> A non-profit giving away free software makes sense. Some of the biggest companies in the world giving away free software is suspicious.
> Fortunately, you can tell your computer which DNS to use. The company Cloudflare has a publicly accessible DNS at the address 220.127.116.11 that they claim is encrypted and secure.
So wait, you suddenly forgot the axiom you used just a few paragraphs back? Clouldflare is a for profit company and they give something for free but hey, this time it's not suspicious? Strange standards you live by...
> That's about the best you can ask for with a centralized infrastructure for the internet. A recurring theme in this quest for data ownership and privacy is that you can only take it so far before you have to ultimately trust a company or entity to do what they say they're doing.
According to the article, "free of charge" is suspicious.
> This node is hosted at AS9167 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Denmark belongs to the Nine Eyes.
Given this information, why uncensoreddns? Are there better alternatives?
They don't know you can run your own DNS server ?
It's technically trivial (for this audience) and it's basically free (very low traffic and resource instance or droplet or VM ...).
Sure it does. If the law says that domain X is not accessible in country Y, then ICANN has to scrub domain X from the list of domains when queried from country Y. Whether country Y has the jurisdiction to demand ICANN comply with their laws is a different matter, but I believe that technically serving "blocked" domains is probably against the relevant laws.
But thing is that ICANN doesn't have a list of domains. All it has is a list of tlds and the dns servers for them. So if www.example.com. was blocked in some random country, the conversation with ICANN would go something like this:
client: what's the IP for example.com?
ICANN: I don't know, but you should ask verisign (the operator of the .com TLD)
I am really interested in trying this...
Should be <512 bytes per request and after a particular domain name is queried it doesn't need to be queried again for some time (depending on TTL).
That said, each DNS request & response is usually under 1KB, so the background traffic doesn't really stop being negligible.
Don't run your resolver open to the wider internet, however. Only accept recursive requests from your local network segment, or you'll unwittingly become part of DNS amplification attacks.
So the privacy enhancement is tracking by the DNS server? but if my local DNS server forwards these requests, how exactly does it improve my privacy if it does not store a bulk "DNS table" in my amateur speak?
The reason running your own DNS improves your privacy has to do with how centralized or decentralized your DNS traffic is, and who gets to see it as a result.
If you use a DNS controlled by someone else, the DNS operator can see, and therefore (in principle) track, all of the domain name lookups you make that aren't served by your local machine or router's cache.
In contrast, if you run your own DNS server that's not just a slave to e.g. an ISP's server, then external domain lookups are made directly against the authoritative DNS servers for the domain you're looking up. There's no longer a single central server, other than your own, that's seeing all your lookups.
So if you look up news.ycombinator.com, and the name isn't already in your cache, the request goes direct from your DNS server to an AWS DNS server, because that's who hosts the ycombinator.com DNS. Your non-cached DNS requests are thus spread out across all the DNS servers for all the different domains you're accessing, and the only DNS servers that see your requests are the servers for the domain you're accessing.
There are some caveats to this.
First, if your ISP is unscrupulous, it can examine your DNS traffic anyway, since most DNS traffic is currently unencrypted (this is changing, but slowly.) To get around that you'd need an encrypted DNS proxy hosted outside your provider's network.
Second, large DNS providers like Verisign, GoDaddy, AWS etc. will tend to get a large subset of your requests anyway. However, most of those big companies are publicly focused on information security, and it would be big news if it turned out they were tracking your DNS lookups. Some of them provide audited guarantees that they don't do this.
. (the ICANN DNS root) sees "io" and "com".
com sees "example.com" but not which subdomain or anything to do with io.
io sees "github.io" but not which subdomain or anything to do with com.
example.com sees "porn.example.com" but doesn't know anything about "dissidents.github.io".
github.io sees "dissidents.github.io" but doesn't know anything about "porn.example.com".
You leak the same total information, but no single entity has a convenient list of every DNS request you make.
Well, unless the servers implement https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7816, which is experimental and quite recent.
Unbound seems to support it, which is great (and that makes you right, actually, if the user installs this software). I don't know for others.
@. io NS -> ns1.io # (for example)
@. ns1.io A -> x.x.x.x
@x.x.x.x github.io NS -> ns1.github.io
@x.x.x.x ns1.github.io A -> y.y.y.y
@y.y.y.y dissidents.github.io A -> z.z.z.z
0: found by googling "dns recursive resolver example code" or something to that effect
1: There's actually several NS entries, with retrying/failover.
