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The Drawbacks of Anonymous Surfing 233

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the staying-under-the-radar dept.
BlueCup writes to tell us that one reporter decided to give anonymous web surfing a shot, and found it to be much more trouble than it was worth. Many users take advantage of Tor and other anonymous web browsing tools, but is the amount of hassle worth the effort it takes to remain anonymous?
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The Drawbacks of Anonymous Surfing

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  • Torpark (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:12PM (#16097228) Journal
    Many users take advantage of Tor and other anonymous web browsing tools, but is the amount of hassle worth the effort it takes to remain anonymous?
    This is a joke, right?

    If you have a few seconds, download Torpark [nfshost.com] and try it out. It shouldn't take more than half a minute and is Firefox based and pretty much automated.

    And if you're worried about having to put Torpark on every machine you use, just put it on a very small USB thumbdrive on your keychain. Plug it into whatever computer you're using and browse the thumbdrive. Double click and go -- no need to worry about leaving personal information on your friend's computer. The application itself is very tiny so it would fit on even very cheap USB drives [newegg.com] and there's a Thunderbird extension for it. I was at a conference once and got a free 512MB thumbdrive. I sharpied it as Torpark and now I can serf anonymously if I need to.

    The only hassles I can find is that I have it set to not cache anything at all which means sites don't load as fast when I revisit them normally on my desktop. Also, the Tor servers can sometimes be slow to forward packets or the German ranged IP address it masks me with will cause a page to render in German. Oh gut, das ist wert es wohl.
    • Re:Torpark (Score:5, Insightful)

      by adolfojp (730818) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:25PM (#16097352)
      Also, the Tor servers can sometimes be slow to forward packets...
      You can always donate to the project.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eddy (18759)

        I once experimented and added a machine to the Tor network as an exit point for web traffic.

        A couple of hours later I wasn't welcome at slashdot any more. You can guess where that experiment ended.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jZnat (793348) *
          Same thing happened to me with Wikipedia. Maybe you could try filtering the out traffic (don't allow connections to certain sites) if your server resides on the same IP address as you.
        • Re:Torpark (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Frymaster (171343) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @04:34PM (#16098960) Homepage Journal
          A couple of hours later I wasn't welcome at slashdot any more. You can guess where that experiment ended.

          in the first week i used tor my bank decided to shut me out of online banking for a week and paypal put me through a rigorous 'identity confirmation' protocol that included them depositing money in my cheuqing account, calling me at home and mailing (as in paper and stamps) a magic 5 digit code.

          and i still use tor. every day.

          because a police state is far less convenient.

          • Re:Torpark (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Skreems (598317) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @04:46PM (#16099078) Homepage
            Why would you use Tor with services such as a bank website and PayPal, which already know who you are?
            • Re:Torpark (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Lucractius (649116) <Lucractius.gmail@com> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @02:35AM (#16102067) Journal
              id mod you up but instead ill further highlight my agreement.

              WHY would you want to risk firther exposure of such sensitive details as your bank acount login by adding ANOTHER leg to its journey out to the bank. If you dont trust your lan, you can use a vpn or ssh tunnel to somewhere better (something i commonly do, especiauly when im using wireless networks, ssh to a wired box, then (for wireless at least) re-ssh again to another wired one from there (a little bit better incase anyone gets my auth over the wireless))

              Using a tor server for your most confidential information that is so connected to you as to the level that the parties involved are in posetion of your bank details and phone number and address, is rediculous, unless your the kind of person that uses fake deails of the type above, is constantly moving, and realy doesnt want the bank to know where your using the computer from, WHY THE HELL would you anonymize your logins to these.

              To the companies it raises massive red flags, as you experienced first hand what they do its clear they act on such behaviour. If you dont trust your bank, dont bank there.

              And ill point out that placing a software routing point between you and your end point, you do increase the potential for man-in-the-middle attacks on your sensitive login information significantly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by grimdonkey (757857)
        Or run a tor node yourself. It's no hassle and you would be of great help.
        As other posters already said, some sites ban tor exit node ips. You can just run your server as a middle-node or restrict acces to those certain sites (slashdot, gsmarena amongst others).
    • Did you RTFA? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:46PM (#16097544) Journal
      The "hassles" he talks about are mostly the lost convienences of cookies and the occassional site that doesn't work w/out cookies.

