Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Fixing privacy issues

  1. #1


    Posts : 24
    Windows 8 64-bit

    Fixing privacy issues


    Hi All!

    I just got my laptop back after its HDD failed & was replaced. I just finished reading the frightening License Term Agreement" & there are several things I either want to disable, delete or block, but I don't know how to, (or even if I should!) do it.

    I hate the way Windows is now set up to be so interested in everything that a simple, home-user like me does. I cherish my Security & Privacy and it really bothers me how over-involved Microsoft is in my computer life. Anyway, I'm in the process of setting everything up & I want to fix some of the Privacy-related issues that are mentioned in the "License Term Agreement". (If you haven't read this paranoid document you really should...it opened up my eyes!)

    Here goes:

    1. "Network Awareness"-it says there is a Registry setting to change in order to turn off the "Active Query".
    What do I have to do to accomplish this?

    2. It mentions there is a Windows Firewall Configuration to determine if I want to enable the IPv6 Connectivity
    Service. I don't like the description of this 'service' as it states a continuous checking with something called
    "Teredo" to verify connection to the IPv6 service. (teredo.ipv6.microsoft.com) This sounds quite intrusive,
    especially since it sends connectivity info to Microsoft continuously. Is this IPv6 service necessary, & why
    does Microsoft need to know about it? If I don't need this I'd like to configure my Firewall as it says in the
    Agreement. Should I make the Firewall Configuration changes to block this service?

    3. How do I disable "Error Reporting"?

    4. How do I "Opt-Out" of the Personalized Advertising?

    5. Is it wise to "Block Cookies"? I always allow cookies in my browser, (I use Firefox), but it sounded like they
    were referring to something else.

    6. They mentioned "Accelerators" in IE that sends the URL info to the ISP, & they also mention the "one-time
    update of the Search Provider software" that will "try to update several times if not successful". I use Firefox
    for my Browser & DuckDuckGo as my Search Engine. Will not using IE, Google & Bing be enough for me to
    be able to avoid this issue with "Accelerators"?

    7. What's the deal with the "Smart Screen Filter"?

    And, finally...

    8. Do you have the link for the Registry Fix to eliminate the picture of Seattle & just go to the Log-in screen?

    I hope I explained everything correctly...I'm not well-versed in the technology side of computers, so I hope I made sense. If not, just ask & I'll try to fill in the blanks.

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    Gratefully,
    DogPal

    "Dogs may not be our whole life but they make our lives whole"
    by Roger Caras

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    my thoughts


    Dont like the way the major sign in/login is my email address great way to get stitched up if your hacked.
    in firefox i use the options see screenshot.
    duck/duck searches bing and google its an intermediary not a true engine.
    opt out and smart screen can be turned off/changed within pc settings
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ffset.PNG  
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 70
    windows 8.1


    system:
    configure outgoing firewall
    configure Task Scheduler
    configure services
    configure registry
    disable store completely

    browser (FF only, I don't have experience with any other):
    1) very long list but:
    -about:config
    -set of plugins privacy oriented
    --several official plugins work as malware see below
    Warning: Your Browser Extensions Are Spying On You
    and
    Warning: Your Browser Extensions Are Spying On You - How-To Geek Discussion
    -do not install Flash (if really needed use IE with MS pre-installed flash)

    get VPN
    - no US based
    - no logging whatsoever
    - well... you need to trust them
    - test DNS leak
    - test speed (little degradation as possible)
    (- connection encryption should not be confused with authentication encryption)
    get DNS that does not keep logs (and it is fast: e.g. DNScrypt, OpenNIC and few others) or get filtering DNS servers (e.g OpenCrypt) who keep logs but filter content (so less malware, not trusted sites).

    Takes 1 day to configure if you know where to look for and what to change
    tests for browser:
    Whoer.net - find out IP address: Extended version
    https://panopticlick.eff.org/ (hint lower number than better)
    IP check
    BrowserSpy.dk


    DNS leak test:
    https://www.dns-oarc.net/oarc/services/dnsentropy
    DNS leak test

    Above test will tell you to the extent how private you are.

