people. The ironic part is, if you were to do what the pop-up asks you to do, you run the risk of actually downloading a real virus that could gain access to just about every file/app on your device. In other words, the pop-ups are lying about you having downloaded a virus in an attempt to get you to download their software which in most cases is a virus, and will even make your device beep to scare you.  If you are ever faced with this sort of scam, DO NOT do as it prompts you to do, immediately close out your browser tab. If that is not enough, go to the list of apps in the settings and find the browser app you had used and find the app's cache details and clear it, and it may even be necessary to force stop the app too. That should resolve the issue, and the next time you go to open the browser app it should be okay. On a laptop or desktop pc, minimize the browser window and open up the task killer to halt the browser's activity. As mentioned before, these types of malware can be aggressive and make your device either beep loudly or vibrate or a combination of both. If a task killer isn't good enough, then press Ctrl-Alt-Del all at once to restart the computer. It's often easier to deal with this on a smartphone, although it's often times easier for scamware to infect one than it would be for a computer.  In a future post I'm going to cover some useful add-ons for the mobile version of the FireFox browser, add-ons that block malicious content and that help preserve some amount of security and anonymity while browsing. After having experimented with a couple dozen browser apps, I find FireFox to be one of the most reliable, along with Armorfly for Android and Qwant. Assuming your browser app(s) has this option, always toggle on the block pop-ups, and this should prevent most scareware from ever being able to show in the first place. By taking some precautions such as that, the risk for identity theft and becoming a ransomware victim decrease sharply. I think I covered all the critical details, but if anyone had a question just let me know in the comments.

29.95k views ·

10 SECURITY AND PRIVACY FOCUSED APPS FOR ANDROID:  Please note the following is a list of apps geared towards Android users, although some are available for Apple as well. All apps listed are free to download and use with a few offering optional paid upgrades, and could be found on either Google PlayStore or the appropriate websites which will be mentioned. They are also all ad free. Mobile security and privacy are more important than ever, and having the right apps installed could spell the difference between maintaining some degree of online anonymity or having your personal data compromised. Upon considerable trial and error and experimenting with numerous apps in the respective category, I can confidently give a seal of approval for every app I mention here. One app I trust but will not be mentioned in the list is the FireFox Browser, as one of my prior posts covered key add-ons for FireFox, so please read that post if you use FireFox and are looking to customize it. In no specific order here is the list-  1)AdClear  Developer- SEVEN Networks Inc.  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Nominal  Monthly data consumption- Moderate Available on IOS- Yes  As the name suggests, AdClear blocks most forms of mobile advertising from in-app ads to browser ads and potentially malicious websites. It works by means of a VPN, which enables it to function on non-rooted devices. Recent updates to the app have seen the additions of a data firewall and hibernation manager. The data firewall when active allows a user to block all internet access/traffic to both user and preinstalled apps, and each app has its own toggle switch. The hibernation manager functions like the popular app Greenify, and will put selected apps into hibernation mode when the phone screen is turned off, and this process helps prolong battery life. It's not advised to hibernate apps such as email and phone calls, or any other app that serves a critical function. Being that AdClear is an adblocker, its usage is at the sole discretion of the individual. Personally, I seldom have use for an app like this as the browsers I use have their own content blockers, and most apps I have installed contain no ads. App developers who have free ad-supported apps cover their costs this way, so when they get blocked they cannot make a profit from their work, please keep such in mind. However, in AdClear's case the data firewall and hibernation manager make it worth using, and the ad blocking function could simply be toggled off. Each of the three major functions has its own power on/off toggle. Due to the fact that Google PlayStore does not allow adblocking software to be downloaded on their site, you must go to the SEVEN Networks website in order to download the app, or if you have the Aptoide App Store installed you could find it on there as well. Lastly, AdClear has a homescreen widget to quickly toggle on/off the VPN service, available only for Android users.  