Have you ever thought that the government is hiding something from you? Or did you have a feeling that your employer might be directing the flow of information in your direction? Even closer to home, do you have dark little secrets that you wouldn't let anyone living anywhere on this planet glimpse?
Welcome to the world of operational security (OPSEC).
OPSEC is a risk management company that controls data usage within defined limits, to prevent information from falling into the wrong hands.
This concept started with military institutions, where militaries prevented unauthorized people from accessing and using sensitive information.
Today, OPSEC has become the common food of private bodies that regulate the activities of employees of companies related to the use of the Internet.
This importance of OPSEC is related to the fact that anonymity becomes a necessary ticket to online security as our lives continue to be tied to the Internet environment. OPSEC without considering anonymity would be useless when we are all faced with different types of actors who could target our valuable data.
Who needs it
The truth is that each digital layer that forms a communication framework offers a potential entry point for cyber insecurity actors, from IT companies, software, applications, network access points, ISPs, websites, government institutions and private sector actors receiving shared data.
Well you may be wonderingWhat exactly happens when people have bad OPSEC?
Armed with a user's personal information, a determined attacker can cause great damage to them, especially if they are not careful with their usernames and passwords. The attacker can also take advantage of the fact that you use the same email address to visit multiple web applications in order to collect vital information about you.
These seemingly innocuous bugs have been reported quite frequently in the mainstream media, where cybercriminals have taken advantage of user carelessness in OPSEC to cause serious damage to targets.
On the plus side, the occurrence of low OPSEC scores in criminal networks tends to create loopholes that would allow law enforcement to break in to arrest perpetrators. A very good example is the case of 2017AlphaBay Admin Removal, which was made possible by the fact that the administrator left digital information that linked him to his pseudo-account.
Law enforcement officers had taken little advantage of the events leading up to the shootdown.OPSEC Mistakes Committed by Darknet Mastermind. For example, first emails from the platform administrator.[Email protected] it contained information about Alexandre Cazes, the creator of AlphaBay. Cazes' personal data included his birth year, as well as information that would later reveal his true identity.
Another critical OPSEC mistake Cazes made was failing to prevent his bitcoin account from being identifiable by his real name. By then, AlphaBay had become a massive dark web marketplace trading in illegal goods.
In general, protecting yourself from organized criminal gangs requires a different type of OPSEC than simply trying to evade stalkers. Rest assured, bad OPSEC is something you don't want to suffer from. Constantly wary of enemies lurking in the shadows is a surefire way to avoid trouble online.
Hopefully, this eBook will help you understand the basics of OPSEC from a threat and risk analysis standpoint. This is because excellent OPSEC allows a user of the system to understand the potential enemies they may be facing, assess their communication objectives, and judge the capabilities of those enemies.
Simply defined, clearnet is the regular online ecosystem that we don't depend on TOR. On Clearnet, most online users thrive by communicating and trading without the need for anonymity.
From an organizational perspective, companies monitor the transparent network to regulate online behaviors that are unique to employees. Still, it's important to note that Clearnet users can still seek privacy online by using virtual private networks (VPNs).
The Darknet, on the other hand, are the hidden corridors of the online world.Darknet-Sitios webit can only be accessed through bespoke tools, the most popular being the Tor browser. I2P is also another applicable option when browsing the dark web and is known to attract tech-savvy users. Otherwise, to keep things simple, the dark web appears as a hidden digital layer on top of the light web.
The basic difference between clearnet and darknet is the anonymity function. Clearnet browsing poses a critical challenge for users who wish to remain anonymous. Exposing your IP and MAC addresses means that you are easily identifiable among other systems and networks. A variety of clearnet websites have the ability to profile their users using machine learning principles to assess their tastes and preferences in relation to browsing trends.
SoyDark Web Perspective, anonymity has top priority to allow users to communicate from the depths of the shadow online.
When you access the dark web through Tor, your connection is routed through a number of other computer systems to blur your digital footprints. Keep in mind that in the modern age of web browsing, governments have learned the trick of breaking down such barriers to expose online underworld activities. Therefore, it is almost imperative that as a user of the dark web, you reinforce your anonymity online by using VPN and TAILS OS to hide your IP address.
