TrueCaller and Breach of Privacy

Tomorrow I came across this site called http://www.truecaller.com and found my number listed in its phone directory without permissions from my side. Of course I un-listed it and then searched for numbers of my family and friends.. Again I found some there without their permissions. This I believe is a breach of privacy. And if you don’t want your number listed there, go unlist it now. Any contact details available in this form is made available to the users of the TrueCaller app and this way, your number too might become public.

The swedish appmakers claim that data is gathered through partnerships with the white/yellow pages services available. But as you may find (and as I found), the names corresponding to many numbers are very much like how someone in your friend or family might have saved it. So, of course it is accessing all these contacts from the smartphones as it is too easy to access the contacts. It is pretty much like – “You must give your details and your friends’ details if you wish to use our service.” When someone selects to download and install this app and permits its requirements, I believe only his/her information should be uploaded.. why are others getting listed?? People like me have never authorized TrueCaller to provide our information to others.

If you wish to stop sharing your contact details with this app and its users, please un-list yourself as described below:

1> Go to http://www.truecaller.com

2> Search for your number.

3> Un-list it. You will have to fill-in the Captcha.

Also tell your friends and dear ones about it. Everyone has a right to opt out and must decide for themselves only.

Difficulties of a Programmer : The Hardest Ones

Programmers are people around us who write codes and make things work. Things like Facebook, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Firefox etc. They are all around you.. and who knows even you may take a liking of constructing these apps and become a programmer!!

Programmers think and work differently as compared to general public. The understanding of codes bring an understanding of processes, of life and universe as well. “The answer Continue reading

Proton Mail : New NSA-Proof Free E-mail Service

Ho there! once again a new tool has been invented for the people just out of the need to hide from prying eyes of self-proclaimed grand-master of the world – USA and its right hand – the NSA.

After LavaBit went down against NSA policies, there seemed no existence of privacy online for a long period of time. All the giants – Google/Microsoft/Facebook etc. have always been tracking your location, choices, searches, likes, posts … (the list can go on and on until it includes almost everything we do or want to do). That is the reason for the phrase – “Facebook knows us better than ourselves”. This is why all those who knew and understood this were trying to find another veil to hide from the NSA. Well everybody knows the feeling of constantly tracking eyes from somewhere in their life.

ProtonMail

ProtonMail

And now comes ProtonMail – claiming to provide the veil, the security, the encryption and that too for FREE. It has been developed by a bunch of MIT and Harvard students who came together “by a shared vision of a more secure and private Internet”. It is claimed to be safer than LavaBit actually.

According to the developers, the benefits of Proton Mail are:

1. Legal Jurisdiction

ProtonMail’s parent corporation is incorporated in Switzerland. So, all user data is protected by the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act(DPA) and the Swiss Federal Data Protection Ordinance which offers some of the strongest privacy protection in the world for both individuals and entities. Only a court order from the Cantonal Court of Geneva or the Swiss Federal Supreme Court can compel the release of collected user information.

2. Zero Access to User Data

As the developers claim, they don’t have any access to user data. ProtonMail’s segregated authentication and decryption system means logging into a ProtonMail account that requires two passwords. The first password is used to authenticate the user and retrieve the correct account. After that, encrypted data is sent to the user. The second password is a decryption password which is never sent to them. It is used to decrypt the user’s data in the browser so they never have access to the decrypted data, or the decryption password. For this reason, they are also unable to do password recovery. If you forget your decryption password, they cannot recover your data.

3. End-to-End Encryption

Messages are fully encrypted at all times. Messages are stored on ProtonMail servers in encrypted format. They are also transmitted in encrypted format between their server and users’ browsers. Messages between ProtonMail users are transmitted in encrypted form completely within their secured server network. Because users never leave the secured environment, there is no possibility to intercept the encrypted messages enroute.

4. 100% Anonymous

No tracking or logging of personally identifiable information. Unlike competing services, ProtonMail does not log user activity. It does not save any metadata such as the IPs used to connect to accounts, or the times certain accounts are accessed. It utilizes Google Analytics on only its homepage, but it has no ability to match that data with specific user accounts.

