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Protect your anonymity online!

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  • Protect your anonymity online!


    There are many reasons to hide your real identity when you use the Internet. You might want to protect yourself against an oppressive government, or post personal messages to a Usenet newsgroup without identifying yourself to the whole world as the poster.

    The anonymity section covers instructions and explanations on how to be anonymous on the Net. Several options are available, ranging from simple pseudonymous servers to the almost impregnable anonymity remailers.

    Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court (USA) has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

    Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

  • #2


    Traveling through the Internet, every email accumulates the trails of every machine it passes, along with the date, time and IP. Since this "post stamp" is rather unsightly and useless for correspondents, email programs normally hide it. But it's very easy to trace a message back to its author by reading this headers.

    There are several ways to deal with headers and hide yourself. The best is to use Anonymous Remailers. A remailer is an address through which an electronic message passes before continuing the rest of its journey to its actual destination. It wipes out all the headers that can disclose your identity. There are various remailer systems. Some systems give you an anonymous address on which other people can send you mail, which is then forwarded to your real address (so-called "pseudo-anonymous"). They keep the database of "real names" so you can be potentially traced back or the owner can be forced to give this information away. The rest of remailers act using "fire and forget" principle and keep no logs. In fact, nowadays there are two different classes of remailers: Cypherpunk and Mixmaster. Most of remailers use encryption.
    Last edited by Stefanus; 28 June 2008, 23:52.


    • #3
      Proxy Server

      Proxy Server

      In computer networks, a proxy server is a server (a computer system or an application program) which services the requests of its clients by forwarding requests to other servers. A client connects to the proxy server, requesting some service, such as a file, connection, web page, or other resource, available from a different server. The proxy server provides the resource by connecting to the specified server and requesting the service on behalf of the client. A proxy server may optionally alter the client's request or the server's response, and sometimes it may serve the request without contacting the specified server. In this case, it would 'cache' the first request to the remote server, so it could save the information for later, and make everything as fast as possible.

      Schematic representation of a proxy server, where the computer in
      the middle acts as the proxy server between the other two.

      A proxy server that passes all requests and replies unmodified is usually called a gateway or sometimes tunneling proxy.

      A proxy server can be placed in the user's local computer or at specific key points between the user and the destination servers or the Internet.

      • Caching proxy server
      • Web proxy
      • Content Filtering Web Proxy
      • Anonymizing proxy server
      • Hostile proxy
      • Intercepting proxy server
      • Transparent and non-transparent proxy server
      • Forced proxy
      • Open proxy server
      • Reverse proxy server

      Anonymizing proxy server

      An anonymous proxy server (sometimes called a web proxy) generally attempts to anonymize web surfing. These can easily be overridden by site administrators, and thus rendered useless in some cases. There are different varieties of anonymizers.

      Access control: Some proxy servers implement a logon requirement. In large organizations, authorized users must log on to gain access to the web. The organization can thereby track usage to individuals.

      Risks of using anonymous proxy servers

      In using a proxy server (for example, anonymizing HTTP proxy), all data sent to the service being used (for example, HTTP server in a website) must pass through the proxy server before being sent to the service, mostly in unencrypted form. It is therefore possible, as has been demonstrated, for a malicious proxy server to record everything sent to the proxy: including unencrypted logins and passwords.

      By chaining proxies which do not reveal data about the original requester, it is possible to obfuscate activities from the eyes of the user's destination. However, more traces will be left on the intermediate hops, which could be used or offered up to trace the user's activities. If the policies and administrators of these other proxies are unknown, the user may fall victim to a false sense of security just because those details are out of sight and mind.

      The bottom line of this is to be wary when using proxy servers, and only use proxy servers of known integrity (e.g., the owner is known and trusted, has a clear privacy policy, etc.), and never use proxy servers of unknown integrity. If there is no choice but to use unknown proxy servers, do not pass any private information (unless it is properly encrypted) through the proxy.

      In what is more of an inconvenience than a risk, proxy users may find themselves being blocked from certain Web sites, as numerous forums and Web sites block IP addresses from proxies known to have spammed or trolled the site.


      • #4
        Re: Protect your anonymity online!