OPSEC vulnerabilities appear whenever an enemy can collect OPSEC indicators for analysis purposes, which it would use to make certain adverse decisions. The vulnerabilities include vulnerabilities that expose a user's critical details to potential attackers.
Additionally, threats refer to events where digital assets are compromised through loss or damage. Also, this term describes a potential attacker's motive for damaging user assets. Examples of threats include terrorist, criminal, and political intent that would otherwise undermine a user's OPSEC.
After touching on the above definitions, threat assessment is used to identify potential enemies and the forces that accompany their existence, including their weaknesses and reasons for collecting OPSEC indicators. On the other hand, risk assessment focuses on the damage and impact caused by vulnerabilities or groups of vulnerabilities.
The success or failure of the vulnerabilities depends on the aggressiveness of the attackers. An attacker using maximum force to exploit system vulnerabilities can cause immeasurable damage to a user's assets. Cybersecurity professionals can assess the adversary's probability of success by comparing existing vulnerabilities to their strength.
Case Study: Threats and Risks for Public Wi-Fi Users
Imagine that. It's Friday afternoon and you're spending your free time at your local pizzeria while using the available free WiFi to do some work-related tasks. You get it. This is a common routine among city dwellers, but have you ever stopped to think for a second about the existing cybersecurity threats watching you as you browse your online banking platform and munch on cheesy crap?
The problem with using public Wi-Fi is the terrifying statistics of security risks that come with these types of networks. While many organizations can be confident in the quality of the services they provide to their customers, most organizations seem unaware of the vulnerabilities of their networks to cyber risks and threats.
Just to focus on the specific risks involved, this section provides brief explanations of the main risks.climbks Use of public WLANsfollowed by a recommendation on how to stay safe on these networks.
First,Man-in-the-middle-Angriffeare common risks when using public WLANs. Essentially, such an attack is seen as a form of espionage, where an attacker can violate a user's privacy to "read" the communications that take place between the user and a third party.
Public Wi-Fi also provides ample environments for that.malware spreadbetween computer systems. An attacker can easily exploit network vulnerabilities and send malware to your computer without your knowledge. This aspect can be attributed to the emergence of software vulnerabilities that serve as vulnerabilities that the attacker exploits. In a typical scenario, a hacker can inject malware into your system simply by writing invasive code.
W-LANsmell and smellIt happens when hackers use special devices to access your sensitive data when you go online. They can view the websites you browse over free WiFi to collect login credentials or literally take control of your online accounts.
Another risk isrogue access pointsposing as legitimate public WiFi hotspots. Ideally, this occurs when attackers set up network decoys to trick users into thinking they are logging into a real network. Now, once a user connects to that malicious network, cybercriminals can illegally access their private data.
By now you are probably wonderingHow can you use public WiFi safely?
Regardless of the threats a user faces, the only sure way to protect your information during episodes on public Wi-Fi is to use a VPN while browsing your device.
It is important to take a close look at the different types of network users to reiterate the importance of VPN use by all browsers. Therefore;
The regular employee who performs a variety of tasks at their workplace needs a VPN when they travel. In most cases, companies provide VPNs to their employees as a cybersecurity measure to prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
The downloader, whether he is browsing the light web or the dark web, needs a VPN to avoid possible incriminating incidents in the future that would be related to his online behavior. You don't want to pay a hefty fine for something you've done online in the past.
Privacy oriented user applies VPN in their daily online business to ensure their sensitive data is safe. This is important for journalists who want to contradict oppressive regimes with articles that, if traced back to them, could cause big trouble.
Otherwise, even if you don't fall into the above categories, you should still look into VPN services. Such a decision would be critical to your online security, which cuts across all levels of sensitivity as to what exactly is prompting it to penetrate your Internet browser.
Account management can be difficult for some users. In a classic social setting, many people want to walk into their favorite bar and get noticed right away, and often by nickname. Imagine walking into a bar and everyone is yelling your name, sounds cool right?
Well, the Internet is not a place where you want people to identify you by your real name. This aspect is not due to mere antisocial behavior, but rather to the obvious dangers lurking in the shadows of the Clearnet andSurfing the dark web.
