Encrypted Chatrooms & VoIP Applications

Encrypted chatrooms and VoIP services, such as like WhatsApp and Telegram, are not only great for business communications, but they critically important for human rights defenders and political activists fighting around the world – especially in at risk or oppressive countries. It is important to understand that even if you are living in a country which has banned Tor, VPN’s or applications such as Telegram, and you are afraid to use/install those programs out of fear of persecution, encrypted chatrooms can be equally as easy to use and remain 100% legal to boot.

For example, even in countries like Egypt, Iran, Pakistan – et cetera – which have either outright or periodically banned VoIP services such as Telegram and Viber, other chatroom-based services like Chatbox or Slack are still free and legal to own, and can be used to protect private communications all the same. In fact, political activists in countries such as Ethiopia and Egypt are known to have used encrypted chat services to safely coordinate communications, rallies and protests in times of great civil unrest, such as during the Oromo protests and Rabba Massacre. I know this because I was there on the front-lines helping to set up their accounts.

It’s usually free to sign up for these services, and all you need is a verified email address or phone number to login. Then, once enrolled, you can encrypt your chatroom by setting up a custom name/URL for it and requiring password authentication for entry. This assures that only the people you give the URL address to will be able to find it, and only those who know the password to it will be able to enter. Additionally, once set up, you can even set up individual channels within the chatroom itself for a duel level of security/encryption. This includes setting custom rules for different channels, such as requiring Administrator approval for access. This assures that if even someone is able to brute-force their way into your chatroom itself, there are still protocols in place to protect individual communications and information within the chatroom itself.

Additionally, especially if you are doing activism or human rights work, or feel that your life/security could be in danger for the work you do, it is always recommended to never use your real life identity or personal email accounts to set up an encrypted chatroom or channel. Instead, you should always create an online alias and use it to register a new account within an encrypted email service provider, such as ProtonMail or Tutanota. Obviously, this advice need not apply for those of you who are using these services for business purposes. Lastly, some chatroom services actually offer built in video chats, allowing for a third means to make secure voice connections outside of standard phone calls or VoIP services.

For more information on how to keep a safe, private and Anonymous identity online, please read the following tutorial: https://anonhq.com/anonymous-security-guide-2-0/

For more information on different encrypted email service providers and how you can make the switch, please read the following link: https://roguemedia.co/2019/11/02/making-the-switch-to-encrypted-emails-2/

Best/Top Chatroom Service Providers:

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP):

While VoIP services are not necessarily essential for everyday phone use, they do offer critical protections for political activists, journalists, researchers and citizens living under oppressive regimes all around the world. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, which is just a fancy way of saying they transport all calls and messages over established internet connections, rather than routing them through your telecommunications or phone service provider – such as AT&T or Verizon.

In areas like the United States and European Union, VoIP services are important to own because they prevent your data from being intercepted, recorded or stolen by telecommunications companies and other interested 3rd parties, such as Governments, thus protecting any information you send across the wires. VoIP services also offer the ability to encrypt messages or calls between like users, further protecting customer privacy. By comparison, both of these options are unavailable on standard text messages or phone calls straight from your phone provider. In politically oppressive countries around the world, VoIP services are even more important because they offer a critical means to bypass Government imposed restrictions or blockades on national telecommunications on a local level, while also allowing users to make international calls entirely for free.

While this might sound a bit complex or advanced, once installed, operating a VoIP connection/application is no more different or complicated than making a regular phone call or sending traditional text messages. Instead of using your normal texts messages or phone App, you simply download a VoIP App and log into that to make/receive calls and texts – it’s literally that easy. Lastly, VoIP connections offer a secondary means to reach your contacts, should your phone lose service, go out of cell tower range or come under blackout. Rather than relying on the signal strength of your network service provider of choice, all you need is an active internet connection to utilize a VoIP services.

The Best/Top VoIP Service Providers:

 

Online Tutorial: Phone Security

1.) Encryption

Encrypt your entire Operating System (OS). Phone encryption is the first line of defense for whichever phone you happen to use, ensuring that no one can even so much as turn on your device without the proper credentials. It is important to understand that encrypting your phone and setting a screen lock for it are not the same thing. It is also important to understand that, depending on the type of phone you have and who manufactured it, screen locks can be bypassed by 3rd parties – such as hackers – as well as through different back-doors found within various software applications/programs you’ve installed on it. Encrypting your phone on the other hand encrypts your entire operating system all at once, requiring password authentication for the phone to even boot up and power on in the first place – ensuring that no App, program or file can be exploited or corrupted to gain full access to your phone.

