need advice

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by john doe, Jun 1, 2008.

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  1. john doe

    john doe Registered Member

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    before asking for help i'm going to apologize for the stupidity of the question, but i'm completely new to this world of privacy software. i'm in the market for a new computer and one of my concerns is privacy. i've always purchased windows machines, but lately i've been thinking mac. is the windows OS more or less (or same) suitable for this kind of software? is there an advantage regarding privacy for either OS?
     
  2. SteveTX

    SteveTX Registered Member

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    Most software out there that is available, is available for PC. Some is available for mac. However, there are certian "cross-platform" softwares that will run on any operating system, depending on what you are trying to do.

    Can you tell me more about your privacy needs? Do you just need to clean out your cookies, or are you trying to surf the web anonymously. Anonymous email? encrypted email? Are you trying to do encrypted storage? Are you trying to do encrypted VOIP phonecalls? Are you trying to do anonymous or encrypted IMing? Are you doing it for free or are you looking for a paid service? All of these are determining factors, so if you can give me more of an idea of what aspect of your privacy you want to protect, that is helpful. If you're looking for some type of software that will protect all of those, there are solutions out there as well.

    Steve
     
  3. john doe

    john doe Registered Member

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    Steve, thank you for the reply. Here's more info: i want the ability to surf anonymously, email anonymously, also VOIP, storage, encryption, the works.

    As for free or paid, definitely paid because i want to make sure whatever software I use, that it works. I've read the product offering of Xerobank and i've been trying to figure out from the company website just how this whole process works, but i'm still not 100% sure. I'm not a tech guy at all.

    I've also read some of the threads and there doesn't seem to be agreement on which products offer the best service. Which is really confusing - usually when you're out to buy a product, there's some agreement as to which products are best, or there's CNet to give reviews.

    Anyway, i've also seen the Findnot website, as well as a hardware product calld Iphantom that seem to be on point. Can anyone point me to the best service and again, does it work best on windows or mac?

    Sorry for the length of the post, but i'm totally new at this and don't know where else to go for information.

    John.
     
  4. AKAJohnDoe

    AKAJohnDoe Registered Member

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    I would take reviews with a grain of salt; read them, but make up your own mind. And anonymous email seems rather unproductive, unless you are spamming.
     
  5. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    I am not a tech guy either....by any stretch of the imagination. I have an Iphantom. I just keep it for something to have. I also have a Metropipe tuneller (too slow). Fun to play with though. If I am serious about privacy and anonymity, I use XB Pro VPN. It is simple to use. And I carry it around on a USB stick. It is fast and light. I don't even notice that it is running. I would have to look to know that it is on. I can do whatever I like on my computer. I can chat or whatever. My entire system is covered. I like art and videos and I can use Java and javascript without worrying about my true IP showing. It also has secure DNS. It is one of the most amazing products I have ever seen. That and Returnil (and Sandboxie) are my two amazing finds in the last year.

    I don't know of any service that is comparable. Let me know if you find one, because I don't see how anyone could compare findenot or Relakks to this. And I hear that XB2 will be even faster. I hope this is true!
     
  6. firefox2008

    firefox2008 Registered Member

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    It makes me wonder if Caspian and johndoe are pretenders. Its as if they are selling the product by pretending they are curious about it or have purchased it and are completely happy with it. They may very well be working with Steve at Xerobank and are trying edge people into buying a Xerobank account.
     
  7. john doe

    john doe Registered Member

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    I have no connection or affiliation with any software company at all. I am new to the world of privacy software and i am simply trying to find out 1)whether the products work better with mac or windows, and 2)which products seem to work best.
    I mentioned Xerobank and Findnot simply because i saw both companies mentioned in some of the threads.
    For those that took time to respond, thank you.
    Caspian (or anyone out there that knows) does the software work on a mac? Do you know? Does the Iphantom work on any OS as well? Caspian, so you buy the product (software) and can carry it around on a USB device and use it on any machine at all?
    Firefox2008 - do you have any other suggestions ? I am looking to pull the trigger fairly soon on software and would like to find as many options as possible.

    Thanks for the insight.

    JD
     
  8. malwaretesting

    malwaretesting Registered Member

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    What do you mean by "make sure...that it works"? If you mean that it provides anonymity, have you looked at Tor? If you mean that you want it to work fast, then yes, look at other alternatives. Tor provides the greatest degree of anonymity, but it's slow. Any paid "privacy service" you sign up with, you have to have some trust in them. They become your surrogate ISP. You have no way to really verify what they do with your personal information. With Tor, you don't have to trust any one entity or individual. Because the software that everyone uses is open-source and because of the wide distribution, Tor is your best bet for real anonymity. Tor also does not offer any type of storage.
     
  9. john doe

    john doe Registered Member

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    Just found a service called SwissVPN, anyone care to offer info regarding this service?
     
