Archive for Privacy

EULAs – Text vs Reality – Battlefield Punk Buster use case scenario

Posted in Knowledge, Privacy with tags , on September 17, 2014 by Sirusdark

End User License Agreements (EULA) are those pesky long legal text documents that most people usually answer “YES”, “Next, next, next…”, “Finish” during software installs.

Let me tell you something: it’s NOT gibberish. I myself never bothered to read much of it, until I actually did start reading them. Since then, I’ve become an EULA addict avid reader: I now read every EULA out there for all the software, websites and services I use. Doing this has allowed me to understand many things like what companies can or cannot do when we agree/accept those EULAs.

Here’s a real true use case scenario of what the EULA’s text SAY vs the REALITY of what is means:

EA’s Battlefield

PunkBuster, a very invasive anti-cheat system is required to play most of EA’s multiplayer games, more specifically, the Battlefield franchise. Here are some examples of difference between EULA and reality:

1. Battelfield Free (web browser game)

EULA says: Punkbuster is not required to play the game.

Reality:  The installer doesn’t even proceed to install the game if you cancel Punk Buster’s installation.

 

2. Battlefield 3

EULA says : Punkbuster is not required to play the game. During the game install, you can choose to skip installing PunkBuster component. The game will run fine and play without a hitch.

Reality: 99.99% of all the game servers require PunkBuster to play online with other players. PunkBuster-less servers available: zero.

See? Although they abide by the EULA, the only available services require the anti-cheat component. If you ever take the time to read PunkBuster’s own EULA (I dare you), you’ll most likely never wanna  have such a program running on your computer, especially if you have any kind of sensitive information, important data, etc.

Conclusion

DO take the time to read legal documents. You WILL learn things and be more informed on what you’re getting into. Here’s one last example: the game Defiance’s EULA say that every chat sessions, text, voice, pictures or data will belong to the company and can be used as they see fit. It means they could take a voice recording of you and a friend within the game, make an ad out of it and you wouldn’t even have a say about it.

Enjoy EULAs!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

References
-http://www.evenbalance.com/
-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EULA
-http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1903684

Need help uninstalling PunkBuster? Lemme know! I just might just write an article about that…

How to – Bypass YouTube restriction without logging in Google

Posted in How to, Internet, Privacy, Tweaking with tags , , , , , , , on May 20, 2014 by Sirusdark

I noticed websites had embedded YouTube videos and not a single age restriction/login prompt. After making such an observation, I tried embedding videos in a simple custom HTML page and it worked!

Why

Ever wanted to watch a movie trailer on YouTube only to be asked to login to view it? Then you decide the movie isn’t to your liking, but Google thinks you like this type of movie and start showing weird videos/ads suggestions? I got fed-up with that.

Simpler, faster

Guess what? There’s an easier and simpler way to do it than manually coding an HTML page every time: JSFiddle!

1. Copy the YouTube embeded code from the video’s sharing option

2. Go on JSFiddle and paste-it in the HTML section

3. Run the code.

Voilà! Problem solved. Google won’t ask you to login and won’t associate the viewed video to your account, since you’re not logged in. Right?

Enjoy!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

How to clear Windows 8’s Jump Lists (aka Folder History)

Posted in Privacy, Tweaking, Windows with tags , , , on March 11, 2014 by Sirusdark

Here’s how to clear Windows 8‘s recent Jump Lists (aka Frequent File, Recent or Folder History) from your Taskbar shortcuts/icons. Note that you can also clear your recently opened programs, but that’s not desirable, as you’d also lose your Run history… Something very useful to keep if you work efficiently.

Jump the Jump Lists

First, right-click anywhere on an empty space of your Taskbar >go in Properties > then click the Jump Lists tab and ONLY uncheck:

[ ] Store and display recently opened items in Jump Lists

Click Apply, then re-check the box and click Apply. That’s it! Your Jump Lists history should now be empty.

Enjoy!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

Secure your personnal data – Part 2: FileZilla (FTP client)

Posted in Privacy, Security, Software, Tweaking with tags , , , , on April 16, 2013 by Sirusdark

Welcome to another ultra fast and simple how-to!

ABOUT

Why encrypt FileZilla’s config files? Well, by default FileZilla stores the information in plain text and if your computer gets compromised, you’ll regret it, a LOT. If you value your data, secure that information. Here’s how:

STEPS

1. Create a TrueCrypt encrypted container (50Mb or less) then mount it on the Drive letter of your choice. Let’s pick “Q:“.
2. Create a folder in that container (unless you want a whole container just for FileZilla) and let’s name it filezilla_config.
3. Now simply redirect FileZilla’s config in that folder by editing fzdefaults.xml (located in FileZilla’s ProgramFiles folder) like this:

<Setting name=”Config Location”>Q:\filezilla_config
</Setting>

4. Now, FileZilla’s data is secure and won’t even start until you mount again that encrypted container!
5. Since you’re using an encrypted container, keep multiple copies, stored in different places. Simple  precaution.