From the outside, you may think that exposing your username is harmless, but it can actually lead to a cascade of security issues that could lead you into the brutal world of identity theft and financial crime.
If a username is not chosen wisely, criminals can guess the real name of the username and use the resulting information to obtain vital information about their target. This aspect extends to a user's online texting activities as well: the government can even examine their online texting patterns to correlate with their true identity. Take, for example, the case of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, in which federal authorities managed to link his online persona to his true crimes based on his messaging behavior on online platforms.
Otherwise, knowing your username may be enough for the cybercriminal to help you gather information and perform a password recovery process. Once they get your password, you are particularly vulnerable to cybercrime.
The secret to protecting your online credentials lies in harnessing the power of randomness. Attackers try to guess passwords based on information provided by "dictionaries". Also, they use random guesses to try their hand at collecting your sensitive online credentials.
As a user, it is important that you make sure that your passwords are as long and random as possible. It is also important that you always use different passwords from one website to another. This would stop a possible pattern that a potential attacker could follow to decrypt your personal information.
Beyond that, the other thing is to take advantage of the available password managers. This is because most people cannot generate complex types of passwords to protect their online accounts.
as password managers1 PasswordYguardianit will certainly create good passwords for you, remember them, and automatically insert them into websites when needed.
In general, stay away from weak or "recycled" passwords.
Recently, sharing email addresses was not a big problem. No one seemed to care about the cyber threats that would result from being a little free with personal information, but that was before that.haunting magazinelationsby Edward Snowden.
Now, for most people, the desire to remain completely anonymous is obvious. Internet users are now reaping the benefits of keeping email addresses private and making it impossible to connect their online personas with their real selves.
The worst case of not protecting your email address has to do with managing usernames and passwords. Once a cybercriminal gets your email address, they can use a cascade of steps to reset your account password or, worse yet, access copies of messages to and from your contacts. This is scary when the hacker decides to stay undercover while snooping on the dirty secrets you share with your friends in your daily email communications.
Otherwise, cybercriminals would rather use your exposed email address to access various websites or mobile apps to try to steal data or buy things online. It is highly possible that an attacker will hijack any other accounts he has created with a compromised email address, causing untold damage to your identity and finances.
In a classic example of an email-assisted scam, a user's friends may receive emails stating that their contact has been attacked by thugs and needs money sent to them as soon as possible. In addition, an affected user's Twitter feed may send links to malicious websites that would predispose their contacts to attacks by cybercriminals.
For this reason, the use of encrypted messaging services is important for all categories of users. Fortunately there are a number ofexcellent alternatives2021 to choose from.
A VPN is a privacy and security mechanism that strengthens public and private networks, including the Internet and risky Wi-Fi hotspots. VPNs are popular with businesses because they are used to protect important company data.
Also, personal use of VPNs is becoming a common trend in today's internet age. This aspect corresponds to the fact that more and more human interactions have moved to the many online platforms that exist.
A VPN provides much-needed privacy by replacing a user's original IP address with one of a VPN service's addresses. A VPN subscriber can get an IP address from anywhere as long as their specific service provider operates in their new locations. For example, you may be a New Yorker, but with a VPN you appear to be located in a gateway city in faraway Europe.
What are the advantages of using VPN?
First, VPNprovide security to the user. Whether you're accessing your online banking platform or chatting with your friends online, you don't want to be spied on. In addition, every user wants to surf the Internet safely due to the risks mentioned when using public Wi-Fi connections.
A VPN becomes your answer to this need, since it encrypts your data to guarantee privacy at all times. This way, you can participate in their online activities without worrying about being stopped by your government or a group of hackers.
una vpnsaves you money. The world of e-commerce is such that prices vary from one place to another. Your favorite product may fetch high prices in one place, say Monaco, but become affordable when sourced from another part of the world. After looking at the role of gateway cities and the fact that VPNs replace a user's IP address, the tool can save you a lot of money this way.
Finally VPNAre cheap. Premium VPN services usually cost less than other forms of cybersecurity methods. A good VPN can maintain the anonymity and security you need on your network, even with a money-back guarantee.
