See also: Security | Obscurity | Privacy | Information
A state that occurs when one’s identity is unknown. It is the opposite of onymity or publicity.
Many transactions are completed which require personal information to be exchanged. These activities are not private and details such as message authorship are traceable and not anonymous.
Anonymity can be implemented in a growing number of Internet applications, protocols, etc. For example Freenet and the Invisible IRC Project.
The file sharing community is also concerned about anonymity in some cases, including the GNUnet, MUTE and Filetopia projects.
- 1 Anonymity allows
- 2 Anonymity and IP Addresses
- 3 Software
- 4 Commercial services
- Providing more genuine, objective feedback.
- The dissemination of dangerous information without endangering the author/messenger. (The Whistleblower concept.)
- Greater self-expression
- Make arguments in discussion groups or to a person on its own merits and not based on who you seem to be. (A man contributing to a discussion by feminists or a Microsoft employee giving his side of an Anti-Microsoft discussion.)
- Avoid retaliation by opressive governments for stating unpopular opinions
- Use the Internet without consequences
- The ability to research medical topics without fear of a raise in insurance premiums should your provider learn of your activities.
- Companies gathering information on your purchasing habits
- Individuals learning information concerning your whereabouts
- Sometimes cannot enjoy the fruits of your work for as your identity is unverifiable.
- Cannot be trusted as you have no credibility.
- Informants cannot take credit for their success in bringing truth to light. (PGP Signatures may be a partial solution.)
- May allow criminal/unpleasant activity
Anonymity and IP Addresses
One’s IP Address is one of the most important things to be hidden for the beginnings of anonymity. Next, you must hide your ISP, and then general location. In legal concerns, such information may be used to positively identify the bill-payer of that ISP account. An IP address can be used to track down an ISP’s physical location and in many cases (particularly in the United States) may be used freely by the public to pinpoint, block-by-block, where an IP user’s net connection is. This means that someone holding your IP address could potentially (depending on the ISP) email you a satellite photo of your neighborhood (via mapquest.com).
Please note that there is still a connection between you and the proxy which, beyond popular belief, does not guarantee any anonimity. If this connection is unencrypted and logged, which the EU law demands, it is easily tracable back to you. At best, a proxy can be seen as a decoy or as anonimity to the website owner and/or readership. A dedicated attacker
- Multiproxy – (Windows) – A great, free, tool that allows you to use multiple proxies to surf both fast and (relatively) anonymously.
- Anonymity 4 Proxy – “Big Brother Has Gone Blind (TM)” – A more sophisticated tool than Multiproxy for finding and using anonymous proxy servers (commercial).
- The Metropipe Tunneler – Encrypted Anonymous Web Browsing – Surf the internet Anonymously. All servers offshore outside the USA/UK. Easy setup for Windows/OSX/Linux. Technical: SSH Tunnels + HTTP and other Proxies. NO LOGS – NO CACHES, nothing to hand over to Government agencies even if they asked. Let alone the fact that they are not USA based thus immune to Patriot Act and other USA shenanigans. All traffic goes through SSH tunnels to the MetroPipe Network, then from the proxies out on to the net. – commercial
- Findnot Commercial service that proxys web browsing and all p2p traffic. Users can choose from proxy servers in the USA, Germany, netherlands, Malaysia, Canada and Russia.
- Anonymizer.com – USA based service which regularly works with the FBI and other USA agencies in a cozy way. They maintain logs of all your surfing for at least 48 hours and regularly hand this information over to authorities upon request. They offer an Anonymizing proxy with some special features, free version uses banner ads (and is unreliable)(and is no longer available, I believe). Also offers a variety of other anonymizing products. Commercial.
- Winnow Anonymous Proxy – anonymous surfing software – similar to others – commercial
- Kaxy – web-based anonymous surfing free and paid – similar to others but with a weird search engine function that easily reduces visiting spam – commercial
- ProxyWay – another anonymous surfing software – similar to others – commercial
(Semi-) Anonymous File Sharing Programs
- GNUnet – GNUnet is a framework for secure peer-to-peer networking. The primary application implemented within the GNUnet framework is anonymous censorship-resistant file-sharing.
- MUTE – MUTE File Sharing is a new peer-to-peer network that provides easy search-and-download functionality while also protecting your privacy.