2)AIMSICD  Developer- AIMSICD Team  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Nominal  Monthly data consumption- Low  Available on IOS- No I had briefly mentioned this app in a previous post that was in regards to the Stingray spying technology. On a non-rooted device this app could warn a user of potential fake phone towers in the vicinity and also detect if a device has connected to any fake towers. On rooted devices the app actively scans and automatically protects a device if it connects to a fake tower, and blocks a Stingray's access to sensitive data logs. This app is still considered to be highly experimental and cannot give any guarantee of said functions. Last I checked, it appears the AIMSICD Project has been discontinued as the app has not had an update in a long time. Regardless, the app continues to be functional, and at the very least could be somewhat useful in warning a user of potential fake spy towers in the area. The app could be found and downloaded on the site GitHub, and type the keyword AIMSICD.  3)Signal  Developer- Open Whisper Systems Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Low  Monthly data consumption- Low  Available on IOS- Yes This app gives end-to-end encrypted voice/video calls, text messages, and the sending of photo and media files. Both parties (or all parties involved for group chats) must have the app installed to have total encryption. If you are in need of more privacy for your phone calls and text messages, and are looking for a fully featured and free app, Signal is the app for you. Also, this app is a good replacement for the stock text message app that comes preinstalled on most phones, and is emoji supported too.  4)ProtonMail  Developer- Proton Technologies  Optional paid upgrades- Yes  Battery drain- Low  Monthly data consumption- Low  Available on IOS- Yes  Yahoo and Google email accounts are far too easy to hack into, plus those organizations are not known for respecting user privacy, and that's where ProtonMail comes in. With servers located in Switzerland, ProtonMail encrypts your email communications, provided all parties involved are using the app. Perhaps the best part about this app is that it's free and full featured. Unless you want/need more than one ProtonMail account, the ability to archive thousands of emails, or remove your sender signature, the paid upgrades are not necessary. The user interface is intuitive and modern looking, having all the necessary folders like drafts and spam, and an option to pincode lock the app. ProtonMail utilizes multi-factor authentication, requiring an account password and separate decryption password to access your inbox. This app serves the need for those who require private email communications.  5)ProtonVPN  Developer- Proton Technologies/VPN Optional paid upgrades- Yes  Battery drain- Nominal  Monthly data consumption- Moderate Available on IOS- Unknown (presumably yes)  From the same developers of ProtonMail, this app is easily the most reliable and free to use VPN app out of about the forty or so VPN services I have tried. ProtonVPN offers many different servers from all around the world to choose from, and some of the servers are even TOR compatible for those who like to surf on the deep web. The other thing that sets this VPN service apart from the average free service is that it contains no advertising, and claims free usage free of charge indefinitely. It did not state exactly how long you are able to pick from all the servers with no charge, but as long as they keep even a few of the servers permanently free of charge the app would still be worth using. In all the times I have used it so far, there has been consistent stability in the connection, no slowing down of browsing speeds, and most important of all it really does cloak your device IP. Once a VPN is activated, it's easy to determine if it is really doing its job of masking your IP address or not. Open a browser app and be sure to turn off location settings prior to using a VPN. Most browsers still can keep some record of location history even if turned off, and your general location should be listed at the bottom of a web search. If your location is reading one consistent with the VPN server you selected, it's a good bet that your VPN service is working like it should. With the exception of Opera VPN, which is another decent service, all other free service VPN's I have used did not cloak my IP like advertised. Generally speaking, if you want a stable and reliable service, a paid service is far safer than a free one. Proton Technologies outdid themselves on this one, and as long as they keep even a few of their servers permanently free to use with no restrictions, ProtonVPN in time could become one of the most desirable VPN services available. Lastly, for those who might be unfamiliar with what a VPN is and does, there is plenty of information online that explains what they are and do.  6)Armorfly Browser  Developer- Cheetah Mobile  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Nominal to moderate Monthly data consumption- Varies Available on