Worldwide Internet and Communications during Pre-Event Travel

View Latest Activity

Home Forums Radio & Communication Worldwide Internet and Communications during Pre-Event Travel

  • This topic has 5 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 2 months ago by Anonymous. This post has been viewed 182 times
Viewing 5 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #97935
      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
      Moderator

        I recently traveled OCONUS and it had been quite some time.

        It is truly amazing just how much things have grown. Even in the third world it is relatively easy to go online and do pretty much anything you can do from your house.

        You must be aware of the different laws you are under as your rights are not the same. Spending time incarcerated overseas would be most unpleasant. ;-)

        Save criticizing local governments until safely back in the US.

        I had no issues doing pretty much anything I needed, but even accessing certain websites can require work a rounds. Better know what your doing or just don’t!

        Wi-Fi is plentiful, but not always free. I found that using Mifi to be the most cost effective and convenient solution. Mifi is available in something like 100 countries, you can rent/buy devices and/or change SIM cards.

        Many smartphones can pull this off to varying degrees and costs without a Mifi hotspot.

        However I find the various built in features of most smartphones to be more difficult to support my preferred level of privacy. Most were designed to know their whereabouts at all times which means your location.

        My solution and certainly not foolproof is a basic Tablet with no inherent communication ability beyond Wi-Fi loaded with a variety of more secure Apps used in conjunction with a Mifi hotspot selected for its limited features.

        Remember this is about privacy, not to mask illegal activities. Additionally this is a basic overview, not a how to Thread. If you can’t research and implement this without detailed instructions you probably don’t have the knowledge to keep out of trouble and should just leave your device at home if you want privacy. ;-)

        Using Voip I always had a local number and no long distance charges with voice, text, and voicemail.

        Many Apps can be hidden from cursory view, a discrete panic button can be used, and can have a deadman switch.

        SDR works well too.

        A variety of translation Apps are also helpful.

        If traveling in a group it is possible to establish a mesh network among your devices for secure short range comms.

        Costs for Mifi capability ranged from pennies to $8.53 daily for unlimited data. The best deals were with local companies.

        Don’t know how many this applies too, but I thought it maybe interesting regardless.

      • #97936
        Anonymous
        Inactive

          If you’re traveling overseas, you’ll probably be buying data by the gigabyte rather than a plan. Data can be surprisingly cheap, even compared to the US; I remember Korek in Iraq being super-cheap, like $30 gigs for $10 or something. Same goes for Internet cafes, data goes by the gigabyte, they’re better for downloading large files because your cellular speeds probably won’t be top-notch 4G.

          You may encounter blocks on websites such as Facebook or Wikipedia. I haven’t tinkered with VPNs yet like I should have, I did try using Tor browser but it was basically useless and extremely slow in the few instances when it did connect to the Tor network and load a page.

          Some folks use WhatsApp but I would say the safest encrypted messaging service at the moment is Signal. Even ignoring the threat of domestic surveillance stateside, foreign countries may have an interest in spying on you. (Hi MİT! :bye: )

          That being said, some countries may also have laws against using such security technologies as well, worth looking up before you use it since VPN and Tor traffic can usually be identified as such even if the contents are encrypted. Even some supposedly free and enlightened liberal democracies have inched towards this direction, Australia and the UK have discussed banning peer-to-peer encryption in recent years.

          Airplane mode temporarily cuts off (most) apps from sending out all kinds of metadata but the most obvious gold standard is to simply remove your SIM card when not in use.

          Some countries may have limits on using state-run cell services, in Syria for instance you need Syrian ID to buy a SyriaTel simcard, which meant most of us foreigners were stuck huddling around Internet cafes.

          Since I mention Internet cafes I should also mention that if you expect to be targeted as an American or a foreigner you should avoid creating patterns in your behavior. We rotated which Internet cafes we went to even in safe cities and avoided them altogether where we knew there were a lot of ISIS sleeper cells. It’s not just about you, either, remember that terrorists have no qualms about killing innocent folks to get to you.

