As lately various interesting characters approach us via eMail and consequently we end up discussing various interesting topics, we would like to share some more gimmicks with our audience and add a further layer into our internet appearance. That is why from hereon you will find the new section Q&A where we will be answering all kind of exciting and practical questions, ranging from ‘Why the sun rises in the east’ over to ‘How to tie your running shoes correctly’ all the way to ‘How to jump into a swimming pool with grey trousers without causing too much of a splash’ (we will tell you more about that later). We start out with a very important – however, often underestimated - technical topic which should give you a little food for thought during the weekend. As always, whatever you do and wherever you are, we would like to hear from you, so do not hesitate to drop us a line at tehgrifters [at]

 As we have moved a good part into the 21st century and a computer without internet is already considered useless, it seems just natural to have a robust grasp of the inner workings of digital security. Having met many people doing graffiti and other stuff it always surprises us to see how unfamiliar people are with the matter of staying anonymous in the internet, protecting their digital data and preventing bad evidence in the case of a potential arrest or judgement.

That is why we will try to make it simple here for everyone who has not taken the proper time to dig into this topic and protect himself. This article will attempt to simply scratch onto the topic and is here to suggest you useful links and material for you to dig deeper. As there are many aspects and details surrounding this broad topic we will look to consider the basics – let’s start with the camera.
Your digital camera records all kind of info when you use it – the picture itself you are shooting, sometimes a thumb picture and EXIF data. Newer cameras even have GPS functions which save the exact location of where you picture has been taken. Many people seem to think that simply deleting a picture from the memory card or their harddisks is enough security to make them sleep well at night, however you should also consider the rest of the information that is still on your card. So after you STOP the GPS mode you should download a free data recovery program (Datadoctor ) and convince yourself how easy it is to restore past data if the data storage has not been used/overwritten too many times recently. In more technical details, if you delete something from a data storage device it does not get immediately deleted or overwritten, instead the sector indication gets simply changed from ‘used’ to ‘free’ – that, for one, is the reason, why it may take hours to copy big files and only seconds to remove them. What this means for you in practical terms is that your data is still there on your storage after you delete it – and therefore ready to be restored and used as evidence against you. The way to prevent similar conduct is to SHRED the files, i.e. have them overwritten many times by a program. Furthermore, you should remove your EXIF data from your pictures to not have time codes and other useless information of them. Nonetheless, it may still be theoretically possible to prove that certain pictures have been shot with a certain digital camera by the pattern of non-working pixels in your digital matrix – however, this method is too time and resource consuming in order to be used in an ordinary case. After you have cleaned your memory sticks, you still have a harddisk full of wonderful action pictures. And in the case of waking up to find the cops at your door with a warrant, you might end up wondering how much they will enjoy them once they take your PC. That is why your main security hurdle should be installing encrypting software such as TrueCrypt to prevent others from spying into your files (this may include your parents and roommates). The software installs a virtual partition with two passwords in the case that you get raped and forced to give away your password. This means that you can store your hardcore illegal stuff with Password A and have semi-interesting stuff (such as your mom’s naked pictures) with Password B. TrueCrypt creates a single container that does not have a specific file extension, meaning that you can call it or simply system32.ini. Nevertheless the file will stay there and be quite suspicious with its proud 20 or 500 gb size. If you really care about that, too, you can install another program (such as Universal Shield) to hide all files from your Windows Explorer view, however, it is best to simply store it on an external harddrive/memorycard/flashdrive and shove it into your garden. If you want to go ubersmart, you can also create a Virtual Operation System with Vmware Fussion and have a virtual Mac on your PC or Virtual PC on your Mac before encrypting – there won’t be anyone around to crack such a setup. Lastly, the process of sending data via the internet can be dangerous by itself because of proxy sockets and your stationary IP address, but that is a whole different story.
As the possibilities are endless, you should consider what your exact goal, convenience level and how likely a 6-am-morning-call scenario is. If you live in some third world country and no one cares about you, you might not want to employ all of these techniques, but in a different case you would like to make sure you stay ahead of the curve.


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