Surf Anonymously

Discussion in 'Trading Software' started by ntfs, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. ntfs



    With the recent news that big brother is very interested in what you and I do when searching on the net, I am thinking about using a program/site that surfs anonymously. I would think a program would be better.
    Does anyone have a favorite that they can recommend?
    Cost and ease of use are important factors.


  2. seems to offer a high quality service at a low price. However, they don't try to hide the fact that they're an anomymizer so when you're using the-cloak and you visit a website, your IP is logged as "". Some people may not care, others might hate this. Also they are fairly honest in admitting that if a court subpoenas their log files, they don't intend to fight. At least they get points for truthtelling. Let the buyer beware.

    Surf the Web Anonymously
    Submitted by 5ubver5ion on Sat, 2005-12-10 16:36.

    Anonymous Web Browsing
    Anonymous web browsing is the cornerstone of an anonymous online existence. Once you have a manner in which to surf the web anonymously, you can set up or use other anonymous services without giving yourself away. Without a way to cover your trail online, it’s pointless to create an anonymous site or check your anonymous (and disposable) email account, since – ultimately – your web browser is leaking all types of information about you as you set about these tasks.

    In other words, the first step to an anonymous online life (or alter ego) is to learn to surf anonymously.

    How Your Browser Leaves Tracks
    For every web page you visit, your browser made a request to a web server. That request included – in addition to the URL of the page you wished to see – your internet address, the type of browser you use, your computer (host) name, the URL of the page you’re currently look at, and various detritus.

    That wouldn’t be so bad, except all that information gets stored in the web server’s log. No one looks at these log files most of the time. Sure, a lot of websites use these log files to generate their aggregate web statistics (how many people visited the site, what were the most popular pages, etc.). Or, a web master or other technician might look for something in these files while debugging a website problem. But, generally, no one is poring over these files line-by-line looking for your name, internet address, and a list of pages you visited. Nonetheless, that data is still sitting out there, all the same.

    And, if that data is sitting out there, it’s possible someone who wants to see it and reconstruct what you did, said, or viewed online can reconstruct it and figure you who you are and possibly where to find you. For example, IP addresses can be traced back to an Internet café and the host name might describe the computer at which you sat. Combine that with the data and timestamp, and an inquisitive person would have enough to frame the question, “Do you remember who sat at this particular computer last Tuesday around noon?”

    [For the slightly less paranoid, anonymous web browsing lets you surf a variety of sites that might be off-limits while on company time (if you’re unfortunate to have to work, and to have to work in a place that doesn’t understand – or worse yet, fears – the free flow of information). Anonymous browsing won’t help you when the boss looks over your shoulder and asks, “ What the fuck is that?” But, at least you won’t trip any warning bells if your company uses some sort of blacklist or firewall to restrict your web access.]

    In any case, your goal is to suppress or hide the identifying information before it reaches the web server and gets recorded for posterity (or prosecution).

    How Anonymity Works
    The best way to surf anonymously is to use a proxy server. A proxy server stands between your computer and the web site you wish to visit. A proxy goes and gets a web page on your behalf, presenting its credentials to the website rather than yours. That way, it’s the proxy’s internet address, host name, etc. that ends up in the website’s logs and not yours.

    In other words, instead of directly asking a web site, “Show me the About Us page,” your web browser asks the proxy server “Go to that website and get the About Us page so the website thinks it’s you who wants it, but bring the page to me so I can look at it. Remember, don’t tell ‘em it’s me – it has to think it’s you that wants the page.”

    Two Ways to Use a Proxy
    You have two ways by which you can browse anonymously.

    The first method, using a web-based proxy service, is good for when you’re not using your own computer and or don’t otherwise have the ability to change the computer’s configuration. With a web-based proxy service, you don’t have to install any software or change the web browser’s connection settings.

    The drawback to a web-based proxy service is that browsing has to be done through the service’s address bar, rather than the browser’s address bar. It’s pretty easy to slip up by typing Ctrl-L and the URL to which you want to go. Once you’ve done that, you’ve ruined your anonymity until you switch back to the web-based proxy service. Also, many web-based services have limits on what type of web code they can handle. For instance, they may not be able to work with advanced JavaScript, Java applets, ActiveX controls, and the like.

    The second method is to configure the web browser to use a proxy server. This method is great for use on a computer you use often, since you can immediately start surfing the web without making a detour through a web-based service. The drawback to this method is that some of the most secure proxy servers are also pretty fleeting. One day they’re up and running, the next day someone has shut it down. When that happens, you’ll find that your web browser cannot connect to anything.

