Useful Tips

How to keep anonymity on the Internet

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The age of permissiveness and anarchy on the net is rapidly coming to an end. New orders must be met prepared and armed.

All recent years have passed in a trend of ever-increasing state control over their citizens. Particularly successfully, this process is moving forward on the Internet, to which we have so successfully opened the eyes of the revelation of Snowden. If we take into account that not only the United States is engaged in this, but all countries, to one degree or another, the picture is even more depressing.

In the light of these events, it is completely natural for citizens to ensure the security of their confidential data and weaken control over their personal lives. One of the measures for this is to counteract their identification in the network, that is, ensuring anonymity. You will learn how to do this in this article.

First of all, it’s worthwhile to dwell on the question, why is anonymity on the network even necessary?

Yes, indeed, anonymity is everyone’s personal choice, and many do not need it, and some, for example, public persons, simply can not afford it because of the nature of their activities. For other people, it may be urgently needed, for security reasons, to carry out their social, civil or political activities. In addition to these polar opinions, there are a vast majority of users who simply do not like being spied on.

Is online anonymity possible?

I want to upset you right away - complete anonymity on the network is practically unattainable. Each computer has its own ip-address, by which you can identify the owner and his actions. Yes, the identification process can be greatly complicated, but completely avoided, without special technical equipment inaccessible to mere mortals, is almost impossible. Keep this in mind.

However, this does not mean that you have to give up. The situation is similar to protection against thieves. Although there is no castle that could not be opened, it is within our power to make this process so complex and lengthy that no cracker, without urgent need, can take it. Let's see what we can do.

Need a separate SIM card to register accounts

When registering in social networks, you indicate a phone number or email address. Get for these purposes a grandmother and a separate SIM card. It is much easier and safer to confirm or restore access to accounts. Do not publish this phone number and don’t give it to anyone.

Choose a SIM card with a tariff that does not need to be replenished every month. It will be needed only for inboxes, so cheap minutes and gigabytes are not needed in this case.

An alternative is services like http://onlinesim.ru/. They allow you to receive calls, SMS, etc. Part of the services is paid.

Get a separate e-mail for the same purposes.

Another basic rule of Internet hygiene. Get an e-mail to register accounts on the Internet. His address also does not shine anywhere.

You can use traditional mail services. You can create a temporary mailbox on mail.ru - the function is located in the "Settings" - "Anonymizer" item. Letters fall into the main mailbox (in a separate folder), but the sender sees a completely different address.

There are also services like temp-mail.ru. Minimum buttons: copy the given address to the clipboard, get a new one by clicking on "Update", manually change or delete. Dropmail.me works the same way.

To send letters from this and any other mailboxes, you should use a VPN. The fact is that the original text of the e-mail contains the IP address:

You can drive the IP address in a service like https://ru.myip.ms/ and get the location:

What you do not need to publish on social networks

If you use social networks to communicate with relatives, friends and like-minded people, leave a minimum of information about yourself. Life hack: replacing Cyrillic letters with similar ones from the Latin alphabet helps to exclude the name from the search results.

Name + date of birth make it possible to find a person in various services. For example, in the FSPP database. Yes, you understand that to hide the year of birth, but to remain in the groups “11-B edition of 2000” or “Tigers according to the Chinese calendar” is a little fawn?

Publish personal photos and notes under lock and key. Of course, this will not stop employees of the organs. But it will save random people from unnecessary attention.

Here is a list of things that in no case can be published on social networks:

  • Plans to leave home (on vacation, on a business trip, etc.). Do not make life easier for apartment thieves. It’s not out of place to hint that someone has stayed at home,
  • Primary Phone Number Especially if bank and other important accounts are attached to it,
  • Posts about going to make a major purchase,
  • Ads about successful deals that brought you a lot of money,
  • Messages about the loss of documents or autonomy - a chance that scammers will extort money from you is higher than the probability of finding it.

More accurate with groups in social networks

It’s easy to guess that you are planning to buy an apartment if you are added to 10 groups like “Buying apartments in SZAO”. The list of groups you are in will tell you more about you than the entries on the page.

It is then very convenient for such groups to navigate all sorts of scammers and spammers. After all, you yourself emphasized - they say, this topic is interesting to me. Divorce me, please.

For such things, it’s worth creating a separate account in social networks and not adding friends from the main profile there. At the same time, you’ll be less distracted by spam.

Think about what you post on photos (and when)

Do not use a clear front-facing photo for your avatar. Try a picture from an unusual angle. Then acquaintances recognize you, but systems like FindFace most likely do not.

What photos can not be published:

  • Photo near the house with reference to the location. Never use geotags, turn them off in the camera settings,
  • Photos and scans of documents,
  • Photo tickets for concerts, sports, etc. - other people can use codes from them,
  • Photo of bank cards. And even more so the release date and CVC / CVV.

