Happy new year: The lists post

It’s the time for the New Year blog post. Since I only seem to average one post every three to four months anymore, I’ll aim to make it count. Instead of a rant or some massive infoSec how-to post, I decided I’d go with the giant post of top five lists format. With that in mind…

Top 5 infosec / digital safety go-to guides

These are security guides you should consult to improve your ability to not get hacked, robbed, doxxed or attacked online in 2019. None of them require any special technical abilities. Controlling your bits and who accesses them is something you can start doing with a few simple steps.

  1. Digital Security Guide for Friends and Loved Ones
  2. The Security Planner
  3. Rory Peck Trust’s Digital Security Resource for freelancers
  4. XKpasswd: a strong, memorable password resource and generator
  5. The Ultimate Guide to Two-Factor Authentication

Current Top 5 Software/app list to try/adopt

  1. OnionShare with Receive Mode: It’s already been a good piece of software for securely sending confidential files over the internet, creating a temporary, direct Tor-only link directly from the file on your computer for your recipient, that leaves no trace once the transfer is complete. With receive mode, you can now offer your contacts an easy, secure link to send you files as well, encrypted and anonymously.
  2. Standard Notes: In my continued, largely frustrating efforts to find both time and motivation to write, I’ve been checking out this one, and it’s both really minimalistic and powerful in all the right places. May actually invest in the extended version.
  3. Related to the above, the Literature and Latte writing apps seem pretty lush, and possibly a good mix of what I miss from classic Ulysses before it morphed into something completely different, but with all the format options needed to poop out a properly formatted manuscript you’d want to send somebody.
  4. KeePassXC isn’t new, but it’s really arrived as a nice, usable piece of secure open source software. May become a daily driver for passes.
  5. I ran with Pinboard over the course of 2018, and will renew the subscription for another year (eventually). It’s a great research tool/bookmark saver that does everything I want without all the annoying format, media card, social stuff that the other Delicious clones clutter themselves with.

The top 5 screen resolutions

  1. Fewer public facing online accounts. I started keeping a record of my online accounts kill list in 2018, but kind of fell off the habit of deleting accounts for the last few months. In one password manager I’ve organised the ones to boot, and the goal for this year is to remove myself from more accounts than I actually sign up for.
  2. Bury the Facebook accounts in lead coffins. Toward the latter part of 2017 I disabled my Facebook account, and didn’t do anything with it in 2018. Now plan to delete that one and also migrate off of its other properties: Instagram and WhatsApp. All tech giants are problematic, but Facebook’s executive level has taken it to new toxic low points. Zero interest in the privacy needs of its user community, unacknowledged complicity in incitement campaigns that have led to massacres in the Philippines and Myanmar, it’s weird deals with the likes of Cambridge Analytica, and attempts to smear its critics are just last year’s laundry list. It needs to be Myspaced.
  3. Less Twitter, more Fediverse. I still find scrolling Twitter fairly useful, but there are better, more resilient models on which to run online discourse. The future is decentralised, and what the internet was built for.
  4. Host more things, and master Kubernetes.
  5. Remake this website off of WordPress. It’s still a gosh darn good CMS, but I’d like to get into other Frameworks the utilise markdown and flat site generation. I’ve been playing more with Hugo, and am also mulling Wagtail as an option. I’ve found WP’s latest switch to incorporate the Gutenberg wysiwyg kind of buggy and more clunky.

Stop, start and keep

2018 was a wreck, and prelude to a darker year ahead, in which Brexit gets real, the U.S. starts another round of embarrassment that is a presidential election campaign, and more dumb things emerge as the humans continue to not be able to deal with the complex systems the species has made for itself. During this shit show, we should all make resolutions to treat one another better, given that the world continues to dispense enough face slapping as it is. In some kinds of information security/digital safety trainings there’s a period in which participants say what they’ll start doing as a result (some positive activity they don’t yet do), stop doing (an existing negative habit) and something they’ll keep at (since we’re all doing something right)

For 2019, I hope to…

Stop writing short pithy things on social-type websites and divert that time to longer more satisfying writing or other projects that are much more worth the while.

Start working on those (above mentioned) projects by actually picking something off the growing list and getting on with it.

Keep the present brew of misanthropic, nihilistic optimism on our chances of turning anything around.