    Changing Win8x to win7 does not make sense. If you are that paranoid, get BSD or Linux (but not Ubuntu and such).

    hope this will help a little
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 1,883
    7601.18247.x86fre.win7sp1


    Quote Originally Posted by Michal View Post
    Changing Win8x to win7 does not make sense.
    Sure it does. Win 8 has known backdoors while Win 7 might still have some too, it does not have these same known backdoors.

    There are many other reasons, but that alone is enough.

    There are entire governments and technology groups giving warnings against Win 8.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 70
    windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by MasterChief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Michal View Post
    Changing Win8x to win7 does not make sense.
    Sure it does. Win 8 has known backdoors while Win 7 might still have some too, it does not have these same known backdoors.

    There are many other reasons, but that alone is enough.

    There are entire governments and technology groups giving warnings against Win 8.
    Whoa,
    1) this is one of these several unfounded warnings: always show one (backdoor), otherwise this is just talk
    2) .. and just in the case: are you so nave to believe that if win8 has backdoor, win7 is clean?
    3) these accusations are known from quite long time, so either don't use windows, or deal with the fact that any version of win (in fact NSA claims that they don't have any problems with getting control over win7)
    4) entire governments? Do you mean these who had no clue that NSA is spying on them? Really?

    5) get yourself BSD or Linux (as I mentioned above)

    Privacy has not much to do with NSA and such for long time in the case of windows, but you can protect yourself from other spying entities and that is whole point.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 24
    Windows 8 64-bit


    Hi Everyone!

    Well, I'm not sure if I'm glad that I found others who are as suspicious of Micro$oft as I am, but at least it's nice that you understand my concerns.

    That being said, I'm not very tech-savvy. I've used a computer since 1999 when a friend gave me an old PC that ran Win 95.
    The first PC I bought new was a Dell that ran the wonderful Win XP. Despite all the years since I started I only use my PC for email, games, playing music & looking up subjects that interest me. I was able to understand some of the instructions that were posted, but there was much that went over my head.

    Some of you mention Linux...I've heard of it, but how is it different from Windows? Is this OS as vulnerable to hacks, viruses,
    malware, etc. like Windows is?

    I have another laptop that runs Win 7, but it slid off the bed & the HDD died. The little I know about an OS is that you're not
    "allowed" to put it on any other PC, especially if the manufacturer installed it. I asked a technician if he could do that as my older laptop had a bigger display, etc. & he said he's not allowed to & that his company "discourages" his clients from doing it.
    That sounded like some people do it but they're breaking a law or something.

    Many of the instructions listed were confusing because I'm just a novice. If it's not too much trouble, would those who posted list their instructions more simply & in more detail? I'm not stupid, I'm just not very technically-minded.

    To hawkman...those are the settings I have in Firefox, too. I use DuckDuck because it's a secure site & they don't follow you around from site to site & they don't keep your IP address, etc. I don't visit any site that I'd be embarrassed about, it's just that it's nobody's business if I look up a medicine that's been prescribed, or watch old sitcoms on YouTube or whatever.

    To Michal...all the info looked great, but I got lost. For example, what is VPN? Thanks for the links about the "browser spying on you". I'll definitely check those out. Most of your other great info was hard for me to understand; but, I DO appreciate all the effort.

    I hope I explained things better & I hope you'll all keep posting so I can learn more about the inner workings of my laptop. I have a personal rule that I follow..."learn something new every day". I've always loved knowledge & I hope you don't give up on me!!!

    Thanks for your posts & I look forward to more of them. I didn't put a check-mark indicating that I accepted the License Agreement yet. I need to know what other users do to protect themselves from the evil creeps at Micro$oft, the NSA, etc.
    Meanwhile, we should pray that someone will read our Constitution before it's too late!!!

    Thanks again...I really appreciate your help.

    Gratefully,
    DogPal

    "Dogs may not be our whole life but they make our lives whole"
    by Roger Caras
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 70
    windows 8.1


    Hi DogPal,
    First and very important thing: don't get too paranoid. To be honest I doubt that you can really hide from NSA-like organizations, so I would concentrate on lesser evil.

    VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. VPN is used to secure your connections (half-way only, second half requires HTTPS - which for example - eightforums.com is not using) and make your activity invisible (to the extent).

    If you are using windows since 1990 (and privacy was not a big concern for you), I would suggest to take it slow, do not try to fix everything at once. Make plan and ask specific questions as it is difficult to explain everything without doing some damage.

    To the list of MasterChief add ShowIP - (confirms actual IP address of the site so no IP forgery possible), RequestPolicy, NoRedirect

    With all the above you will still need for more thorough disk cleaning from internet activity: Privazer, BitBleach, CCleaner (optional) to run periodically and clean most of temp files. All three programs require configuration, so read FAQ and help for each of the programs to understand what files will be deleted and in what way.

    Most importantly, do not visit (if possible) untrusted sites.

    [Some of you mention Linux...I've heard of it, but how is it different from Windows? Is this OS as vulnerable to hacks, viruses,
    malware, etc. like Windows is?
    To be honest, all is in the configuration: unix-like systems can be much more secure than windows, but you need to learn how to take care of things. I would first learn how to control windows, then learn how to run unix-like systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterChief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DogPal View Post
    Some of you mention Linux...I've heard of it, but how is it different from Windows? Is this OS as vulnerable to hacks, viruses,
    malware, etc. like Windows is?
    No, malware is virtually non-existent on Linux.
    of course it is - thanks to java/javascript
    New Java-based malware can infect Windows, Mac OS X and Linux systems | SiliconANGLE

    Flash is using crossdomain.xml, so I would to install it if possible.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 1,883
    7601.18247.x86fre.win7sp1


    Quote Originally Posted by MasterChief View Post
    No, malware is virtually non-existent on Linux.
    Quote Originally Posted by Michal View Post
    of course it is - thanks to java/javascript
    New Java-based malware can infect Windows, Mac OS X and Linux systems | SiliconANGLE

    Flash is using crossdomain.xml, so I would to install it if possible.
    Virtually - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    : very nearly : almost entirely



    Full Definition of VIRTUALLY

    1
    : almost entirely : nearly

    2
    : for all practical purposes <virtually unknown>

    See virtually defined for English-language learners

    Java is not even installed by default in Ubuntu, which is the distro I recommended.

    I think you're confused. Java and Javascript are entirely different and do not share the same vulnerabilities.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 70
    windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by MasterChief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MasterChief View Post
    No, malware is virtually non-existent on Linux.
    Quote Originally Posted by Michal View Post
    of course it is - thanks to java/javascript
    New Java-based malware can infect Windows, Mac OS X and Linux systems | SiliconANGLE

    Flash is using crossdomain.xml, so I would to install it if possible.
    Virtually - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    : very nearly : almost entirely



    Full Definition of VIRTUALLY

    1
    : almost entirely : nearly

    2
    : for all practical purposes <virtually unknown>

    See virtually defined for English-language learners

    Java is not even installed by default in Ubuntu, which is the distro I recommended.

    I think you're confused. Java and Javascript are entirely different and do not share the same vulnerabilities.
    Then, you need to understand what you are citing:
    the fact that someone developed (maybe) first cross platform malware means that this is only a beginning, so no need to try and check Merriam-Webster. So nearly "nonexistent" soon will be a problem. I was just pointing to the problem.

    It appears on the other hand that you do not understand "/" sign. / in English text means "or".
    While java cross platform may be new, problems with javascript are well known and (while not malware) will cause privacy problems in any OS.
    Personally, I always think that virtually all people suggesting switch from windows to Linux on this forum are Linux novices.
    1) Ubuntu has in own history the biggest security hole among all OSes
    2) switching from one OS to another while not really having experience with first will not do any good. Sooner or later problems will crop up.

    On the side note, you should leave correcting English and definitions to the right forum, this is windows 8 forum (unless you do not understand what this means?). Your last post has nothing to do with the topic.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 1,883
    7601.18247.x86fre.win7sp1


    Hey, there are literally at least hundreds of millions of other balls belonging to others online to bust. Maybe you find your way off mine?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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