      Seriously.
      That about sums up his complaints.

      I'm not terribly impressed by the issues he discovered while using an anonymizing service.
      • the occassional site that doesn't work w/out cookies

        You mean like any ecommerce or membership based site, like, say, /., Amazon, and the like?

        • by Pharmboy (216950)
          You mean like any ecommerce or membership based site, like, say, /., Amazon, and the like?

          How exactly can you buy from Amazon and remain anonymous?
          • by MBGMorden (803437)
            Just leave that PHP/MySQL book in the alley behind the Burger King on Hillman Street at 3am and nobody gets hurt.
      • Re:Did you RTFA? (Score:4, Informative)

        by kinglink (195330) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:17PM (#16098296)
        If you are doing anonymous browsing in the first place, you're probably not going to want cookies. Option might be nice, but I have a feeling anyone that interested in privacy will only allow it on a few sites.
    • Re:Torpark (Score:5, Funny)

      by Drachemorder (549870) <brandon@NoSPAM.christiangaming.org> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:01PM (#16097676) Homepage
      now I can serf anonymously if I need to.
      I thought serfs were already pretty much anonymous.
    • by Kjella (173770)
      If you have a few seconds, download Torpark and try it out.

      That website seriously needs to add a sentence about *how* it's doing it. It goes on to talk badly about "all the other services" but then I'm like "So how the f... do you do it?", it sounded about as credible as that "anonymous" IE frontend that was on slashdot not long ago.

      Firefox and Tor, both open source, with a little magic to tie them together? I believe in that. But it sure as hell wasn't obvious to find out that it was using Firefox... or wh
    • by sukotto (122876)

      just put it on a very small USB thumbdrive on your keychain. Plug it into whatever computer you're using and browse the thumbdrive. Double click and go -- no need to worry about leaving personal information on your friend's computer.



      You had better encrypt that thumbdrive in case the computer owner slurps all the data off it [schneier.com] while it's plugged in.

    • If I'm going and using other people's machines, isn't that already anonymous?
    • Are there any Linux and MacOS X 10.2.8 ports or similiar Web browsers? I just tried this in Windows XP Pro. SP2. It's nice.
    • Re:Torpark (Score:4, Informative)

      by dshaw858 (828072) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @06:32PM (#16099956) Homepage Journal
      Many users take advantage of Tor and other anonymous web browsing tools, but is the amount of hassle worth the effort it takes to remain anonymous?

      I think that this must be a joke. Guys, you're missing the entire point of using Tor. Tor usage isn't designed for script kiddies who don't want the FBI on them, child pornography rings afraid of Interpol or nerdy teenagers that don't want their IP logged (although these are all applications of Tor, too). Tor was designed for electronic freedom for people in, for example, totalitarian regimes that don't allow freedom of speech, or whistleblowers on governments, major industry, etc.

      Having a little bit of "a hassle" is fine for the designed type of use. People trying to communicate anonymously out of the Great Firewall of China don't worry if it takes an extra few seconds. The nerdy teenager that thinks anonymity is cool (not that I have anything against this guy), might think it's not quite so cool to wait forever to have a site load, and be banned from things like Slashdot and Wikipedia (via the Exit Nodes).

      The article is inherently flawed, since it's looking at Tor from the wrong perspective.

      - dshaw
  • It depends (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:13PM (#16097242) Journal
    on what you're surfing for, and who will be looking at your records in the future. Anon surfing might be a good idea for anyone who ever expects to go into politics, for example.
    • Re:It depends (Score:4, Interesting)

      by networkBoy (774728) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:19PM (#16097291) Homepage Journal
      "expects to go into politics"
      or is already in politics for that matter.

      The value of annonymous surfing to be worth overcoming hasstles is directly proportional to the damage you habits would cause should they get out.
      Lost job? -> possibly
      Divorce? -> maybe
      Prison time? -> likely
      loss of big money? -> yes
      execution? -> Certainly.

