Tracking – tips and hints to stay safe and protect your privacy while browsing online

Introduction

we have scoured the internet and discovered some great tools to help you maintain your Privacy and keep you secure from tracking and online profiling.

With the advent of Social media sites such as Facebook, and Twitter we have become much more open to the idea of sharing personal details on the internet. But while the thought of casually sharing some pics of our weekend bar-b-que with friends is a great way of keeping in touch with our various social circles – we do need to be smart and take some precautions while surfing the information super highway. Some things just don’t need to be shared.

Most of the tools outlined below are Free or reasonably priced with a focus on macOS and Safari users. Although all information provided is relevant for all Desktop operating systems. The situation for mobile browsers requires a different approach and is beyond the scope of this article.

What Do I Need?

A Good Cookie Manager

Tracking protection with Cookie

Cookie by SweetP Productions, Inc.


Your first line of defense should be a good Cookie manager. Every site you visit on the internet potentially saves cookies to your computer, leaving a trail of where you’ve been and what you’ve looked at. This may sound innocent, but advertising companies use this information to profile you and sell to the highest bidder. This can be seen by some as beneficial, as now you see ads targeted more to your personal tastes – but there is also the potential for hackers to steal personal information.

Cookie is an advanced cookie manager which gives you complete control over which cookies you keep and which are deleted.

Learn More About Cookies

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_cookie

An Adblocker

Adblocking with Adguard extension

Adguard Adblocker by Adguard


Whilst not technically required to mitigate any security threats, a good adblocker will make your browsing experience much more pleasant and can have the added bonus effect of speeding up page loads.

Adguard Adblocker by Adguard is a fantastic adblocker with many customizable features

Learn More About Adblocking

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_blocking

A Script Blocker

Avoid Tracking with Ghostery Script Blocker

Ghostery by Cliqz International GmbH i.Gr.


Script blocking should be a priority for anyone interested in maintaining a degree of privacy on the internet. What a script blocker does is disable the running of blacklisted javascripts, which can be used for tracking and profiling you.

Ghostery by Cliqz International GmbH i.Gr. is a popular choice for script blocking and is easily configured.

Learn More About Script Blocking

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostery

DNS Encryption

DNSCrypt to avoid DNS leaking

DNSCrypt


DNS encryption can provide protection from “Man-in-the-middle” attacks via DNS leaking. DNS leaking is a major privacy concern potentially allowing third parties to monitor and intercept all internet requests you make.

DNSCrypt-OSXClient makes using DNSCrypt a breeze.

Learn More About Dns Encryption

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-boost-your-internet-security-with-dnscrypt-510386189

Mac Address Spoofing

Mac Address spoofing with WiFiSpoof

WiFiSpoof by SweetP Productions, Inc.


MAC address spoofing provides an extra layer of security from hackers when browsing public WiFi networks. It is not really of much benefit when browsing your own home network, unless of course you leave your network open for anyone to connect.

WiFiSpoof is a great macOS app for managing your MAC address.

Learn More About Mac Address Spoofing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAC_spoofing

Be Smart, Stay Safe and avoid online Tracking

By utilizing all the tools outlined here, not only will your internet sessions be more secure, but they have the added benefit of speeding up your browsing! For even extra security, you can also look into utilizing a VPN while browsing.

Good luck! and Stay safe out there.

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A Guide to Protecting Your Personal Information and Protecting Your Privacy Online

Everything you do online is stored on your computer. You may have heard of terms like cookies and the cache on your PC or Mac. Companies try to say that they’re good to personalise your experience, but they’re gathering data on you. They’re taking personal information and storing it for your future visit. Third party companies can use some of the information to create target ads.

Isn’t it time to protect your online privacy? Don’t you deserve to keep your web browsing and product buying a secret? Of course! Here’s your complete guide to manage it with your computer, especially your Mac.