Enjoy!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

References:
-http://www.truecrypt.org/
-https://sirusdark.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/secure-your-personal-data-in-5-min/

How to clear VLC’s Network history list

Posted in Privacy, Software, Windows with tags , , on January 22, 2013 by Sirusdark

Hello!

Here’s another quick-tip tutorial! It’s about :

How to clean VLC’s network history!

All you need to do this tweak, is Notepad or Notepad++ (which I highly recommend). VLC can keep a history of your recently open files and you can choose to enable, disable or simply clean the history whenever you want. Okay, that’s cool… but I wasn’t able to clear the network history (files played from a URL).

vlc_network_history_001

So, after searching in VLC’s configuration files, I finally found it:

C:\Documents and Settings\*USER*\Application Data\vlc\vlc-qt-interface.ini

Once you’ve found this config file (.ini extension), exit VLC and simply edit the file in Notepad/Notepad++ and remove all the history (text) after the “netMRL=“.

vlc_network_history_002

That’s it! After you’ve removed the text, restart VLC and you’ll now have a brand new, clean history, ready to be filled again!

Enjoy!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

References
-http://www.videolan.org
-http://notepad-plus-plus.org
-http://www.gimp.org

Secure your personal data in 5 min

Posted in Privacy, Security, Software with tags , , on February 18, 2011 by Sirusdark

Welcome to an ultra fast and simple how-to.

 

ABOUT

You are now going to learn how to secure important data in less than 5 minutes. There are other ways to secure data, but the following method is meant to be fast, easy, reliable and free. TrueCrypt is an Open Source encryption program that simple, fast, secure (as in military-grade), used by millions of people (don’t believe it? -> TrueCrypt Stats) and is free!

 

GOAL

-Protect sensitive and/or private data. For real.

-Do so with a reliable, flexible and free solution.

 

NOTES

-This tutorial is aimed at a Windows environment. Instructions for other OS may differ.

-Few details and explanation are given. Get going and secure your stuff today.

-I do not provide ANY kind of help. Read & enjoy!

 

STEPS (read first, then go for it!)

1. Download TrueCrypt. (http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads) ONLY download form TrueCrypt.org.

2. Install TrueCrypt in portable mode, which is simple to do: select “extract” instead of install. This means you could choose to extract the files on a USB key and get yourself a portable military-grade encryption software anywhere you go.

3. Start TrueCrypt. (TrueCrypt.exe) You may create a shortcut if you want.

4. Press “Create volume” -> Next (Create an encrypted file container) -> Next (Standard TruCrypt volume). Click “Select file” (I know, it’s weird, because we are creating a new file… anyway). Pick a name, save and click Next -> Next (Encryptions Options).

5. Volume Size – Now choose how big you want your container/volume to be. Pick a small size, but not too small. 50Mb is what I recommend (which is enough for personal information). Why small? To make this encrypted container portable and easy to upload/download/backup, etc. If you want or need bigger, go for it.

6. After you’ve define the size, create a password. You cannot recover a lost password with TrueCrypt. Consider yourself warned.

7. Volume Format – Choose NTFS (unless you have specific needs). Leave the rest as is (cluster: default, dynamic: unchecked) Move your mouse around to generate a random encryption algorithm.

8. Click “Format” to create your encrypted volume with the parameters you just configured. Exit.

9. To use the volume, select any drive letter you want to use. Then, “Select file“, choose your volume (yes you can have many volumes) and click “mount“. Tadam!

10. You can now create, move files/folders in your mounted volume just like any files in Windows. Exit TrueCrypt and you will notice it minimized into an icon in the tray bar. TrueCrypt won’t shutdown if you have a volume mounted.

11. Unmount the volume and you have a secure vault impossible to crack without the password. Keep copies & backups of it anywhere you want, no one can access the content anyway. Now you can close TrueCrypt.

 

There. No more excuses for lost or stolen data.

 

You could store your volume(s)/files for free on Dropbox (2Gb), SkyDrive (25Gb/5Gb Synced), Google Docs (undefined limit), etc. Or keep copies on external hard drives, USB keys, cell phone, etc. Go crazy.

 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial as much I did making it! Feel free to comment and report any mistakes.

 

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

References
-http://www.truecrypt.org/
-http://www.truecrypt.org/statistics