What makes us

S.P.E.C.I.A.L

 
 
 

Security

 
“GDPR privacy principle 6 states that “personal data shall be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organizational measures.”

We verify all items and distribution images for both security and integrity before every installation using either the checksum or the project's public key (depending on what the project has made available).

We believe that online security and privacy are not just features, but fundamental human rights, and we are committed to protecting those rights.

Privacy 

 
“Privacy isn’t about something to hide. Privacy is about something to protect. And that’s who you are. That’s what you believe in. That’s who you want to become. Privacy is the right to the self. Privacy is what gives you the ability to share with the world who you are on your own terms.” - Edward Snowden

Our refurbished laptops include a webcam slider shield for privacy protection with a disabled or a permanently disabled AMT (Active Management Technology) chip making the Intel Management Engine (IME) inaccessible and ultimately unexploitable to hackers or government agencies.
 

Encryption

 
Encryption is fundamental to data protection in the event of a lost or stolen device that holds a users personal data. That is why we offer a free encryption service to all our clients and customers when purchasing a GDPR compliant laptop from our online store. 
 

Community

 
A distribution is largely driven by its developer and user communities with friendly forums dedicated to technical support.  LinuxQuestions.org is one of the most popular free software community sites and is usually reputed for helpfulness.  Some vendors develop and fund their distributions on a volunteer basis, that is why every laptop purchased from ComputerPrivacy.store supports the Linux Community through sending donations to the developers of every free distribution chosen by our customers. 


We do not charge for any licensed software, distributions, downloads, code or any free open source software.  We charge a fee only for our time, our labour (for the physical act of transferring a copy) and for keeping the ComputerPrivacy.store open where the best manufactured laptop hardware is affordable for our customers.


Independence

 
Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that can be classified as both free software and open-source software. That is, anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve the design of the software. This is in contrast to proprietary software, where the software is under restrictive copyright licensing and the source code is usually hidden from the users.
 
Other benefits of using FOSS can include decreased software costs, increased security and stability (especially in regard to malware), protecting privacy, education, and giving users more control over their own hardware. Free and open-source operating systems such as Linux and descendants of BSD are widely utilized today, powering millions of servers, desktops, smartphones (e.g. Android), and other devices.
 

Accessibility

 
Despite the enormous advantages it has over traditional operating systems, we recognized that the biggest barrier to the success of Linux on desktop computers was that it wasn't user-friendly enough. Linux-based operating systems were generally designed for engineers by engineers, with little consideration for regular users. We decided to fix this.

Linux

 
Linux/GNU is an extraordinary computer operating system. It powers everything from the U.S. Department of Defense, to the International Space Station, to most of the world's Internet servers and supercomputers. The reasons for this aren't difficult to find: it's fast, reliable, versatile and super secure, so it doesn't get viruses. Because it's Open Source, it's infinitely flexible and gives everyone the power to do anything with their computer.




Military Spec Tested Against the Elements

Baked, battered, blistered and blown with sand, Lenovo put the lineup of eight ThinkPad laptops through the gauntlet to pass a significant number of specifications for military-grade computing.

The ThinkPad laptops met tests for:

Low Pressure – Tests operation at 15,000 feet
Humidity – Cycles 95 percent humidity through the environment
Vibration (operational and non-operational) – Jostles and jolts the laptops to make sure they can withstand shocks
High Temperature – Simulates high heat conditions by baking the laptop up to 140°F
Low Temperature – Tests operation at -4°F
Temperature Shock – Fluctuates between -4 and up to 140°F to test operation
Dust – Blows dust for an extended amount of time

Shock-Mounted Hard Drive – Offers extra protection around the hard drive to protect data
Spill-Resistant Keyboard – Withstands spills of up to two fluid ounces on select laptops allowing liquid to drain beneath the keyboard

Read more...



About KDE


KDE's vision is a world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy.

Each part of the vision has been carefully chosen to convey our intent & scope:

A world: We are not doing this only for ourselves, our friends and family, our employer or customers, and we recognize no geographical barriers to our work. We want to change no less than the world we live in.

Everyone: The work should not just be for a small group of people. The fruits of our work should be available to all, without being restricted to materially, educationally or socially privileged people.

Control: KDE has always aimed to put people in control. We don't want to hand over control to anybody else. Not to some service providers, not to some hardware vendors, not to governments, not even to KDE. KDE wants to put you in the driver's seat.