IOS- No  Armorfly is a browser with a built-in content blocker, automatic scanning of online shopping sites to check for malicious content, and the option to pincode lock downloaded files. For most browsers when you go to download say an image file, the downloaded image will show in your downloads folder in your device's system file. Downloaded files via Armorfly go to a separate folder created automatically everytime Armorfly is used, so your system download folder stays empty. The folder created by Armorfly must never be deleted though, as any files downloaded would then be erased. A video downloader is also included in Armorfly, the only type of videos that cannot be downloaded are YouTube ones due to their terms of use. I use Armorfly as my choice browser when using Minds while online instead of the mobile app, and it compresses data sufficiently enough to save a considerable amount of data that would get used on most other commonly used browsers. Armorfly is a good backup browser to have on hand if you download alot of video files or shop online, and don't wish to bother with add-ons like with the browser FireFox.  7)AppLock - Fingerprint Unlock  Developer- Cheetah Mobile  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Low  Monthly data consumption- Low  Available on IOS- No  From the same developers of the Armorfly Browser, this fingerprint unlock enabled applocker gives the option to individually pincode lock apps and device system settings such as wifi/install and uninstall apps/and bluetooth. Locking individual apps at times is preferred over having a screen lock that needs to be unlocked each time the screen is turned on. A few other features worth mentioning in this applock is an option to draw an unlock pattern if you don't want to use a pincode, a customized lock mode to lock apps immediately or not, and to take a camera shot if an incorrect passcode was given after so many attempts. Again, an individual applock like this one is useful for those who do not like always having to constantly unlock a home lockscreen.  8)PassKeep  Developer- Gareth Williams  Optional paid upgrades- Yes  Battery drain- Very low  Monthly data consumption- None Available on IOS- No  PassKeep is a free password manager that does not have any internet permission, unlike most password managers. A few of its main functions are an option to fingerprint unlock the app besides the passcode, backup of database, fully customizable fields that are color coded, a password generator and password strength checker, self destruct mode after certain number of incorrect password attempts, and blocking any screenshot attempts. The paid upgrade is actually just a donation to support the developer, and is optional. Being that this app does not connect to the internet, if you forget the master password you will no longer be able to use the app and any stored data would be lost, so a backup on an external source (like written down on paper) is recommended. Knowing how password managers store sensitive data, none of them should ever need to connect to the internet, and PassKeep truly respects user privacy.  9)Open Camera  Developer- Mark Harman  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Moderate for prolonged usage  Monthly data consumption- None Available on IOS- Unknown  This is a full featured camera app that is a good replacement to the stock camera app that comes preinstalled on most devices, and the main reason why I brought this app up aside from it being free and ad free is because it's one of the only camera apps that I've ever come across that does not have an internet permission. Certain camera apps have the ability to upload files to the internet, and that could be a bad thing in the case of accidental uploads. Camera apps that connect to the internet could also use data. Open Camera respects user privacy by having no internet permission, which is why I decided to mention it in this list.  10)Fake GPS  Developer- Lexa  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Nominal  Monthly data consumption- Low  Available on IOS- Unknown  Many apps that connect to the internet could be actively tracking your current location without your knowledge, and in doing so drain the device battery needlessly. Fake GPS is a good app to have on hand if you suspect some apps are constantly trying to lock onto your location, or if you just wish to spoof your location while surfing on the web. Either way, Fake GPS could conceal your real location if the need arises. There are no in-app upgrades, but there is a separate paid version which is considered the donated version for those who want to support the developer, but the free version is full featured.  There are other privacy focused apps on the market, but I think I zeroed in on the really important ones, the apps that encrypt your communications and sensitive data files. There are other categories of apps such as finance/note taking/tools/performance enhancers etc, so if anyone would like a recommendation from an app category, just ask me in the comments, I might be able to help.

