‘Mr. Robot’ Poses Modern-Day Challenge: Could You Make a Digital Disappearance?

What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

What would it take to "go dark" like characters in the popular TV series? A lot more technical know-how than most of us possess, and some old-fashioned skills.

 

As technology has created all kinds of conveniences — GPS directions, the option to text with my kids, the ability to locate a pizza in my area — I sometimes wonder how I would do without it. As I use all these conveniences, I am creating a digital record of my life. We all are.

I have decided not to worry about that record — after all, I reason, it’s not that interesting. But what if I wanted to “go dark” — and shield my activities and communication from advertisers, the authorities, corporations and anyone who was motivated to hack into my world?

The popular television series “Mr. Robot” explores the question: If you wanted to make yourself digitally untraceable — in essence, live entirely “off the grid” — how would you do it?

The answer for most of us: Not easily.

Some of the steps are obvious: Jettison your cellphone (which can be located via cell tower triangulation, even if it doesn’t have GPS) and switch to prepaid phones. Abandon social media. Quit using credit cards, instead switching to cash and gift cards to buy things. Set up a secret email account for emergencies. That’s about as far as my technical know-how goes.

Very often that’s about as far as Hollywood goes when a character is trying to disappear. “Mr. Robot,” by contrast, weaves in a lot more understanding of the technology — and makes it look a lot harder to avoid digital detection.

An article in PC magazine lays out some of the more technical aspects of disappearing from the digital grid, including how to encrypt email messages, how to safely log in to a public Wi-Fi, and how to use a proxy server to hide your IP address. As the article explains:

Once an IP is matched to you, it’s simple enough for law enforcement or clever skiptracers to call the ISP assigned that IP address and match it to a user.

TechRadar offers a few other insights, based on interviews with a former MI5 agent who has studied and experienced what it takes to “go dark.” To start with, the agent told TR, don’t use proprietary software:

“Get off Apple, get off Microsoft and use Linux open source software, because you can at least check the code to see if there is anything bug-wise built into it.”

Ironically, the agent also advises the use of technology from 2008 or earlier. She told TR:

“According to Edward Snowden’s revelations, all hardware post 2008 has backdoors built into it. That means computers, telephones, even USB cables post 2008 can have bugs in them.”

In fact — and this is where the young and digitally savvy might have to learn a thing or two from their elders — it would be useful to know how to use old-fashioned analog tools, like paper maps and street signs.

On the USA Network series, Mr. Robot (an anarchist hacktivist played by Christian Slater) maintains that the only kind of communication that is relatively untraceable is — you guessed it — in-person meetings. Obviously, you’d have to be careful how you arranged your meetings and there would be no entering them on your digital calendar. In fact, based on the plot of the TV show, the meetings should be — by all appearances — chance encounters…

How would you fare if you wanted to eliminate your digital footprint? Consider that question as you watch our video. And then be sure to share your thoughts in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: End of an Era: Last VCR to Roll Off Assembly Line

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,042 more deals!