Even though the Internet is formally considered a bastion of free speech and anonymity, few people continue to believe that we are becoming invisible online. In addition, not long ago, former CIA official Edward Snowden made public information about PRISM, the Internet spying program developed by the U.S. National Security Agency. But even without his revelations, it was clear that the World Wide Web knows more about us than we think.
However, the problem is not just that seemingly harmless toys like Angry Birds help intelligence agencies to gather information about potential terrorists. More often than not, services such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Apple, etc., want to get to know users better. Therefore, they will not miss the opportunity to track your behavior in the Global Network and even analyze your mail for personal preferences because the commercial success of these companies directly depends on the quality of the target audience for advertising promotion. Resources that provide anonymity on the Internet can be helpful to you in many cases of life. For example, if you want to try a gambling resource like a Bollywood casino. Anonymizers can help you break away from blocked sites in your country.
In this article, we will give you some practical advice on how to stay anonymous online. It should be said straight away that no solution can guarantee absolute invisibility on the web. However, if you are not going to exchange documents of state importance, you can ensure yourself a pretty high level of security. The most effective method of protecting your data in the information space is to use anonymous networks.
The following resources are great tools for users who want to remain anonymous:
The most famous anonymous network. Tor is a system of proxy servers, which allows you to establish an anonymous network connection protected from eavesdropping. The word Tor itself is an acronym that stands for The Onion Router. The comparison with The Onion Router is not accidental – the system is accessed using free software, which uses the “onion routing” technology. Using this approach, the messages are protected by several “layers” of encryption and then sent through a chain of network nodes. The program can be downloaded from the official website. Tor is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Tor participants access Internet resources through other users on the network. Users can also create and put online anonymous web services accessed via special .onion pseudo-domains. Note that the use of Tor and any other anonymous network leads to a significant loss of speed. Downloadable Tor software forms a chain of nodes along which encrypted data will be transmitted. From time to time, the chain rebuilds itself and uses new nodes. It should be understood that simply installing Tor will not make you invisible, and it requires the installation of additional components. Tor program manages the encryption process and determines the path that the data passes through a network of repeaters.
First, you need to install a virtual proxy server on your computer and connect to it. Such a proxy is an intermediary between user applications working on the Internet and the Tor network. The most suitable proxy servers for working with Tor are Privoxy and Polipo. Polipo is included in all recent builds of the Tor suite. More advanced users may prefer Privoxy. If this is the case, you will need to uninstall Polipo when installing the Tor kit. Next, the program Vidalia is used to control the booting and operation of the system. It is essentially a Tor graphical shell. You can start a Tor and a filtering proxy server with it and stop them at any time. Vidalia also gives you access to a network map and many other features. When all the necessary software is installed, you can “torify applications” – that is, configure them to work with the Tor network.
As already mentioned, using Tor does not guarantee you complete security. It’s no secret that the last node in the chain sees the traffic in unencrypted form. Attackers use it to steal passwords and logins. However, even the official website says that you should not rely on complete anonymity when using Tor.
I2P (“Invisible Internet Project”) is open-source software designed to build a top stable encrypted network and is mainly used for anonymous hosting (creation of sites, forums, chat rooms, file exchange servers, etc.). As far as web surfing is concerned, the possibilities are slight. The thing is that only a tiny part of the network clients dare to open their channels for the masses. Therefore, the main task of I2P is anonymous hosting services, rather than providing secure access to the Global Network, as in Tor.
Another difference between I2P and Tor is the way of routing. For example, Tor uses “onion routing” while I2P uses “garlic routing.” Tor creates a chain of nodes through which traffic is passed, I2P uses input and output tunnels. Thus, requests and responses go through different nodes. Every ten minutes, these tunnels are reformed. “Garlic routing” implies that a data packet (“garlic”) can contain many “cogs,” that is, encrypted messages, both their own and those of others. Each with instructions for its delivery. Because of this, the recipient’s server cannot precisely identify the sender and vice versa. To use this resource to go gambling, view this review page.
Another anonymous, decentralized storage network. Freenet includes a group of so-called “free sites” (anonymous websites), file sharing, and search. Files that a user wants to share are distributed to the computers of other network members in encrypted form. To upload a file, it is necessary to know the key to collect the file from the computers of other network users. This approach keeps the user safe from being tracked. After all, in this case, no one, not even the user himself, has no idea what pieces of files are stored on his hard drive. Moreover, such data storage is impossible to detect and delete. However, Freenet’s disadvantage is that the search system is still imperfect.
To use Freenet, download the installer and run it. The Freenet program and other required components will be installed on your computer. When the installation process is complete, you will see your browser’s Freenet user interface page. The program works with most routers. But if you have any questions, you can find the answers in a detailed FAQ. You can access Freenet afterward via the menu in the system tray, the Browse Freenet shortcut on the desktop, or the “Start” menu. You can also open the program by typing 127.0.0.1:8888 in your browser’s address bar. It would help if you used a different browser for Freenet for more security, preferably in privacy mode. IE does not work well with Freenet, so Chrome, Firefox, or Opera are preferred.
RestroShare is an open-source, cross-platform software for building a decentralized F2F (Friend-To-Friend) network. Here, file sharing and communication are only with verified friends, not the entire network. After authentication and asymmetric key exchange, the connection is established via SSH. OpenSSL is used for encryption, and folders can be accessed. Friends of friends will see each other if users enable this option, but they will not be able to connect. It is kind of like a social network.
RestroShare has several communication services: private chat, mail, forums, and voice chat via VoIP plugin. You are prompted to create a profile and generate a PGP key for authentication when you first start. After completing the account, open the settings by clicking on the gear icon. In the Server subsection, enable UPnP and select DarkNet or Private mode. The same setting has to be done for the other client.