          If you’re staying for a while you’re not going to easily find legit DVDs, iTunes, Netflix, etc., in many developing countries, so we’d usually just torrent stuff and share and trade it amongst ourselves. The best app to exchange media between devices in my experience is ShareIt, though I’ve heard of others. We used it to exchange music, movies, books, photos, old DOS games to run in DOSBox, whatever, but also training materials like field manuals, beginner’s Kurdish, etc.

          Google Translate can be useful, in my experience the Arabic support is good but Farsi and Kurdish are both trash at the moment.

          If you’re expecting long periods without electricity, external batteries are helpful, even more helpful are the folding solar panels, I wouldn’t want to travel to an underdeveloped spot without one at this point.

        • #97937
          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
          Moderator

            If you’re overseas…

            Most places the best deals are prepaid even if plans are available. Speeds and reliability are extremely varible, however the biggest problem I encountered was when using on the move, transfer between towers is unreliable.

            I haven’t tinkered with VPNs yet like I should have, I did try using Tor browser but it was basically useless and extremely slow in the few instances when it did connect to the Tor network and load a page.

            Best VPN’s are paid services and not all are privacy friendly despite claims. It is possible to use just the VPN part of TOR to increase speed and avoid TOR signature.

            Even ignoring the threat of domestic surveillance stateside, foreign countries may have an interest in spying on you.

            This is pretty much guaranteed when traveling in off the normal path areas and surprisingly common even in so called open countries.

            That being said, some countries may also have laws against using such security technologies as well, worth looking up before you use it since VPN and Tor traffic can usually be identified as such even if the contents are encrypted.

            In really closed areas there are ways to counter this, but again better know what you are doing as these places are unforgiving of violations.

            Many Apps can be hidden from cursory view, a discrete panic button can be used, and can have a deadman switch.

            Hiding certain Apps is for cursory Customs inspections.

            Panic buttons are away of alerting someone you trust to put out word that something has happened and recent details to aid in looking for you or sometimes just to let them know to not expect you. ;-)

            Deadman switches come in a variety of forms that will wipe certain parts or everything on device, sometimes based on a priority basis. Some require periodic log on to avoid automatic function, some will also activate after a specific number of failed log ons, and some are linked to panic button.

            It’s not just about you, either, remember that terrorists have no qualms about killing innocent folks to get to you.

            Should be standard practice.

            Google Translate can be useful, in my experience the Arabic support is good but Farsi and Kurdish are both trash at the moment.

            Check reviews before travel if you need this. Some are better than others.

            I wouldn’t want to travel to an underdeveloped spot without one at this point.

            I won’t travel anywhere without this! :yes:

          • #97938
            SeanT
            Keymaster

              I recently have seen some analysis of applications done by a sophisticated team of nerds and of about a dozen or so communications apps, Signal came out on top of the list with only one deficiency in the long list of analysis criteria.

              Take that for what you will. The patron of this study has a vested interest in knowing how well or not so well these things perform.
              Read and understand how to configure these applications before you entrust your privacy or possibly freedom to them.

            • #97939
              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
              Moderator

                Read and understand how to configure these applications before you entrust your privacy or possibly freedom to them.

                Can’t be emphasized enough!

                For the vast majority this is just a privacy endeavour, the biggest reason to be familiar is a turn for the worst. It’s better to learn now.

                I don’t mind hinting in the right direction, but I am not a expert. I have experts that keep me out of trouble so I can operate these Apps.

                Remember this is about privacy, not to mask illegal activities. Additionally this is a basic overview, not a how to Thread. If you can’t research and implement this without detailed instructions you probably don’t have the knowledge to keep out of trouble and should just leave your device at home if you want privacy. ;-)

              • #97940
                Anonymous
                Inactive

                  Yeah, Signal was created by the original developers for WhatsApp before it got bought out by Facebook, take what you will from that.

              Viewing 5 reply threads
              • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.