- Filetopia – Filetopia is a free communications software that includes: instant messaging, chat, a powerful file sharing system with a search engine, online friends list and message boards. What is unique to this software is the level of security and privacy that it provides. It uses a choice of strong ciphers and public key techniques for all communications and sophisticated techniques to protect your IP and thus make you truly anonymous and safe from attacks.
- Zultrax – Zultrax is an encrypted, fast and reliable P2P client. Zultrax comes with an extended set of features to protect your privacy. We put a large share of our efforts into privacy-protection as encryption and intruder detection.
- Tesla – A freeware, decentralized, file sharing program with IRC-style chat features and multi-source downloading. Tesla includes multi-source downloading and multiple encryption methods to ensure complete privacy as you use it.
Other Software / Web services
- Tor (often used in conjuction with Privoxy) – iA recommended – A cross-platform software using a network of onion routers that routes your connection through many servers before making the final connection. All traffic is encrypted with in the network. Works with any program that can use a SOCKS (a kind of proxy) such as most Web Browsers, mIRC, etc. Sponsored by the EFF.
- Publius – “Censorship Resistant Publishing System” – Consists of publishers who post Publius content to the web, servers who host random-looking content, and retrievers who browse Publius content on the web. It utilizes secret sharing. Publius only covers the storing level, not the connection level.
- JAP: Java Anonymous Proxy – A cross-platform, free and very easy-to-use and setup anonymizer for Web browsers. It sends requests through a cascade of encrypting mixes, thereby hiding the origin of any connection. TD123 testing works well but not reliabily. Sometimes offline for days or weeks at a time.
- Crowds – (Down) “Anonymity Loves Company” – Provides connection-level anonymity for web browsing by allowing you to “blend into a crowd”, i.e. any request you make is routed through a random number of other users before it is dispatched. TD123 testing as of late 2004 shows there seem to be problems with obtaining the software; requests for the program are not answered.
- IIP – An encrypted, anonymous, decentralized, modified IRC network.
- Proxify.com – Subscription service for full product, free to try out – “Proxify is a web-based anonymous proxy service which allows anyone to surf the Web privately and securely. Unlike other proxies, there is no software to install or complicated instructions to follow. Through Proxify, you can use websites but they cannot uniquely identify or track you. Proxify hides your IP address and our encrypted connection prevents monitoring of your network traffic. Once using Proxify, you can surf normally and forget that it is there, protecting you.”
- anoNet – An experimental full IP network based on VPN and BGP which provides a high degree of anonymity and deniability. It works on the principal that, although your peer will know your public IP address, and the IP addresses in the /30 link between the two of you, the chaotic nature of the network means that you can simply advertise a new route and start using that. An attacker would have no way of knowing whether or not that new range was on a piece of Ethernet cable physically attached, or part of a VPN to a peer in China. anoNet’s wiki is read only from the Internet, but is a good source of information.
- Rewebber – Similar to Anonymizer, but has some extra features. One of them is very interesting, it allows you to publish a document anonymously by encrypting its URL and routing it through their servers. So you could, for example, host a page at Geocities and then request it from http://www.rewebber.de/439898387487 or whatever, and nobody could find out the actual URL of the page. They do keep connection logs that store the first three octets of your IP address, though.
- Freedom by Zero-Knowledge Systems – A commercial service that once provided connection-level anonymity by routing traffic through several hops and encrypting it. To be exact, it provides pseudonymity, meaning you could create nicknames (“nyms”) for your Internet activities. These were completely anonymous and ZKS claims they cannot provide any information about the users behind certain nyms. OTOH, they reserved the right to delete nyms because of illegal behavior (which means that you have to buy new ones ;-). It is no longer being offered.
- KatzGlobal – Anonymous Hosting, Anonymous Domain Names, Seamail, International Offshore Hosting.
- Lockboxx – Anonymous, secure document exchange service.
- The Dining Cryptographers Problem: Unconditional Sender and Recipient Untraceability by David Chaum.
- News.com Anonymous backer funds patent foe
- PC Magazine [http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1054898,00.asp
Staying Nameless on the Net]
- Anonymous E-Mail
- Anonymous Usenet Posting
- Anonymous Web Surfing
- Encrypting Your File Sharing
- Distributed proxy
- Anonymous Emoney
TakeDown.NET -> “Anonymity”