How and Why To Re-Rout DNS Through Your Computer or Phone

In a few of my previous tutorials I briefly touch on DNS re-routing, but never really get into it in full details, so I figured why not here today? Before moving forward, learning to re-route your DNS is important because it is a means of protecting your personal data, devices, network connectivity and internet traffic away from the spying or prying eyes of your Internet Service Provider (ISP), Government and any other interested 3rd parties, such as advertisers or even hackers. As for how DNS works or how switching it effects your internet connectivity, I think the short video below is the best demonstration. It explains how DNS re-routing configures your computer or phone to connect through a DNS server first, in order to connect to a website second – instead of connecting to a server owned by your ISP to connect to that same website, get it?

While there are number of ways to re-route your DNS and different services providers to choose from, for the purposes of this article, I consider the following to be the worlds best “Top 3” – Cloudflare DNS, IBM Quad 9 and Google’s Public DNS. As you can read below, each of which have their own unique benefits.

Cloudflare DNS:

Ipv4: 1.1.1.1
Ipv6: 1.0.0.1
Ipv6: 2606:4700:4700::1111
Ipv6: 2606:4700:4700::1001

Cloudflare DNS is my personal DNS provider of choice, installed on both my computer and phone. As for why I choose them, this is because Cloudflare DNS anonymizes IP Addresses, deletes logs daily and doesn’t mine any user data. Additionally, Cloudlfare DNS also offers security features not available in many other public DNS service providers, such as “Query Name Minimization” – which diminishes privacy leakage by sending minimal query names to authoritative DNS servers when connecting to websites.

Learn More – Cloudflare DNS: https://www.cloudflare.com/learning/dns/what-is-1.1.1.1/

IBM Quad 9:

Ipv4: 9.9.9.9
Ipv4: 149.112.112.112
Ipv6: 2620:fe::fe
Ipv6: 2620:fe::9

IBM Quad 9. Whereas Cloudflare may be more beneficial for activists and researchers, IBM Quad 9 on the other hand is probably of more benefit to your average home owner, parent or business owner. This is because Quad 9 routes your internet connections through DNS servers that actively blacklist known malicious websites, as well as websites which have previously been compromised by data breaches. In addition to this, Quad 9 servers also protect your internet’s incoming/outgoing connections as a means of preventing any of your devices from being caught up in a botnet. Quite simply, this means that while on Quad 9 servers, you never have to worry about any of your devices being hijacked or caught up in any sort of DDoS or crypto-mining campaigns, even smart devices connected to the “Internet of Things” (IoT).

Learn More – IBM Quad9: https://www.quad9.net/

Google Public DNS:

Ipv4: 8.8.8.8
Ipv4: 8.8.4.4
Ipv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888
Ipv6: 2001:4860:4860::8844

Google Public DNS servers on the other hand are ideal for people in countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan, Turkey, Syria, North Korea and the like which are all known to have restricted, censored, shut down and/or sealed off access to certain portions of their national internet in the past. In fact, as you can see via the picture provided below, activists affiliated with Anonymous Cyber Guerrilla have literally spray painted Google’s 8.8.8.8 DNS in public places in times of National crises as a means of raising awareness and alerting citizens how to bypass local internet restrictions imposed by their Government – opening people back up to the global world-wide-web. In addition to bypassing regional internet restrictions, compared to ISP’s in some 3rd world regions, switching to Google DNS servers might actually help improve or speed up your load time/internet connection.

Learn More – Google Public DNS: https://developers.google.com/speed/public-dns/

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How To Switch DNS On Windows?