      -nB

      That's about as I rank it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bogado (25959)
        The problem is that it is hard to decide what is risk if everyone discover you personal habits. Would you lost job if your boss find out about your habit of browsing slashdot in working hours? Would you get in trouble with the wife, if she found out about that porn site you browsed the other day? What about that group of crazy fanatic religious people that found out that you deserve to go strait to hell because you visited a pastafarian website, will they attempt to kill you to speed things up? You never kn
    • I want to know the surfing habbits of polititions: imagine that the internet came about 50 years earlier: what would the "history" of GWB look like Vs Algore? not totaly usefull, but an interesting insight...
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by M00TP01NT (596278)
        You are posutlating an internet before Al Gore. That is simply not possible absent some mind-bending time-travelling paradox!
  • by legoburner (702695) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:13PM (#16097244) Homepage Journal
    but is the amount of hassle worth the effort it takes to remain anonymous?

    Yes if you are going to lose your freedom, or be executed because of it, probably not if you are a general user who does nothing that could ever be used against them, and only use it in instances where you actually need anonymity rather than using it for all activity.
    • Yes if you are going to lose your freedom, or be executed because of it,

      The nature of the internet and the records kept means you could pay for something you did last night, 10 years from now. Take the whole steroid hysteria right now. 3 years ago, if you used andro, you did nothing illegal, it wasn't considered a steroid and was available at practically every health shop. If there is an internet record of you talking about using andro and the great results you got from it now, NOW YOU'RE A STEROID USER
  • So. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FireballX301 (766274) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:14PM (#16097252) Journal
    This 'reporter' didn't know that he had to sacrifice a bit of convenience in order to maintain web anonymity?

    What a useless article. You mask your IP and use proxies if you want to become *untraceable*. And this guy's crying about how he has to remember his passwords for every site. Bloody lout.
    • by Shakrai (717556)

      What a useless article. You mask your IP and use proxies if you want to become *untraceable*. And this guy's crying about how he has to remember his passwords for every site. Bloody lout.

      Why bother even masking your IP for most passworded sites? The sites I use that require passwords (i.e: my credit union, credit cards, car loan, electric company, etc) already know who I am.

      Heck, why even mask your IP? I'm happy to reject cookies and know that my IP will change in a few days. That's all I need for pr

      • by jZnat (793348) *
        Verizon happily handed over illegal phone records to the NSA; I wouldn't trust them with IP logs either...
  • Tor speed (Score:2, Interesting)

    by phoric (833867)
    The Tor concept is a great idea, and seems to work okay, but the last time I tried it, it was so slow that it was mostly unusable. Has much changed in the past 6 months or so?
    • I've tried it with TorPark recently, and the speed was OK. It wasn't the usual cable line get-it-to-me-instantly speed, but was much better than 56k. File downloads were in the 70-150KBps range, but as always, YMMV.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jargoone (166102) *
      The "concept" has nothing to do with the speed. The state of the tor network at a given time is what influences the speed.

      Lots of times you'll wind up with an exit node halfway around the world. So if you connect to a site down the street, the traffic has to go to Germany and back. Sucks, but it's the price you pay for a potentially large benefit. Whether or not it's worth it depends on what you're doing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by The MAZZTer (911996)
      It can be slow when first starting if it hasn't found good nodes yet. Once it does though speed can pick up... once I was torrenting over tor and I got 100kb/s at one point.
      • Re:Tor speed (Score:5, Informative)

        by RPoet (20693) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:36PM (#16097445) Journal
        You're not supposed to tunnel BitTorrent over Tor. That slows the network down for everybody, including those who have a need for anonymity for legitimate than getting the latest movie flick.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)
          Maybe he was torrenting the HEAP. Not every use of bittorrent is illegal because of copyright law.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by QCompson (675963)
            I don't care if he was torrenting Richard Stallman's nutsack. Tor was never designed to handle bittorrent. It's slow enough as it is.

            Torrenting on tor is selfish.
    • The speed is significantly better. Still noticably slower than a reg'lar connection, but no longer is it so slow that impatient folks like me abandon it altogether.

      The quickest way to give it a speed test (after all, if you're testing speed you probably don't want to be slow about it ;-)) is to download and run Torpark -- it's portable, pre-configured to establish a Tor circuit, and it pretty much runs right out of the box.

      If you want to help the speed even more, be a good citizen and run a Tor server.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:20PM (#16097292) Homepage Journal
    After reading the article and digestig what the reporter wrote, he wasn't being very anonymous even with his efforts. Sure, he deleted his cookies when he was done (I do too) but he never removed all his cache files which could be used to track you. Yes, this will increase the time it takes for a page to load but since apparently everyone but me uses a high-speed connection, waiting that extra half second doesn't seem to be that much of a hassle.

