I get asked a lot by family and friends if they should invest in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. My advice is always ‘no’ and usually providing the anecdote of how I lost about $2,500 (initial buy in, valued at $5200 at the time of loss) when Mt.Gox went under is enough to deter others. If it isn’t, I then tell them that even Warren Buffet limits his investments to businesses he understands and I ask them if they understand what a cryptocurrency, proof of stake, proof of work, hot storage, cold storage or a blockchain is. And if that isn’t enough I’ll just ask them if they heard how one guy tinkering with contracts accidentally nuked $150 million in Ethereum.
The problem: You like to keep your devices charged when traveling but carrying the A/C adapter is a nuisance given it’s size. It’s just so much easier to carry just the cable. But what if those public charging stations have been compromised and someone is using it to steal data? Seems unlikely, right? But ATM skimmers are everywhere so it’s likely only a matter of time. You rely on the ‘Trust this device?’ prompt that iOS and Android give you, but it is not impossible that hackers could compromise the device and prevent the popup. Your phone data may not seem important but think of what it contains - photos of friends and family, your phone book, calendar, cached emails/websites/texts/call history, eBooks, music preferences, etc. Everything someone would need to determine if you are worth being targetted and the information to do it.
With part 1 out of the way, everything from here on is intended to be factual and unbiased, but not guaranteed to be inclusive of all things privacy related.
Most of my life has been spent doing nerd things in the name of national defense. It has caused me to become a bit of tinfoil hat wearing, paranoid, nerd but that’s not the point of this writing. I’ve found that a lot of friends and family think I’m ridiculous about it and as a result tend to scoff at some of the realities. This is an attempt to break down the current privacy situation as I see it and why it may matter for you. This isn’t targetted at my fellow tinfoilers, but for the average person that ever thought “maybe I should read up on that topic.” I have provided sources where possible and hovering over links will give a brief description. I’ll try to limit my opinions to this:
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