Ultimately you have to rely on such promises, because there's no way in a distributed internet to be completely self-reliant.
Hey, Mozilla, Apache, etc. - want to run a secure DNS service for us techies to use?
Please don’t apply these steps to non-technical people’s browsers. They will result in an endless litany of broken banking websites, annoying support calls, memory issues, and in general a terrible user experience for others.
Guides like these are why my most common technical support first response for experts having browser issues is to have them reset their browser settings and remove all addons and try again. Non-experts rarely require that, unless they tell me that an expert “made it better” for them. Don’t be that expert.
I've had to dial it back significantly. Disconnect is the only blocker that has passed the wife test. I originally discounted it because the UI for dealing with breakage is worse than Privacy Badger or Ghostery (The default UI doesn't list blocked conent, the graph is harder to see host names at a glance, and the button to temporarily disable all blocking is not as obvious). But the fact that it is more conservative in what it blocks to begin with makes up for it. I still wouldn't enable it for people I don't live with though.
I was also shocked at how frequently HTTPS Everywhere breaks things. I stopped using that myself (and I use uMatrix, with stricter than default base rules).
I'm testing out Decentraleyes right now. It claims to be 100% non-breaking, and so far that appears to be the case. The problem it is addressing (tracking browsing habits via JS libraries) isn't one of the biggest privacy concerns out there, but if it doesn't break anything, and decreases bandwidth to boot, why not!
> Please don’t apply these steps to non-technical people’s browsers.
An ad-blocker like ublock-origin is a must-have ESPECIALLY for so-called nontechnical folks.
I make sure to put that on the browsers of my extended family whenever I visit and inevitably get asked to "clean" computers. Does it help prevent malware? Hard to say but I think yes.
An ad-blocker like uOrigin can break online courseware and banking sites. If you install it on a student’s machine, and the ad block you consider ‘mandatory’ damages their experience, they might decide to drop (or fail) their course if they can’t figure out how to undo the damage you’ve done to their browser.
Non-experts cannot repair the issues caused by experts inflicting these steps on their computers. Don’t be that expert.
Imagine if this was the early Windows XP days, and someone was saying, "don't install virus protection or anti-malware on a Windows box, because some programs will be falsely flagged." Yes, sometimes safety valves trigger prematurely or block things they're not supposed to. That doesn't mean inexperienced electricians should remove all of their fuse protectors.
And the risks of breakage here are honestly really minimal. If a student taking an online courseware site notices breakage, 9/10 times they'll call up the person that set up their program and ask for help, and then that person will explain over the phone how to whitelist that one specific site. Or worst case scenario they'll file a support ticket and the support person will explain how to do that. They're not going to just say, "well, I guess I fail" and drop out of school.
DO be that expert. We should be practicing an ounce of protection. It is far easier to prevent viruses and phishing attacks for a nontechnical user than it is to recover from them. I firmly believe that anyone who can't be taught how to disable an adblocker should not be allowed to browse the web without one.
You're describing this setup like it's a choice between complicating someone's life or giving them a simple browser that just works. Phishing attacks are nasty. No matter what choice you make, a new user is going to have a complicated element they need to be educated about. You either have to teach them to use an adblocker, or you need to teach them Internet security best practices.
To jump back to the same comparison I made earlier, this is like wiring a house without circuit breakers because the owner is too scared to mess with the little switches. Is it simpler? Sure, but it stops being simpler when their house burns down.
Nontechnical users click on things; they particularly click on flashing banners that tell them they've won prizes, and they particularly click on images with scary fonts that tell them that their Facebook has the virus and needs to be updated. If you're going to give a nontechnical user a browser without an adblocker, you need some kind of other defense against phishing attacks, fake download links, cryptocurrency miners, and compromised Ads/CDNs that scrape credentials out of payment forms.
Do you have an alternative defense? If not, then I really feel like for someone as tech-illiterate as you're describing, giving them a bare browser is roughly the equivalent of throwing them naked into a hostile environment.
Disabling uBlock Origin is literally two clicks. I understand someone not knowing how to do that -- I don't understand not being able to explain how to do it.