1. Get yourself another account

Today, email has become a universal identifier for a network user identity. Therefore, first of all, it is worth taking care of the second (third, fourth) email address. It can be either just an additional Gmail account, or one of the special mail services described in this article. After that, register on it new accounts in social networks and other necessary services. Never mix your public and private profile.

2. Do not use domestic services

I have nothing against our search, mail, social sites, in many ways they are even better. They are worse only in that, if necessary, interested people or structures can quite easily scratch out the information they need about you. Therefore, do not use the services of the country in which you reside.

3. Change the connection location

If you want to further complicate the work of potential pursuers, then do not sit at home, but take a walk around the neighborhood. An attentive and thoughtful search will tell you dozens of available cafes, computer clubs, libraries from which you can use the Internet, without risking highlighting your real and network address.

1. Proxies

Quite simply, a proxy is a service or program that acts as an intermediary between you and the site you are requesting. It turns out that all your surfing requests will be addressed to only one server, and it will already send them where necessary. In addition to the banal search in the network of open proxies, which are quite sufficient, including free ones, you can use this technology with more sophisticated methods, which we wrote about in the following articles:

Virtual private network these are several technologies and methods that allow you to create a special encrypted and inaccessible channel between a user and the Internet. This allows you to hide your real IP address and become anonymous, as well as encrypt your traffic. In the framework of this article, we will not dwell on deciphering the features of the operation of different VPN protocols, we only note that this method, in general, is quite reliable and easy to use. You can learn about its practical application from our following articles:

TOR is a network of routers and software designed specifically to ensure user anonymity. Roughly speaking, when using this technology, your request to the site and the answer from it go through such a winding and complicated way through a chain of proxy servers that it is almost impossible to calculate the client. Now rumors about the unreliability of TOR technology are circulating actively, but there is no significant evidence for this and, quite possibly, these rumors are launched by interested government organizations.

The easiest way to start using this technology is to download and install a special Firefox assembly with all the necessary additional components, including NoScript, Torbutton, and HTTPS Everywhere add-ons. This program is called Tor Browser Bundle, you can download it here. In addition, there are other possibilities of using TOR, which we wrote about:

Conclusion

This article lists far from all methods of preserving anonymity on the network, but even they are quite enough to significantly complicate the task for your ill-wishers, stalkers or regulatory authorities.

But the most important defense mechanism is located, without a doubt, in your head. Think, think and think again before posting photos, posting information about yourself, downloading something or uploading it to the network. Because the rule of Miranda is

“Everything you say can and will be used against you in court.”

- This is not only about American films, but also about the modern, and especially the future Internet.

Stay incognito

Similarly, it is ideal for testing sites that are heavily loaded with cookies. And also for those cases when there is public access to the computer on which you work.

Private browsing does not completely erase your fingerprints. Certain items, such as DNS lookups and some cookies, may remain after the session. So it is better to consider programs for anonymity on the Web as a temporary measure. The main thing I want to focus your attention on is not to save your browsing history on a public computer.

If you need an optimal example, then open a private browsing session and browse several sites, and then exit the session, go to the command line and enter the following:

Ipconfig / displaydns and press Enter.

This will be a list of all cached DNS records visited from your computer, whether you used a private browsing session or not.

Ipconfig / flushdns and press Enter.

Thus, the list will be cleared and any attempts to access it will be impossible. It is also advisable to configure a batch file that will launch the browser in private browsing mode, and automatically close DNS records when closed. This method can be used to maintain a certain level of privacy.

False identity

Using a fake identity sounds intriguing than it actually is, but in many cases it is quite effective for achieving anonymity on the Internet:

This is a simple concept, but it can be successfully applied to disguise your network activity. There have been cases when people used over fifty fake names and email addresses to access websites in order to avoid identifying their real data.

There are few reasons to provide your real identity on the Internet. Mostly sites only collect and sell your data, or use them for advertising purposes, so in no case do not provide your real email address, home address or contact information on public sites:

How to maintain anonymity on the web? This site can completely create a fake identity with names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. It can even provide you with a number of fake credit cards, mother’s maiden name, vehicle, blood type, height, weight and a QR code that can be used on sites that are not very reliable. Obviously, all the data provided is fake, and any resemblance to a real person is random.

The fake name generator also creates a false email address, which is a valid email address, and you can use it to receive one-time links to confirm your email address. However, one cannot be sure who also uses this service. No one knows who else has access to this system. So it’s better to consider it as a tool for generating email addresses that you can use to fill out various online forms.