5. Self-Destructing Messages

Here, E-mails are no longer permanent. You can set an optional expiration time on ProtonMail’s encrypted emails, so they will be automatically deleted from the recipient’s inbox once they have expired. This way there are no “trails” of sent messages. Similar to SnapChat in a way, they’ve added a way for you to have even more ephemeral communication.

(…More…)

And Yeah! with these many reasons, they have received an overwhelming response which has surpassed their initial server capacity. Of course they are increasing no. of servers and you can request an Invite along with a desired mail-id. And good news is first batch of Invites have already been sent. So, move fast… and give it a try. Request an Invite here.

 

Re-installing GRUB boot loader in your PC

Are you using dual-boot in your system? And is this comprised of any Linux distro and Windows? If yes, then there is something essential for you – Re-installing GRUB bootloader if accidentally you overwrote it with boot.ini which is the bootloader of Windows. If you have installed your Linux distro after Windows, you will have access to both the Operating Systems. But if its not so, access to Linux distro would be lost as Windows assumes its the only OS installed.. isn’t it? So, let’s solve it->

1. First of all find out on which hard-drive partition you have installed Linux. (Let’s say it just sda1 here)
2. Run the bootable media and boot in Live CD mode.
3. Open a Terminal and write the following commands:

sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
sudo mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev
sudo mount --bind /dev/pts /mnt/dev/pts
sudo mount --bind /proc /mnt/proc
sudo mount --bind /sys /mnt/sys
sudo chroot /mnt
grub-install /dev/sda
grub-install --recheck /dev/sda
update-grub
exit
sudo umount /mnt/dev/pts
sudo umount /mnt/dev
sudo umount /mnt/proc
sudo umount /mnt/sys
sudo umount /mnt

4. Shut down and Restart your system after ejecting/detaching the bootable. You will get the GRUB screen back.

Congratulations you just reinstalled GRUB as your Bootloader.

First Things First : After Installing Ubuntu

After installing Ubuntu, you must have wondered what next… This new OS can’t even play an audio or video file.. But wait! this is not trash. Well you need to download required libraries to enable this feature here. In some countries, downloading them is not in accordance with law, so Ubuntu does not provide them with installation package. These are called ‘Ubuntu Restricted Extras‘. Well as a new user of Ubuntu you need to download and install many other applications too, or else you’ll have to do so later. Here I’ll provide two ways to download and install these applications. So, lets take a look at what you can do add to this fresh installation:

1. Ubuntu Restricted Extras

As stated above, these are essential requirements which must be installed just after finishing Ubuntu installation. They provide compatibility for audio and video formats like mp3 and mp4 files. It is a meta package which include:

  • Support for MP3 and unencrypted DVD playback
  • Microsoft TrueType core fonts
  • Flash plugin
  • codecs for common audio and video files

via Software Center – apt://ubuntu-restricted-extras

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

2. VLC Media Player

Well so now you can watch video and enjoy audio. So, let’s get our favorite media player – VLC. Remember you were using it on Windows too. So, let me tell you VLC is a FOSS and so available for Linux distros.

via Software Center – apt://vlc

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:videolan/stable-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vlc

3. Calibre

Calibre is an open source e-book library manager. It is meant to be a complete e-library solution. It includes library management, format conversion, news feed to e-book conversion as well as e-book reader sync features. Supported e-book formats are: MOBI, LIT, PRC, EPUB, ODT, HTML, CBR, CBZ, RTF, TXT, PDF and LRS.

via Software Center – apt://calibre

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:n-muench/calibre
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install calibre

Also via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo python -c "import sys; py3 = sys.version_info[0] > 2; u = __import__('urllib.request' if py3 else 'urllib', fromlist=1); exec(u.urlopen('http://status.calibre-ebook.com/linux_installer').read()); main()"

fff

4. Chromium Browser

The open source version of Google Chrome is Chromium Browser. If you like Chrome, use Chromium here. Its available in Software Center (Chrome isn’t).

via Software Center – apt://chromium-browser

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

5. Cairo Dock

Cairo-Dock is also known as GLX-Dock. Cairo-Dock is a pretty, light and convenient interface to your desktop, able to replace advantageously your system panel! It features multi-docks, taskbar, launchers and a lot of useful applets.

