Anonymity on the Internet

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1 year 5 months
Submitted by AlReaud on Mon, 05/30/2011 - 17:36

Note: Updated 10/29/2016

Anonymity on the Internet is a desirable goal for many regardless of the reasons behind it. However, that is not actually possible on certain platforms without significant effort. In this article, we will show applications that facilitate such on different platforms. Please realize ahead of time that the Windows platform is significantly weaker than Linux/Unix and OS X in such capability, and that total anonymity from a computer behind a home gateway may not be possible. Only through use of random access points in conjunction with an open source anonymizer can one be secure.

Tor

Tor stands for Tor Onion Router, and is developed as the open source Tor Project.  Onion routing is a concept whereby a given router in the chain of connections between origin and destination only knows the previous and next link in a connection's link chain, but doesn't know the ultimate origin or destination of a connection. Interestingly, it's origin and creation comes from the US Naval Research Laboratory. It does have significant weaknesses, however, for the  normal everyday user who is trying to bypass identification on a local newspaper bulletin board, lets say, it is sufficient.

Tor is available for Windows, OS X, Linux/Unix, Smartphones, and Source Code. Though free, a small donation is requested to support the project. Source code should only be used by those that are familiar with developing applications on their platforms.

Commercial Anonymizers

There are many commercial anonymizers on the market. A short list is:

  • Anonymizer - Expensive at $79.95USD (still!) per year, but your privacy may be worth it. This anonymizer also has ties to the US Government through the company's work with Voice of America.
     
  • beHidden.com - (White screen of death 10/29/2016) An anonymous proxy. “requires no download and is easily accessible from any computer or smart phone with Internet-enabled location using web browser
     
  • WhiteFyre - (Site appears hacked, Arabic "Even eliminate love", roll-eyes gif) This domain as reported as an anomymizer site in the United Arab Emirates, but the site shows a graphic, which may mean the domain is hacked. The traceroute information does not match the UAR, but none of that may mean anything. Or it may…
  • Just Google ‘anonymizer’ or ‘anonymizer sites’ for a current list of what's available online. Research these well before coughing up your credit card data though!

The problem with commercial anonymizers is that the organizations that host them and their employees are subject to governmental subpoena, and they have your payment information, and thereby know who you are. The author has not had any experience with any of the commercial anonymizers, BTW, only with Tor applications.

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