Main Floor Closure

Update: Work has been completed and the main level has reopened.


We are having new carpet installed on the main level of the library starting Monday, May 13th. The main level will be closed while carpet is being removed due to dust and noise. We will reopen the main level as soon as we are able to do so. While the main level is closed, you can access the library through the Lower Level entrance.

How-to Tuesday: Mango Languages

Mango wearing a black hat and holding a guitar

We hope that these last few days of the semester are going well. We realize that once your last final is complete, you may be packing a bag and heading off to places near or far. Your adventures may include locales where languages other than you own are spoken. If that’s the case, or if you are just interested in sitting on your couch and learning a new language, we’ve got you covered.  

You may be wondering, “But how, Brookens Library Blog? How can you possibly help me with this?!” to which we reply, “You have access to a tool called Mango Languages.” Mango Languages is an online culture and language-learning resource that’s available to you 24/7 online or through their mobile app. So go now, visit the Mango Language site , create your free account, and start tracking your language-learning progress today.  

Mango wearing a black hat and holding a guitar

Privacy Week 2019: Network Security for Privacy

In basic terms, network security can be defined as preventing and protecting the hardware/ software in your network from unwanted intrusions by outsiders. Without network security, you could experience malfunctions, modifications, misuse, and destruction of your computer. That’s why there is an immense importance in making sure that your network is safe and secure to avoid unwanted intruders from accessing your information.

Using a VPN

One way to protect your network activity is to utilize a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, on the network that you are using. A VPN works by connecting your device to a reliable server somewhere else which allows you to use that server’s internet connection. VPNs are especially important in protecting you from snooping on untrustworthy wifi in public spaces by encrypting your data from those attempting to access your network.


Popular & Reliable VPN Services:

  1. Express VPN – Paid
  2. Nord VPN – Paid.

The Issue with Free VPN Services:

Free VPNs may not be the best tool in keeping your data secure or even keeping your data as safe. Some have very laid back privacy policies that do not guarantee their services are 100% safe. One that we recommend is Proton VPN which has consistent speed in most locations and a built in kill switch that protects your privacy if there is ever an issue.

Tor

Tor browsing allows you to browse privately without the thought of you possibly being tracked and surveilled. Tor makes it so that each website you visit is isolated so ads and third parties aren’t able to track your browsing. Within Tor, you are protected from any monitoring which means someone who’s watching what you’re doing will only know you’re using Tor and not the websites you visit. If interested, more information can be found at Tor Project which is a group hoping to inform people about Tor and how to use it.

If you want to view any of our other post from the week, go to Choose Privacy Week 2019.

Choose Privacy Week 2019: Internet Browser Settings for Privacy

Internet browsers have undoubtedly become more and more functional and easier to use as they’ve developed over time. Unfortunately, in many respects this has come at the cost of the privacy of the user’s information and the security of their browsing sessions, at least this is the case with many browsers’ default settings. On the bright side, between changing your browser’s settings and adding a few helpful extensions, you can greatly increase the privacy of your browsing habits both from companies seeking your information for advertising purposes and from potential snoopers on your network.

 

Main settings to change:

  1. Disable third Party cookies.
  2. Enable clearing cookies on exit.
  3. Disable flash as automatically being allowed on websites.
  4. Disable Java as automatically being allowed on websites.
  5. Change default search engine – consider duckduckgo.com for privacy.
  6. For more information and specific instructions for specific browsers please visit: (https://riseup.net/en/security/network-security/better-web-browsing

Essential extensions:

  1. Ublock Origin – Prevents most ads and tracking networks. Works faster and better than the popular Adblock Plus or Disconnect.
  2. HTTPS Everywhere – Automatically switch to secure TLS connections when supported. This helps protect against surveillance of the content that you’re browsing, though not which websites you visit. That is, unless it is mixed with a VPN or Tor browsing session.
  3. Privacy Badger – Detects attempts to track your browsing behavior and blocks content from these trackers.

See all of our posts for Choose Privacy Week 2019

Up next: Network Security for Privacy

Choose Privacy Week 2019: Webcam and Smartphone Security for Privacy

Webcam Security for Privacy

We often don’t bother to pay attention to the small, unnoticeable camera that stares back at us every time we open our laptops or smartphone. For many of us, the camera takes a backseat when it comes to more important things like taxes, Netflix, and late night assignments. However, the reason we should start being more aware of this tiny eye we constantly expose ourselves to is because it isn’t that difficult for potential hackers to watch you through your own camera, and they can do so while generally going undetected by disabling the light on the camera.

Though this thought may be unsettling, there are proactive measures that you can take to prevent yourself from being unknowingly spied on.

For Windows 7 Computers:

  1. Go to the Start Menu
  2. Search for “Device Manager”
  3. Select imaging devices, and find the driver that matches your webcam.
  4. Right click the device, and select disable driver.
  5. Select “Yes” when prompted if you want to disable the device’s driver.

For Windows 10 Computers:

  1. Go to the Start Menu
  2. Select the Settings icon
  3. Search for “Camera Privacy Settings”
  4. Edit which apps you want to be able to access your camera, or deselect the option for apps to access your camera at all.

For Mac Computers:

  1. Go to the Apple menu
  2. Select System Preferences
  3. Click Security & Privacy
  4. Select Privacy
  5. Click Camera
  6. Select the check-boxes next to the apps you want to have access to your camera, or deselect all check-boxes if you don’t want any apps to have access to your camera.
  7. Check out Objective-See’s free utility: OverSight. OverSight monitors when your microphone and webcam are being activated and will issue a push notification telling you when they are and what application/process is accessing them.  

The library will have webcam covers available at the front desk in honor of Choose Privacy Week.

Smartphone Security for Privacy

On more than one occasion you have probably given apps like Snapchat, Twitter, or Facebook more information about you than you think. These apps are able to access our camera, microphone, contacts, location, and more. One way we can guarantee apps aren’t wiggling their way into our private life is to analyze the access settings that we give them. Access settings allow you to see and edit what permissions are enabled for each app on your phone.

If you want to change access settings on an Android phone:

  1. Head to the settings menu on your smartphone.  On the screen you should see Apps which is where you want to go.
  2. In apps, there will be three dots in a column in the right-hand corner where you will find App permissions.
  3. App permissions will bring up a list of different options where you can find different apps and turn off whatever they have permission to do.

If you want to change access settings on an iPhone:

  1. Head to privacy in the settings menu.
  2. In privacy, you will be able to see location services which tells you which apps have access to your location. This can be turned off but may affect some apps that use location like ride share services and maps.
  3. If you scroll to the bottom, there’s advertising which allows you to turn on limited tracking by advertisers
  4. Within privacy, you can select apps and disable their access to your information


See all of our posts for Choose Privacy Week 2019.

Up next: Internet Browser Settings for Privacy

Choose Privacy Week 2019: Passwords

Chances are, your standard 8 character password isn’t going to be sufficient if you really want to be sure that your password won’t be cracked. How Secure Is My Password is a great tool to tell you how long it would take a computer to find out your password, and consequently how secure your password is. The length of your password is much more important than the variation of characters used, though that isn’t to say character variation doesn’t help, and the difference made by adding just a few characters to your standard password can add years onto the time it’ll take to crack, so keep this in mind!

8 – Character Password

How secure is my password

Same password with 3 extra characters:

How secure is my password

If you struggle with keeping track of all of your passwords, take a look at some apps/utilities like LastPass or DashLane, which can generate, store, and secure all of your passwords in one place.


See all of our posts for Choose Privacy Week 2019.

Up next: Smartphone & Webcam Security for Privacy