via Software Center – apt://cairo-dock

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cairo-dock-team/ppa

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xubuntu-dev/xfce-4.10
sudo apt-get update ppa:cairo-dock-team/ppa
sudo apt-get install cairo-dock

6. Bluefish Editor

Bluefish is a powerful editor targeted towards programmers and web-developers, with many options to write websites, scripts and programming code. Bluefish supports many programming and markup languages.

via Software Center – apt://bluefish

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo apt-get install bluefish

7. Guake Terminal

Guake is a drop-down terminal for GNOME Desktop Environment, so you just need to press a key to invoke him, and press again to hide. Guake supports hotkeys, tabs, background transparent, etc.

via Software Center – apt://guake

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo apt-get install guake -y

8. qBittorrent

qBittorrent is a feature rich but lightweight client that is very similar to uTorrent. Although Ubuntu already contains pre-installed torrent client Transmission, qBittorrent provides a better interface and believe me you’ll find it very familiar.

via Software Center – apt://qbittorrent

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:hydr0g3n/qbittorrent-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install qbittorrent

9. WINE

Wine is a compatibility layer for running Windows applications on Linux. Applications are run at full speed without the need of cpu emulation. Wine does not require Microsoft Windows, however it can use native system dll files in place of its own if they are available.

via Software Center – apt://wine1.4

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install wine

10. SteadyFlow

Steadyflow is a GTK+ based download manager that aims for minimalism, ease of use, and a clean, malleable codebase. It should be easy to control, whether from the GUI or command line.

via Software Center – apt://steadyflow

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sikon/steadyflow
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install steadyflow

11. Thunderbird

Thunderbird is a full-featured email, RSS and newsgroup client that makes emailing safer, faster and easier than ever before. It supports different mail accounts (POP, IMAP, Gmail), has a simple mail account setup wizard, one- click address book, tabbed interface, an integrated learning spam filter, advanced search and indexing capabilities, and offers easy organization of mails with tagging and virtual folders.

via Software Center – apt://thunderbird

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

wget http://releases.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/thunderbird/releases/24.3.0/linux-i686/en-US/thunderbird-24.3.0.tar.bz2 -O- | sudo tar xj -C /opt && sudo ln -s /opt/thunderbird/thunderbird /usr/bin/thunderbird

12. VirtualBox

Virtual Box can be used to create Virtual system. You must be familiar with this app from Windows if you ever needed such facility.

via Software Center – apt://virtualbox-qt

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox

13. Pidgin Messanger

Pidgin is a graphical, modular instant messaging client capable of using multiple networks at once. Currently supported are: AIM/ICQ, Yahoo!, MSN, IRC, Jabber/XMPP/Google Talk, Napster, Zephyr, Gadu-Gadu, Bonjour, Groupwise, Sametime, SIMPLE, MySpaceIM, and MXit.

via Software Center – apt://pidgin

via Terminal –

Open Terminal(Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pidgin-developers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pidgin

 

Installing Ubuntu 14.04 on your PC

Ubuntu 14.04 aka ‘Trusty Tahr’ was released last month. This release is the new LTS i.e. Long-Term-Support-version from Canonical. Also Ubuntu is coming to mobiles which are expected to hit market later this year. So, for fans of WinXP or for the newbies I explain the process of installing Ubuntu in your PCs.

Downloading the ISO

Well, first thing to do is getting the image file of Ubuntu 14.04. You can either get it from some friends around you or you may download it. The links for downloading Ubuntu are:

Installing the OS

1. After downloading the image file, burn it to a CD or an usb. To make a bootable usb, you can download YUMI or rufus.

https://i0.wp.com/www.pendrivelinux.com/wp-content/uploads/YUMI-Boot-Menu.pnghttps://i2.wp.com/cloud.addictivetips.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Rufus-v1.1.3.146.png
2. Now insert the CD or connect the usb to your PC and give it a reboot.
3. If the system still boots from the Hard Disk, you must change the boot device priority. Observe carefully, some information regarding this is shown on the first screen your PC shows. It is either F8 or F10 or F12.
4. On booting from your device, it shows a menu. Simply choose Install Ubuntu. The Try Ubuntu option can be used for Live CD mode.


