“Appropriate paranoia” at ITU’s first cryptoparty
Workshop on online privacy drew a full house – two ITU-students organized the event.
They are a bit like Santa Claus - they know when you are sleeping and whether you have been good or bad. The cell phones in our pockets and companies like Google and Facebook are watching us, and know more about us than even our best friends.
So what can you do if you want to avoid the constant online surveillance? That was the question at ITU’s first cryptoparty, which took place in a packed classroom on November 26. More than 50 students showed up to get tips on protecting private data. The cryptoparty was organized by Sofus Albertsen and Mikkel Villebro, who are studying Software Development and Digital Media and Design at ITU.
"We all have iPhones on our pockets that are constantly monitoring where we are, who we’re with, and what we say and do. This gives us a lot of new opportunities, but also means that our data can be exploited. Big companies are making a lot of money from profiling us, and I think that’s something you should at least be aware of, "said Sofus Albertsen.
Not just for naughty people
Henrik Kramshøj, Security Consultant at Zencurity, opened his presentation on data protection by urging participants to become "appropriately paranoid." Unencrypted emails are like old-fashioned postcards, he explained. In principle, anyone can read them on their digital journey to the receiver.
Big companies are making a lot of money from profiling us, and I think that’s something you should at least be aware of.
Sofus Albertsen, co-organiser «
For this reason, he believes everyone should consider encrypting data, for instance by using the Tor browser. This allows internet users to surf anonymously by sending traffic through a string of servers located in different parts of the world.
"Some would argue that only 'naughty' people use Tor, but that’s not the case. You have to imagine that the worst possible political party comes into power and decides to go back in time and see what you have searched for online. For example, if they suddenly decided that helping refugees should be forbidden and you have made searches on helping refugees, this could incriminate you and have an impact on your life. So it’s a good idea even for ordinary people to hide more information."
Workshop on encryption tools
The cryptoparty ended with a workshop introducing participants to tools like Signal, a mobile messaging app, TrueCrypt, which encrypts data on hard drives and the Tor browser.
"The goal of the cryptoparty is that participants come home with at least one application that will make you more secure - either by becoming more anonymous or learning how to send encrypted messages that others can’t read," said Sofus Albertsen.
The organizers are planning to have another cryptoparty at ITU in the spring semester.