Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2024-02-20T11:04:03+01:00

Questions and answers, background information and further links on online security, privacy and data protection.

Custom ROMs based on Android2024-03-02T01:04:58+01:00

Custom ROMs based on Android are essentially modified versions of the Android operating system. They offer new features, a different user interface, enhanced performance, and the ability to customize aspects of the device that are typically not available in the official firmware provided by the device manufacturer. Here’s a broad overview of what they entail:

Why People Use Custom ROMs

  1. New Features and Customization: Custom ROMs often introduce features not found in the official version of Android or the version provided by the device manufacturer. They allow for extensive customization of the interface, settings, and overall functionality of the device.
  2. Improved Performance: Many custom ROMs are optimized for better performance than the stock firmware. They might offer better resource management, leading to faster device operation and longer battery life.
  3. Regular Updates: Some older devices stop receiving official updates from the manufacturer. Custom ROMs can provide these devices with the latest version of Android and new security patches, extending their useful life.
  4. Removing Bloatware: Custom ROMs typically do not include the manufacturer or carrier-installed apps (bloatware) that many users find unnecessary. This can lead to a cleaner, more streamlined user experience.
  5. Root Access: Installing a custom ROM can provide rooted access to the device, allowing for even deeper customization and the ability to install specialized apps that require root permissions.

Popular Custom ROMs

  • LineageOS: A successor to the popular CyanogenMod, offering a close-to-stock experience with additional features and supported by a wide range of devices.
  • GrapheneOS: A private and secure mobile operating system with Android app compatibility. Developed as a non-profit open source project.

Considerations Before Installing

  • Warranty Voidance: Installing a custom ROM can void your device’s warranty.
  • Risks Involved: There’s a risk of bricking your device if the installation process is not followed correctly.
  • Security: Not all custom ROMs go through rigorous security checks. Users need to be cautious and use ROMs from reputable sources.
  • Compatibility: Not all ROMs are compatible with every device. It’s essential to use a ROM specifically designed for your device model.

Installation Basics

  1. Unlocking the Bootloader: The first step usually involves unlocking the device’s bootloader, which is manufacturer-dependent.
  2. Installing a Custom Recovery: A custom recovery like TWRP (Team Win Recovery Project) is typically installed, which facilitates the installation of the custom ROM.
  3. Flashing the ROM: The actual process of installing the new firmware (ROM) involves wiping the device and flashing the new ROM file using the custom recovery.

Conclusion

Custom ROMs can rejuvenate older hardware, offer new features, and personalize the user experience but come with their risks and challenges. It’s crucial for users to thoroughly research and follow detailed guides specific to their device when attempting to install a custom ROM.

Digital Self-Defense2024-02-20T12:48:36+01:00

Digital self-defense (or defensive security) simply stands for defending of your online privacy and liberty rights against invasive technologies, internet platforms, and encroaching investigative agencies.

End-to-End Encryption2024-02-20T13:04:59+01:00

End-to-end encryption (also known as E2EE) is an important digital protection feature for online security and privacy. With E2EE, every single message is encrypted. Only sender and receiver can read this message, at its “end”, in plain text. End-to-end encryption protects the:

  • Confidentiality: Only sender and receiver can read the messages in plain text.
  • Authenticity of a message: The authenticity of the sender is verified. It is really the person who is indicated as the sender.
  • Integrity: The message cannot be changed unnoticed (by third parties) on its way between sender and recipient.

Examples of E2EE are messaging services like Signal, Threema or WhatsApp, encrypted email or secure cloud storage like Tresorit.

Freedom Rights2024-02-20T13:04:11+01:00

Means here the digital freedom rights, especially the right to privacy, the right to self-determination and protection against manipulation.

Open Source2024-02-23T21:22:58+01:00

Open source refers to software whose source code is freely available for anyone to inspect, modify, and distribute. This contrasts with proprietary software, where the source code is typically kept secret by the developer or vendor.

The importance of open source for online privacy and security stems from several key factors:

  1. Transparency: Open source software allows users to inspect the source code, enabling a transparent view of how the software operates. This transparency fosters trust among users as they can verify that the software does what it claims to do and does not contain any hidden malicious code or vulnerabilities.
  2. Community scrutiny: With open source software, a global community of developers, security experts, and enthusiasts can review the code for bugs, vulnerabilities, and other security issues. This collective scrutiny often leads to quicker identification and resolution of security flaws compared to proprietary software, where security vulnerabilities may remain hidden or undisclosed.
  3. Rapid updates and patches: Because open source projects are often maintained by a community of developers, updates and patches for security vulnerabilities can be released more rapidly. This agility helps mitigate the risk of exploitation by malicious actors and ensures that users have access to the latest security enhancements.
  4. Customization and flexibility: Open source software can be customized and adapted to suit specific privacy and security requirements. Organizations and individuals can modify the software to enhance security features, remove unnecessary functionalities that may pose privacy risks, or integrate additional security measures as needed.
  5. Vendor independence: By using open source software, users are not tied to a single vendor or provider for ongoing support and maintenance. This reduces dependence on proprietary solutions and gives users more control over their technology stack, which can enhance privacy and security by reducing reliance on closed, potentially opaque systems.

Overall, open source plays a crucial role in promoting online privacy and security by offering transparency, community scrutiny, rapid updates, customization options, and vendor independence. These characteristics empower users to make informed decisions about the software they use and contribute to a more secure and privacy-respecting digital ecosystem.

OSINT – Open Source Intelligence2024-02-23T21:24:39+01:00

OSINT, or Open Source Intelligence, refers to the process of collecting and analyzing information from publicly available sources to support decision-making. This can include data from the internet, traditional mass media (such as newspapers, television, and radio), publications, government reports, financial assessments, and other publicly accessible sources. OSINT is used across various fields including security, law enforcement, intelligence, business, and journalism, to gather insights, assess threats, conduct background checks, and inform strategic decisions without resorting to clandestine or covert methods.

Would you like something answered? Are you missing something on the list? Then …

Go to Top