Depending on what type of phone you have, your settings might come with a built in feature allowing to encrypt individual Apps. If not, you can install a firewall application for that – more on this later on in the article. If you are unfamiliar where to find your phones encryption options, they are available in the “security” section under the main settings menu. Please note that it can take an hour or more to fully encrypt your phone, so it’s important to always begin with a fully charged battery.

Select an appropriate screen lock. Screen locks are a different form of encryption in a sense, ensuring that no one can use/operate your phone when you lose it, are away from it or leave it out in public. As far as how you set it up, there are 4 different options to choose from – each one having its pro’s and cons.

  • Password Lock. Users will be required to enter a unique password consisting of letters, numbers and symbols to unlock your device. Personally, I believe password protection to be by far the most secure of all options. However, for the same reason, it could be considered the most “inconvenient, because it requires the most amount of time/attention to enter every time you wish to unlock your device.
  • Pin Lock. Pin locks work exactly like password protections, only they exclude letters and symbols. Meaning that users will be required to enter a pass-code of random numbers in order to unlock your phone. For the very reason that pins exclude letters and symbols, they are a little less secure than passwords, exponentially decreasing the theoretical number of guesses it would take to crack/unlock your device.
  • Pattern Lock. I am finding that this is becoming the most “trendy” screen lock these days, simply requiring users to use their fingers to “connect the dots” and draw a unique pattern on the front of their screen before it unlocks. However, I find pattern locks to be less secure than some of the other options, because there is a much higher probability of successfully drawing a random pattern to unlock a device than their is guessing an advanced password or pin.
  • Biometrics. The newest “craze” is security is using your own fingerprints, eyes, face or facial expressions to unlock different devices. However, while these options may be the most convenient and fastest, they are also by far the least secure. I say this because multiple studies have proven how easy it is to trick biometric security measures, and often times the pictures off your own social media accounts are enough to bypass them.

Password/Pin protect your SIMor SSID card. It is important to understand that encrypting your operating system and setting a screen lock will do nothing to protect your data cards or memory chips, securing those is an entirely separate matter. So lastly, you are going to want to encrypt/password protect your SIM and/or SSID card. To do this simply enter into the security options within your phones main settings menu, find/select your memory chips and create a unique pin lock for them. This ensures that no matter where your memory chip goes or whatever phone/device it’s plugged into, no one will be allowed to access your contacts, photos, videos, messages, files or data without entering the correct pin code first.

If you would like help learning how to build strong and easy to remember passwords to encrypt your accounts/devices, please read more in the tutorial provided below.

How To Write Un-Hackable Passwords: https://roguesec.co/how-to-write-un-hackable-passwords/

2.) Firewalls

Some phones come pre-installed with various firewall options, but if yours does not then there is a sizeable number of firewall Apps to choose from. Firewalls are critically important to security because they allow users to seal off or block different Apps, limiting the possible points of entry for hackers or other 3rd parties. Depending on the type of firewall you select, you may also have the option to encrypt individual Apps on your phone, adding a 4th layer of encryption to your device while ensuring that even if someone is able to unlock it, they will not be allowed to use selected Apps without further permissions. This is particularly important/helpful if you utilize different types of chatrooms, group chats for work or VoIP services.

Perhaps most importantly, firewalls severely limit potential abuses of your phone. You can select different options to completely seal off individual Apps altogether, or seal off different settings/areas of your phone from outside sources.Not only does this prevent hackers from using selected Apps to compromise your phone, but at the same time it prevents App owners themselves and other 3rd parties from gaining access to your phone all the same. Firewalls also protect against unwarranted data collection of your phone, including call/text history and general phone usage. More importantly, building a strong firewall and sealing off selected Apps can free up memory space/data usage, both speeding up your phone and saving battery life. If there are Apps on your phone that you’ve never used a single day in your life, or you feel may be spying on you/invading your privacy, simply use your firewall to disable them altogether with the click of a button.