Hacker # 176. Internet anonymity

In addition to onion routing, there is also garlic, used in I2P. Tor and I2P, with some external similarities, largely implement diametrically opposite approaches. In Tor, a chain of nodes is created, along which traffic is transmitted and received, and in I2P, “incoming” and “outgoing” tunnels are used, and thus requests and responses go through different nodes. Every ten minutes, these tunnels are rebuilt. “Garlic routing” implies that a message (“garlic”) can contain many “cloves” - fully formed messages with information on their delivery. In one “garlic” at the time of its formation, many “cloves” can be laid, some of them can be ours, and some can be transit. Is this or that “clove” in the “garlic” our message, or is this someone else's transit message that passes through us, only the one who created the “garlic” knows.

The main task of I2P, unlike Tor, is anonymous hosting of services, and not the provision of anonymous access to the global network, that is, the placement of websites on the network that are called eepsites in I2P terminology.

I2P software requires pre-installed Java. All management is carried out through the web interface, which is available at 127.0.0.1:7657. After all the necessary manipulations, you need to wait a couple of minutes until the network is configured, and you can use all its hidden services. In this case, we got anonymous access to the I2P network, that is, to all resources in the .i2p domain. If you want to access the global network, then it’s enough to simply specify the use of the proxy server 127.0.0.1:4444 in the browser settings. Logging out of I2P to the global network is through specific gateways (called outproxy). As you know, you don’t have to rely on tremendous speed. Plus, there is no guarantee that no one sniffs your traffic on such a gateway. Is it safe to host your anonymous resource on an I2P network? Well, nobody can give a 100% security guarantee, if the resource is corny vulnerable, then it will not be difficult to determine its true location.

I2P Router Console

In many countries, such as China, Iran, providers are actively fighting against Tor’s, using DPI (deep packet inspection), keyword filtering, selective blocking and other methods. In order to circumvent censorship, torproject released a special tool, obfsproxy bit.ly/z4huoD, which converts traffic between the client and the bridge in such a way that it looks absolutely harmless for the provider.

Obfsproxy workflow

What about secure and anonymous file sharing? For this purpose, you can resort to the help of GNUnet bit.ly/hMnQsu - a framework for organizing a secure P2P network that does not require centralized or any other "trusted" services. The main goal of the project is to create a reliable, decentralized and anonymous information exchange system. All nodes of the network act as routers, encrypt connections with other nodes and maintain a constant level of network load. As in many other solutions, nodes actively participating in the network are served with a higher priority. A URI is used to identify objects and services, which looks like gnunet: // module / identifier, where module is the name of the network module, and identifier is a unique hash identifying the object itself. An interesting feature is the ability to adjust the level of anonymity: from zero (not anonymous) to infinity (default is one). For secure transmission, all files are encrypted using ECRS (An Encoding for Censorship-Resistant Sharing - encryption for censorship-resistant file sharing). GNUnet is extensible, on the basis of which you can build new P2P applications. In addition to file sharing (the most popular service), there are alternative services: the simplest chat, which is now in a half-dead state, as well as distributed DNS. Well, as usual, you have to pay for anonymity: high latency, low speed and fairly high resource consumption (which is typical for all decentralized networks). Plus, there are backward compatibility issues between different versions of the framework.

Анонимная одноранговая сеть GNUnet

Не светите банковские карты – никак

Ещё несколько слов о картах. Если вы хотите собрать пожертвования на корм условным котикам, заведите отдельную карту и публикуйте её номер. Ни в коем случае не используйте для этого вашу основную карту. К слову, расплачиваться ею в интернет-магазинах также не следует.

Для подобных целей подходят виртуальные карты. К примеру, их предлагает «Сбербанк» и Qiwi (Visa Virtual). Пополнять такие карты можно в банкоматах, терминалах, приложениях для онлайн-банкинга и др. А поступившие деньги затем тратить как обычно или переводить на основную карту.

Этого будет достаточно

Разумная бдительность не помешает всегда. Do not trust the Internet too much - do not share personal with strangers so as not to run into unnecessary problems.

Too much of the network is about sharing your personal data. Do not forget about it. In the modern world, you are personally the best-selling and at the same time expensive product. So increase your value by making data collection more difficult.

At the same time you will sleep a little better.

(5.00 out of 5, rated: 4)

Tools to help stay invisible

There are a number of programs with which you can hide your actions, erase digital “fingerprints” or remain invisible on the Internet. The most famous of them is Tor Network. But those who require a higher level of encryption and anonymity may consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

Tor network

Tor is a program for anonymity on the Web in Russian, through which your online connections are passed through connected networks, each of which belongs to volunteers from around the world. The essence of this concept is to block the ability to track the user and find out his location, and you yourself provide the opportunity to visit blocked sites:

After starting the package, when you start browsing through Tor, all the content that you connect to is transmitted in encrypted form and passed through the network system mentioned above. The Tor Browser Bundle works efficiently with any TCP application for instant messaging, remote login, and other browsers. However, this product does not guarantee 100% anonymity, and it should not be used to download illegal music or movies. This can cause a congestion on the Tor network and cause problems for users who use the package for the proper purpose.