And even in the crazy case where someone drops a course, that's still a preferable scenario to me over helping an Uncle remove a keylogger because a big scary box told him to click it on it.
When I set up a computer for someone I either need to teach them how to whitelist a site, or I need to teach them Internet security, which is not always possible to do. I think it's irresponsible to put someone online who's not an expert without at least some protection to keep them safe.
Sites that break are almost always fishy.
But I have started telling people that, when a site is not working properly, they may be able to fix it by clicking the shield button and then the big power button to turn the blocker off. That's usually enough.
You are being a bit over-dramatic here I think. Most younger people are smart enough to try a different approach (eg using the phone or tablet instead).
A lot of people I've encountered are quite scared of computers, and experience a significant amount of anxiety when asked to use a computer in front of someone. What to us is as natural as reaching for something, is to them a task to be feared, anticipated with dread, embarrassment and shame.
All IT related people should spend time with such folks, as you did. It would definitely help the industry if we were all a lot more open and sympathetic to people who are mystified, scared, or angered by computers and software.
I could never teach my grandmother what an ad blocker is and how to disable it if a site is not working. That would be far beyond her reach. Some basic Youtube browsing and email reading/writing is the peak for her.
I was mostly commenting on the <=45 crowd where some basic computer literacy is usually there and can be beefed up, in my experience.
Yet our older generations are probably the ones that would need an ad blocker the most to prevent them from ending up on fishing/scamming sites etc.
I am that expert for a very large number of non-expert users. I taught them how to troubleshoot it in case something goes wrong (worst case: click the button to disable it on this page). I've asked them about their experience. There was no breakage and no complaints whatsoever.
I would say it definitely passes the wife test.
They're better off with adblocking, seriously.
No one is actually going to fail an online course because of adblocking.
If someone who does online banking can't handle the most basic concepts of computer hygiene to the point of turning off an adblocker and knowing when it's safe to do so-- they probably should stick to brick and mortar banking.
As bad as some web-browsing inconveniences are, these pale in comparison to having a computer beset with malware.
I do not at all agree that we should banish people unable to navigate adblocking from the Internet altogether. They are not 'lesser' people. They do not deserve to be denied access. They simply need more help than you and I.
I definitely agree that we should tax all Internet businesses to pay for the libraries, library computers, and librarians that help one-third of American citizens operate the Internet safely.
My grandmother is an amazing, intelligent person. I would not give her a potentially dangerous device if I wasn't also willing to sit down and talk to her about how it worked. Heck, with really nontechnical people I print out illustrated instructions so they can file them next to the computer.
That's what giving help means. Educate people about how their browser works. Teach them computer hygiene so they can use an adblocker. If you can't do that, then giving them a barebones browser with zero protections is not helping them.
No one's talking about banishing people from the Internet. We're saying that if they can't handle the most basic concepts of computer hygiene, they are not ready to do online banking yet, and they should wait until someone helps them get ready or until someone installs some safeguards on their computer to keep them protected in the meantime -- even if those safeguards make their lives less convenient every once and a while.
If someone can't work their turn signals, I don't think they should be banned from driving, but I do want to help them figure that part out before they start the car, and they should probably walk or be chauffeured in the meantime.
Most adults are able to understand the basics of computer hygiene. It is not that hard to explain the what an adblocker does and how to use it to most people.
The sad thing is browser makers aren’t willing to help out the people who really need it because doing so would impact clickbait revenue.
Instead, that task is left to us. It’s not an ideal situation but have you seen what happens to PC’s in the hands of folks that don’t have a concept of computer hygiene?
Click ublock logo > click big obvious shutdown symbol. That's it.
1) the person to realize the site is broken because of something on their end (as opposed to the site being broken because of something "on the internet")
2) the person to realize the cause of the breakage is ublock
3) the person to be able to find the ublock logo (not always obvious; some browsers hide extensions, sometimes people don't know where to look, sometimes they don't know "the little red shield" == "the ad blocker causing my problems")
4) the person to understand what the big power symbol does - if you only click the ublock logo, it's not obvious to a layperson that the power symbol is a button
5) the person to be comfortable clicking the button, and not more afraid of "breaking the internet" than they are desiring to fix the issue
I do informal tech support for family members who could not get past steps 1 or 2, even if I've explained it to them. We who spend our lives on the Internet take a lot of the things we grok about it for granted, but someone who only occasionally uses a computer won't necessarily have the foundation to make the connections we do when faced with a problem like this.