On a similar but side note, never blindly give every App different permissions just because they ask for them. For example, when first navigating a new phone you might find that you are regularly asked to allow different Apps to do random things, such as collect data or record audio/video. It might seem harmless, but think about it for a second. What the hell does the Google Chrome web browser possibly need to record audio for? The simple answer is it doesn’t, you are only being set up to have your phone hacked by authorities and/or law enforcement officials at a later date in time – should they ever feel the need. By checking these options and blindly granting permission to different Apps, your are secretly granting 3rd parties the permission to ‘flip the switch‘ so to speak and turn your phone into a spy/recording device whenever they want. So, don’t fall for it. There is literally no need to give different developers that much permission over your phone.

3.) Manage Security Certificates

Similarly, you should seriously check out the security certificates or “Trusted Credentials” list which came pre-installed on your phone. On my Android ZTE for example, my phone was handed to me with over 100 different security certificates installed on it, some of which grant different Government agencies/offices direct root access to my phone without requiring legal documents or warrants of any kind – no exaggeration. You might not have been told about this when you bought your phone, buy they are there. Just a short list of some of the organizations which have direct root access to my phone; China Financial Certification Authority, CyberTrust, Deutsche Telekom, Hellenic Academic Research Institute, HongKong Post, Japanese Government, VISA, TurkTrust,Wells Fargo, as well as countless other organizations operating under different Government umbrellas.

Thankfully though, you do have the ability to revoke these certificates/permissions if you like. Simply find where these certificates are under your settings menu and disable whichever ones you desire. Just note that disabling some of the most fundamental ones, such as those issues by your telecommunications provider, may break access to different areas of your phone – but this is always reversible.

4.) Internet Security & Antivirus

Most people are always surprised to learn that the same measures used to secure your computer can often times be transferred directly to your phone, this includes things like VPN’s and antivirus. For the purposes of this section of the article, I would like to discuss different measures you can install to help protect your phone and keep your data that much more private/secured.

  • VPN’s: I am not going to get into a breakdown of what VPN’s are and how they work, it is just important to understand that you can install and utilize a VPN connection on your phone all the same as a computer. If you already own a paid VPN account, simply install the service providers App on your phone and establish a new connection through it. Your IP Address and internet connection will be secured all the same, just note that the internet speed of your phone will be effected a little more significantly than a computer, simply because a phone can not process as much information as fast as a computer can.
  • Proxy’s: It is another common misconception that you can’t utilize proxy connections or the Tor network on your phone, this is simply untrue. You can either hide your IP address and internet activity by installing the Tor App directly, or you can install something known as Orbot – developed by The Tor Project. Orbot transfers all data/network activity from your phone across various tor relays, essentially turning the Tor network itself into a giant VPN connection/encryption setting for all of your data and every last thing you do on your phone. Unlike Tor, Orbot doesn’t just simply protect internet activity – even the Apps developers profess itself to be a “full phone VPN.
  • Re-Route DNS: Another way to protect against data spying, 3rd party abuses or intrusive hackers is to re-route your DNS through different service providers. For example, I personally route all of my network activity through Cloudflare DNS servers for added privacy and security. IBM’s Quad 9 DNS service is another good option, blocking you from gaining access to known malicious websites while preventing your device from ever becoming part of or wrapped up in a botnet. You can do your own research to find other options which may be more suitable, but another popular option is Google’s public DNS service.
  • Install Different Browsers: Just as with computers, you can choose a whole host of different browser options, many of which are far more secure and private than Google Chrome or the built in web browser found on your phone. If you would like to learn more about browsers, as well as the different/added benefits of each, please utilize the following link: https://roguesec.co/building-selecting-safer-web-browsers/
  • Antivirus: Phone antivirus programs essentially work the same as computer antivirus’, only they are far simpler and much cheaper. A good antivirus program for your phone should cost anywhere from $2-5$ per month, and will protect your phone against malicious hyperlinks, scan all downloads for viruses, as well as prevent all of the most common/basic forms of cyber attack. Some phone based antivirus service providers, such as Kaspersky Lab, also come with built in VPN connections to secure your internet activity at the same time.

5.) VoIP Services

While VoIP services are not necessarily essential for everyday phone use, they do offer critical protections for political activists, journalists, researchers and citizens living under oppressive regimes all around the world. VoIP stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol,” which is just a fancy way of saying they transport all calls and messages over established internet connections, rather than routing them through your telecommunications or phone service provider – such as AT&T or Verizon. For this reason, VoIp services prevent your data from being intercepted, recorded or stolen by telecommunications companies and other 3rd parties, such as Governments, thus protecting any information you send across them. VoIP services also offer the ability to encrypt messages or calls between like users, further protecting your privacy. By comparison, both of these options are not available on standard text messages or phone calls. In politically oppressive countries, VoIp services offer a critical means to bypass Government imposed restrictions or blockades on national telecommunications. VoIP services also let you make international calls for free.

