Google in favor of a more private search engine

While the U.S. government is working to tighten its grip over citizens’ personal privacy, Europe’s new policy regulations are hoping to do the opposite.

Last month, the French National Assembly announced that they would no longer use Google. Instead, all French government devices will soon adopt the privacy-focused Qwant as their default search engine.

Worried that they were opening themselves to too much outside surveillance, the French government is making the switch in an effort to protect their privacy (and devices) from Google’s—and, inevitably the U.S. government’s—comprehensive data-retention policies.

Florian Bachelier, a member of France’s cybersecurity and digital sovereignty task-force, urged members of his party to take a stance. “We have to set the example,” Bachelier said. “Security and digital sovereignty are at stake here, which is anything but an issue only for geeks.”

What is Qwant?

Founded in 2013, Qwant is an encrypted search engine that functions the same way as Google but doesn’t keep logs. The independent search engine puts a heavy emphasis on user privacy, and in turn has grown exponentially.

In fact, with an estimated average of 21 million monthly searches, Qwant has more than doubled its traffic in a single year. Keep in mind, though, that Google averages roughly 3.5

An open source of data since 2014

Have you traveled for work or pleasure at any point in the past four years? If yes, you could be one of a staggering number of people who have had their information stolen in a data breach affecting a slew of popular hotel chains.

Up to 500 million people have had their personal data stolen from the Marriott International hotel group, which includes the W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, and Marriott chains. The breach compromised the data of guest information such as names, credit card details, passport numbers, and dates of birth.

An open source of data since 2014

Marriott first spotted the breach in a guest reservation database on September 8, 2018. An investigation into the matter revealed that unauthorized access to the network had been occurring since 2014.

Furthermore, although the hotel chain’s system encrypted all credit card information by default, Marriott cannot confirm if hackers also managed to steal the keys required to crack the encryption.

The scale of the data breach, combined with the fact it remained unresolved for four years, is likely to attract the attention of the EU and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will result in a hefty fine for Marriott.

Another day, another data breach

This is not the first time that a company has lost customer data, and it won’t be the last. In recent years, giants like Yahoo!, Google, and Equifax have all been victim to hacks and huge data losses.


Pigeonholed by behavior patterns of VPN

Unfortunately, we have reached a point where the internet doesn’t work correctly unless we sacrifice some of our privacy. Everything from Twitter to cell phones wants access to our personal information, GPS location, and more.

To most of us, how companies store and use our information is mostly a mystery. There are constant stories about stolen consumer information, yet we still, willingly, give out ours because the alternative is cloud services and social networks locking us out.

If internet privacy has already eroded so much in the present day, what will things be like in the future?

The Internet of Things could put your whole life online

The answer depends on how the internet evolves in the future. One trend that’s expected to change the landscape is the increase in non-computer devices using the internet to connect to cloud services.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to bring everything from washing machines to medical implants online. One advantage of these smart objects is that we’ll be able to control them remotely. Soon, we’ll be able to control everything in our homes with an app.

But smart objects like these rely on sending information about our activities to service providers. Once the majority of devices are online, our whole life will be too.

The age of big data

Personal data collected by companies like Facebook and Google, as well as many others, has already led to the creation of massive and structured databases about customers’ habits. This big data is already used to influence how companies target customers and the design of new products.

The amount of data in the world is growing at an incredible pace—90% of the world’s data was created in the past two years. Currently, 2.5 exabytes (2.5 billion GB) of data is generated every day.

The majority of this data is about us, and what we do online. With data growing at this rate, imagine how much there’ll be in ten years!

Pigeonholed by behavior patterns

One significant way companies already use big data is to find patterns in our behavior. These patterns are used to predict our future behavior, make assumptions about who we are, and sell to us more effectively.

The New York Times has reported that retailers and lenders are already using data on past purchases to predict which customers are likely to make repayments on time. One Canadian retailer found that customers who bought premium birdseed were very likely to make payments on time. Customers who bought skull-shaped car accessories were more likely to miss payments.

Scarily, all customers who fit the latter pattern were rejected for store credit—even if they were new applicants who had not missed payments in the past.

