Internet anonymity for the paranoid
Well, it's been a few weeks since I've joined ATS and I've already managed to write a few posts that were totally stupid, plain wrong and utterly
irrelevant in relation to the subject being discussed. That aside, I'm ever so bedazzled by some of the topics we discuss here and even more so by,
many intelligent perspectives contributors provide. Some members and anonymous visitors alike show a great deal of analytical thinking and knowledge
that would make any of the "three letter agencies" proud.
One such thread is a currently ongoing discussion speculating about current USAF technology level. This got me thinking about how often certain topics
are visited by agents working for the military or the intelligence establishments. It is my opinion that there are topics here that would be of
interest to them. For entertainment value if nothing else.
With that said, allow me to provide you with a little help in order to be a little more anonymous in order to make their job of tracing you a little
more challenging. This is not intended to be an overly technical post... only a few simple guidelines.
The first thing to understand is that you can never be 100% save. Internet anonymity is a myth and is next to impossible to achieve. Especially for
the ordinary Joe. Secondly, you must realize that given enough resources and time anyone can be traced and located. So if you're thinking about
hiding from the NSA or the CIA, think again and good luck.
When you access the Internet your Internet service provider (ISP) will give your computer ( or network should you have one ) a distinct address called
IP. Every single computer on the net has a different IP address. Every time you do anything on the net your IP will be stored on a multitude of
servers and their respected log files. This is also true for Goggle, ATS, You tube... everywhere.
I loved it yesterday when a poster, a member even, refrained from sharing his country of living due to security reasons. As if...
Here are a couple of simple suggestions on how to better your anonymity.
Don't use your real name as your username. This should really go without saying. Many ISPs divide their IP ranges into physical locations like
cities, zip codes etc. So once your IP is known, it becomes very easy to find you. Unless your name is John Smith.
A good username is much like a good password, gibberish.
A lot of web pages require you to give them a valid email address in order to verify your identity. This is quite annoying. Firstly many sites will
sell your address to third party companies that are specialized for web marketing and they will spam you for ages. Secondly, you might not want to
share your email address with a site you've just stumbled upon. There is a simple and effective solution for this: www.fakenamegenerator.com...
allows you to make up an email address and receive messages sent to that address vie their site.
Your personal information
If you're serious about your internet identity and it's ( and your ) security, don't share any of your personal information on a publicly
accessible forum. It might even be best for you to come up with a new personality in order to keep a low profile. Use the above link for some fun at
Hiding your address
There are ways of hiding your IP. There are web pages, called anonymizers, that act like a browser within a browser and therefor serve as an
intermediate between you and the site you want to access. They are usually quite slow, but do the job. You should note that anonymizers naturally also
keep logs of your actions. The second method involves using a third party computer as a proxy for your browsing. This is a tad more complicated to set
up, but offers good short term anonymity.
[edit on 13-10-2008 by Manawydan]