Local Tech Repair: Encryption for Teens

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Encryption for Teens

In todays world teen need to protect them selves from other teens and maybe want to keep their information secret from their parents.
Just a note you should have a open and good relationship with your parents and you should not really be saying things online that you do not want your parents to see or read.
but saying that there are some things i wish i new when i was a teen. that is how to keep my conversations secret from other people.

Email. most of you probably use facebook for twitter to keep in contact with your friends. though you may be required to give your parents access to your facebook account and in doing so don't want to talk privately on facebook with your friends.  also you may have heard of programs of firesheep and others that will capture your conversations between you and your friends because facebook does not encrypt their chat program on their facebook page.

well for those of use that grew up back in the msn/AIM era we used those chat programs that did not use any form of encryption and our parents had watching software that would log all our conversions on our computer with our friends.

well here is some ways to help protect your privacy.
if you use traditional email(aka gmail) to talk to your friends your in luck for having more security.
one thing that i have talked about before on here was email security but let me put it in terms that you and your friends may care about. a lot of times i had friends over and they would get on my computer and look through things and i never knew if they snuck a peak at my emails or not. or i was showing a friend an email and they where able to see the other emails i had.

so encryption will help protect you from both of these situations. if you using a email client like Thunderbird you will be able to have more control over your email and in turn be able to encrypt it so that even google can't read it.
http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/14/google-engineer-fired-security/
so how can you protect your self from all these threats on your privacy.
If you have your Thunderbird set up to your email service all you need to do is add https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/71/
this is an easy way to encrypt your conversations with people you know. so get your friends to use it and then you should be secure.

an even easier way of talking is using pidgen IM client this client works with a lot of different chat programs like facebook, AIM, msn, and what not. and with the OTR http://www.cypherpunks.ca/otr/ you can easily talk on facebook chat in privacy with other users that use OTR messaging plugin for their client also. so no more parents or pesky neighbors spying on your IM conversations with your friends.

Also do you want your parents or anyone else getting your passwords when you are at a coffee shop or surfing online when your at home?

to help protect against strangers hacking your facebook or parents getting into your facebook account or twitter or anywhere else that you login to...
add this plugin to your firefox
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/06/encrypt-web-https-everywhere-firefox-extension
this will make it a lot harder for anyone looking to steal your passwords.

I hope this helps you start thinking about computer security as a teen and keep your life more private.

Any tools you find helpful? post them in comments.