Clean Out Your Cookies Regularly

Cookies are never good. Real cookies are full of refined sugar and computer cookies are filled with personal information. All websites will store cookies. They want to know the last time you checked and where you went the last time you visited.

The purpose is to hold a small amount of information. You don’t get a choice over whether the company stores this information, so you need to take action afterwards. It could just be a first and last name or an IP address and search term that is stored. This will allow the website to personalise the experience, so you only get a web page suitable for your location or pull up similar items to the ones that you were recently viewing.

cookies are used for tracking and online profiling and are potential security threats for your personal information

clear out your cookies to protect your personal information

Cookies will expire on their own. Most websites will set the cookies to last for around 30 days. However, they can be whatever length of time the company deems necessary. The Terms of Service will detail the cookie-storing length, unless you do something about it yourself.

There are some benefits to cookies, since they can store the items that you placed in your shopping cart. You don’t have to purchase right away and can leave the site for a few days and come back to the item still in the shopping cart.

To protect your online privacy, you should clear out your cookies on a regular basis. Try to do it once a week or once a month. You won’t clear out any stored passwords you may have or lose track of websites in your bookmarks. This just gets rid of the stored files from other web servers, so they need to gather the information all over again.

Mask Your ISP Through a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is one of the best and quickest ways to mask your internet service provider (ISP). The ISP is a series of numbers that is connected to your provider or the router that you have. Your ISP will change if you switch provider or you use public Wi-Fi.

Companies and people can store your ISP and use it to track your internet activity. There is the risk of your online privacy being disrespected and companies can block access to various sites due to your ISP not being within the same country as the website. This is very common with TV stations and playback options around the world.

You can opt for a VPN to block your ISP and mimic something from a particular country. Governments can’t block outside access, since they don’t realize that your computer is accessing a local Wi-Fi. Companies think that you’re visiting from within their countries, rather than from your own location. You can also block the ability for governments to build up information on how you use the internet.

Opt for MAC Address Spoofing

Every device has its own unique MAC address. Think of it like ISPs and physical addresses. The address is stored by websites to store some personal information and “personalise” your experience. Online privacy is especially affected in public Wi-Fi areas, as the MAC address isn’t encrypted.

You want to use MAC address spoofing or masking to help protect yourself. You’re not just stopping companies from storing information, but you make it harder for hackers to use your MAC address later on.

your MAC address can be a potential target for hackers to steal your personal information

mask your MAC Address for better online privacy

Like with the VPN, when address spoofing, the MAC address appears to be different. This can sometimes take the form of another legitimate MAC address. It is possible to work your way around the internet without being tracked, since all information will point to the new spoofed address.
This is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself online at all times. You’ll still want to delete cookies now and then.

Try the Onion Router (Tor)

The Onion router will take you into the dark web. While this is commonly used by hackers, it is also an excellent way to avoid detection and prevent companies from storing your information. It’s known as the onion router due to the layers of dark web available. Each layer you pull back, the deeper you will go into avoiding detection.

Information is shared completely anonymously. This is why it is a popular area for hackers and political activists, who want to share encrypted or secret information without being detected. However, it’s not illegal to use and you can add a browser extension relatively easily to access through your own browser.

If you want to be completely anonymous, you will need to make changes to you web browsing activities. However, if you’re just looking for a way to stop any company or third party from getting your information, it’s a popular option.

Make Changes to Your Online Habits to protect your personal information

You don’t need to change the way that you use the internet completely. To protect your online privacy, you just need to change a few things that you do before and after visiting websites. Start by regularly deleting the cookies that other websites will store. This is something you should do with any browser, device, and computer.

From there, look at the different ways of browsing online. Use MAC address spoofing to protect your computer’s information and consider a VPN to keep your online browsing private. If you want to go deeper, you could consider the onion router to keep your personal information out of the hands of others.

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WiFiSpoof and Privatus updates

WiFiSpoof and Privatus updates have just been released on my Store. Mac App Store updates will be available hopefully tomorrow… pending review by Apple. Some of you may have noticed that both apps are currently unavailable in the Mac App Store.