Digital life: We want to allow people to control every aspect of their digital lives: Hardware, software, data, communication, everything. Of course, there is much more to life than the 'digital' part. While we all want freedom and control in the other parts too, influencing that is beyond KDE's scope, so we limit our vision to 'digital life'.

Freedom: We believe that freedom is a prerequisite to true control. Some may feel in control of a proprietary application as long as it obeys their commands, but without the freedom to make changes and share them, they are entirely reliant on the vendor's benevolence for this apparent 'control'.

Privacy: In a world where our privacy is increasingly threatened, we wanted to emphasize its importance. Freedom without the right to privacy is no freedom at all.


GOALS/PRIVACY SOFTWARE

"In 5 years, KDE software enables and promotes privacy"

Privacy is the new challenge for Free Software. KDE is in a unique position to offer users a complete software environment that helps them to protect their privacy. KDE, being community-driven and user-focused, has the opportunity to put privacy on top of the agenda, arguably, being in this position, KDE has the obligation to do this, in the interest of the users.

The effect is expected to be two-fold:

Offer users the tools to protect privacy and to lead a private and safe digital life without compromising their identity, exposing their habits and communications

Setting a high standard and example for others to follow, define the state of the art of privacy protection in the age of big data and force others to follow suit, thereby increasing pressure on the whole industry and eco-system to protect users privacy better

Leaking user data, allowing users to be tracked, collecting their most private information in databases across the world means that users lose control of their identity and what parts they want others to know, and what they want to keep for themselves. Worse, collecting data in so many places, often commercially, but also by governments means that the user has little way of knowing what is known about him or her, let alone being able to determine who should be able to control what. Data being persistently collected means that not only today's security measures and policies are relevant, but also the future's. This poses a great multiple great risks.

KDE adds a 5th Freedom to the 5 principal software Freedoms:

“The freedom to decide which data is sent to which service”.


Personal Risks for Users

Risks that individual users run are, among others:

The more data that is collected, the bigger the risk of Identity Theft becomes
Profiling
Blackmail
Users' private data may end up in the wrong hands
Targeting of users (e.g. marginalized users are more at risk)


Threat Models

Public Wifi

Assume anyone can see your Wifi network traffic (e.g. you are connected to the same WPA2 network). Using your device in such an environment should be safe and not compromise your privacy any more compared to using a wired network at home.

Possible counter-measures: Only connect to encrypted services, Connect through an encrypted tunnel to a computer on your home network (e.g. wireguard on a raspberry pi for example)
Stolen Device

Assume your device gets stolen in a switched off or locked screen state. This should not result in a disclosure of personal data.

Possible counter-measures: Full Disk Encryption (e.g. LUKS, ZFS), secure-delete tools (sswap, sdmem)
Mega Corporations ("Google")

It should be possible to enjoy the benefits of state-of-the-art consumer electronics, communication and content without individual companies creating detailed user profiles.

Possible counter-measures: Free, accessible, end-to-end encrypted alternatives to proprietary services. (e.g. Signal, Briar)
Global Surveillance ("NSA")

A global passive adversary is the most commonly assumed threat when analyzing theoretical anonymity designs. But all practical low-latency systems, like Tor, do not protect against such a strong adversary. Instead, they assume an adversary who can observe some fraction of network traffic; who can generate, modify, delete, or delay traffic; who can operate onion routers; and who can compromise some fraction of the onion routers. More detail in the Tor design document.

Possible counter-measures: Only use end-to-end encrypted services (Tor onion services, Signal, Briar), use the Tor network when possible, Minimize network traffic
Targeted Surveillance ("Snowden")

Could be politically motivated or industrial espionage, by an actor with significant skill and resources.

Possible counter-measures: Reproducible builds, Clear separation of trust boundaries and documentation thereof (e.g. 'can installing a theme make my system more insecure?', 'what does this plasmoid have access to?), Apply the principle of least authority (it should be clear what a particular component has access to and able to revoke it, for example a plasmoid needs to request access to the network or the home directory), Regular security audits (not just of KDE software but also of popular third party plasmoids for example)
Rogue local software

Assume you run any kind of software not coming from a trusted source or trusted software parses data that is not trusted. E.g. you install a plasmoid from the KDE store. It should be easy to protect your personal data, kwallets, browser history, etc. and local network from that code.

