Clean all teh things!

Regular cleaning is not only important in very hostile environments where arrests are imminent, and doing things as cleanly as possible as a whistleblower, it is also increasingly important to all of us in what seems to be a panopticon shaping up.

CleanAllTheThings

“Granny bit her lip. She was never quite certain about children, thinking of them-when she thought about them at all-as coming somewhere between animals and people. She understood babies. You put milk in one end and kept the other as clean as possible. Adults were even easier, because they did the feeding and cleaning themselves. But in between was a world of experience that she had never really inquired about. As far as she was aware, you just tried to stop them catching anything fatal and hoped that it would all turn out all right.” ― Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

The Fog

Computer scientists call it “Fog Computing” — a play on today’s cloud computing craze. And in a recent paper for Darpa, the Pentagon’s premiere research arm, researchers say they’ve built “a prototype for automatically generating and distributing believable misinformation … and then tracking access and attempted misuse of it. We call this ‘disinformation technology.’” ~ Wired Danger Room
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Computer forensics

Metadata is data about data. Metadata plays a number of important roles in computer forensics:

  • It can provide corroborating information about the document data itself.
  • It can reveal information that someone tried to hide, delete, or obscure.
  • It can be used to automatically correlate documents from different sources.
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Remove metadata

To put it bluntly, metadata is hidden data that can fuck you over. Fuck you over real hard and rough like, savvy? Often defined as “data about data,” metadata is information about a specific file that’s often included within the file itself but that’s often not readily visible or modifiable to the end-user when z is viewing the file in the standard application that z would typically use to view the file.

In other words, metadata provides background information about a file. Chances are that every document you create, every digital photograph you take, every music file you download, and so on, all have little bits of metadata which can leak vital information about your identity. ~ The dangers of metadata, 2008

Did you know that your photos contain hidden information, including the GPS coordinates of the location they were taken at, the date and time, camera shutter setting details, and possibly even the name of the program you used to edit them? This type of metadata can be useful, but you may want to remove it from your photos before sharing them online.

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Document metadata is information about one or more aspects of a document, spreadsheet, pdf file, that is not always visible to the person creating them, but can be found by the person who receives them next. Comments, track changes, hidden text, markups, properties, attachments and bookmarks are all examples of document metadata. Metadata removal software identifies and removes the metadata contained within a document so it cannot be shared.

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For cleaning your browser go here.

Shredding files

Even when you erase everything on your hard disk, sometimes it is possible to recover (pieces of) data with forensics software and/or hardware. If that data is confidential, delete files and data securely so that no-one will recover them. And Solid State Drives (SSD) may have introduced dramatic changes to the principles of computer forensics …

When encrypting and compressing files, clear-text versions that existed before you compress/encrypt the file or clear-text copies that are created after you decrypt/decompress it remain on your hard drive. There may also be “temp” files left behind. Unless you purge — not just delete — those clear-text files.

Echoes of your personal data — swap files, temp files, hibernation files, erased files, browser artifacts, etc — are likely to remain on any computer that you use to access (encrypted) data. It is a trivial task to extract those echos. A hidden access trap. Purge – not just delete – echoes.

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Remove malware

And then of course, there is the possibility of people having visited without explicit invitation, without explicit consent, that may have left things lying about in odd places. And burglars leaving a payload or two to maintain access for continued pillaging and plundering of your private space. I think my machine is infected. Now what?

Ditching your online presence

Clean social plate? Want to ditch your online account(s)? Shouldn’t be a problem, right?
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Anti forensics

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