SweetP Productions, Inc.

This is due to the fact that I am currently in the process of incorporating SweetP Productions. A side-effect of this is that I have needed to transfer all apps from my personal iTunes account to the new SweetP Productions, Inc. iTunes account. Most apps were a straight transfer, with the exception of WiFiSpoof, and Privatus which both utilised some special entitlements. App Groups to be specific.

Another side-effect of this is that users of Privatus, and WiFiSpoof won’t be notified of/or be able to update either app. If you are a WiFiSpoof user caught in this situation, please send me an email with proof of purchase so I can provide a code to upgrade to the new version. For Privatus users, ill make Privatus free for a short time to allow people to upgrade.

Links

wifispoof.com
privatusapp.com
sweetpproductions.com

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Xliff Editor version 1.5.2

Xliff Editor v1.5.2
I am happy to announce that Xliff Editor is now available in French!
Many thanks to Denis Marques!

I will try to find time to work on Xliff Editor some time in the new year to add in some requested features.

Download Link

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/xliff-editor/id1054842874?ls=1&mt=12

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Privatus version 5.0.5

Privatus version 5.0.5 is available now. It is available on the SweetP servers and also in the Mac App Store. The newest release includes some minor fixes. But most importantly – French and German localizations have been included.

Privatus 5.0.5 Changes

heres the full list of changes:

  • Fixed a potential crash
  • Fixed Mac App Store link in licensing window
  • French localization thanks to Denis Marques
  • German localization thanks to Ina Queiss

For users of the version from the SweetP Store, the update can be found by using the “Check for Updates” in the menus. For those that prefer to update manually, or would like to archive this release, the direct download link can be found here:
https://sweetpproductions.com/products/privatus/Privatus.dmg

For those of you using the Mac App Store version, all you need to do is open up the Mac App Store app, and update via the “Updates” tab.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/privatus/id934650561?ls=1&mt=12

many thinks to Denis Marques for the French localisation!

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WiFiSpoof v3.0 for Mac Address spoofing

WiFiSpoof v3 for Mac Address spoofing - new icon
WiFiSpoof has just been upgraded to v3. This is probably the biggest update to date! So first of all, for those that don’t know. WiFiSpoof is a Mac Address spoofer for MacOS. Its primary goal is “Mac Address Spoofing”. What is that you ask… well, it is the ability to change your Wi-Fi Mac Address without needing to dig into Terminal commands.

Spoofing? – Why would you need to do this?

Well for starters, when surfing public Wi-Fi networks, using a throw away Mac address can help keep your device more secure from tracking. Network administrators will also find it useful for testing network filter rules. I personally find it handy when travelling. One particular airport I visit has a time limit for Wi-Fi access, and WiFiSpoof lets me “reset” the time limit. Check out the great Wikipedia write-up on the subject of Mac Spoofing.

Whats New in v3

Im glad you asked! there sooo much new stuff.

  • Complete rewrite
  • over-ride rules can be configured for specific networks
  • a priveleged helper is now installed so authorization only needs to be given once
  • Sandboxed for better security
  • a clearer and more informative ui
  • re-written standard macOS preferences
  • new and improved Icon
  • addresses can be entered as 12 character string without the “:”
  • each device is now independently configured
  • easier access to device info in menus
  • It is possible to now save and manage favorite addresses and networks
  • macOS 10.11+

Mac App Store availability

WiFiSpoof is now also available in the Mac App Store! It was a little difficult getting WiFiSpoof MAS ready. The Mac App Store disallows elevating privileges which is needed for changing the Mac Address. As a result, I had to split the app into two seperate apps. The main interface, and a secure helper app which changes your Mac address. Luckily, I have no restrictions for selling on my own Store, so WiFiSpoof is packaged as a single app.