    Also, since he had to relogin when he went to Amazon or other sites, he was giving up his anonymity because now the site can track when he last visited, what he went to and so forth.

    As far as sites balking that he didn't have a cookie, um, so what? That is the whole point of trying to be anonymous, right?

    Had the author simply stuck with sufing around and not registering with sites he would have a better case for his article. As it stands, not so much. He needs to look up the word anonymous and see why he wasn't.

    • by RPoet (20693)
      Sure, he deleted his cookies when he was done (I do too) but he never removed all his cache files which could be used to track you.

      Anonymity is the degree of how hard it is to spot you in a crowd. I can't see how having cached files affects that.
      • by Pharmboy (216950)
        Anonymity is the degree of how hard it is to spot you in a crowd. I can't see how having cached files affects that.

        If the police take your laptop, then they know every website you have visited. That isn't very anonymous.

        Now, say you are a blogger, and you are interested in finding out how easy it is to find info on building a bomb, for instance. So you spend 4 hours Googling(tm) and looking at sites before drawing your conclusion. Your goal is to find out how accessible the info is only, but now the poli
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ben there... (946946)

      Sure, he deleted his cookies when he was done (I do too)

      I don't know why you would delete cookies when you're done, rather than prevent them in the first place.

      I prefer to block all cookies, then set exceptions for the sites I need to login to. It's pretty easy to do in Firefox, especially if you block-by-default and install Permit Cookies [mozilla.org]. With that extension, just press Alt-C when you actually want to allow a cookie.

      You end up with 10-20 cookies that you really want, and none that you don't want. Easy to

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DamnStupidElf (649844)
      Sure, he deleted his cookies when he was done (I do too) but he never removed all his cache files which could be used to track you. Yes, this will increase the time it takes for a page to load but since apparently everyone but me uses a high-speed connection, waiting that extra half second doesn't seem to be that much of a hassle.

      Couldn't the cahce and cookies just be located on a temporary encrypted filesystem? Just use your favorite harddisk/folder encryption utility, generate a cryptographically secur
    • ...and what's the point of deleting your Amazon cookies anyway, if you're going to shop there? You aren't going to be anonymous in any case.

      Really, I'm all in favor of blocking cookies. I hate getting cookies from doubleclick.com when clearly I've never visited the site. I hate going to a random site and finding that it's given me a cookie for no reason that I can figure out. However, if you go to a site regularly, log in anyway, and like the services that they're providing by giving you a cookie, the

  • Typical (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Who235 (959706)
    Anonymous surfing is first equated with crime, and later a correlation is drawn between a desire for anonymity and Unabomber style, tinfoil hat paranoia.

    There are plenty of legitimate reasons not to want your personal information all over the place, barely any of which were touched on in the article.

  • Tracking is good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dontbflat (994444)

    So how exactly was my privacy protected? For one thing, news sites weren't able to show me ads based on what I'd read previously. And since my IP address changed frequently, e-commerce sites and search engines couldn't correlate my many searches with a single IP address.

    - from article
    This is not true as javascripts can read your normal IP address. It can even get your local IP address. Except I've noticed that if you setup a local webserver and set that webservers IP address to 127.0.0.1 then the javas

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smooth wombat (796938)
      The only need for annoimity that I see would be if you are looking at things that are illegal, or you want to bypass your work/school firewall. Other than that.....why does it really matter?

      Bullshit. Maybe I don't want my surfing habits tracked because no one else needs to know where I've been. Just because I visit CNN's site rather than Faux is not evidence of criminal intent. Next thing you know you'll be telling me I can't use cold hard cash to pay for something but must instead use a credit car

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by plover (150551) *

      Tracking helps you by targeting information to you based on your activity

      What activities do I want tracked? Where does that benefit me? So I get annoying local advertisements, or that I get annoying tech advertisements? In what way is this different from getting annoying generic advertisements?

      Here's the real tinfoil hat scenario that has me not liking tracks: what are the chances that an RIAA investigator is paying for Google AdWords targeting the search words "mp3" and/or "download music"? Goog

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      What I dont get is why we need to be worried about cookies, IP address tracking and such. So what if I can figure out what IP you came from. That doesnt tell me your name or your home address. The only need for annoimity that I see would be if you are looking at things that are illegal, or you want to bypass your work/school firewall. Other than that.....why does it really matter?