This is some FUD you got going on here. Changing DNS will break notjing. Neither will blocking referrals, blocking trackers, blocking ads. In the rare case it does, you're one click away to disable everything! Neither will your system get slower, much to the contrary you will save memory, network data, and battery.
Practically speaking, if I install an adblocker on my friend's computer, and their mobile provider website stops working, then I personally feel some responsibility for making my friend's web experience a bit worse.
Browsers adhere to standards. Meanwhile, there are hundreds/thousands of filter subscription combinations that people use, along with several adblocking extensions.
>In the rare case it does,
Aside from the obvious contradiction in those two sentences, there's also the issue that adblockers work so well that most people won't think of it when stuff's broken. This problem's only exacerbated by the other addons such as httpseverywhere (known to break sites and show scary warnings).
It does force me to evaluate whether I really need access to something, but it's a hurdle.
I use ublock in combination with privacy badger. In ublock I block all third-party requests and enable sites one by one. I had to leave Safari on my laptop with only the basic ad-blocking since my wife can't use my Firefox's ultra hard blocking situation.
Could you backup your statement?
Mozilla got a huge sum of money from Google last time I checked (a few months ago), so it would be amazing if they were allowed by Google to enable ad-blocking as a default (unless there was whitelisting that included Google).
I apply these solutions on a shared laptop, but I do so precisely because it shouldn't be used for things like banking. It doesn't get heavily used for web browsing anyway, and having these extensions installed is more than likely to save me (as the resident IT guy) tons of headaches in the long run. It's not a binary thing; there are shades of gray where this is highly appropriate.
ETA: I also used to do this on my spouse's laptop. Didn't cause too many issues once we got past the initial hurdles.
I've come to the conclusion that at this point it's no option for me to make the final switch to Firefox, as much as I'd like to. But I try to cut off Google's prying eyes from my browsing behaviour as much as possible:
- uBlock Origin + Privacy Badger is all you need to block the most nasty privacy invaders, seriously.
- I don't use the sync feature.
- I don't use Gmail, so there's no reason to login to my Google account, ever.
- I used Youtube's thumbs-up button as sort of bookmarks for my favorite videos, now I have a bookmarks folder for Youtube videos, which is ok for me, but might not be for everybody.
- automatically clear browsing data after quitting Chrome.
My dream browser would be Firefox with Chromium under the hood, but that's not very likely to happen...
Like you, it is one of the main things keeping me to Chrome (although pinch-to-zoom and casting are nice, too).
My solution for Chrome's privacy issues are similar to yours, except I use the full sync for bookmarks, but then I switch to a private window for actually using any Google site (except for search). At the end of the day, it's still a huge compromise. I might try going full Chromium for a while and trying your bookmarks method, although plugins are a bit of a PITA.
The most known invaders. NoScript is the only real protection against zero-days.
Why not Safari? It has ITP2 built in, Private windows, plus I use Ka-Block and VPN.
Check out https://brave.com/download/
Un-Googled and supports Chrome extensions.
FWIW, you could use youtube-dl to download videos once from the terminal, and then don't need to visit that google site again.
Using services obviously requires trust as far as data your client software exposes, but if you choose closed source clients, you've given up on privacy at a fundamental level.
But since my provider knows every ip i connect to, they already have everything they need in the first place, even if i dont use their dns.
So handing over the dns requests to a third party seems to be a rather not so smart move to me.
edit: oh, and the cloudflare dns servers are located within the 5 eyes states? nice...
If you connect to something fronted by CloudFlare your ISP can see you connecting to CF, if they provide your DNS then they can see what you're connecting to that's fronted by CF.
A subtle yet important distinction.
Ignoring that, switching from your ISPs DNS prevents all kinds of shit they like to do like redirecting to ads on an unknown domain.
That's like saying base64 encoding your texts prevents your carrier from snooping on them. DNS packets aren't encrypted. There's nothing preventing your ISP from intercepting your DNS packets and redirecting them back to their servers. All you're doing is making it slightly harder on their end.