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POLITICAL PERSUASION: Upon thinking it over and discussing this with some close friends and supporters of my channel, I am strongly considering doing some posts on US politics. There is no shortage of channels here on Minds dedicated to memes/quotes/opinions/politics etc, and when I started my channel I wanted to focus mainly on doing original content on the topics of science+technology/cyber security and mobile device news/Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. I cannot speak for other countries, but the political climate here in the USA has been boiling hot over the last few years and appears ready to boil over at any given moment. I've sat back and watched my fellow Americans become more and more emotional over certain issues and becoming more divided in the process, and it's only a matter of time before something gives, and if and when that occurs life in the US could get quite unpleasant. This concerns me, as it should with every fellow American who wants the future generations to experience a free and prosperous life. The two-party system is broke and serious changes need to be made. Democrats and Republicans and nothing more than two faces on the same coin, and if the majority of Americans thoroughly studied history strictly from an independent unbiased point of view, they would learn that both of those parties have shameful pasts and do not truly care about serving the citizen's needs that they were elected to do so. Basic human rights are consistently violated by the two-party monopoly, and all people can do is talk about Hollywood celebrities or sports. We call ourselves the United States of America, but it sure doesn't feel like we're very united, quite the opposite. This nonsense infighting needs to end, I'm sick of both liberals and conservatives constantly being at odds with each other, and you know who gets caught in the middle? The average American who is just trying to work hard and get somewhere in life.  While doing research on miscellaneous topics, I discovered a website for a relatively new political party...and yet technically they are not a new party, and I like the goals of this said party. This party is currently raising funds in which to establish a semi-permanent headquarters, and put their party name on every ballot in every state. This party of patriotic and concerned citizens call themselves... The Federalist Party, a modern reincarnation of America's first organized political party, the party of quite a few of the founding fathers. If you are an American like me and find yourself totally fed up with the same two-party politics, I would encourage you to check out the Federalist Party website. In an email I had sent to them, I described the potential the Minds platform has to offer, being they already have taken to other social media platforms. I volunteered to spread the word about them on my channel, and await to hear back from them on that and if they are willing to start a channel here on Minds. With that much said, in addition to posting about the topics mentioned above, from time to time I might post about an article from the Federalist Party website. Like I mentioned before, no certainty here, just that I am strongly considering expanding my channel a bit to accomodate some political material here and there. I see my country plunging deeper and deeper into the abyss, and feel I must speak up and encourage my fellow citizens to question things a lot more, and expose the Democrats and Republicans for what they really are...crooked greedy scum.

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IDENTIFYING AND PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM SCAREWARE AND MALVERTISING TACTICS: Malvertising is no new internet scam tactic, but since an increasing number of people are using smartphones these days the style of malvertising has adapted considerably, and consumers need to know what they could face while browsing on their mobile devices. As the name would suggest, malvertising is a form of malware that could either trick a user into sending money to an address for bogus antivirus software or encrypt files on a smartphone/computer and hold said files for ransom. This particular form of online scam is called scareware, and it's becoming more common than ransomware.  While browsing on certain sites you may get a pop-up ad claiming you have accidentally downloaded a virus (or multiple viruses) and immediately need to download the antivirus software that the ad is displaying. Another type of scam would claim your smartphone battery is outdated and needs to be upgraded. These type of pop-ups can be aggressive, they are difficult to exit out of and all the while may even cause your device to beep loudly and vibrate, which would panic most people. The ironic part is, if you were to do what the pop-up asks you to do, you run the risk of actually downloading a real virus that could gain access to just about every file/app on your device. In other words, the pop-ups are lying about you having downloaded a virus in an attempt to get you to download their software which in most cases is a virus, and will even make your device beep to scare you.  If you are ever faced with this sort of scam, DO NOT do as it prompts you to do, immediately close out your browser tab. If that is not enough, go to the list of apps in the settings and find the browser app you had used and find the app's cache details and clear it, and it may even be necessary to force stop the app too. That should resolve the issue, and the next time you go to open the browser app it should be okay. On a laptop or desktop pc, minimize the browser window and open up the task killer to halt the browser's activity. As mentioned before, these types of malware can be aggressive and make your device either beep loudly or vibrate or a combination of both. If a task killer isn't good enough, then press Ctrl-Alt-Del all at once to restart the computer. It's often easier to deal with this on a smartphone, although it's often times easier for scamware to infect one than it would be for a computer.  In a future post I'm going to cover some useful add-ons for the mobile version of the FireFox browser, add-ons that block malicious content and that help preserve some amount of security and anonymity while browsing. After having experimented with a couple dozen browser apps, I find FireFox to be one of the most reliable, along with Armorfly for Android and Qwant. Assuming your browser app(s) has this option, always toggle on the block pop-ups, and this should prevent most scareware from ever being able to show in the first place. By taking some precautions such as that, the risk for identity theft and becoming a ransomware victim decrease sharply. I think I covered all the critical details, but if anyone had a question just let me know in the comments.