Predicting the future

The trend is that we are sharing more data about ourselves, through more devices. The Internet of Things will increase that further and methods for organizing and analyzing big data are evolving too.



most dangerous technologies of the surveillance

Technology such as encryption, VPNs, and Tor can help us maintain and defend our privacy online.

But technology can also work in the opposite direction, helping the spooks learn about our private lives and behavior, which makes it difficult for individuals to develop personalities freely from fear and control.

But which technologies should we be afraid about most, and why? And what can help us protect ourselves from these trends?

1. Facial recognition systems

There are already cameras everywhere, and while it’s undeniably entertaining to watch bloopers from everyday life on youtube, it is creepy to know everything we do in public life is potentially made available to the world to consume.

With advanced technology, it will soon be possible to not only record all our public life but also analyze it in almost real time. While facial recognition is far from perfect, it already allows a computer to match a person even if glasses or hats obscure parts of their face.

Quite likely, facial recognition software will become more accurate than humans—especially when scaled to databases the size of a city’s voters registry, national passports, or even that of Facebook.

With advanced face recognition software, a state might be able to find out with high accuracy where a person is at all times, who they are with, and what they are currently doing.

It’s pretty hard to protect against facial recognition. The most effective tools stand out considerably to the human eye, and they only really work if a large number of people use them. If only a few people use tricks to deceive cameras, it will be quite easy to work out who they are.

For now, items that fool the cameras are mainly a sign of (much needed) protest and objection to the automatization of the police state.

2. Ride-sharing apps

Your car is your property, and there are limits to what governments can do with it. They cannot deny you access to it, seize it, or search it without good reason.

In your car, you also decide where to go, and what hardware and software to install.

However, when you rent a car or hop into somebody’s rideshare, you are not protected by these same provisions. On top of that, the app you use to hail the ride knows where you are at all times and will record this data.

The app even knows where you are going before you get there and, in some cases, can even predict your commuting behavior (this risk is also endemic to navigation systems). All of this data is available to advertisers and governments.

At present, it’s still relatively easy to avoid ride-sharing if your hometown has decent public transportation or you can afford a car.

3. Electronic money

Carrying change in our pockets is inconvenient. Finding an ATM nearby can cost money and take time. Most of us have access to electronic payment methods like credit cards, Google Pay, Wechat Pay or Venmo.

But relying on these systems can be dangerous. Not only are all your transactions analyzed and sold to advertisers, but they are also available to your government. Tourists crossing the U.S. border from the north can be refused entry, and possibly even face jail time, because they purchased marijuana legally in Canada.

Electronic money can not only be used to surveil and prosecute you, but also to deny you access to services only available with credit cards, such as online purchases or card-only shops.

If we do end up eradicating cash, as we already have for expensive goods, we are making it easy to marginalize people without access further.

VPN is profitable

Why do we need anonymity on the Internet and how to provide it to ourselves – we tell it together with the VPN service.

How VPN services and anonymizers work

If you simplify to the limit, the anonymizer is a small browser tunnel, through which you can sneak onto one site or another unnoticed. On this tunnel run data that no one can see, much less intercept.

VPN is a big tunnel between your device (computer or smartphone, no difference) and all the big Internet at once for all your applications: browser, messenger and so on.

Incoming and outgoing connections when using VPN are not directly, but through the server, which can be located in our country and abroad. For example, if you want to go to the American site, but in Russia it does not open, connect the server from the USA. In this case, the site takes you for an American user. The service in the virtual network has more than 100 servers, which are located in 68 cities of 43 countries of the world, so you will almost always leave your way. Layfhaker already talked about how works and why it is needed .

Why do we need anonymity

1. To use the Internet without interruption

You probably remember the recent history with locks of everything in a row. Google and Amazon were hit, even online games and ticket services were hit. In such a situation, VPN is a real rescue. And no, we do not call to use it to visit websites that are blocked by the court. This is an option in case when millions of subnets are mistakenly blocked at once, and in the end, innocuous services fall off.