  10. AKAJohnDoe

    AKAJohnDoe Registered Member

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    All I know is that john doe is not me!
     
  11. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    \\

    Hey JD. The Iphantom hooks up to any machine. I would like to know how to verify it though. I heard about it from the guy at Security Now so I assumed that it was a good device. But I have noticed something that I do not understand. Zone Alarm asks for connections to my local ISP and there is a colon : and a DNS after it. I assume that is a DNS request, but I have secure DNS enabled in the Iphantom configuration page. So I am not sure what is going on. I am going to call them and see what they say. I wish there was a way that I could verify that the information is really encrypted.

    I will say that when I go to websites that give you your IP address, it shows an IP belonging to airlinereservations.com....whatever that is. And I also used a link that was posted here that can expose your true IP with Java when running tor (with scripts allowed). It was *not* able to see my real IP with the Iphantom running.

    I assume XB works on a Mac, but I don't know. I have never tried it. I have used it at my local library and on my parent's computer though. It works just fine and I can't tell that it is running.

    I tried the Metropipe tunneler for 3 months but let it expire. I am going to try torrentfreedom for a month to see how it goes. But I trust XB more than anyone right now because of Steve's associations and his willingness to participate in some dialougue and answer questions....regardless of how negative they are. I think he has been pretty much a gentleman about it. So I use XB almost always but I like to play around with other services just to see and to learn a little.

    As for anyone who thinks I work for XB, screw you. I don't owe you an explanations as to who I am or what I think about anything. If I have an opinion about a service, I will continue to feel free to share my thoughts if I feel like it. I will not be intimidated by bizarre notions or accusations from anyone.
     
  12. Genady Prishnikov

    Genady Prishnikov Registered Member

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    He doesn't even know who owns Xerobank! At least that's his latest claim. So what do you mean by his "associations?" We know not to use Anonymizer because we know who purchased them last month. Xerobank? We don't know. That's somehow better than KNOWING that Anonymizer is owned by a company with known government connections? That's logic that makes no sense.

    He answers technical questions very well. As I have said before, I am not as interested in how the curtains move as who's behind the curtain. Anonymizer might develop beautiful software, but will you use them? No. Why? Because you know who owns them. Xerobank won't tell you. That's somehow worthy of trust? I would say that he participates in the dialogue here, mostly by NOT answering the tough questions regarding the background, history, ownership, etc. of Xerobank. Or, he's provided multiple and contradictory answers. What you call, "negative," questions I call tough questions.


    A gentleman? By calling those who dare question him and call him out on outright contradictory statements and falsehoods - cockroaches? By labeling all questions he chooses not to answer "FUD."?

    I don't know whether you are a Xerobank shill or not. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but there is a pattern of people asking questions (seeming skeptical) and then Steve performs his magic of talking in circles and - surprise - those posters are happy campers and praise his openness (the one thing that Xereobank gets a bad rap on). I mean, come on, it makes one wonder. But - as you said - there's no way of knowing and we should give any poster the benefit of the doubt. It was "gentleman Steve" who told me to "get my aliases straight." I realized he was trying to insinuate that I had posted some of the other negative posts in this thread. As friendly as he comes across at times, this is his typical M.O.....try to discredit the messenger.

    Bottom line: If Steve says he doesn't even know who owns Xerobank - everything else is pure propaganda and slick marketing. Best guess: Steve owns Xerobank.
     
  13. malwaretesting

    malwaretesting Registered Member

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    I don't think we can mention the bottom of the barrel privacy services without mentioning Privacy.li. Privacy.li isn't even a privacy service. It's a pure scam operation. Anonymizer may have government ties, but I would use them any day of the week over Privacy.li.

    Xerobank has the advantage of being an unknown quantity. For privacy services, that's the next best thing to being well-established. Let's face the truth. You can't trust anyone on the internet, so you can't really trust ANY privacy service implicitly.

    I will admit that Xerobank talks and posts too much. There were a few privacy services in the past that did similar things, but most of the services that have people with any character eventually learned that that wasn't the way to go. Privacy.li never learned that lesson, but that's probably because they never had any character to begin with. Look back a year or two on the alt.privacy.* newsgroups if you didn't have the privilege of experiencing the privacy service wars first-hand.

    I don't really see anything egregious in Xerobank's posts. But I don't like the fact that he's using this forum to market his service. I would be more okay with it if he just posted as Steve.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  14. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    By his associations I meant by his associations with Cult of the Dead Cow. They seem to be sincere about free speech and they seem to be incredibly liberal and free thinking. But I understand what you are saying and I appreciate that you are asking some tough questions. I read all of these discussions.

    But as far as not knowing who the XB owners are and that sort of thing, do we really know anything about any of these services like findnot or Relakks? Do you know anything about torrentfreedom or international alliance? I feel like I know more about XB than I do any of these other services.