While this might sound a bit complex or advanced, once installed, operating a VoIP connection/application is no more different or complicated than making a regular phone call or sending traditional text messages. Lastly, VoIP connections also offer a secondary means to reach contacts, should your phone lose service, go out of range or come under blackout. Rather than relying on the signal strength of your network service provider, all you need to use VoIP services is an active internet connection.

The Best/Top VoIP Service Providers:

Letter from Zimbabwe: Inside The Deteriorating Situation Unfolding Inside The Country

An online activist and regular reader of Rogue Media Labs going by the name of “Jamelia Libya K” sent me the following letter this morning, outlining the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe from the perspective of a Zimbabwean refugee with many friends and family left behind in the country.

Full Letter:

I am an activist from Zimbabwe, I write to you as a human being observing a crisis unfolding. I am deeply appalled, shocked and hurt with the worsening situation in Zimbabwe.

The people have been protesting against inflation and unbearable hardships they have been encountering quietly. They are fed up of being governed by this failing Zanu government. The president himself is on a business tour at this vital moment. Vice President Chiwenga is in charge. He is previously the Army Commander General.

Everyone in the diaspora is convinced he has ordered the internet shutdown, there has been no social media all day. This is because reports have been pouring in from Monday night that the army, police and masked men have been kidnapping, harassing, torturing civilians and intimidating them not to protest.

Pictures of dead bodies have been circulating. As I speak, people in diaspora are afraid and panicking for their loved ones. Please bring attention to Zimbabweans crying and begging for help, we need International intervention.

Regards,
Linda Dodzo

As was reported by Human Rights Watch on January 15th 2019, “Zimbabwe security forces fatally shot at least five people and wounded 25 others during a crackdown on nationwide protests beginning January 14, 2019.” However, other reports from the region indicate that at least 8 were killed, and more than 200 were arbitrarily arrested. Similar in many ways to the situation across France, the protests arose as a result of the Zimbabwean Governments decision to raise fuel prices by 150% on January 12th 2019, sparking mass protests around the country.

In response to the protests, just as was the case in the Democratic Republic of The Congo in December 2018 and Central African Republic earlier this month, the Zimbabwean Government has ordered a complete internet shutdown across the country. Effective January 15th 2019, President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered a 72 hour moratorium on any/all internet activity inside the country, including social media and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services – such as WhatsApp.

This also isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened. For example, in the summer of 2016 I remember reporting when the Government of Zimbabwe suffered from full economic collapse, leading to the revolt of thousands of public sector workers across the country- protesting against weeks of unpaid wages, essentially completely shutting down the country/government in doing so. For some perspective on the situation, at the time it was also reported that the country was operating at a 90% unemployment rate. Once again however, then just as is it is today, the Zimbabwean Government shut down and restricted national internet access in order to prevent protest movements from growing larger and prevent media from reporting on a carnage.

I also remember that these events caught the attention of the Anonymous hacker collective, whom proceeded to launch a series of online attacks against the Government of Zimbabwe – shutting down critical government infrastructure for as long of the government was willing to shut down public internet access. As a result, once again today just as it was before, the Zimbabwean people are calling on the internet community and Anonymous for help – to stand up for their rights and fight back against their oppressive Government. This is why I am publishing this article here today, to do what I can to raise awareness on their behalf and educate the international public about the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe. What happens from here remains to be seen.

Encrypted Chatrooms & VoIP Applications

Encrypted chatrooms and VoIP services, such as like WhatsApp and Telegram, are not only great for business communications, but they critically important for human rights defenders and political activists fighting around the world – especially in at risk or oppressive countries. It is important to understand that even if you are living in a country which has banned Tor, VPN’s or applications such as Telegram, and you are afraid to use/install those programs out of fear of persecution, encrypted chatrooms can be equally as easy to use and remain 100% legal to boot.