I can cleary see that, in states like iran or china, getting redirected to somewhere you did not chose to go is really problematic, but getting redirected to ads by your own provider, does this happen in your country?
In germany, i guess, this would be quite illegal for a provider to do and be considered as attacking the ingetrity of the dns system for personal gain.
>If you connect to something fronted by CloudFlare your ISP can see you connecting to CF, if they provide your DNS then they can see what you're connecting to that's fronted by CF. A subtle yet important distinction.
Well, most of the time, you would connect to ips that are not fronted by CF servers, so theres nothing to gain there.
Cloudflare is better in quite technical aspect, ping to their DNS - 10-12ms vs 25-30 for Google (Europe).
They get to see every single unique name you look up, they just don't get to see how often you do it if you use a caching resolver.
You'd need to VPN to somewhere else in order for your DNS queries not to be visible to your ISP.
The power of tracking comes from a central organisation being able to follow almost everyone. Having a birthday calendar on your toilet that your friends can also look at is not creepy, but a worldwide central birthday database might be creepy depending on how private you consider the information. Similarly, changing all our DNSes to 18.104.22.168 is giving Cloudflare, the NSA, and anyone who hacked Cloudflare or any intermediate router (such as your ISP's internal routers and backbone Internet routers), the ability to track our dns requests. If you leave it set to the default, probably your ISP, then someone would have to hack all ISPs on the planet to track all of it.
Furthermore, if you're not paying for it... I'm paying my ISP, but not Cloudflare. Unlike XS4ALL, the ISP I have a contract with, I have no legal guarantees regarding what happens to the data from Cloudflare.
This discussion is prompting me to look into dnscrypt as a short-term solution.
By using Cloudflare you are sharing your internet history with yet another company.
Short of running your own DNS server, there's not exactly a lot of options.
The problem is that YouTube sends the ads on the same IPs that the video is streaming on.
The hostnames are randomly generated based on user and also location so you can't use lists from other users who successfully blocked out adverts.
If you block out all IPs the video won't load, also, if you successfully block out an IP that sends advertisements, the YouTube app will hang, because it tries to load the advert. In the past it just skipped if the IP wasn't reachable, now it's requesting in an infinite loop.
I reached to a point when I tried to buy a YouTube Premium, just not to see the ads, but it's not available in my country. So f Google. Currently YouTube is unwatchable to me, it's worse than traditional TVs.
...or you know, whitelist youtube use a browser based adblocker instead?
If you don’t mind sharing, what is it?
Pihole is so good, but if you’ve chosen something you see as better, I’m all ears.
it also doesn't support multiple tabs, though (at least on iOS, i don't know about android). i've gotten used to it, and it helps to enforce my phone-as-a-tool mentality, but i can see how that could be a deal-breaker for most people.
IIRC, the author has plans to add tab support, I'm not sure when though.
Edit: Personally, at this point I'm using Firefox + uBlock origin. I've tried chrome too, but prefer Firefox. As soon as it gets tab support though, I'll be switching to privacy browser.
Using something like DoH or DNSCrypt is the only real solution for now till OS support for DoH or DoTLS rolls out.
To go a step farther, I make two suggestions:
(2) Use a VPN or Tor Browser to better hide your site browsing behavior from your ISP.
Not completely related, but
(3) Be very careful what software you install on your computer, tablet, and phone (especially apps).
No. Anyone that cares are privacy should have a strict no-whitelisting policy. Find a way to advertise without third-part scripts, find some other way to make money, stop trying to monetize all together, or just stop existing.
In this day and age of things like Patreon, there's really no excuse. I've taken the initiative and pay for Youtube Premium, on top of which I pay through Patreon to channels I view a lot. I also pay for ad-free music streaming.
It's kind of a dick move to the sites you like since it removes valuable analytics for them, so you can (and should) whitelist domains that you want to keep sharing data with.
Why removing that information a "dick move"? When I visit a bank, restaurant, or grocery store, those places don't know where I came from before entering the store unless I have merchandise from other places. The most they can gather is that what clothing I'm currently wearing and if they keep tabs on my previous visits.
I am interested to see how it works out.
For users, but not for creators. Until Brave stops taking money in creators' names without their knowledge and permission, I won't consider (and certainly would never recommend) Brave.
Also, to my knowledge Brave Software Inc. is a For-Profit organisation.
