Back to School and watch out for security and your preinstalled sofware!

This may be a back-to-school like no other in recent history. Kyle Rankin, chief security officer of Purism, has an interesting article about privacy as schools start online this year. While many schools use Google docs or Chromebooks, it is important to use your school account which is legally not allowed to be tracking as much.

(If you do use Google docs for education please also check out Autocorrect remover which makes it better for learners!)

It’s also worth checking your device whether it has any “special” certificates – or “helpful software” they send to connect to university wifi. Beware, this has been been known to make man-in-the-middle network monitoring possible as described here.

It should be noted however that man-in-the-middle may be useful in certain cases – mitmproxy for example lets you check what apps on your own device and see what apps are sending out.

If you are upgrading your pc this year, and wiping and old one to give away (there is a shortage of computers for students this year!), please see this article – but there is actually an easier terminal command to wipe a drive with zeros. From pretty much any Linux/Ubuntu live boot usb/cd, find what that drive is (generally “/dev/sda1” or similar), and wipe all data with:

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda1

as explained here.