For example, even in countries like Egypt, Iran, Pakistan – et cetera – which have either outright or periodically banned VoIP services such as Telegram and Viber, other chatroom-based services like Chatbox or Slack are still free and legal to own, and can be used to protect private communications all the same. In fact, political activists in countries such as Ethiopia and Egypt are known to have used encrypted chat services to safely coordinate communications, rallies and protests in times of great civil unrest, such as during the Oromo protests and Rabba Massacre. I know this because I was there on the front-lines helping to set up their accounts.

It’s usually free to sign up for these services, and all you need is a verified email address or phone number to login. Then, once enrolled, you can encrypt your chatroom by setting up a custom name/URL for it and requiring password authentication for entry. This assures that only the people you give the URL address to will be able to find it, and only those who know the password to it will be able to enter. Additionally, once set up, you can even set up individual channels within the chatroom itself for a duel level of security/encryption. This includes setting custom rules for different channels, such as requiring Administrator approval for access. This assures that if even someone is able to brute-force their way into your chatroom itself, there are still protocols in place to protect individual communications and information within the chatroom itself.

Additionally, especially if you are doing activism or human rights work, or feel that your life/security could be in danger for the work you do, it is always recommended to never use your real life identity or personal email accounts to set up an encrypted chatroom or channel. Instead, you should always create an online alias and use it to register a new account within an encrypted email service provider, such as ProtonMail or Tutanota. Obviously, this advice need not apply for those of you who are using these services for business purposes. Lastly, some chatroom services actually offer built in video chats, allowing for a third means to make secure voice connections outside of standard phone calls or VoIP services.

For more information on how to keep a safe, private and Anonymous identity online, please read the following tutorial: https://anonhq.com/anonymous-security-guide-2-0/

For more information on different encrypted email service providers and how you can make the switch, please read the following link: https://roguesecuritylabs.ltd/making-the-switch-to-encrypted-emails/

Best/Top Chatroom Service Providers:

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP):

While VoIP services are not necessarily essential for everyday phone use, they do offer critical protections for political activists, journalists, researchers and citizens living under oppressive regimes all around the world. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, which is just a fancy way of saying they transport all calls and messages over established internet connections, rather than routing them through your telecommunications or phone service provider – such as AT&T or Verizon.

In areas like the United States and European Union, VoIP services are important to own because they prevent your data from being intercepted, recorded or stolen by telecommunications companies and other interested 3rd parties, such as Governments, thus protecting any information you send across the wires. VoIP services also offer the ability to encrypt messages or calls between like users, further protecting customer privacy. By comparison, both of these options are unavailable on standard text messages or phone calls straight from your phone provider. In politically oppressive countries around the world, VoIP services are even more important because they offer a critical means to bypass Government imposed restrictions or blockades on national telecommunications on a local level, while also allowing users to make international calls entirely for free.

While this might sound a bit complex or advanced, once installed, operating a VoIP connection/application is no more different or complicated than making a regular phone call or sending traditional text messages. Instead of using your normal texts messages or phone App, you simply download a VoIP App and log into that to make/receive calls and texts – it’s literally that easy. Lastly, VoIP connections offer a secondary means to reach your contacts, should your phone lose service, go out of cell tower range or come under blackout. Rather than relying on the signal strength of your network service provider of choice, all you need is an active internet connection to utilize a VoIP services.

The Best/Top VoIP Service Providers:

 

Phone Security

1.) Encryption

Encrypt your entire Operating System (OS). Phone encoryption is the first line of defense for whichever phone you happen to use, ensuring that no one can even so much as turn on your device without the proper credentials. It is important to understand that encrypting your phone and setting a screen lock for it are not the same thing. It is also important to understand that, depending on the type of phone you have and who manufactured it, screen locks can be bypassed by 3rd parties – such as hackers – as well as through different backdoors found within various software applications/programs you’ve installed on it. Encrypting your phone on the other hand encrypts your entire operating system all at once, requiring password authentication for the phone to even boot up and power on in the first place – ensuring that no App, program or file can be exploited or corrupted to gain full access to your phone.

Depending on what type of phone you have, your settings might come with a built in feature allowing to encrypt individual Apps. If not, you can install a firewall application for that – more on this later on in the article. If you are unfamiliar where to find your phones encryption options, they are available in the “security” section under the main settings menu. Please note that it can take an hour or more to fully encrypt your phone, so it’s important to always begin with a fully charged battery.

Select an appropriate screen lock. Screen locks are a different form of encryption in a sense, ensuring that no one can use/operate your phone when you lose it, are away from it or leave it out in public. As far as how you set it up, there are 4 different options to choose from – each one having its pro’s and cons.