With VPN, you will not even notice that there are problems with access to some resource: everything will still work stably. You can follow the blocking news on the channel in Telegram.

2. To buy software cheaper

Let’s see how much Adobe Creative Cloud products cost for individual users in Russia.

Using VPN: Prices for software with Russian IP

And now let’s try to pretend that we are from another country. Choose Israeli IP, clear cookies or go to the booking site in incognito mode.

How to set up a proxy on Mac OS X

Last time, I talked about how to enter a machine running Mac OS X into the Windows domain. Someone this article was useful, and several people asked a question on Twitter about how to configure a proxy. I am pleased to tell you about it.

Proxy may be needed in different situations. For example, if we take into account the previous article, then a proxy server is configured on my network, through which all traffic goes. If you do not register its settings in the system (or separately in the used software), then we will not get access to the Internet. There are other cases when using a proxy you can make surfing the network more anonymous and get access to information to bypass various filters.

If you need to use a proxy not in the entire system, but only in a specific software, then you should directly make the appropriate entries in it. For example, Team Viewer can work with proxies. To add you need to open its settings and register the address of the proxy server.


As you can see, Team Viewer can take both browser settings (take the prescribed server from the settings of the default client) and manual settings.

But if you need to use a proxy in the entire system, then this should be done in the appropriate system settings menu. Open “System Settings” and go to the “Internet and Wireless Network” category, where we go to the “Network” menu.

Next, you need to choose a connection method. I will show my example.
The fact is that at work I connect to the network through a regular cable, and at home I use a WiFi connection. I do not use any proxies at home, but for a working connection they are required. Therefore, the settings are recorded depending on the connection method.


So, click on the lock, remove the restrictions, select the connection method and click the “Advanced” button. In the menu that appears, go to the tab “Proxy”. Here you can set checkboxes for all sorts of connections (it is better to ask your network administrator for this). If there is an autotune file, just go to the appropriate item and set the path to it, or select the file itself from the hard disk. If you do not have such a file, tick the necessary elements, write down the proxy address and port (you can enter both an IP address and a name). Also, if your proxy server requires authentication, you can enter a username and password in the fields below.


Close the windows and apply the settings. That’s all. Now you can open the browser and check whether you have the Internet or not.

If you have any other questions, please ask them in the comments to this article.

How to make your own cloud storage vpn

Cloud storage services have become a real panacea for anyone who wants to access their data from any device from anywhere in space. We gladly moved our data to the clouds and successfully use them, only sometimes cautiously reading the latest news about the iCloud and Dropbox hacks. Someone initially does not give rest to the fact that the cloud is controlled by “someone”, but not by the user himself. These are the enthusiasts who made OwnCloud.

How to make your own cloud storage
What it is

“Own cloud” is nothing more than personal storage running on its own web server or site. The main feature of OwnCloud is that it is free and open source. In general, if you have the aforementioned site, the user will need approximately 5 minutes to deploy their own Dropbox-like repositories, and without ingenious coding – no specific knowledge is needed. In the appendage, the user gets access to applications (text editors, task lists and other useful things) that other project participants create for their own needs.

How to make your own cloud storage

What can

The list of basic functions is almost identical to all popular clouds: storage and access to data through a web interface, synchronization, sharing. In order not to clutter the text with a bunch of screenshots, you can use the OwnCloud demo page – there you can poke all the menus and generally evaluate the appearance, mechanics and capabilities of the service.

How to make your own cloud storage


Fans of getting along with the cloud storage various additional things will be delighted by the presence of embedded multimedia and other tools: music player, contact manager, calendar, bookmarklet service and image viewer.

How to make your own cloud storage

System requirements

Naturally, deploying your own cloud requires a platform where it will work. For such purposes, suitable host with support for PHP5 and MySQL (or SQLite).

We download OwnCloud Server and install it using a web installer. By complexity, the process is comparable to uploading a file to a host. After that, it will only be necessary to determine the address for remote access to the service.

Where to go

The desktop client is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux . Here you can also download the source code with which you can build a client for anything.

