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10 Browser Extensions to Unleash Your Inner Spy

Let’s face it, keeping up with technology is tough. It’s a part-time job just trying to follow the latest iPhone updates let alone browser extensions. Lost in the shuffle of the endless barrage of new gadgets is our anonymity, and sometimes, our privacy. Nowadays, every click or page view is systematically monitored. Worse, we don’t even know it’s happening.

So, what can the average person do?

For starters, you can stay ahead of the game by understanding the array of tools out there and what they do.

We all have a web browser; there are multiple versions available like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc (or god forbid, Internet Explorer) that help you access the internet. Browser extensions are downloadable attachments that increase the functionality of your web browser. Simply put, extensions improve your internet experience. But they can also stop spies from accessing your personal information.

With so many gizmos out there this post is far from comprehensive, but we went ahead and collected a few tools you can install today, for free. Here are ten browser extensions that will heighten your counterespionage awareness:

Online Profile Resources

  1. Rapportive is a browser plugin that allows you to view LinkedIn profiles right in Gmail. It gives you a profile picture, social media info, job title, mutual connections – all alongside your inbox. 

rapportive spy tools extension

Picture Resource Extensions

2. Google Image Search and TinEye are reverse image searching plugins. Crucial for when you need to know if a profile picture is fake, especially if you suspect you’re being Catfished. Simply right-click on a picture to see if it’s been used elsewhere.

tineye plugin screenshot

3. PictureMate helps you find hidden pictures on Facebook (and you don’t even have to be friends). This extension pulls pictures from Facebook friends in which the person you’re viewing has been tagged.

Email Tracking Extensions

There are handfuls of email tracking services out there; some attached to customer relations management (CRM) software and others are simpler. But for the most part, they all do the same thing: track when, where, and with what device you’ve opened an email. Here are several examples:

4. HubSpot Sales (formerly Sidekick) gives you desktop notifications when the emails you send get opened or clicked in real time.

hubspot sales sidekick

5. Bananatag sends notifications to Gmail when a contact opens your email or clicks a link.

bananatag__email_tracking__scheduling__templates___attachment_tracking

6. MailTrack tells you who opens your emails with a double green “read” checkmark.

Mail track plugin

7. Yesware lets you check email open and reply rates, link clicks, attachment opens and presentation pageviews. 

8. Streak notifies you when your emails get read, when, and how many times your email was opened.

Email Tracking Countermeasures

9. UglyEmail is a Gmail extension to check if your email is being tracked. Every tracked email is marked with the “evil eye” so you can easily identify them.

ugly email gmail extension

10. PixelBlock is a Gmail extension that blocks email tracking attempts used to detect when you open/read emails. PixelBlock displays a ‘red eye’ when it finds and blocks a tracking attempt inside of an email you’re reading.

What Next?

Now that you understand what’s out there and how users of tools like these can track your email habits, online profiles, and hidden info – be careful. The next step is to check the privacy settings of your various profiles, better manage your online information, and institute strict email practices.

What tools do you use to stop people from unnecessarily invading your privacy? Share a tip in the comments below.

Why I Started a Private Investigations Company

In 2015, I opened the doors to Gravitas Investigations, a Cincinnati-based private investigations firm.

But why did I start this company?

Sure, I’ve been a “private eye” for over 10 years and have solved some incredible cases, but that’s not why I do it.

The truth is that this company was started many years ago, based on the influence of two important people. Here’s that story: Read more

title ten best private detective films

The Ten Best Private Detective Feature Films of All Time [Infographic]

Do you think you’re a film buff?

How about a private detective film buff??

We’ve done the excruciating research by gathering movies from the private detective genre, watching them diligently (okay, maybe it wasn’t so excruciating), and compiling a list of ten of our favorite private detective films of all time (plus some honorable mentions and modern versions).

Take a look at our list and see how it stacks up against yours. Or watch one to escape into another world. Enjoy!

[Click infographic to enlarge.]

The ten best private detective feature films

 

Good for Surveillance Purposes, Creepy for People With Suspicious Landlords.

No lens? No problem with Flat Cam. Surveillance in microform.

The reason your camera currently can’t hide in a business card or why they look awkward in the frame of those surveillance spy glasses is because of lenses.  Those lenses, no matter how small we make a camera, tend to take up a good chunk of space such that, even if the camera is hidden, it has to hide in something with at least a little bulk to it.  Or it used to, anyway.

Engineers from Rice University are taking inspiration from ancient pinhole cameras to design a new kind of camera that’s basically paper-flat and devoid of a lens.  Like a pinhole camera, it uses a hole to let in light. Unlike a pinhole camera, and to make better use of light, it has millions of holes.  A little computer science allows the camera to reconstruct one solid image from the many images let in by the numerous holes and voila, you have a functional camera that’s super thin.  So thin, in fact, you could paper an entire wall with them and have access to viewing an entire room.

A flat camera that you can basically manipulate like paper could have dozens of applications; secret body and dash cams, easily hidden security cameras virtually everywhere.  You could up the ante on the GoPro market by being able to use the cameras in far more extreme conditions, or in much crazier places.  Want to see where pizza rat is taking his meal?  Pop a paper cam on it. Or put one on a helium balloon and let it loose in a storm. Imagine the surveillance possibilities.

If you could roll out cameras like you roll out tape or paper, what could you do with them?