  • Password Lock. Users will be required to enter a unique password consisting of letters, numbers and symbols to unlock your device. Personally, I believe password protection to be by far the most secure of all options. However, for the same reason, it could be considered the most “inconvenient,” because it requires the most amount of time/attention to enter every time you wish to unlock your device.
  • Pin Lock. Pin locks work exactly like password protections, only they exclude letters and symbols. Meaning that users will be required to enter a pass-code of random numbers in order to unlock your phone. For the very reason that pins exclude letters and symbols, they are a little less secure than passwords, exponentially decreasing the theoretical number of guesses it would take to crack/unlock your device.
  • Patter Lock. I am finding that this is becoming the most “trendy” screen lock these days, simply requiring users to use their fingers to “connect the dots” and draw a unique pattern on the front of their screen before it unlocks. However, I find pattern locks to be less secure than some of the other options, because there is a much higher probability of successfully drawing a random pattern to unlock a device than their is guessing an advanced password or pin.
  • Biometrics. The newest “craze” is security is using your own fingerprints, eyes, face or facial expressions to unlock different devices. However, while these options may be the most convenient and fastest, they are also by far the least secure. I say this because multiple studies have proven how easy it is to trick biometric security measures, and often times the pictures off your own social media accounts are enough to bypass them.

Password/Pin protect your SIMor SSID card. It is important to understand that encrypting your operating system and setting a screen lock will do nothing to protect your data cards or memory chips, securing those is an entirely separate matter. So lastly, you are going to want to encrypt/password protect your SIM and/or SSID card. To do this simply enter into the security options within your phones main settings menu, find/select your memory chips and create a unique pin lock for them. This ensures that no matter where your memory chip goes or whatever phone/device it’s plugged into, no one will be allowed to access your contacts, photos, videos, messages, files or data without entering the correct pin code first.

If you would like help learning how to build strong and easy to remember passwords to encrypt your accounts/devices, please read more in the tutorial provided below.

How To Write Un-Hackable Passwords: https://roguesec.co/how-to-write-un-hackable-passwords/

2.) Firewalls

Some phones come pre-installed with various firewall options, but if yours does not then there is a sizeable number of firewall Apps to choose from. Firewalls are critically important to security because they allow users to seal off or block different Apps, limiting the possible points of entry for hackers or other 3rd parties. Depending on the type of firewall you select, you may also have the option to encrypt individual Apps on your phone, adding a 4th layer of encryption to your device while ensuring that even if someone is able to unlock it, they will not be allowed to use selected Apps without further permissions. This is particularly important/helpful if you utilize different types of chatrooms, group chats for work or VoIP services.

Perhaps most importantly, firewalls severely limit potential abuses of your phone. You can select different options to completely seal off individual Apps altogether, or seal off different settings/areas of your phone from outside sources.Not only does this prevent hackers from using selected Apps to compromise your phone, but at the same time it prevents App owners themselves and other 3rd parties from gaining access to your phone all the same. Firewalls also protect against unwarranted data collection of your phone, including call/text history and general phone usage. More importantly, building a strong firewall and sealing off selected Apps can free up memory space/data usage, both speeding up your phone and saving battery life. If there are Apps on your phone that you’ve never used a single day in your life, or you feel may be spying on you/invading your privacy, simply use your firewall to disable them altogether with the click of a button.

On a similar but side note, never blindly give every App different permissions just because they ask for them. For example, when first navigating a new phone you might find that you are regularly asked to allow different Apps to do random things, such as collect data or record audio/video. It might seem harmless, but think about it for a second. What the hell does the Google Chrome web browser possibly need to record audio for? The simple answer is it doesn’t, you are only being set up to have your phone hacked by authorities and/or law enforcement officials at a later date in time – should they ever feel the need. By checking these options and blindly granting permission to different Apps, your are secretly granting 3rd parties the permission to ‘flip the switch‘ so to speak and turn your phone into a spy/recording device whenever they want. So, don’t fall for it. There is literally no need to give different developers that much permission over your phone.