    As for how happy I am with XB? The first product I tried was called Hide IP. It was incredibly slow and just some of the basic sites that I tried to go to (not porn) said that they were banned and there was a bunch of Arabic writing. It gave me the creeps. I used Iphantom for a year but it is in the US. I no longer feel comfortable using it all the time but I still use it some. I tried Metropipe Tunneler but why would I want to use something that creeps along like that? I need something fast or I will just forget about privacy. Fact is, I have not tried anything that compares with XB Pro. It is fast, it is out of the US, and it is easy for an oaf like me to use. I am open minded and I like to check out different services. So if you know of another service that is not US, that is fast, easy to use, and that you think does what it says, then please let me know and I will give it a whirl. I like to keep some different options open in case something happens to XeroBank. Caspian

    PS I am sorry about lashing out like that but I felt pretty insulted. I would be lying if I said that I had never had thoughts that maybe some of the people who bash Steve aren't actually his competition. I don't really think this is the case, but it has crossed my mind. But I would never just come out and make an unsubstantiated claim like that.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2008
  15. malwaretesting

    malwaretesting Registered Member

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    Just pick one that meets your technical needs like speed, bandwidth, and download caps. You won't find any advice anywhere based on actual security/privacy merit. Pick one that's not known to be compromised in some way (e.g. Privacy.li and Anonymizer are known to be compromised) and keep your fingers crossed. You can't do any better than that. Look up which jurisdiction the service is located in, and then look up the privacy laws in that jurisdiction. Do they require logging?

    So, what am I saying? Avoid the services where you've heard negative things, then pick one from the rest that meets your requirements.
     
  16. SteveTX

    SteveTX Registered Member

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    I don't really have any info on SwissVPN yet, but I will. There are four VPN solutions I could probably recommend: DiClave, Metropipe, XeroBank (duh), or SecureTunnel.

    DiClave is great but pricey, Metropipe is good but many say the support isn't so hot, XeroBank is fastest, really easy to use and works for all OSes but some are skeptical (too-good-to-be-true syndrom), and SecureTunnel is inexpensive and fast but has all their servers in one location.

    If you want a demo on the VPN, private message me and I'll give you a spin.
     
  17. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    Just out of curiosity, have you heard anything about torrentfreedom or international alliance?
     
  18. SteveTX

    SteveTX Registered Member

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    yes. torrentfreedom is targeting hackers and torrent users, and that is the type of traffic they will get, and that is the type of pressure they will be under. Best of luck to them, but they probably won't be around for another year.

    International Alliance is ancient technology. They don't know anything about security, including their own. stay far away.
     
  19. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    I was telling a friend of mine about xerobank and he said he was using Ghost Surf. Are you familiar with them?
     
  20. SteveTX

    SteveTX Registered Member

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    I may be entirely wrong, but if I remember correctly, Ghost Surf is a skinned browser controller for Internet Explorer, and works via DLL injection for a SSH tunnel that only works for the browser. By default it does not encrypt your surfing, you have to turn it on "maximum" security to just get that. This is a duplicate of anonymizer's non-vpn surfing software, and it runs on a simple 1-hop proxy in a single location. It's not trusted anonymity, it's not even trusted privacy, it's trust without any privacy. Marketing is an amazing tool...
     
  21. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    Thanks. I figured as much. I will pass that along.
     
  22. Dogbiscuit

    Dogbiscuit Guest

    Can products like GhostSurf and Anonymizer provide adequate privacy, if your only concern is preventing someone at your ISP from knowing what websites you visit, or preventing a nosy neighbor from possibly monitoring your cable network traffic?
     
  23. SteveTX

    SteveTX Registered Member

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    By default, no. By default it doesn't secure your traffic at all, it kind of hides your identity from the websites you visit. That means your ISP and neighbors can read it all, and now so can Ghost Surf and Anonymizer.
     
  24. Pleonasm

    Pleonasm Registered Member

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    Genady, I fail to understand the logic. Are you saying that because the US Government is a client of Anonymizer (and of their new owner, Abraxas Corporation) that somehow the service they provide is therefore not secure? If you learned that the US Government was a client of a competitive service (e.g., MetroPipe), would you say the same? How do you know they are not?

    There is an alternative way to think about the issue. The US Government and the national security community (and major corporations) have the resources to obviously use any anonymity service they want; yet, they choose to use Anonymizer. From my perspective, that is a strong endorsement of the products of Anonymizer (such as Total Net Shield) – not a negative.

    Lance Cottrell, the Chief Scientist at (and founder of) Anonymizer is an exceptionally expert on the subject of Internet anonymity and a long-time advocate of protecting privacy. He is still a senior member of the company, and I think that speaks quite well of the services.
     
  25. Pleonasm

    Pleonasm Registered Member

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    To clarify, although the statement applies somewhat to the basic Anonymizer Anonymous Surfing product, it is not true for their advanced offering (Anonymizer Total Net Shield).
     
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