Heers a quick look:
WiFiSpoof v3 Rule editor

A 14 day trial version is available from my main site:
https://sweetpproductions.com/
or from the product page:
https://wifispoof.com

WiFiSpoof is available now for $19.99, and any current v2 users can update for only $9.99, just email me for an upgrade coupon.
🙂

[email protected]

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Progress on WiFiSpoof 3.0 update

So I am making some good progress on the WifiSpoof update, and it is a pretty big update and incorporates some really nice features. (i think).

The new update is sandboxed, and now includes a privileged helper app, so there is no more messing around with storing system passwords in the keychain. You will need to still authorise the helper for WiFiSpoof to be able to do its job, but this will only be a one time occurrence.

WiFiSpoof will finally gain rule support, giving you the ability to totally customise your browsing experience. There will be support for performing different actions when connected to different networks. Say for example you want to use you in-built Mac Address when connected to your home network, at your local cafe you want to randomise every 15mins, and at work you need to use another specific Mac Address – stating in v3.0 this will all be totally possible.

check out the screenshots for a better idea of how rules are generated and managed.

progress of WiFiSpoof Rules support

progress of WiFiSpoof Rules support


progress of WiFiSpoof Rules manager

progress of WiFiSpoof Rules manager

Still to do
I have finished rule generation and management, but currently the rules aren’t read or acted on by WiFiSpoof yet… I also still need to add an indicator to the main interface to show the active rule status. I imagine both of these to be relatively easy tasks…. lets hope my hunch is correct.

On a side note, the most difficult problems I’ve faced in my progress so far were with getting the privileged helper installed and activated, and with making sure that all rules, favourite addresses and favourite networks all had unique names!

The privileged helper code does have a lot of examples around the internet of how to set it up, but all missed out at least one key task… I was banging my head against the wall for days trying to get all the code signing, and build settings just right. Now thats its working though, it makes installing and using WiFiSpoof much more secure and pleasant.

Also maybe of interest for some, the Rules are saved and accessed via core-data. I was initially turned off from using core data as I thought it looked too complicated… but it turns out, core data was a huge time saver, and actually pretty easy to implement.

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Javascript & CloudFlare Rocket Loader oddities

Last night while fixing up some minor issues on my site, I noticed that some javascript’s weren’t functioning correctly…
In particular, my mobile menus for non-Safari browsers wasn’t working… I have no idea how long its been that way. 🙁

I ended up going round and round in circles for hours trying to find the problem, and after a while finally discovered it was CloudFlare’s Rocket Loader causing the issues.

Disabling the feature instantly fixed my site.
🙂

you can find out about Rocket Loader here:
https://support.cloudflare.com/hc/en-us/articles/200168056-What-does-Rocket-Loader-do-

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Welcome to all the new users

A big Welcome and thanks to everyone who purchased any SweetP Productions Apps during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. If you have any issues or questions, feel free to send me an email, and don’t forget to check out the support forums.

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Black Friday Mega SweetP Productions Sale

Black Friday Sale!
To celebrate the holidays, I have discounted virtually all my software at close to or more than 50% off. If you’ve been holding off getting any SweetP Productions Software, NOW is the time to do it. These prices won’t be repeated any time soon.
🙂

Heres the run down on whats on sale:
Cookie 5 $14.99 $7.99 47% saving
Cookie $14.99 $7.99 47% saving
WiFiSpoof $9.99 $4.99 50% saving
Privatus $4.99 $1.99 60% saving
USBclean $4.99 $1.99 60% saving
Xliff Editor $4.99 $1.99 60% saving
Invisible $4.99 $1.99 60% saving
Hides $4.99 99¢ 80% saving
Email Address Extractor $49.99 $19.99 60% saving

All these savings are available in the Mac App Store, and in the SweetP Productions Store

links to the Mac App Store versions can be found on my site:
https://sweetpproductions.com

Enjoy your holidays!

Posted in Cookie, eMail Address Extractor, Hides, Invisible, Privatus, USBclean, WiFiSpoof, Xliff Editor | Leave a comment