Trying to remain confidential online

Discussion in 'Computer Programming, Emulation, and Game Modding' started by jordan_supersport, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. jordan_supersport
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    jordan_supersport Newbie

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    Aug 7, 2013
    Hi all,

    I've been trying to work out how to keep yourself anonymous online.

    From what I can tell if you spoof your mac address and use a public wifi network then your safe. I'm no expert with computers so I'd like some advice from someone who knows what he or she is talking about.
     
  2. Xarsah16

    Xarsah16 GBATemp's Official Village Dingus/Idiot

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    The most obvious thing is to make sure you don't sign up for Facebook and reveal your personal info on that and elsewhere. You could always browse with a proxy if you are that worried about it.

    Keep in mind, there are very few ways to stop others from seeing BitTorrent traffic.
     
  3. Ethevion

    Ethevion Wannabe Artist

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    I think a VPN would work.
     
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Joined today and asking such questions. Fair enough but I will leave the eyebrow raised.

    The are lots of measures to stay ahead of all kinds of things depending upon what you want to do. As Xarsah16 said the easiest way is not to play; minimise the amount and type of data you put out there and you minimise your exposure.

    Are we hiding from the NSA/GCHQ in full on spy mode? Are we hiding from a high level law enforcement team? Are we hiding from copyright people and downloading stuff? Are we hiding from our ISPs? Are we leaking confidential info of a company? For each of those is it on a long term or short term basis? Do we need to hide day to day stuff as well?

    There is an old adage concerning things like p2p networks that runs "free, fast and secure -- pick two". As you have picked one you are left with free or fast.

    On the mac address thing -- to an extent but if my public network is capturing traffic and I see jordan_supersport@gmail.com go into registration for a forum or something....

    The short version is there is no simple way for a lot of this and you will be learning a lot of how computer networks and computer security works before you even consider going up against a well equipped/trained adversary that has reason to get you. For a lesser adversary/one that is not out to get you specifically you have a few more options.
     
    Tom Bombadildo, Satangel and PityOnU like this.
  5. PityOnU

    PityOnU GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    As background information, I am a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, a CompTIA Network+ specialist, and have a B.Sc. in Computer Engineering.

    Today, there is no way to remain completely anonymous online. None. I'm not sure if there ever was. Every single thing you do in your browser is monitored and can be recorded (whether or not it is is something else entirely). Even P2P networks like Tor can and have been poisoned in such a way that you can be tracked.

    How do you think Google adjusts it's search results to have the best ones at the top? (A: They track who and how many people visit every site, how long they stay there, etc.)

    The game you play when it comes to cyber security is similar to the old bear joke. There is no way to be faster than the bear, but you can outrun the other guy.

    Some good ways to make it difficult for others to track you:

    1. Set your browser to wipe your history, cookies, and everything else when closed (IE has a single checkbox to do this)
    2. Change your hostname and MAC address regularly (the latter doesn't do too much anymore as Windows 7+ drivers only allow for a certain subset of spoofed ID's - which would be a dead giveaway to who you are and what you're doing)
    3. Use a privacy and ad filter in your browser, and deny sites access to location information (again, IE has some really good options for this)
    4. Turn off "search completion" (the feature that tries to guess what you're typing in the URL bar by sending every keystroke to a search engine)
    5. Don't use social networking sites (not as hard as some people make it out to be)
    6. Use a different username/password for every site (and have your browser remember passwords for you, keyloggers are much more common than gaping flaws in how browsers store your credentials)
    7. Disconnect when not using the web
    8. Use something like DuckDuckGo instead of Google or Bing
    9. Make sure to remove all metadata from images before sharing

    VPN's and proxies are overrated and don't really do too much. They make it a little bit more difficult for law enforcement to find you, but they are in effect just another ISP and will generally give up your information if asked to do so.

    Also, tinfoil hats are great accessories for the paranoid youth. Very en vogue this fall.
     
  6. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

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    In my experience in the past, there are only two ways to remain completely anonymous online. One I won't explain because of the addage "if you have to ask, it's not for you". The other is to become someone else (this not spoofing, this is misdirection).

    More practically, cookies and browser logs track your local activities, web servers and ISPs track your IP activities, and law enforcement only has to jump through the hoops to track down any given access log/IP address to its source. Encryption only obfuscates the content, not which nodes it travels through. Low level VPNs only add additional nodes to mask bots but each node is still traceable. High level VPNs/proxies may hide your IP address and some of your activities, but (as mentioned) any court order and they will be happy to give you up.

    Public WiFi does not really hide you anyway since their logging is much more stringent and any identifiers (e.g. social websites or logging into a forum) will make it obvious who you are (and don't forget that these public WiFi areas tend to have CCTV for the more suspicious of cases).

    EDIT: Ultimately, there are two ways to react to this level of data monitoring (PRISM reference?). Either you turn paranoid and take the path of the tin foil hat (because mind reading technology is being showcased and entering public domain in the coming years), or stop caring and show the government and law enforcement agencies how proud you are of which porn sites you frequent (disclaimer: not assuming you or anybody else frequents porn sites).