Possible counter-measures: Easy and configurable sandboxing of untrusted binaries (including plasmoids and themes) and binaries that parse untrusted data (such as video/media players), Application firewall to catch and stop network egress (e.g. Subgraph Firewall, Easy rollback of destructive changes using atomic changes/snapshotting (e.g. btrfs, ZFS, ostree)


The adversary enter at your place

You have few seconds to try to secure your data by pressing a "panic button" (locally or remotely, by e.g. kdeconnect).

Possible counter-measures: pushing the "panic button" locks the screen, unmounts all Vaults/Veracrypt disks and clear the password/keyfile cache, writes zeros to RAM and swap using sdmem and sswap, securely removes (srm) critical files, call sweeper, run sfill, propagates the panic signal to all other nodes in the network, forces an ACPI shutdown, etc. Inspired by https://github.com/0xPoly/Centry


What it will take?

TLDR;:

Security
Privacy-respecting defaults
Offering the right tools in the first place


Security

We can only guarantee privacy if we also value security.


Possible approaches:

Functioning code-review
Regular security audits
Quick turn-around times for software updates, especially security fixes
Prefer to use encrypted communication where possible, offer Tor onion services for KDE services, prefer HTTPS over HTTP where possible, avoid unencrypted connections
Encryption at rest of sensitive information
Moving away from inherently insecure technologies and using more secure technologies, i.e. default to Wayland instead of X11, Keep supporting privileged user namespaces for sandboxing, Strong defaults for seccomp filtering, AppArmor and cgroups
Avoiding single points of failure and centralized control


Privacy-Respecting Defaults

KDE software supporting this goal should:

Only collect and send data when necessary and clear and sensible from within the context and using a vetted privacy-preserving methods (e.g. rappor which is used by Chrome and Firefox). No hidden telemetry sending user stats, not HTTP connections downloading content, no search queries to online services without the users explicit consent (or where it's entirely clear from the context, e.g. web browsers, software updater, etc.).

Use anonymity where it is possible, for example by using Tor connections for things like telemetry and weather updates which don't require third party user identification (because we cannot control third party services and if they will behave)

No collection of privacy-relevant data without clear purpose and without doing the best we can to preserve your privacy (for example by using differential privacy)

Privacy-preserving defaults: a user should not have to make changes to the software configuration to avoid leaking data. Secure and private by default. (Software may be configured to be more leaky if that benefits the user, but the risk to that should be clear, either from context or explicitely stated.)

Use clear and consistent UI and design language around network-related options


Offering the Right Tools

KDE needs to make an effort to provide a comprehensive set of tools for most users' needs, for example:

An email client allowing encrypted communication
Chat and instant messenging with state-of-the art protocol security (Signal Protocol and derivatives like Briar and Matrix)
A webbrowser that has private default settings
Allow users to easily scrub metadata from files (e.g. dolphin integration of MAT)
Other tools that allow offline operation and independence from popular cloud services (e.g. File storage and groupware solutions)
Support for online services that can be operated as private instances, not depending on a 3rd party providers
State-of-the-art support and integration for projects like Tor, MAT, secure-delete tools, etc.
Password creation and sync across devices (Like Keepassx and Firefox sync together)


How we know we succeeded

Static and runtime analysis tools, such as:

Wireshark
gdb
[...]

KDE software can be audited for security vulnerabilities by security experts, organizations, and firms, such as:

Mozila Open Source Support https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/moss/secure-open-source/
Open Crypto Audit https://opencryptoaudit.org/
Cure52 https://cure53.de/
Least Authority https://leastauthority.com/
NCC Group https://www.nccgroup.trust/
Radically Open Security https://radicallyopensecurity.com/
Trail of Bits https://www.trailofbits.com/

KDE software can be audited for compliance with common, security related standards, such as:

NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF)
ISO 15408
RFC2196
Cyber Essentials (UK Government Standard)


"Soft" criteria include:

Press and 3rd party refer to KDE as carrying the gold-standard for such software
Journalists prefer KDE software for their work
The NSA hates KDE
The CCC loves KDE ♥


Relevant links

General reading about cyber security standards: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber_security_standards
NIST CSF: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NIST_Cybersecurity_Framework
RFC2196: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2196
Tor Project: https://www.torproject.org
https://reproducible-builds.org/
https://trustable.gitlab.io/
http://blog.martin-graesslin.com/blog/2013/08/floss-after-prism-anonymity-by-default/
https://blog.martin-graesslin.com/blog/2013/08/floss-after-prism-privacy-by-default/
Schneier On Security; advocate, security professional: https://www.schneier.com/


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