The cons of using VPN
A VPN cannegatively affect your connection speed. The encryption used in VPN mechanisms is to blame for slowing down your connection speed. However, a VPN technology like Hotspot Shield provides online security and privacy without sacrificing connection speeds.
vpnConnections are often unstable.. Even with reliable VPN options, stability is a frequent concern. The main disadvantage of the instability of your VPN-protected network is the fact that your real IP address is exposed every time the connection is lost. This would undermine your anonymity, as well as cause you immeasurable inconvenience. The antidote to this problem is for users to purchase VPNs with a breaker, a VPN like CyberGhost.
The other challenge with VPNs isconfiguration difficulties. Improper VPN configuration exposes a user to frequent IP leaks that would expose them to attackers.
Conclusion: VPN matters
In short, the advantages of using a VPN far outweigh its disadvantages. Aside from the fact that a VPN allows you to protect your online activities from prying eyes, it also does a lot to keep your private information under the radar.
In selecting a VPN of choice, it is important that a user assess their own specific needs before committing to a service. A good way to approach this aspect is to consider the needs of clearnet and darknet users. For Clearnet users, networks like public Wi-Fi require the importance of VPNs for protection.
Dark web users, on the other hand, need to combine VPN with Tor to ensure maximum security and privacy. This importance is due to the differences in the operating mechanisms of Tor and VPN. A VPN works by hiding your IP address, while Tor helps keep your activity anonymous. Simply put, VPNs were created for privacy while the Tor network is designed to provide anonymity.
Using the Dark Web: Combining VPN with Tor
To successfully navigate the Dark Web, this eBook recommends combining the use of Tor and VPN.
The challenge with using only Tor is that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can track and log your browsing activity. Once they realize you're using Tor, they may decide to change your connection speed or disconnect you.
At this point, we can't really say if our ISPs can help government agencies spy on Internet users, but who knows?
The fact is that authorities would easily suspect a Tor user of committing a crime despite their innocence. Therefore, it is necessary for Tor users to recognize the need to use a VPN service in order to hide the use of Tor from their ISP.
What are the best VPN options available for Tor users?
When choosing a suitable VPN to hide your Tor usage, there are some standard rules that need to be followed.
The most important rule is to consider the features of a VPN service and avoid free VPNs. VPNs that don't charge users money have been found to do more harm than good: they undermine your online privacy and security and potentially sell your sensitive data in unscrupulous deals.
Free VPNs usually work with malicious third parties to collect your sensitive data or sometimes allow outside actors to use your internet connection to conduct illegal online business.
A classic example is the popular Hola Free VPN, which is currently installed on millions of devices around the world. The principle of operation alone is a factor to consider. Not many people understand that Hola Free VPN does not route its users' online traffic through its servers, but rather through networks and systems owned by other Hola users.
This means that users conducting illegal business online can use your IP address and thus get you in trouble with the authorities.
If you currently use a free VPN, you should stop using it and sign up for a premium service.
Tor is a network that uses a multiple proxy mechanism to hide users' IP addresses. This network removes the dependency on specific proxy servers needed when processing data. While Tor has similar limitations to other proxy connections, it boasts that its database of 3 million users works to clean up IP tracks from browsers.
The termHillIt comes from the acronym "The Onion Router", originally used by the US Navy. It was created to protect mission data. The original idea was to hide military IP addresses to prevent sensitive information from leaking during military expeditions. Tor's subsequent release into the public domain came after the US military switched to specialized internal VPN systems: Tor became free, open source software that could be downloaded from the TOR website.
How does it work
When a client uses Tor, their Internet traffic is routed through the Tor network. Traffic moves through a series of relays, usually run by volunteers, before leaving the network and reaching its intended destination.
This data stream eliminates the possibility for ISPs or third parties to examine your local network to reveal the websites a user visits. Furthermore, this mechanism keeps websites in the dark about the location of the user, including the IP addresses of the visitors. Instead, exit nodes are the only traces available to inform sites of location and IP address.
The fact that even older relays are incapable of calculating traffic components adds to the overall anonymity that Tor offers (see screenshot below).
For example, imagine that you accessed a popular search engine, e.g.Paper bin, through the door. Your ISP and network operator will not recognize that you accessed Bing, but they will only recognize encrypted traffic that goes through Tor.