      That is a really amazingly ignorant question that could trivially be answered by, you know, reading some of the material on t

  • What a guy. (Score:5, Funny)

    by deadhammer (576762) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:26PM (#16097356)
    So, from my brief skim-over of the article, this is what this "reporter" is saying:

    • Surfing anonymously is hard, and therefore not worth it.
    • Oh noes! My Amazon purchase list is broken! This is stupid!
    • Evil criminals can use it!
    An excellent thing for a reporter to be saying to his readers. I'd sure love to be one of this guy's sources.
    • by westlake (615356)
      Surfing anonymously is hard, and therefore not worth it

      Convenience trumps security. News at Eleven.

      If the geek hasn't learned this lesson by now, it can only be because he has beem sleeping in class.

  • Dumb reporter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RPoet (20693) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:26PM (#16097357) Journal
    This reporter is dumb. He declares that he is a fan of convenience and doesn't care much about anonymity. As he found out that anonymity slows things down, he concluded that it's not worth it.

    For him, he should add. If all you need anonymity for is so websites can't point personalised ads at you, guess what: you don't want military-grade anonymity through Tor, you want Adblock or Privoxy. While he continues his convenient existance, more and more people rely on Tor for their democratic right to free unpopular speech. Tor may slow you surfing down, but it sure beats political imprisonment or being outed for being whatever is unpopular where you live.
    • by symbolic (11752)
      The way I see it, inconvenient anonymity means that freedom must also be inconvenient. Newsflash: freedom is NEVER convenient.
    • by wolfemi1 (765089)
      If all you need anonymity for is so websites can't point personalised ads at you[...]

      That's not even true, since this guy actually complained about Amazon not showing him his suggested items. It seems he apparently does want targeted advertising.

  • Just use a fake name, especially the name of someone you don't like. That's sure to conceal your tracks... anonymous site data looks weird in a log, but Joe Jerkoff looks like legit traffic, plus you get to peg him/her with the goatse bookmarks, or whatever sick thing you wanted anon surfing for.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      Joe Jerkoff's traffic, however, can be tied back to you via your IP address and a timestamp, and your ISP's logs. Hence... anonymous surfing.
  • if something is hard, it's not worth doing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:35PM (#16097441)
    That "Post Anonymously" checkbox ought to be enough for anybody.
  • Heh, if he's crying like this for anonymous surfing on the WWW, I'd like to see him try Freenet/Frost!
  • It lacks the "paid for by the people who hate free speech" line.

    Quite seriously, if you have troubles setting up TOR, it might be good for the net as a whole if you stayed out.
  • by sacrilicious (316896) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:43PM (#16097505) Homepage
    To me, one of the biggest threats to privacy is google's logging of what I search for. I tried using foxyproxy, but found it hard to find reliable and speedy proxy servers (which btw need to be in the US else google renders the version tailored for whatever country the ip address comes from). So my solution: I'm writing a little script that will periodically read random entries from a text file I have and submit a search to google for the data. For example, my data file contains "kill the president", "blowjobs from hookers", "boiling dead dogs", "where purchase drugs", "flowers for wifey", "plumbing supplies", etc. More sophisticated versions will include clicking on some of the links returned by google, and better combinatorics for the seach data. All I need do is make the fake google searches outnumber the real searches, and I've got plausible deniability on anything.
  • From the article:

    Plus, we give up personal information offline all the time and hardly think about it. We sign up for grocery-discount cards that can track our purchasing habits for years.

    I don't think the author of the article has a handle on this whole privacy thing. People who care about privacy don't sign up for "loyalty" cards at grocery stores, don't give out their phone numbers to every retail clerk who asks for it, don't put their names in telephone directories, don't enter contests that require you

  • First, using Tor is easy. Just use the Torbutton http://freehaven.net/~squires/torbutton/ [freehaven.net]
    Now turn Tor off when not needed, and turn it on with a click when you like to.

    Since you go through other hosts, it is often slow, but usually OK.

    Also, if a lot of your Google searches returns Wikipedia pages, just search directly in Wikipedia and so on.
    • by jZnat (793348) *
      I've found it better to just add "site:wikipedia.org" to a Google search query than use Wikipedia's awful search.
  • I also had to re-enter a login name and password when I returned to sites requiring registration, like The Wall Street Journal Online. On Amazon.com, I couldn't immediately see book recommendations based on past purchases _ something I enjoy.