29.95k views ·

10 SECURITY AND PRIVACY FOCUSED APPS FOR ANDROID:  Please note the following is a list of apps geared towards Android users, although some are available for Apple as well. All apps listed are free to download and use with a few offering optional paid upgrades, and could be found on either Google PlayStore or the appropriate websites which will be mentioned. They are also all ad free. Mobile security and privacy are more important than ever, and having the right apps installed could spell the difference between maintaining some degree of online anonymity or having your personal data compromised. Upon considerable trial and error and experimenting with numerous apps in the respective category, I can confidently give a seal of approval for every app I mention here. One app I trust but will not be mentioned in the list is the FireFox Browser, as one of my prior posts covered key add-ons for FireFox, so please read that post if you use FireFox and are looking to customize it. In no specific order here is the list-  1)AdClear  Developer- SEVEN Networks Inc.  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Nominal  Monthly data consumption- Moderate Available on IOS- Yes  As the name suggests, AdClear blocks most forms of mobile advertising from in-app ads to browser ads and potentially malicious websites. It works by means of a VPN, which enables it to function on non-rooted devices. Recent updates to the app have seen the additions of a data firewall and hibernation manager. The data firewall when active allows a user to block all internet access/traffic to both user and preinstalled apps, and each app has its own toggle switch. The hibernation manager functions like the popular app Greenify, and will put selected apps into hibernation mode when the phone screen is turned off, and this process helps prolong battery life. It's not advised to hibernate apps such as email and phone calls, or any other app that serves a critical function. Being that AdClear is an adblocker, its usage is at the sole discretion of the individual. Personally, I seldom have use for an app like this as the browsers I use have their own content blockers, and most apps I have installed contain no ads. App developers who have free ad-supported apps cover their costs this way, so when they get blocked they cannot make a profit from their work, please keep such in mind. However, in AdClear's case the data firewall and hibernation manager make it worth using, and the ad blocking function could simply be toggled off. Each of the three major functions has its own power on/off toggle. Due to the fact that Google PlayStore does not allow adblocking software to be downloaded on their site, you must go to the SEVEN Networks website in order to download the app, or if you have the Aptoide App Store installed you could find it on there as well. Lastly, AdClear has a homescreen widget to quickly toggle on/off the VPN service, available only for Android users.  2)AIMSICD  Developer- AIMSICD Team  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Nominal  Monthly data consumption- Low  Available on IOS- No I had briefly mentioned this app in a previous post that was in regards to the Stingray spying technology. On a non-rooted device this app could warn a user of potential fake phone towers in the vicinity and also detect if a device has connected to any fake towers. On rooted devices the app actively scans and automatically protects a device if it connects to a fake tower, and blocks a Stingray's access to sensitive data logs. This app is still considered to be highly experimental and cannot give any guarantee of said functions. Last I checked, it appears the AIMSICD Project has been discontinued as the app has not had an update in a long time. Regardless, the app continues to be functional, and at the very least could be somewhat useful in warning a user of potential fake spy towers in the area. The app could be found and downloaded on the site GitHub, and type the keyword AIMSICD.  3)Signal  Developer- Open Whisper Systems Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Low  Monthly data consumption- Low  Available on IOS- Yes This app gives end-to-end encrypted voice/video calls, text messages, and the sending of photo and media files. Both parties (or all parties involved for group chats) must have the app installed to have total encryption. If you are in need of more privacy for your phone calls and text messages, and are looking for a fully featured and free app, Signal is the app for you. Also, this app is a good replacement for the stock text message app that comes preinstalled on most phones, and is emoji supported too.  4)ProtonMail  Developer- Proton Technologies  Optional paid upgrades- Yes  Battery drain- Low  Monthly data consumption- Low  Available on IOS- Yes  Yahoo and Google email accounts are far too easy to hack into, plus those organizations are not known for respecting user privacy, and that's where ProtonMail comes in. With servers located in Switzerland, ProtonMail encrypts your email communications, provided all parties involved are using the app. Perhaps the best part about this app is that it's free and full featured. Unless you want/need more than one ProtonMail account, the ability to archive thousands of emails, or remove your sender signature, the paid upgrades are not necessary. The user interface is intuitive and modern looking, having all the necessary folders like drafts and spam, and an option to pincode lock the app. ProtonMail utilizes multi-factor authentication, requiring an account password and separate decryption password to access your inbox. This app serves the need for those who require private email communications.  