In this particular case, Tor forwards your traffic to the exit node, after which Bing is "contacted". While this process is taking place, Bing will notice that your website is being accessed from an exit node. The originating node would send the traffic back through its repeaters without being aware of the termination points of that traffic.
Tor is ideal for people who live in countries with Internet censorship laws, people exposed to dictatorial governments, and also for people who live in global locations that impede free speech. This network would allow such categories of Internet users to access the Internet without fear of detection. Furthermore, in regular democratic ecosystemsTor helps whistleblowersSharing information while stamping your fingerprints for personal security.
However, despite the advantages of using Tor, the network is not suitable for Clearnet browsing. While anonymity is desirable for a surprisingly large number of people, using Tor to browse the Surface Web comes with slow connections and other technical challenges.
The Big Question: Is Tor 100% Secure?
Most people think that Tor offers complete anonymity and security online, but is that true?
Well, anonymity and privacy online cannot be achieved that easily.
Referring to the previous topic sections covered in this eBook, it should be quite obvious that Tor does not have the full ability to guarantee anonymity and privacy on its own.
Let's take a quick look at the following main limitations of Tor:
important, advancedAttackers can eavesdrop on exit nodes. Accessing unencrypted sites with Tor allows Exit Nodes to monitor users' Internet traffic, including spying on their websites and text communication. In fact, some government agencies have been known to exploit this weakness in Tor to track users.
Take the example of a case from 2007 in which a security researcheremail communication collectedfor a set of email accounts using a Tor exit node. The users in the case had forgotten to encrypt their email framework, thinking that Tor would do all the work for them. Therefore, it is recommended that all Tor users browse encrypted pages when dealing with sensitive content.
The practice of sending sensitive information online is a complicated business. What if someone else takes a look at the critical banking information you're submitting? Or even those "inappropriate jokes" that should never be associated with your public image?
Fortunately, Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is among the most effective solutions available to users today.
PGP was founded in 1991 by Phil Zimmerman, an anti-nuclear activist trying to solve the perennial challenge of secure email transmission.
How does this work?
PGP is a very simple concept, at least on the surface.
Imagine this: you intend to send your bank details, let's say your credit card number, to a comrade. The first instinct would be to write it down on a piece of paper before mailing it to his friend's address.
What you don't know is that traffic information comes with a mountain of risk. A criminal can get hold of the mail and access its contents: steal your credit card information to use it without your consent. This would definitely not end well.
You may then consider sending the information through a locked mailbox. The only thing you haven't thought of before is the new challenge: you have to send the locked mailbox together with your key. Well, that's too much trouble.
Now suppose you have met your contact before to share the key in advance. That seems reasonable, doesn't it?
While this step appears to be a solution to our initial problem, we acknowledge that a new vulnerability is being created. The fact that both you and the sender and recipient have the keys to the mailbox creates a security hole: the sender shouldn't bother to open the mailbox after it's been sealed.
Finally, in this particular case, two keys would be needed to solve the problem. The first key would be used to lock the mailbox. The second key would allow the recipient of the email to unlock the box to reveal its contents. That way, the only existing recipient of the message has explicit permission to unlock the mailbox to access their bank information on the paper.
PGP operates this war. Two keys are used to transfer information from point A to point B. The first key, the public key, is used to encrypt the message. The second key is called a private key because it is used to decrypt the message.
To communicate, a user sends the public key to all recipients of the message. This would allow them to block sensitive information that they might want to pass on to the user.
Finally, upon receiving encrypted messages, a user would simply apply their private key to unlock messages sent by their contacts. (Study the figure below)
To use our free PGP key generation, encryption, and decryption tool, click the following link:/pgp/
In short, all forms of online activities must take special OPSEC measures to ensure that users are protected from data theft. An important point to keep in mind is that all types of Internet browsing come with unique privacy and operational security challenges.
A recommended way to stay away from anti-OPSEC articles is to adopt a set of good habits on the subject.
In general, limiting access to network devices is essential to ensure that information is shared within controllable limits. As a business owner, you may want to give your employees "least privilege" to ensure they perform their tasks with the utmost precision: unrestricted access to social media, for example, can leave employees vulnerable to hacking. corporate networks.