    Thank god they can't find out who I am based on my payment details . . . oh . . wait.
  • The "anonymous surfing experience" can improved greatly with a little software:

    Wallet software (i use kwallet) that auto-fills login forms from a local encrypted storage.

    Software that blocks all cookies from ad agencies (blacklist, anyone?) and auto-deletes the rest when closing the last window viewing a given site. (I don't know of any way to set this up in konqueror, please suggest. Privoxy perhaps?)

    For the all-important slashdot login, a way to tick off sites that "can keep cookies for a year".
  • by Saeger (456549) <farrellj.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:55PM (#16097629) Homepage
    Tor's not a real hassle to use, but it is slow (just like FreeNet is), and always will be.

    To use Tor, simply install it, then tell your browser (or privoxy proxy) to use the socks proxy on port 9050 (or wherever). Nothing much can be done about the sluggish latency and low bandwidth, though, because for true anonymity to work you just HAVE to relay through a certain random number of random nodes of various quality. So instead of taking 15 fast intra-country hops to reach Google, it might take 100+ hops all over the globe and back, with each hop being another weak link in the chain.

    Speed is the #1 reason I don't use Tor much... except for the rare occasion when I need to upload beheading videos^W^W^W send ransom notes^W^W^W troll IRC^W^W hide p2p downloads^W^W^W research something privately.
    • Tor's not a real hassle to use, but it is slow (just like FreeNet is), and always will be.

      Could you expand on that? I've run Tor and I've run Freenet. Tor is slow, sure, but tolerable. Freenet, otoh, is unuseable. I've installed and run Freenet on three different occasions in the past. I've dedicated a machine to it. I've given it lots of space. I've left it on the network for a week before using it. I've done all the little procedural and configuration tweaks that I've been able to find in all the

  • cleaning the history, cookies and cache on a regular basis is all that is really needed; the one problem is with the browsers, Safari has "private browse" mode for those times what you don't want anything...Firefox should have this too.
  • Shopping Anonymously (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LordCrumb (543602) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:09PM (#16097754)
    I've been using FoxyProxy/Privoxy/Tor for a few months now. It wasn't nearly as difficult to set up as I'd imagined (I'm running Ubuntu), and it didn't degrade or slow down my web experience as much as I feared, either. It caused me an unexpected problem last week, though. I ordered some hardware from NewEgg. The process went exactly as usual and I got the confirmation e-mails as usual. The next day, however, I got another form e-mail that said my order had been cancelled because my bank was outside the United States. WTF, I thought - this is clearly not the case. I called NewEgg's support line and was told that it was actually *my* IP that appeared to be outside the US. I explained that I was using anonymizing software to protect my privacy online, but that I'd used my NewEgg account and completed the VerifiedByVISA process, and that I was shipping to a verified address, etc. The support guy said he couldn't un-cancel my order; I'd just have to re-order using "my real IP" this time. Fine, I grumbled. I went through the process again; when I supplied NewEgg's cart app with my account credentials this time, I was told that my account was suspended! I called NewEgg again; apparently my account was suspended because of the "suspicious transaction" referenced above. It took me a half hour to get my account reinstated.
  • by PureFiction (10256) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:13PM (#16097789)
    You can make Tor very easy to use with any application (on Windows or other VMWare/OpenVPN supported OS) with JanusVM:
    http://januswifi.dyndns.org:85/ [dyndns.org]

    When you start the Windows VPN connection to the VMWare virtual machine that PPTP network becomes you default route. All DNS lookups, http requests, and other TCP traffic is now transparently routed through Tor. Simply disconnect the VPN to terminate anonymous onion routing...

    Also see the user documentation: http://januswifi.dyndns.org:85/Instructions.htm [dyndns.org]

    Transparent proxy avoids many common problems with explicit SOCKS configuration and DNS leaks. Worth a look...
  • ...is that it makes you unable to use sites which actively block known Tor exit ports. Of course, I'm sure no one here uses such [wikipedia.org] sites [slashdot.org]...

    And yes, I know that both of those sites allow Tor-based browsing, just not Tor-based posting. However, they both have user login systems, and there's no good reason to not allow those through Tor. If you don't trust your password protections enough to allow Tor-based users to access them, why do you trust regular users?

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