5)ProtonVPN  Developer- Proton Technologies/VPN Optional paid upgrades- Yes  Battery drain- Nominal  Monthly data consumption- Moderate Available on IOS- Unknown (presumably yes)  From the same developers of ProtonMail, this app is easily the most reliable and free to use VPN app out of about the forty or so VPN services I have tried. ProtonVPN offers many different servers from all around the world to choose from, and some of the servers are even TOR compatible for those who like to surf on the deep web. The other thing that sets this VPN service apart from the average free service is that it contains no advertising, and claims free usage free of charge indefinitely. It did not state exactly how long you are able to pick from all the servers with no charge, but as long as they keep even a few of the servers permanently free of charge the app would still be worth using. In all the times I have used it so far, there has been consistent stability in the connection, no slowing down of browsing speeds, and most important of all it really does cloak your device IP. Once a VPN is activated, it's easy to determine if it is really doing its job of masking your IP address or not. Open a browser app and be sure to turn off location settings prior to using a VPN. Most browsers still can keep some record of location history even if turned off, and your general location should be listed at the bottom of a web search. If your location is reading one consistent with the VPN server you selected, it's a good bet that your VPN service is working like it should. With the exception of Opera VPN, which is another decent service, all other free service VPN's I have used did not cloak my IP like advertised. Generally speaking, if you want a stable and reliable service, a paid service is far safer than a free one. Proton Technologies outdid themselves on this one, and as long as they keep even a few of their servers permanently free to use with no restrictions, ProtonVPN in time could become one of the most desirable VPN services available. Lastly, for those who might be unfamiliar with what a VPN is and does, there is plenty of information online that explains what they are and do.  6)Armorfly Browser  Developer- Cheetah Mobile  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Nominal to moderate Monthly data consumption- Varies Available on IOS- No  Armorfly is a browser with a built-in content blocker, automatic scanning of online shopping sites to check for malicious content, and the option to pincode lock downloaded files. For most browsers when you go to download say an image file, the downloaded image will show in your downloads folder in your device's system file. Downloaded files via Armorfly go to a separate folder created automatically everytime Armorfly is used, so your system download folder stays empty. The folder created by Armorfly must never be deleted though, as any files downloaded would then be erased. A video downloader is also included in Armorfly, the only type of videos that cannot be downloaded are YouTube ones due to their terms of use. I use Armorfly as my choice browser when using Minds while online instead of the mobile app, and it compresses data sufficiently enough to save a considerable amount of data that would get used on most other commonly used browsers. Armorfly is a good backup browser to have on hand if you download alot of video files or shop online, and don't wish to bother with add-ons like with the browser FireFox.  7)AppLock - Fingerprint Unlock  Developer- Cheetah Mobile  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Low  Monthly data consumption- Low  Available on IOS- No  From the same developers of the Armorfly Browser, this fingerprint unlock enabled applocker gives the option to individually pincode lock apps and device system settings such as wifi/install and uninstall apps/and bluetooth. Locking individual apps at times is preferred over having a screen lock that needs to be unlocked each time the screen is turned on. A few other features worth mentioning in this applock is an option to draw an unlock pattern if you don't want to use a pincode, a customized lock mode to lock apps immediately or not, and to take a camera shot if an incorrect passcode was given after so many attempts. Again, an individual applock like this one is useful for those who do not like always having to constantly unlock a home lockscreen.  8)PassKeep  Developer- Gareth Williams  Optional paid upgrades- Yes  Battery drain- Very low  Monthly data consumption- None Available on IOS- No  PassKeep is a free password manager that does not have any internet permission, unlike most password managers. A few of its main functions are an option to fingerprint unlock the app besides the passcode, backup of database, fully customizable fields that are color coded, a password generator and password strength checker, self destruct mode after certain number of incorrect password attempts, and blocking any screenshot attempts. The paid upgrade is actually just a donation to support the developer, and is optional. Being that this app does not connect to the internet, if you forget the master password you will no longer be able to use the app and any stored data would be lost, so a backup on an external source (like written down on paper) is recommended. Knowing how password managers store sensitive data, none of them should ever need to connect to the internet, and PassKeep truly respects user privacy.  