Despite those facts I am personally using Brave. In my opinion you already cut out most of the "bad stuff" of Chrome with this choice.
Any large codebase is nearly impossible to scour for this kind of thing, particularly a web browser which is an immense mound of source. There's so many ways to build in a backdoor, so many ways to build a way for you to later load a back door, that it's not plausible, even for a seasoned developer, to reliably find it.
You have to stop such things with source control. The surface area of a new fix or feature is much easier to analyze for vulnerabilities, intentional or not. I do this on a daily basis, and it takes work.
it seems that brave is setting the table for its own advertising once it has enough market share. the roadmap includes "opt-in" ads which will "respect your privacy". so clearly an advertising model is their source of revenue - exactly what people are switching from chrome to get away from. i personally don't buy into the idea that ads (which in the modern world are targeted) and privacy are compatible.
I also started using Firefox recently as well. And the latest updates to it are good as well. It doesn't feel so foreign like it did in the past when I tried moving from Chrome. But, I prefer Brave for now.
Just my personal story: Moved away from FF because of their privacy concerning unwanted plugins and marketing campaigns.
How did they violate your privacy?
Great point. Online advertising is creepy.
Give this time, honestly. Stores are explicitly moving towards this to the extent that it's possible.
They don't block you from entering though, although with some stores it's impossible to get in without seeing a giant billboard.
This gives short shrift to what is a complex set of interdependencies.
All these browsers rely on the existence of web advertising, including Firefox.
Are web ads among "users' needs"? Who decides what comprise users' needs? Users?
The reality is that whatever Mozilla defines as "users' needs" will also, at least in part, represent the needs of the company authoring the competing web browser.
That is because the Firefox authors are paid indirectly from the coffers of their competitor.
Mozilla Foundation cannot take a stand against web advertising because its competitors rely on web advertising to make money. And Mozilla Foundation in turn relies on money from its competitors to pay its employees. Mozilla is aligned to some extent with the business decisions of its competitor.
Ideally employees of Mozilla Foundation would be volunteers and Mozilla Foundation would pay them solely from donations from users. This is not what happens.
Mozilla Corporation (for-profit) can, e.g., sell access to Firefox users' searches to Mozilla's competitors. e.g., Google. The profits might then be used to pay Mozilla Foundation employees. Some of those employees might leave and go to work for Google to start a competing browser.
Firefox may be the lesser of multiple evils, but let's be honest it is not solely dedicated to users' needs. It has its own needs -- paying 100's of employees -- and, given the current arrangement, it must to some extent serve the needs of its competitor in order to meet them.
If for example there was a user who did not wish to support the web ads business then Mozilla's decisions could never align 100% with what that user would want because she does not want to support the web ads business. Mozilla is paying employees by doing business with a competitor that gathers user data and sells access to users to advertisers.
I am not downplaying the value of Mozilla. I am only pointing out that they are probably not 100% aligned with all users. They are also partially aligned with their competitor who is selling ads in order to make money.
On Android, FF is my default and I open Chrome when I need to. Firefox on Android supports uMatrix / uBlock.
It can be annoying and force a lot of refreshes, but it blocks a lot more things more consistently than anything else.
How about dnscrypt? The DNS servers offered through dnscrypt are much more trustworthy IMHO. Also it is trivial to setup n DNS servers and to randomly select a different server on each request, removing a bulk of that centralized nature of DNS.
The point still stands - with the current and known track record, Apple devices are likely more trustworthy than Google, Microsoft or <insert Asian manufacturer here>.
_Apple is still a for-profit corporation._
Whose profit model is aligned with promoting user privacy, rather than against it.
Apple's profit, to date, relies less on user data than any of the other companies.
The real solution is to use your own DNS resolver (I've been running Bind on my laptop for years with no issues). If that's not an option, it's still far better to keep using your ISP's resolvers -- yes, your ISP may be evil, but at least you're their customer. When a separate for-profit company provides a "free" service, how can the product be anything but your personal data?
I use Brave and it's good enough for my browser expectations.
For it to be "encrypted and secure", the client would have to be configured to use DNSSEC, yeah? As far as I'm aware, most clients don't come with DNSSEC enabled (in OOBE configurations), so isn't this a bit misleading?
Still, clients still need to be configured for DoH, yeah?