Friday, August 1, 2008
For you travelers
So, just a warning for those of you coming in for SfN. It appears, oh man, I mean really, I... ugh it appears the Department of Homeland Lunacy now has the power to confiscate anything that can hold data - digital or analog - indefinitely. That means iPods, PCs, pads of paper, napkins, and you're really fucked if you jotted down a quick note on your hand. Seriously, folks, we have no idea what's going on at this point. We're trying to fix it. Apparently this the 4th Amendment was just kind of a recommendation.
I'm wondering how this will play out in the BCI field, since many researchers have confidential information, either patient, company NDA related, or time sensitive data. So, backup everything to a drive that you plan to leave behind. It might be a good idea to leave it with someone you trust, too, cuz we detail Icelandic girls here. Yeah. We're threatened by Iceland. I mean, sure if we were all Polar Bears, or trees, but ah forget it.
Next, grab a copy of TrueCrypt and if you're adventurous enough, try the new features, that include completely masking the entire boot drive with a fake OS partition. For those more conservative, just lock it down with the strongest encryption you can select and hide the files in an unassuming directory. Not Music or Movies, since our government is also the RIAA/MPAA's lapdog and will be checking those. Throw it in a place that it would be reasonable to find large files of odd types, like a Program Files/Adobe/AdobeBackupRepair. Split them into different sizes, name them things like ClientPermissionsRepair.dll, FlashPluginUpdater.bho, etc. I haven't checked, but I assume the actual encrypted files have no header info to identify them as encrypted. Clear out your Windows logs (Google it if yo don't know how), and of course run TrueCrypt from a flash or external drive. Wipe the unused space with something like Eraser, delete Eraser or other secure file deletion programs. Generally speaking, modern hard drive platters are mostly unreadable after a 7-pass algorithm, but the more paranoid may want to spend the time with a 35-pass Guttman.
After all, our laws are more to make the morons in our country feel like they are being listened to. They are totally ineffective in combating their primary objective and just serve to make those of us with any gray matter scared to challenge the gov. Pathetic.