    Both techniques are discussed below.

    Using a Web-based Proxy Service
    Finding a proxy service isn’t hard. What you really want is a free proxy server. A free proxy service not only saves you some money, it also means you don’t have to fork over a credit card number, which isn’t very anonymous.

    To find a free proxy service, you can search the Internet using any number of web search engines. For example, Google “free proxy server” and peruse the results. Note that you’ll find a lot of results, but not all are free. Also, note that many services that provide a free proxy service also offer paid services and that the free service, once you get to the service provider’s site, may not be easy to find. Many times, I’ve found a link to the free service tucked away at the bottom of the page amongst a lot of other clutter and in really small type.
  4. You may also come across websites that review or otherwise list several proxy services. These sites are useful since they provide a side-by-side comparison of different proxy services.

    If you’re really diligent, you could note a few proxy services and Google them, looking for people’s complaints. (I rarely find people’s positive comments useful. It’s when a service has a problem that it’s true character – and that of the organization providing the service – comes through.) For example, if you were interested in the “” proxy service, you could Google the following: +sucks

    The “+sucks” tells Google you want pages that definitely include the word “sucks” along with the rest of your query. Without the “+sucks,” some of your search results would include “,” “sucks,” but not both.

    I also find searching Google Groups, a collection of discussion groups, useful. Most people won’t create a web page dedicated to the quality (or lack of) of a particular service, but they’ll post a comment to a discussion group. Other groups you can search are Yahoo! Groups, MSN Groups, and so on. Search for the name of the service you’re considering, and see what others say about it.

    Below is a list of free web proxy services:
    Of course, you’re decision is not permanent and you’re not tied to any particular service. If you decide after awhile that your chosen proxy service is inconvenient, not as anonymous as you thought, or otherwise unsuitable, then you can use another service.

    Configuring Your Web Browser to Use a Proxy Server
    As mentioned above, this technique requires a little more work to get started, but is less prone to slip-ups and provides a more seamless surfing experience.

    Your first task is to locate a proxy server. Use a web search engine and look for “free proxy server list” or “list free proxy servers.” Popular lists include:
    Keep in mind that the contents of these lists aren’t always accurate. It’s not uncommon for servers (usually identified only by their IP address, such as to be shut down, be overwhelmed with users, or otherwise be made inaccessible. If you think a server isn’t working, pick another server and move on.

    Once you have the address of a proxy server, you’ll need to configure your web browser to use this address. For Mozilla Firefox, you’ll have to click on Tools – Options – General – Connection Settings… and enter the address of the proxy server. With Microsoft Internet Explorer, you click on Tools – Internet Options… – Connections – LAN Settings, check the “Use a proxy server…” box and then enter the address of the proxy server. Check your web browsers help files for detailed instructions or if you’re not using Firefox or Internet Explorer.

    How to Tell If You’re Really Anonymous
    If you’re paranoid, then you’ll realize that just because a service says you’ll be anonymous, that may not make it so. The service may be poorly designed or have bugs, it may not hide everything, or it may be a cover for a phishing operation. In any case, you’ll want to test a service to see if it’s truly anonymous.

    To test a service, you’ll need to use an anonymity checker. Most anonymity checkers require you to browse to a given URL which, in turns, displays a web page providing information about your IP address, host (DNS) name, web browser type, operating system, and maybe even your general location (“Santa Clara, California”). A valid test is to go to your selected proxy service and enter the URL of the anonymity checker.

    Below is a list of various anonymity checkers:
    Again, if you’re not satisfied with your anonymity, select another proxy service or server and try again.

    What to Do Next
    Once you’re able to browse anonymously, you can set up the rest of your anonymous life. For instance, you can go get a free email account and be truly anonymous, since you want be leaving any digital footprints as you go and check your mailbox or send messages. Or, you can create an anonymous blog or register for a free domain name.

    In any case, enjoy your anonymous web browsing!
  6. Buy1Sell2


    what about programs that will pop up and tell you when your personal info is going out so you can block? Do they work?
  7. Bladen


    TOR and Privoxy together provide the highest level of free, tested, proven anonymity.
  8. I have tried proxy servers but they are slow, and unstable, I have tried ghostsurf and it slows down your internet. ALL I had to do is hook a router to my modem and my ip address now comes up in san francisco, not sure why but I know I don't live anywhere close to cali.
    #10     Feb 8, 2006