5. The next step verifies system requirements like space available on Hard Disk or Internet Connection. It also shows an option to download updates and install third party apps. Leave them for now as they can be performed later too.


6. This step actually chooses the way Ubuntu will be installed on your system. Well, it provides 4 modes:

  • Erase Disk and Install Ubuntu: This option is gonna erase all the data stored on hard-disk before installing Ubuntu. To save any, backup must be taken. This option must not be selected if you are planning for a Dual-Boot.
  • Encrypt the new Ubuntu installation for security: This option requires a security key and encrypts the physical data to save them in case the system may get stolen.
  • Use LVM with Ubuntu: It refers to Logical Volume Management and is strictly for experienced users. Of course you may try it, but on your own risk.
  • Something Else: It allows to choose the partitions on which to install Ubuntu. We are gonna choose this.

 

7. On this step, we need to give some space for Ubuntu to live in:

  • Root Partition: The ‘root’ is represented as ‘/’ and must be formatted ‘ext4’ with a minimum 20GB space.
  • Swap: The ‘swap’ is traditionally given space of 2*RAM size.
  • You may choose to give space for /boot or /home etc. (all ext4 formatted)

8. After distributing space, hit Install Now (if you had given a different partition for /boot choose it or else, choose ‘/’).

9. On this screen, choose your location. This affects your time-zone, so fill it correctly.

10. Choose the Keyboard layout.

11. Fill in the form and choose whether to encrypt the ‘/home’ folder or not.

12. There is nothing more to do. Just wait for completion of installation.

13. After completion of installation, restart the system.

Congratulations, you just installed the latest version of Ubuntu on your system. Everything should work fine.

Know what your Torrent client says

qBittorrent Client

Torrents are the best source to download anything and everything shared online. And the client mostly used for such purposes is BitTorrent (or its derivations). But do you know the terms it uses to describe various data related to the torrent file..? Well these terms I present with their meanings:

Torrent: A torrent means the .torrent metadata file which contains data about all the files it makes downloadable, like their names and sizes. It also contains the address of a tracker that coordinates communication between the peers in a swarm.

Tracker: A tracker is a server alotted to any client which keeps track of the seeds and peers in the swarm. A tracker assigns information about different clients from where data could be downloaded. It does not store a copy of data or help in data transfer.

Peer: A peer represents a BitTorrent client running on some other computer from where other clients can connect and transfer data. It refers to a downloader, a client with only parts of the file.

Swarm: All peers and seeds are collectively known as swarm. This is a holdover from the predecessor to BitTorrent, the program Swarmcast.

Seed: A seed is a kind of peer which possess some parts of data. A peer becomes a seed when it starts uploading the already downloaded data for other peers to download from. Seeding refers to the process of leaving a peer’s connection available for other peers to download from. If possible, one should seed more data than download.

Client: Client is a program that enables p2p file sharing via BitTorrent protocol. (eg. utorrent and qBittorrent).

Downloader: A downloader is a peer that does not have the entire file and is downloading the file. A downloader also upload simultaneously thus differing from leeches.

p2p: Stands for ‘peer to peer’. It is the technology used for torrent file sharing among computers over the net. In such a network, each node (i.e. the computer connected) act as both a client and a server simultaneously.

Leech: A leech refers to a downloader with very poor share ratio. They download much more than what they upload thus causing a negative effect on the swarm. Leeches may be on asymmetric Internet connections or intentionally limit the uploading process to bare minimums.

Lurker: A lurker is a user that only downloades files from the group, but does not add new content. It seeds the downloaded data but does not add anything new.

Magnet Link: Magnet links use a mechanism different from a .torrent metafile which can be used to identify a set of files for BitTotternt based on content, as opposed to referencing any particular tracker.

Health: Health of a .torrent file shows whether all pieces are available to download. A 50% health means only half of the torrent is available. It has nothing to do with viruses or infections.

For a larger collection of such terms I advise to look here.