3.) Manage Security Certificates

Similarly, you should seriously check out the security certificates or “Trusted Credentials” list which came pre-installed on your phone. On my Android ZTE for example, my phone was handed to me with over 100 different security certificates installed on it, some of which grant different Government agencies/offices direct root access to my phone without requiring legal documents or warrants of any kind – no exaggeration. You might not have been told about this when you bought your phone, buy they are there. Just a short list of some of the organizations which have direct root access to my phone; China Financial Certification Authority, CyberTrust, Deutsche Telekom, Hellenic Academic Research Institute, HongKong Post, Japanese Government, VISA, TurkTrust,Wells Fargo, as well as countless other organizations operating under different Government umbrellas.

Thankfully though, you do have the ability to revoke these certificates/permissions if you like. Simply find where these certificates are under your settings menu and disable whichever ones you desire. Just note that disabling some of the most fundamental ones, such as those issues by your telecommunications provider, may break access to different areas of your phone – but this is always reversible.

4.) Internet Security & Antivirus

Most people are always surprised to learn that the same measures used to secure your computer can often times be transferred directly to your phone, this includes things like VPN’s and antivirus. For the purposes of this section of the article, I would like to discuss different measures you can install to help protect your phone and keep your data that much more private/secured.

  • VPN’s: I am not going to get into a breakdown of what VPN’s are and how they work, it is just important to understand that you can install and utilize a VPN connection on your phone all the same as a computer. If you already own a paid VPN account, simply install the service providers App on your phone and establish a new connection through it. Your IP Address and internet connection will be secured all the same, just note that the internet speed of your phone will be effected a little more significantly than a computer, simply because a phone can not process as much information as fast as a computer can.
  • Proxy’s: It is another common misconception that you can’t utilize proxy connections or the Tor network on your phone, this is simply untrue. You can either hide your IP address and internet activity by installing the Tor App directly, or you can install something known as Orbot – developed by The Tor Project. Orbot transfers all data/network activity from your phone across various tor relays, essentially turning the Tor network itself into a giant VPN connection/encryption setting for all of your data and every last thing you do on your phone. Unlike Tor, Orbot doesn’t just simply protect internet activity – even the Apps developers profess itself to be a “full phone VPN.”
  • Re-Route DNS: Another way to protect against data spying, 3rd party abuses or intrusive hackers is to re-route your DNS through different service providers. For example, I personally route all of my network activity through Cloudflare DNS servers for added privacy and security. IBM’s Quad 9 DNS service is another good option, blocking you from gaining access to known malicious websites while preventing your device from ever becoming part of or wrapped up in a botnet. You can do your own research to find other options which may be more suitable, but another popular option is Google’s public DNS service.
  • Install Different Browsers: Just as with computers, you can choose a whole host of different browser options, many of which are far more secure and private than Google Chrome or the built in web browser found on your phone. If you would like to learn more about browsers, as well as the different/added benefits of each, please utilize the following link: https://roguesec.co/building-selecting-safer-web-browsers/
  • Antivirus: Phone antivirus programs essentially work the same as computer antivirus’, only they are far simpler and much cheaper. A good antivirus program for your phone should cost anywhere from $2-5$ per month, and will protect your phone against malicious hyperlinks, scan all downloads for viruses, as well as prevent all of the most common/basic forms of cyber attack. Some phone based antivirus service providers, such as Kaspersky Lab, also come with built in VPN connections to secure your internet activity at the same time.

5.) VoIP Services

While VoIP services are not necessarily essential for everyday phone use, they do offer critical protections for political activists, journalists, researchers and citizens living under oppressive regimes all around the world. VoIP stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol,” which is just a fancy way of saying they transport all calls and messages over established internet connections, rather than routing them through your telecommunications or phone service provider – such as AT&T or Verizon. For this reason, VoIp services prevent your data from being intercepted, recorded or stolen by telecommunications companies and other 3rd parties, such as Governments, thus protecting any information you send across them. VoIP services also offer the ability to encrypt messages or calls between like users, further protecting your privacy. By comparison, both of these options are not available on standard text messages or phone calls. In politically oppressive countries, VoIp services offer a critical means to bypass Government imposed restrictions or blockades on national telecommunications. VoIP services also let you make international calls for free.

While this might sound a bit complex or advanced, once installed, operating a VoIP connection/application is no more different or complicated than making a regular phone call or sending traditional text messages. Lastly, VoIP connections also offer a secondary means to reach contacts, should your phone lose service, go out of range or come under blackout. Rather than relying on the signal strength of your network service provider, all you need to use VoIP services is an active internet connection.

The Best/Top VoIP Service Providers: