Could use some advice re: anonymous surfing

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by meken, Mar 16, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. meken

    meken Guest

    Hi all,

    was wondering what might be some of if not the best software out there to protect my id when surfing .

    ease of use is huge for me 'cause i'm definitely a newbie with computers

    thanks in advance

    meken
     
  2. iceni60

    iceni60 ( ^o^)

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Posts:
    5,116
    hi, there's a nice program called JAP which will help keep you anonymous, it does slow down your surfing though.
    http://anon.inf.tu-dresden.de/index_en.html
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=33867
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=44764&page=1&pp=25
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=14240
     
  3. dvk01

    dvk01 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Posts:
    3,131
    Location:
    Loughton, Essex. UK
    There is NO such thing as anonymous surfing and I don't know why you want to even try as all yoiu amnage to do using all these so called privacy tools is break about half the net
     
  4. iceni60

    iceni60 ( ^o^)

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Posts:
    5,116
    i don't use JAP, but i would if it was as quick as my normal speed. i'd do it when i didn't want my ISP to know what i'm up to. well, i do use it when i don't want my ISP to know what i'm doing, it's just it only happens about once every 3/4 months.
     
  5. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Posts:
    2,839
    Location:
    North West, United Kingdom
    While total anonymity is not possible, services like JAP do prevent your ISP from logging which websites you visit - which many are now legally required to do. Such a level of surveillance should be enough to justify the extra complication (and speed sacrifice) of a decent anonymizer.

    The Don't Fear Internet Anonymity Tools thread mentioned above has lots of discussion on this plus technical information and is well worth reading, despite its length!
     
  6. iceni60

    iceni60 ( ^o^)

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Posts:
    5,116
    i'd say i was as good as totally anonymous when i use JAP because the things i use it for are not illegal, therefore my ISP and whoever owns the mixes will not be get together to work out where i have been. however, if the reason i used JAP was for illegal purposes i wouldn't expect to feel so secure; i might expect my travels to be uncovered.
     
  7. dvk01

    dvk01 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Posts:
    3,131
    Location:
    Loughton, Essex. UK
    Your ISP will always know what you are up to and will always have a list of sites visited

    There is NO way any software can hide taht or eliminate that

    Your IP number is allocated by the ISP & it constantly tracks that IP number and nothing repeat nothing can block that IP number being transmited otherwise you wouldn't get then response back from the site you are visiting
    Don't waste your time & money woith these smoke & mirror tricks
     
  8. dvk01

    dvk01 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Posts:
    3,131
    Location:
    Loughton, Essex. UK
    Your ISP knows yopu have visited JAP & attempted to hide any returns from JAP but itf it wants to it can analyse the packets going through it's server from JAP & determine what you have visited taht way

    I say again it's all smoke & mirrors and there is no way of privacy on the net & don't let anybody tell you there is

    JAP & all the other webservers in the chain will have logs and keep logs that can be accessed by those in the know and if you are determined to try to hide from your ISP and degrade their service by doing so then they have the prerfect right to kick you off and many ISPs will kick you off and should do
     
  9. iceni60

    iceni60 ( ^o^)

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Posts:
    5,116
    OK, thanks for the help :cool:
     
  10. dvk01

    dvk01 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Posts:
    3,131
    Location:
    Loughton, Essex. UK
    Don't let me discourage you from trying these things but too many people have thought that they were protected from being traced back & did something naughty like hacking or downloading child porn etc

    They soon got a rude awakening and were completely shocked to find that they can be traced and will be traced

    A sure sign to an ISP or the authorities that it needs to be investigated is TRYING to cover your tracks. The view of the authorities is, if there is nothing to hide why try to hide and if they see a user trying to cover all tracks then automatically they get suspicious and are more likely to investigate deeply
     
  11. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Posts:
    2,275
    Location:
    Here, There and Everywhere
    That is a blanket statement that is simply not true.

    Wrong. Your ISP cannot analyse encrypted URLs.

    You must feel pretty strong about this to post so many times. You are entitled to your opinion, but as for the facts, you're just wrong. Have you ever heard of VPNs? SSH Tunneling? Anonymous surfing providers? There are many ways for one to maintain and maximize privacy on the net. Also, keep in mind privacy and total "anonymity" are two different things. Both are achievable in actuality, though anonymity is extremely difficult. Smoke and mirror tricks? Where's the trickery in using a VPN with an encrypted wrapper? That's not a trick - that's technology. You just have to know how to use it.

    Again, that's just wrong. Nobody has ever shown that use of anonymity/privacy tools equals guilt of some kind. It doesn't even imply guilt. Some of us care about our privacy. If we want to surf politically sensitive sites - that's our business. If we want to order Pizza online - that's our business. This old canard about a person must have something to hide if they don't want to share their whole life with everyone is baloney. Derek, let me ask you, would it be okay for the authorities to knock on your door at home and go through your personal belongings this evening? Would your attitude be "Sure, come on in, I have nothing to hide! Look around! Read my private letters there on the deskstand!" No? Why not? After all, you have nothing to hide! Some of us believe the snooping, the data collection and then sloppy sharing with third parties is unacceptable. We will continue to fight for our privacy while naysayers throw darts.

    It is amazing you would express these views as a moderator on a security and privacy-oriented website.



    ---------------------------------
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2005
  12. dvk01

    dvk01 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Posts:
    3,131
    Location:
    Loughton, Essex. UK
    Hi Gerard

    I still stand by what I said

    Yes A VPN or SSh tunnel will protect your privacy but you are using it as a direct connection between you and a named site, it's not suitable or useable for general surfing.

    What I am against is the merchants who persuade you that blocking all the referral headers and trying to use anonymous proxies will guarantee privacy and anonymimity It won't

    I get totally fed up of dealing with computers that are only broken in that they wopn't connect to a large number of sites because the user has paid an extortionate sum for a privacy protector taht prevents normal use of teh net

    With the ever increasing threats almost all governments actively search for "anonymous" connection and proxies and do their utmost to break any encrypted transmissions using those routes and teh major Governments, USA, UK etc do & can break just about any encryption if they have a mind to

    You have to accept that the net is basically an insecure place and you cannot be anonymous

    That might change in time with newer technologies but at this time when we rely on IP numbers it isn't
     
  13. dvk01

    dvk01 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Posts:
    3,131
    Location:
    Loughton, Essex. UK
    Just one thing to add and that being a moderator doesn't prevent us expressing our views or becoming involved in discussions

    The duties of a moderator are to enable the smooth running of the board and move edit posts as needed and help point a user to the right place to find advice,

    Some us are acknowledged as very knowledgable in certain fields and some are known as experts.

    Along with any other member here I have my own opinions on various subjects and even though I might not know an immense amount about the anonymous surfing set ups, what I do know is enough to tell me that no such thing as anonymous surfing exists.

    As a moderator though if there is a disagreement between that moderator and another user in that thread or other problems with the thread then the mod would not deal with it but ask another mod to step in so as to not have 2 hats on at the same time

    Unfortunatley it gets too confusing to have 2 user accounts, a moderator account to moderate & a normal user account to post with
     
  14. surfer guy

    surfer guy Guest

    I agree with Gerald. 100%. I think it is a must that we begin using privacy tools and it does NOT flag you as being suspect.

    Are you familiar with the speeds you can get with a VPN? Just as fast as your normal connection.


    No I don't agree that we must accept that privacy on the net is a myth or anything else. I think that's the view that Gerald was surprised that a mod would hold at a security forum. You can't throw up your hands and claim there's nothing we can do.

    No. The USA and UK governments CANNOT break, as far as we know, strong encryption used by SSH tunneling, encrypted VPNs and other methods. Saying they can break anything they have a mind to is wrong and irresponsible.

    Yes you can give your opinions. He didn't say you couldn't. He was surprised, as am I, at the opinion you hold while being a mod at a security and privacy site. If I was a mod at a football site, I wouldn't talk about how it's a waste of time to keep up with stats of the players. If you aren't passionate about what it is you are moderating, maybe you should do something else. If you don't believe in privacy in cyberspace and discourage use of tools to be so, I agree that it doesn't seem to wash when you are a part of modding a site like this.

    It sounds to me based on several things you wrote that privacy on the net is not exactly your strong suit. Why discourage those who seek it with half truths that are based on lack of knowledge?

    Privacy on the net is worth fighting for.

    Alan
    http://www.eff.org/
     
  15. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Posts:
    2,839
    Location:
    North West, United Kingdom
    While I would not wish to sound overly critical, your previous posts suggest a lack of knowledge of how JAP/Tor and other anonymizing services work (see JAP: Description of the system and communication protocol for more details). As Gerald has said, your ISP can tell that you are using these services since they will see encrypted traffic going to the first server. However they have no way of identifying what that traffic is without either breaking this encryption (JAP and Tor use 128-bit AES, so this is going to be non-trivial) or obtaining the logfiles from every proxy server used in the chain to track down the connection.

    Groups with the ability to monitor the Internet globally (government agencies possibly, though given the amount of traffic I doubt that wholesale comprehensive monitoring is really practical) may be able to see the encrypted streams between each server and the non-encrypted traffic leaving the last one (which would provide the information that an ISP would have, if you did not use an anonymizer). They would however have to link these streams with your (encrypted) incoming request via traffic analysis and the difficulty of doing this increases greatly with the number of people using the service (which is why JAP includes an "anonymity meter" that rises as the number of users increases).
    Given that almost every thread discussing JAP tends to have someone chiming in saying that "Oh! Don't use it! It's been compromised!", I'm rather surprised that this point has not yet been raised. The police did try to track JAP users and could not - they had to use a court order to force the project to modify their software. Since the software is open-source this change was detected and the JAP team were able to overturn the ruling on appeal. So this should stress the point that this method of anonymity does work - but that the software needs to be open to inspection to prevent back-door changes. For users of such services, this means that their activities are no longer casually browsable and require serious effort to uncover by the relevant authorities - with "standard" Internet access it is likely trivially easy for someone working at your ISP to have a quick peek.

    As for the (well-publicised) cases of crackdowns against child-pornography rings, no details are ever given about the methods used or how the investigation bypassed them save the general "they used anonymity and encryption". In all likelihood, investigators would have either infiltrated such groups posing as new members (they'd have plenty of "content" to offer in order to inveigle their way in, making this a social-engineering exploit rather than a technical one) or they would have used "carrot and stick" to gain the co-operation of offenders caught by other means (e.g. having their system serviced by PCWorld). This however is a side issue to those people who just wish to protect their privacy and see the increasing use of data retention as an attack on their civil liberties.
    Here I agree - there is a lot of mis-selling and some software vendors are certainly guilty of peddling "snake-oil" solutions. However blocking referrers/cookies/proxies do provide a level of anonymity with regard to websites you visit and third party information aggregators (e.g. DoubleClick) - the information they can pick up and the analysis they can do with it should not be dismissed lightly. However, protecting yourself from your ISP (who has to follow the laws laid down by your government) is a much harder thing to achieve and, as this and other threads show, there are many to need to spend more time understanding the details

    Furthermore since both JAP and Tor are free to use, they cannot really be accused of "peddling" anything.
    Ah yes, Scott McNeally's famous "You already have zero privacy. Get over it" quote. With the tools available, this is no longer the case - but by default the Internet (and activities done over it) is a glass box, visible to all. Privacy has to be fought for - by installing and using anonymisers, contributing to the projects and voting against governments that try to strip us of our birthright (hey, where'd that soapbox go!).
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2005
  16. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Posts:
    2,275
    Location:
    Here, There and Everywhere
    Thank you Alan and Paranoid 2000. Well said by both of you. I don't really know what else I could add. I didn't mean to be rough in my earlier post, it was just clear to me that this particular mod is out of his/her area of expertise. The whole privacy/anonymity issue is completely different than dealing with virii and spyware. P2K, I want to tell you how much I appreciate your posts and your obvious passion for this issue. Kudos!
     
  17. Meken

    Meken Guest

    Well, I seem to have hit upon a bigger subject than i thought. thank you all for your time and responses. i sincerely hope that my raising the subject did not ruffle any feathers.

    just for the record, i'm not into child pornography and that is not the reason i asked my original question.

    i am concerned however about who and why someone would have the ability to "follow me around" as i, as one of you so aptly put it "order a pizza online". i like being a mostly private person and the fact that i might like to order my pizzas with anchovies and pineapple from joe's pizza emporium is something i'd just like to keep to my self. :) of course i was being facetious about the anchovies and pineapple.

    i am also very, very much a non-sophisticate when it comes to the computer. it seems like the JAP program might be what i'm interested in? could i ask if it is easy to use?

    is it different or similar to what is advertised as i believe it's called "the anonymizer"? and if it is different, is "the anonymizer" good or just a wicked waste of my money?

    thank you again all of you for your time, thoughtfulness and passion it is greatly appreciated.

    meken
     
  18. meken

    meken Guest

    Hi iceni60

    could i ask you how about how much slower? i've got a dsl line and it runs nicely. also would it be a slowdown in terms of info coming to and going from my computer or is it a (i think the term is) resource hog?

    i don't have a large amount of ram so i sometimes need to be careful about that. how much ram you ask, enough that it's time for a new computer :(

    thanks for you time and response

    meken
     
  19. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Posts:
    2,839
    Location:
    North West, United Kingdom
    Gerald,

    Thanks for your feedback. It's good to see a kindred spirit here - even if we are several anonymizing proxies apart! :D

    Meken,

    A quick comparison between JAP and Anonymizer:
    • JAP allows the use of multiple servers (the default Dresden-Dresden mix is one only but the others have 2) making tracking harder;
    • JAP is based in Germany (and subject to German/European law);
    • Since you need no account for JAP, the only information the project can get on you is your original IP address - commercial services will have your credit card/name/address unless they have arranged some sort of anonymous payment service (hard, but possible);
    • JAP's software is open source so can be checked for back doors - most commercial services' clients are not;
    • JAP covers web and file transfer traffic only - Anonymizer's Total Shield service (the more expensive one) can cover all network traffic);
    • Anonymizer can be slow at peak times but is likely to be faster than JAP.
    For your purposes (keeping your browsing obscured from casual scrutiny), either service should do - but if you do not wish to sacrifice browsing speed, then check out some of the other commercial services (Gerald seems to have more expertise on these). Another (free) option is Tor - it tends to be double the speed of JAP and has servers in multiple countries (making user tracking via legal means far harder) but it is more complex to set up.

    For details on setting up anonymizing proxies, please see the other threads in this forum - like Setting up Tor/Proxomitron+SocksCap or Setting up JAP and Proxomitron.
     
  20. meken

    meken Guest

    Wow!

    you're not kidding, JAP really slowed me up. i even tried the alt mix and it was even slower.

    i'll try again at another time to see if that helps, but with only 40 users at the time, i'm not sure how much faster it's gonna get.

    a last question please, i was reading the other threads and it was mentioned that zone alarm can be used to hide my ipaddress. could i ask how? i tried playing with it with no luck. also, is that enough to protect me or should i keep trying with JAP?

    thanks again for all the great info.


    meken
     
  21. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Posts:
    2,839
    Location:
    North West, United Kingdom
    No firewall can hide an IP address - only a proxy server can do this, and only from websites you visit.

    Using JAP will slow things down if you are used to DSL speeds - this is purely down to there being restricted network bandwidth (it is a research project after all...). At best I have seen speeds of 10-15KB/s, at worst 1-1.5KB/s (compared to the best dialup speed of 5KB/s). Tor is faster as I have said - but with any service, the more people that use it, the slower it gets...
     
  22. meken

    meken Guest

    boy, you sure are up late

    you had mentioned that tor is about 2x as fast as JAP. so am i right in thinking that it will also feel incredibly slow compared to dsl?

    thanks for being so patient with me and your great advise
     
  23. dvk01

    dvk01 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Posts:
    3,131
    Location:
    Loughton, Essex. UK
    The main reason I get so vocal about people attempting to be totally private or anonymous on the net is that unless you spend a lot of time and really go deeply into it and really know what you are doing, you cause all sorts of problems for yourself and others

    For the general surfer there is little point in attempting much beyond the standard blocking cookies, web bugs etc

    When you start to use anonymous proxies then that is when problems start

    A lot of websites block all requests from anonymous proxies and the number of sites doing so is increasing daily and I see numerous requests for help every day from people who attempt to block being tracked and end up being unable to visit the sites they want to get to
    Almost every forum on the net including most if not all security sites will track incoming IP numbers and a lot of them do block requests from anon proxies because that is the way that many DOS attacks on them come from

    There is nothing sinister in a website owner like the owners of this one wanting to know who is visiting it and being able to use that information if necessary to prevent a visitor to the site causing disruption

    The more you attempt to route via a number of proxies to hide your real id, the slower you wil be and the slower the net in general gets as more people cause more congestion by using round about routes rather than a reasonably straight line (if such a thing exists on the net)

    The present net set up is creaky at the best of times and with the present IP number system and only having a few Major DNS servers it doesn't take a lot to cause problems. and when one of the servers has trouble responding to your request to find a website because you are attempting to block it's direct return path to you by using multiple proxies and it takes minutes rather than seconds to get to a website you soon get fed up

    If you are happy with slow surfing, lots of unavailable sites and other problems, fine that is your choice and you are entitled to it

    I want to turn on my computer, type in a website address, find what i'm looking for and get on with my life

    A computer is a tool to help not something to cause more problems than it already does

    The whole aspect of being tracked and traced on the net by ISP's & governments is vastly overstated. Yes it might happen in a few cases but the thing to be more concerned about is all the advertisers, spywares etc that track you and they can be blocked & controlled with very simple easy steps that don't affect your ability to surf the web
     
  24. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Posts:
    2,839
    Location:
    North West, United Kingdom
    It's actually 8am where I am. :)
    No free anonymizing service is going to give DSL speeds, due to the need to supply appropriate bandwidth to the proxy servers used. Tor allows anyone (with a fast enough connection) to join as a server to alleviate this.

    However if you consider higher speed a priority you need to consider one of the commercial services - Gerald seems to know more about these than I do so maybe he could offer more details. The downside is that their method of payment is likely to require you to identify yourself whenever you use them (via username/password), so you are in effect having them as your ISP in terms of monitoring.
     
  25. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Posts:
    2,839
    Location:
    North West, United Kingdom
    I have used JAP and Tor non-stop for the last 2 years and can count the number of "problem" sites I have encountered on one hand (online banking/trading sites being the most likely ones) - perhaps I should spend less time posting here. :D Slashdot can be viewed using JAP but blocks posts from it (even with a registered account - a daft decision in my view which is why I no longer contribute to it). However when a site does block access, it normally does say so and why - and temporarily disabling JAP or Tor to test takes just a moment to do.
    And there should be nothing sinister in someone wishing to keep their posts and user ID here separate from their real-life existence. It is not too far-fetched a possibility for government X to release some sort of spyware, for poster Y to disclose details of how to block it in this forum resulting in ISP Z being asked by Y to give details on X. Using anonymising proxies would rule this scenario out.

    As for forum abuse, Wilders' allows guest posting which makes such abuse far easier - I can only conjecture that either there is been little to no abuse, or that moderators here have to work 24/7 deleting such items (probably a bit of both).
    True, but most Internet traffic is created by file-sharing networks and spam - the effect of anonymising proxies on global traffic is almost certainly negligible (and will probably remain so).
    DNS traffic is not going to be an issue here - whichever proxy you use will make DNS requests on your behalf and most of these will be handled by ISP servers using cached replies. Mis-configured DNS servers that keep referring queries to the root servers are far more of a problem, as are spam emails advertising domains that don't yet exist. Connection problems can certainly be an issue, but the pain threshold here is best decided by individual users.
    Advertisers do not track every website you visit - governments/ISPs do. Advertisers cannot keep details of when you are online and what applications you are using on the Internet - governments/ISPs can. Advertisers cannot force entry into your house and take your possessions...etc.

    In essence the legislation in many countries (for the UK, see Part 11 - Retention of Communications Data of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 along with the Home Office 1.2MB PDF consultation paper Access to Communcations Data - Respecting Privacy and Protecting the Public from Crime, page 7 for details on the exact data to be stored, and the Australian police get go-ahead on spyware thread for a discussion of the situation Down Under) allows the government to amass the sort of data on people's online activities that spyware would harvest. If we find such action by spyware pushers objectionable, why should we tolerate it from our governments?
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.