Smart Growth

Privacy and security go hand-in-hand. Take a few steps to ensure you’re doing your part to mitigate a cyber attack on critical infrastructure from your home or business IT space.

Take small steps to mitigate a network compromise, then work up your skills as you learn more.

Website and business infrastructure

We are huge advocates of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software), which includes WordPress. If you’re running a business of any size, you need a good hosting provider that won’t cancel you. We recommend Hostinger. They’ve got incredible support staff, AI tools, website-building options (if you’re not ready for WordPress), and much more.

Home & Small Office Infrastructure

An easy-to-use home router with amazing built-in security features:https://amzn.to/3UxD4eo https://amzn.to/3UxD4eo

Home/small business plug-and-play server.

“The cloud,” for a novice, is someone else’s computer compared to a local server or local cloud, which is yours. When you use the cloud computing paradigm, you essentially rely on someone else’s computer to handle and store your data safely and are not in control of your privacy. When you store pictures in Google or Apple Cloud, they own them. Your kids’ images can be used in many ways you were never ok with. Censorship is common in cloud computing, and security breaches are almost inevitable. You will likely never know about any of these incidents. Additionally, the costs of using cloud services will rise over time as they capture you with multiple services using the same space, making it increasingly difficult to migrate your data.

When you run a private server, you are in control. You don’t rely on others to process or store your data. In the sovereign computing paradigm, concerns over privacy, censorship, hacks, and fees practically disappear.

Start your home server journey with the most straightforward and safest option on the market, Start9. For 5% off, use Discount Code: SmartGrowth

https://store.start9.com/

Cellphones

If you’re serious about privacy and security, get a private phone. There are many on the market, but the only 2 we have any experience or feedback on are the Above Phone and Fair Phone. While we have much more experience with Above Phone and recommend that over others, the Fair Phone has been getting good publicity due to its ease of use. Use our link to support our work if you choose an Above Phone or their Privacy Suite.

Freedom Money

You need to learn about Bitcoin to mitigate the risk of de-banking and national capital controls. This isn’t the answer to everything; we don’t give investment advice. If you want to keep using the sword and battle axe while your enemy is using precision-guided munitions, stay with the dollar and government-controlled monetary system. If you’re looking for an additional tool in your privacy and security toolbelt, check out Bitcoin. Strike is a great place to begin your journey. Get $5 free Bitcoin when you use our link: https://invite.strike.me/8EBD8C. Once you get enough BTC that you’re worried about it being stolen or ceased by the government, learn about self-custody and get a Cold Card. Learn about it and move your BTC. We are fans of the Ledger, but they’re using some practices that make us question their ethics and alignment with governments. If you want something idiot-proof and where another organization has your private keys because you’ll lose them, they are a good resource for that. Learn more about BTC at Crypto Potato.

Get your Start in Cybersecurity

Accept that you will be breached and put your efforts into providing basic security for most of your infrastructure and a lot into your key infrastructure. Here is a list of resources we think are a good starting point for everything you might need to get started in the industry. Keep in mind that there is no easy button, but this will get you off to the right start.

SOAR: Tines   – Shuffle 

SIEM:  WazuhSecurity Onion

EDR:   OSSECThe Hive ProjectosQuery

General Resource: 

https://github.com/L0p0w3r/Cyber-resource-list

https://www.g2.com/categories/security-orchestration-automation-and-response-soar?tab=highest_rated

https://logz.io/blog/open-source-siem-tools

https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/open-source-edr-tools

  1. Cybrary.IT
  2. CyberWarriorNetwork.com
  3. CodeAcademy.com (A programming language or 2, especially Python, makes you far more valuable)
  4. FINISH YOUR DEGREE
  5. Virtualbox & PFSense
  6. Small Municipal Government (A basic admin person with IT or Cybersecurity knowledge will quickly find themselves promoted to a more relevant role to build experience)
  7. Guard & Reserve Military
  8. Network (In-Person)
  9. Volunteer at Youth Summer Camps
  10. Implement FOSS solutions in your lab (Goodwill for a cheap, not too old PC for your starter lab)
  11. Conferences
  12. https://www.portsanantonio.us/ARSOC (Region Specific)

Need the basics for being more secure?

  1. Don’t click links.
    1. Browse to the site for the content or search the topic with a search engine.
  2. Use a privacy-focused browser.
    1. Brave & Presearch (mobile only) are very privacy-centered, which results in fewer tracking cookies and a great deal of protection from bad actors fingerprinting your behavior.
  3. Use anti-virus on your computer & mobile device.
    1. PCMag.com always has several lists of reputable software packages, free & paid.
  4. Back up your data and reset your device.
    1. Keep your important files backed up and reset your PC and phone to factory settings at least once a year. 
  5. Review your network data from your router. (Intermediate)
    1. Do you see any web traffic happening when nobody is home or everyone is asleep? That device likely has malware calling out. Do you see connections to China? (Baidu, WeChat, etc) Nobody in your house should be using anything Chinese, especially TikTok.
  6. Use a quality home router with robust security features. (Novice – Intermediate)
    1. Create guest networks for each device type. Give the kids their own network so that when they click links, the rest of your network isn’t in danger. Block objectionable material to ensure they don’t have access, even accidentally. 
  7. Continue to educate yourself.
    1. Much like freedom and constitutional rights, eternal vigilance is required. If you stop learning, you’re begging to become unemployed.