The protocols that are used on P2P sites can often be used to scan the IP address, and they can calculate your actual IP address, not the one that Tor generated.

However, Tor is a great product that you can use to remain anonymous. The built-in version of Firefox, based on Mozilla's Extended Support Release (ESR) Firefox, is specially modified to optimize security and privacy features. To do this, access to the Components.interfaces element was blocked, which can be used to identify the platform of the user's computer. Except for some Flash add-ons, SSL session caching is prohibited and DNS leak information through WebSockets is blocked.

Using the Tor Browser Bundle, you will be relatively protected from online snooping (except for the most ingenious intruders). Although you will not be able to ensure complete anonymity on the Web:

If you want to try the Tor Browser Bundle and see how successfully it hides your digital “fingerprints”, go to the Tor website, where you can download the package itself. And also get more information on how Tor helps to achieve anonymity and security while surfing the Internet.

This is an impressive VPN service from the UK, which allows the user to hide their IP addresses, unblock some sites, channels with geographical restrictions and anonymously visit sites through one of more than 50 thousand private and anonymous IP addresses of the company:

All the complex work and configuration of the VPN for anonymity on the Internet is automatic. In addition, a special built-in Speed ​​Guide function will automatically select the fastest VPN server based on your current location and connection.

Software is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. After you have registered an account and paid for the selected tariff plan, you can download the necessary software through the HMA control panel:

The program contains a convenient function "Secure IP Bind", which prevents applications from connecting to the Internet when the HMA VPN is not running. You can choose the VPN server of a specific country and configure the load ratio to connect to the VPN server with the least number of users and get more resources at your disposal.

Cyberghost

VPN, which is considered one of the best methods of anonymity on the Web. Recently, a version of CyberGhost 5.5 was introduced, which includes a number of additional benefits available in a paid package. Hide your IP address and encrypt the connection for the CyberGhost team is normal, but they feel they can do even more for you:

Advertising, as a rule, contains elements of tracking the user's location and pages visited before. Protection against malware and viruses is a necessity these days.

The data compression function increases the speed of a mobile connection, and also determines and actively removes any content that contributes to the collection of information about the resources you visit.

Forcing HTTPS is a useful feature that many VPNs do not implement. Forcing a secure connection, you increase the security of your work on the Web and reduce the risk of theft of your data:

For more information on how to maintain anonymity on the Web and the cost of various tariff plans, visit CyberGhost.

Add-ons for browsers

If reducing the amount of traffic is not very important for you, and you are only concerned about the possibility of tracking actions by malicious users, then use one of the many free add-ons available for IE, Chrome and Firefox.

They can help block the launch of individual scripts and pop-ups, as well as identify tracking elements for your location.

DoNotTrackMe / Blur

The recently released but already widely known improved version of DoNotTrackPlus. Compared to previous versions, over 300 advertising platforms, as well as more than 650 tracking technologies, have been added to its black list.

DNTMe works great in parallel with already installed add-ons. The browser will not slow down, you will see the same content as before, with the exception of some of the advertising elements that are associated with tracking attempts. You will receive information about the number of attempts made and blocked.

Adblock plus

Another free add-on for IE, Chrome, and Firefox. It is considered one of the best for securing anonymity on the Web, blocking phishing and tracking, and protects you from malware and unwanted advertising:

Extension for Firefox, Seamonkey and other browsers from Mozilla. This is a free open source package, it blocks all JavaScript, Java, Flash, and other unsafe plugins if they are not trusted. NoScript can be installed either through the Firefox add-ons repository, or directly from the NoScript site:

Add-ons for browsers

Most of the time on the Web is not for talking on Skype or chatting on social networks, but for simple surfing. But here we are not left unattended. Social networks and other sites are trying to track what resources you visit, what you are looking for on the Web, then to stuff you with ads on similar topics (when I looked at one laptop once, it immediately started popping up everywhere in Google ads). This quickly begins to annoy and distract from the main search. Anyway, we do not go online to show someone what we are looking for. So we have to fight this somehow.

Disconnect

One of the best plugins that allows you to hide from advertising surveillance, available for browsers Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari. On the official site, you can watch a funny animated video demonstrating how some sites monitor users and prevent them from focusing on search. After installing this extension, a button will appear on the toolbar, when you click on it, a drop-down window (dropdown) will be displayed, and it will clearly show how many "left" requests (from Google, Twitter, Facebook, analytical and advertising sites) were blocked when entering this page. As well as how much it was possible to reduce the page load time and how much to save traffic.

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