9)Open Camera  Developer- Mark Harman  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Moderate for prolonged usage  Monthly data consumption- None Available on IOS- Unknown  This is a full featured camera app that is a good replacement to the stock camera app that comes preinstalled on most devices, and the main reason why I brought this app up aside from it being free and ad free is because it's one of the only camera apps that I've ever come across that does not have an internet permission. Certain camera apps have the ability to upload files to the internet, and that could be a bad thing in the case of accidental uploads. Camera apps that connect to the internet could also use data. Open Camera respects user privacy by having no internet permission, which is why I decided to mention it in this list.  10)Fake GPS  Developer- Lexa  Optional paid upgrades- No  Battery drain- Nominal  Monthly data consumption- Low  Available on IOS- Unknown  Many apps that connect to the internet could be actively tracking your current location without your knowledge, and in doing so drain the device battery needlessly. Fake GPS is a good app to have on hand if you suspect some apps are constantly trying to lock onto your location, or if you just wish to spoof your location while surfing on the web. Either way, Fake GPS could conceal your real location if the need arises. There are no in-app upgrades, but there is a separate paid version which is considered the donated version for those who want to support the developer, but the free version is full featured.  There are other privacy focused apps on the market, but I think I zeroed in on the really important ones, the apps that encrypt your communications and sensitive data files. There are other categories of apps such as finance/note taking/tools/performance enhancers etc, so if anyone would like a recommendation from an app category, just ask me in the comments, I might be able to help.

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POLITICAL PERSUASION: Upon thinking it over and discussing this with some close friends and supporters of my channel, I am strongly considering doing some posts on US politics. There is no shortage of channels here on Minds dedicated to memes/quotes/opinions/politics etc, and when I started my channel I wanted to focus mainly on doing original content on the topics of science+technology/cyber security and mobile device news/Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. I cannot speak for other countries, but the political climate here in the USA has been boiling hot over the last few years and appears ready to boil over at any given moment. I've sat back and watched my fellow Americans become more and more emotional over certain issues and becoming more divided in the process, and it's only a matter of time before something gives, and if and when that occurs life in the US could get quite unpleasant. This concerns me, as it should with every fellow American who wants the future generations to experience a free and prosperous life. The two-party system is broke and serious changes need to be made. Democrats and Republicans and nothing more than two faces on the same coin, and if the majority of Americans thoroughly studied history strictly from an independent unbiased point of view, they would learn that both of those parties have shameful pasts and do not truly care about serving the citizen's needs that they were elected to do so. Basic human rights are consistently violated by the two-party monopoly, and all people can do is talk about Hollywood celebrities or sports. We call ourselves the United States of America, but it sure doesn't feel like we're very united, quite the opposite. This nonsense infighting needs to end, I'm sick of both liberals and conservatives constantly being at odds with each other, and you know who gets caught in the middle? The average American who is just trying to work hard and get somewhere in life.  While doing research on miscellaneous topics, I discovered a website for a relatively new political party...and yet technically they are not a new party, and I like the goals of this said party. This party is currently raising funds in which to establish a semi-permanent headquarters, and put their party name on every ballot in every state. This party of patriotic and concerned citizens call themselves... The Federalist Party, a modern reincarnation of America's first organized political party, the party of quite a few of the founding fathers. If you are an American like me and find yourself totally fed up with the same two-party politics, I would encourage you to check out the Federalist Party website. In an email I had sent to them, I described the potential the Minds platform has to offer, being they already have taken to other social media platforms. I volunteered to spread the word about them on my channel, and await to hear back from them on that and if they are willing to start a channel here on Minds. With that much said, in addition to posting about the topics mentioned above, from time to time I might post about an article from the Federalist Party website. Like I mentioned before, no certainty here, just that I am strongly considering expanding my channel a bit to accomodate some political material here and there. I see my country plunging deeper and deeper into the abyss, and feel I must speak up and encourage my fellow citizens to question things a lot more, and expose the Democrats and Republicans for what they really are...crooked greedy scum.

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