If we are talking about mobile access, here everything is a bit dual: there are Android and iOS clients , but they are paid. At the same time reviews about them, let’s face it, are not great. It is hoped that mobile customers will be finished.

How to set up your VPN

Set up your own VPN on the server to get freedom on the Internet and bypass the Telegram lock.

Telegram was blocked, free proxies and VPNs work intermittently due to a large influx of users, or stop functioning altogether without explaining the reasons, like OperaVPN .

5 good free VPN services →

Paid tools can also disappear at any time: the law on the prohibition of anonymizers and VPN has long been adopted, but has not yet been applied. In this situation, the only guarantee of freedom on the Internet is your own VPN. Lifehacker will tell you how to set it up in 20 minutes.

Choosing a hosting

To configure a VPN, you need a VPS – a virtual private server. You can choose any hosting provider, as long as the following conditions are met:

The server is located in a country that is not under the jurisdiction of the Russian authorities, but is close enough to your real location.
RAM (RAM) must be at least 512 MB.
Network interface speed – 100 MB / s and higher.
Network traffic is 512 GB or higher or unlimited.
The amount of allocated space on the hard disk and the type of drive does not matter. Find the right solution for 3-4 dollars per month.

When buying a server, choose KVM. OpenVZ and Xen are also suitable if they have a TUN connected – you should ask the hosting provider in the technical service.
With KVM, no additional manipulations will be necessary, although some hosting providers may limit the ability to create a VPN on it. You can also specify this in the support service.

5 free programs for remote access

With their help, you can solve technical problems of relatives or use computer resources at a distance.

These programs allow you to control your PC from other computers or mobile devices via the Internet. Having access to a remote device, you can manage it as if it were nearby: change settings, launch installed applications, view, edit and copy files.

In the article, you will see terms such as “client” and “server.”

A client is any device (PC, tablet or smartphone), and a server is a remote computer to which it is connected.
1. Remote Assistance (Microsoft Remote Assistance)

What platforms you can connect to: Windows.
From which platforms can connect: Windows.
Remote Assistance is a utility built into Windows that allows you to quickly connect computers to each other without third-party programs . This method does not allow file sharing. But at your service full access to a remote computer, the ability to collaborate with another user and text chat.

Server instructions

Remote Windows Assistant, Server Instruction

Run the utility. To do this, type in the search on the system “Remote Assistant”. If you have Windows 10 , search for MsrA. Right-click on the item found and select “Run as administrator”.
In the window that opens, click “Invite someone you trust to help.” If the system reports that the computer is not configured, click “Fix” and follow the prompts. After changing the settings, you may have to restart the utility.
When the assistant prompts you to select the invitation method, click “Save invitation as file”. Then enter its name, storage folder and confirm the creation of the file.
When the file appears in the specified location, a password window will appear on the screen. Copy the password and send it along with the file to the client by mail or in any other way.
Wait for the connection request from the client and approve it.
Instructions for the client

Remote Windows Assistant Client Instruction

Open the file created by the server and enter the received password. After that you will see the screen of the remote computer and you can watch it in a special window.
To manage files and programs of another computer, as if you are next to it, click in the top menu “Request Management” and wait for a response from the server.
The file and password are one-time, for the next session they will no longer fit.

How to run a local web server for a site right

Do you have an idea for a cool website, a plan for its implementation, but at the same time you want to open the doors to visitors only when everything is truly finished and tested? There is nothing easier, because the web server for the site can be run directly on your computer, and the purchase of hosting to postpone until the project is fully ready.

Today we will talk about a local web server that is available for both Windows and OS X. At the same time, its key feature is the presence of a simple and clear interface. To start the server, you do not need to be a bearded administrator. It is enough just to read the instructions thoughtfully, and you can easily revive the local version of the site.

So, meet MAMP and MAMP PRO. The first one is free, but with reduced capabilities, which are still enough for most of your needs. The second – paid, it will cost 4,000 rubles. If after reading, decide to download MAMP or buy MAMP.

First, let’s talk about the free version of MAMP, because it is with it that the easiest way is to start exploring a local web server. Immediately after installation, you will get a working web server with Apache, MySQL and PHP.