1.) Go to the start menu and type in “Settings,” press enter and then select “Network & Internet” options

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2.) Click on “Change Adapter Options

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3.) Select the “Internet Connection” your are using then click on the “Properties” button when it pops up

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4.) Scroll through and individually select/click on “Internet Protocol Version IPv4” and “Internet Protocol Version IPv6” then press the “Properties” button again

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5.) Select “Use The Following DNS Server Address” and manually enter in your DNS service provider of choice – see IPv4 and IPv6 Addresses above – then press “OK

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That’s it, really. Generally speaking, the setup should be the same on your Apple PC just as well. It’s also important to note that you can actually do a mix-match of the addresses listed above. For example, you can use Cloudflare for IPv4, but then choose IBM for IPv6 – vice versa – and your internet connection will not be broken. Just so you are aware, while IPv2 usually signifies the country of origin or device where you are coming from, but most all devices on the world-wide-web these days connect to websites via IPv4 connections, making IPv4 the most important settings to modify.

How To Switch DNS On Phone?

Changing or re-routing the DNS settings on your phone can either be incredibly complicated or incredibly simple, depending on your level of skill/expertise. However, far and away the easiest means to go about accomplishing this is by installing a 3rd party App – either by going to your App, Apple or Google Play store(s). Simply just type in “Change DNS” to your search settings, press enter, and this should open up a whole host of options to choose from. Simply choose the one that you feel is best for you and enter in the Addresses listed above.

If You are A Little More Advanced…

OpenNIC Project. For those of you whom may be unfamiliar, “OpenNIC (also referred to as the OpenNIC Project) is a user owned and controlled top-level Network Information Center offering a non-national alternative to traditional Top-Level Domain (TLD) registries; such as ICANN. Instead, OpenNIC only operates namespaces and namespaces the OpenNIC has peering agreements with.

In other words, they are open DNS addresses, servers and proxies not indexed by global internet agencies or their Governments. Stay classy mi amigos 😉

Learn More -OpenNIC Project: https://www.opennic.org/

See Also – CyberGuerrilla Internet Censorship Care Package: https://www.cyberguerrilla.org/blog/anti-censorship-carepackage/

Investigative Report: How Mass Surveillance Works Inside China

(HRW) – Chinese authorities are using a mobile app to carry out illegal mass surveillance and arbitrary detention of Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang region. The Human Rights Watch report, “China’s Algorithms of Repression’: Reverse Engineering a Xinjiang Police Mass Surveillance App,” presents new evidence about the surveillance state in Xinjiang, where the government has subjected 13 million Turkic Muslims to heightened repression as part of its “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism.

Between January 2018 and February 2019, Human Rights Watch was able to reverse engineer the mobile app that officials use to connect to the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), the Xinjiang policing program that aggregates data about people and flags those deemed potentially threatening. By examining the design of the app, which at the time was publicly available, Human Rights Watch revealed specifically the kinds of behaviors and people this mass surveillance system targets.

Download Full Report: https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/china0519_web3.pdf

Our research shows, for the first time, that Xinjiang police are using illegally gathered information about people’s completely lawful behavior – and using it against them,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Chinese government is monitoring every aspect of people’s lives in Xinjiang, picking out those it mistrusts, and subjecting them to extra scrutiny.

Human Rights Watch published screenshots from the IJOP app, in the original Chinese and translated into English. The app’s source code also reveals that the police platform targets 36 types of people for data collection. Those include people who have stopped using smart phones, those who fail to “socialize with neighbors,” and those who “collected money or materials for mosques with enthusiasm.

The IJOP platform tracks everyone in Xinjiang. It monitors people’s movements by tracing their phones, vehicles, and ID cards. It keeps track of people’s use of electricity and gas stations. Human Rights Watch found that the system and some of the region’s checkpoints work together to form a series of invisible or virtual fences. People’s freedom of movement is restricted to varying degrees depending on the level of threat authorities perceive they pose, determined by factors programmed into the system.

A former Xinjiang resident told Human Rights Watch a week after he was released from arbitrary detention: “I was entering a mall, and an orange alarm went off.” The police came and took him to a police station. “I said to them, ‘I was in a detention center and you guys released me because I was innocent.’… The police told me, ‘Just don’t go to any public places.’… I said, ‘What do I do now? Just stay home?’ He said, ‘Yes, that’s better than this, right?

