Hi, I’m Jonah 👋

Jonah Aragon creates educational resources that help people understand the importance of privacy and security on the internet, and take back control over their digital lives.

He is known for his work on the Techlore YouTube channel, including the Techlore Talks podcast he co-hosts, and the Privacy Guides non-profit website.

Nov 20, 2019

The Trouble with VPN and Privacy Review Sites

There’s a massive problem in the privacy world. Websites, social media accounts, and other platforms are constantly popping up out of nowhere, telling you to buy The Greatest Service Ever in order to solve all your privacy woes, whatever that may be. These websites often employ marketing teams to make sure their “reviews” are what you see first when you begin your research. Some of them are even operated by VPN providers themselves, operating under anonymous business entities to hide their bias, or doing it right out in the open, hoping you’ll mistake their advertising-filled press releases and blogs as insider knowledge of the VPN space....

Oct 30, 2019

Choosing a VPN

So you know what a VPN is, but there are so many options to choose from! Well before we dive into this, let’s get one thing off the bat: Avoid Free VPNs Privacy-respecting VPNs can provide their service because you pay them for it. Free VPNs are worse than your ISP when it comes to respecting your privacy, because selling your data is the only way they can make money, whereas an ISP is primarily paid for by you....

Oct 5, 2019

Understanding VPNs

A VPN — or Virtual Private Network — is a tool that secures your internet connection from attackers on your network. But before I explain how that all works, let’s talk about the internet without them. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can see everything you do online. Well, nearly everything: When websites use HTTPS (or TLS, or SSL. these terms are often used interchangeably when referring to website encryption), indicated by the padlock in your web browser, your ISP cannot see exactly what you’re doing on the website....

Sep 1, 2019

Thoughts on Apple's Independent Repair Provider Program

I can honestly say I didn’t see this coming. On August 29th, 2019, Apple announced they would begin not only selling original OEM parts to independent repair businesses, but also provide them with the tools, guides, training, and diagnostics required to complete repairs on out of warranty iPhones. This is great news. It’s a surprising turn of events from a company that has spent years lobbying against Right to Repair bills across the nation....

Aug 22, 2019

Self-hosting a Shadowsocks VPN with Outline

Outline is a suite of open-source software developed for journalists to safely access their network and the internet while traveling in countries where their activities may be monitored or censored. Despite this, the Outline platform is ideal for a wide range of users, especially less technical users, and users in censored countries like China who may have little to no knowledge about how VPNs or proxies work. Outline consists of two parts, the Outline Manager and Outline Clients....

May 15, 2019

Enabling Pushover Notifications on Successful SSH Logins

If you run servers for public services, like I do with privacytools.io, you definitely want to monitor them for any successful logins to user accounts (via SSH, et cetera). The way I plan to accomplish this is to set up an automatic notification to the Pushover app on my phone in the event of any login. I’m going to implement this as part of PAM authentication, and configure it to fail any logins if the notification script fails for whatever reason....

May 7, 2019

Securing Services with Tor and alt-svc

Some people called for me to write a more technically detailed/in-depth guide to setting up Tor with alt-svc after we set it up on privacytools.io, so while I do it all over again on our Mastodon server, I figured I’d write this post! Plus, it’ll make it easier for me if I need to do this again in the future :) When Cloudflare introduced their Onion Service last year, it marked an important milestone in Tor adoption and connectivity....

Nov 21, 2018

Creating Bootable macOS USB Installers

If you want to install Mojave from scratch, or you need to install it regularly or on multiple Macs, using a USB installer is the way to go for an easy installation. This method requires no third-party software, just a Mac that already has macOS installed and some basic Disk Utility and Terminal usage. Erasing the USB Drive Before we can put macOS on the drive, we’ll need to erase it and format it properly....