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Re: [gNewSense-users] basic questions about gNS

From: Ted Smith
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] basic questions about gNS
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2009 16:33:57 -0500

On Mon, 2009-02-16 at 16:23 -0500, Bubba cakes wrote:
> Hi, all,
> I hope this is the right list...
> I have some basic questions, and I wonder if this is the place to ask
> them.
Probably as good as any. :)
> I want to know about internet security, how to keep my computer from
> being infected with viruses, spamware, spyware, adware,
> whatever-ware...
> Is there a program that I can run to check all my files and drives for
> security problems?
> What about a firewall?  
> Actually, I don't know what I need.  I'm a construction guy, and need
> you computer guys to tell me what to do.
You don't need any of the above.

Going through the list, there's no such thing as viruses, adware,
spyware, whatever, for GNU/Linux. This is for a combination of reasons
-- the system isn't a very alluring target for bot herders, but it's
also built much more securely than Windows, so it's much harder to

By default, gNewSense doesn't have any network services active, meaning
there's no reason to use a firewall.

If you really want to run security programs, I suggest chkrootkit and
rkhunter. They are programs that install themselves to run automatically
every so often and report on how vulnerable or 'hacked' the system
looks. They can have a lot of false positives though, so unless you want
to learn more about security, I wouldn't bother with them.

> I would like to be able to browse the internet without being monitored
> by anyone.  I would also like to send emails without receiving ten
> freakin advertisements based on words I just sent to someone.  Is this
> possible?
In a sense. However, I don't think you're meaning exactly what you're

You could set up Tor (there's a detailed guide on doing that on
<>, follow the Ubuntu/Debian instructions) for
anonymous browsing, but if you just want to avoid ads, then just install
the Adblock extension for Firefox (I believe the package is called
adblock-plus, but if you just searched adblock in Add/Remove, you'd find
it). Additionally... 

> Is it possible to use the internet and email (Gmail) without somebody
> always reading/monitoring my activities?
Not really. Email is a clear-text protocol. Your email provider will be
able to read any emails you send via them, unless they are encrypted.
Setting up email encryption is a more complex task that would make this
a very long message, so I'll just refer you to the vast amount of guides
on google. Note that it isn't particularly hard, just complicated.

In terms of ads directed at your email content, there's no way to stop
google from gathering data from you if you use their service, but you
can stop seeing them if you set up an email client like Thunderbird or
> Is Gmail email using a proxy server? (I think it is, but don't really
> know.)
No, definitely not. What do you mean by "proxy server", though?

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