The authorities have programmed the IJOP so that it treats many ordinary and lawful activities as indicators of suspicious behavior. Some of the investigations involve checking people’s phones for any one of the 51 internet tools that are considered suspicious, including WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Human Rights Watch found. The IJOP system also monitors people’s relationships, identifying as suspicious traveling with anyone on a police watch list, for example, or anyone related to someone who has recently obtained a new phone number.

Based on these broad and dubious criteria, the system generates lists of people to be evaluated by officials for detention. Official documents state individuals “who ought to be taken, should be taken,” suggesting the goal is to maximize detentions for people found to be “untrustworthy.” Those people are then interrogated without basic protections. They have no right to legal counsel, and some are tortured or otherwise mistreated, for which they have no effective redress.

The IJOP system was developed by China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), a major state-owned military contractor in China. The IJOP app was developed by Hebei Far East Communication System Engineering Company (HBFEC), a company that, at the time of the app’s development, was fully owned by CETC.

Under the Strike Hard Campaign, Xinjiang authorities have also collected biometrics, including DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and blood types of all residents in the region ages 12 to 65. The authorities require residents to give voice samples when they apply for passports. All of this data is being entered into centralized, searchable government databases. While Xinjiang’s systems are particularly intrusive, their basic designs are similar to those the police are planning and implementing throughout China.

The Chinese government should immediately shut down the IJOP platform and delete all the data that it has collected from individuals in Xinjiang, Human Rights Watch said. Concerned foreign governments should impose targeted sanctions, such as under the US Global Magnitsky Act, including visa bans and asset freezes, against the Xinjiang Party Secretary, Chen Quanguo, and other senior officials linked to abuses in the Strike Hard Campaign. They should also impose appropriate export control mechanisms to prevent the Chinese government from obtaining technologies used to violate basic rights. United Nations member countries should push for an international fact-finding mission to assess the situation in Xinjiang and report to the UN Human Rights Council.

Full 78 Page Research Presentation:

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This article was originally published by Human Rights Watch on May 2nd 2019. It was republished, with permission, using a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 US License, in accordance with the Terms & Conditions of Human Rights Watch | Formatting edits, Teets, Videos and pdf added/embedded by Rogue Media Labs

ACLU Releases +1,800 Documents Obtained from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement Won via Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit

The other day I came across an interesting release of documents obtained by the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) as the result of a recent Freedom of Information Act lawsuit (FOIA) against US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In this particular instance, the documents demonstrate the lengths to which different US Federal Agencies, including ICE, go in order to carry out what’s refereed to as “Mass Surveillance” against US citizens, immigrants and/or illegal aliens.  More specifically, included within the +1,800 documents released to the public last week are various contracts used by ICE to go about tracking or collecting information on various targets, as well as internal memo’s and emails detailing how ICE agents use existing networks/data centers to go about tracking these individuals online.

As was reported by the ACLU last week, March 13th 2019, “records obtained  in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit detail ICE’s sweeping use of a vast automated license plate reader (ALPR) database run by a company called Vigilant Solutions.” Explaining how “over 9,000 ICE officers have gained access to the Vigilant system under a $6.1 million contract.” As a result, ICE now has “access to over 5 billion data points of location information collected by private businesses, like insurance companies and parking lots, and can gain access to an additional 1.5 billion records collected by law enforcement agencies.

According to the records, a little more than 80 law enforcement agencies country-wide have already signed up for this program and have already begun sharing their license plate data record with ICE. In many instances, in light of the evidence uncovered in the FOIA documents, the ACLU has also found these data transfers to be in direct violation of localized data sharing laws and ICE’s own internal policies. Making matters worse, ICE’s $6.1 million dollar contract with Vigilant isn’t set to expire until September 2020. At the present moment in time it’s estimated that Vigilant‘s databases contain over 5 billion license plate scans, enough informationto cover the movements of 150-200 millions citizens across any state – roughly 60% of the combined population of the United States. You can find all of this information and more via the newly declassified +1,800 pages of material provided below.

Original Press Release from ACLU: https://www.aclunc.org/blog/documents-reveal-ice-using-driver-location-data-local-police-deportations
Download FOIA Documents for Yourself: https://www.aclunc.org/docs/DOCS_031319.pdf

Full Cache of Documents Won/Released via FOIA Lawsuit:

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Reporters Without Borders Publish Leaked Documents In Protest of EU Mass Surveillance

(AI) – EU member states must back proposed curbs on the export of surveillance equipment to abusive regimes, Access Now, Amnesty International, and Reporters Without Borders said, after leaked documents revealed that several EU countries, particularly Sweden and Finland, are pushing for weakening human rights protections in relation to European export controls of surveillance technology. The leaked documents were published earlier today by digital rights reporters at netzpolitik.org and Reporters Without Borders.

The current EU system fails to hold European governments and companies to account. It is devastating to see that protecting the privacy of individuals and safeguarding freedom of expression around the globe are not on the list of priorities of the Council of the EU,” said Lucie Krahulcova, Policy Analyst at Access Now. “These leaks reveal that while the EU talks the talk on human rights in public, behind the scenes, member states are secretly ready to trade in their obligations to protect human rights defenders for the sake of business interests. They would give businesses free rein to sell to abusive governments technologies which can tap into the communications and whereabouts of those who speak up against them,” said Nele Meyer, Senior Executive Officer at Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.

Commercially available surveillance technology is used by governments around the world to spy on activists, journalists, and dissidents. “The willingness of some countries to go on with business as usual by supplying despotic regimes with tools to abuse human rights is shocking. Jamal Khashoggi’s death has highlighted the level of pressure and surveillance endured by journalists. The EU must end the sale of tools which are used to spy on, harass and arrest journalists. These technologies threaten the safety of journalists and their sources and thereby force them into self-censorship,” said Elodie Vialle, the head of Journalism and Technology desk at Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Amnesty International, Privacy International, Access Now, and Reporters Without Borders are urging member states to ensure that surveillance technology will only be exported if the sale complies with solid human rights criteria.

Background

After surveillance technology was used to clamp down on Arab spring protests, international civil society organizations and EU parliamentarians called for a meaningful overhaul of export controls to prevent that EU companies provide repressive governments with the technology to abuse rights. In 2016, the European Commission proposed reforms to the current export control system – the Dual Use Regulation – intended “to prevent human rights violations associated with certain cyber-surveillance technologies.” The documents leaked today reveal how several member states are consistently watering down the human rights protections which the Commission and the Parliament proposed.

Amnesty International, Privacy International, Access Now, and Reporters Without Borders were among the NGOs advocating for the strengthening of several of these protections, including: strengthened human rights protections, greater scope to cover new surveillance technologies, greater transparency, and protections for security research. Many of these reforms were reflected, in some form, in the proposal adopted by the European Parliament in early 2018.

For the revision to come into effect, the three EU institutions must find agreement on a final text through inter-institutional negotiations called trialogues, once member states within the Council attain a joint position. As the leaked internal documents from the German government and EU Council show, a group of member states toppled the so-called catch all clause, a crucial safeguard requiring companies to inform the Commission in cases where they identify human rights risks linked to their surveillance exports.

Currently, a growing group of member states – led by Sweden and Finland – is tackling another central element of the reform, a list of surveillance technology for which a licensing process would be mandatory. Legislators are working under a tight timeframe – if the revised regulation is not adopted by early 2019, it risks being delayed by at least another year due to the forthcoming EU elections. The next negotiations in the Council will take place in November 2018.

Access Full Plain Text Copies of Leaked Documents (German): 


This article was originally published by Amnesty International on October 29th 2018. It was republished, with permission, under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License, in accordance with the Terms & Conditions of Amnesty International | Formatting Edits and leaked documents added by Rogue Media Labs