The Internet plays an important role in our life but we must take additional steps to ensure we are protected online. Here are some Internet security tips….
Discussion sparks over a program that offers users anonymous web surfing at Kilton Library. In July, through the Library Freedom Project,the library became the pilot site for “Tor,” software that provides users online anonymity.
Plans by the Russian government to unmask its citizens who use the Internet anonymity network Tor seems to have hit a brick wall. This is after reports emerged that the company that had been hired by the Kremlin administration was reported to have hired a law firm to help it back out of the contract to unmask Tor.
The Russian government was willing to part with nearly $60,000 (3.9 million rubles) to have Tor cracked. Tor is a popular tool that is used to communicate anonymously across the internet. Now, it is emerging that the company which won the contract is ready to spend more than twice the amount it was to be paid by the government to abandon the Tor project.
The tender had been earlier won by the Central Research Institute of Economics, Informatics and Control Systems, which is a Moscow branch of Rostec -the state-managed manufacturer of weapons, helicopters and other industrial and military equipment. The company is willing to pay up to 10 million rubles (equivalent to some $150,000) to contract a law firm to negotiate a way out of the contract. This is according to state-purchase disclosures database.
According to leaked government documents, lawyers from Pleshakov, Ushkalov and Partners are working with Russian officials to put an end to Tor research project.
In 2014, the Interior Ministry of Russia posted a contract on its website looking to find a group that would study whether it was possible to obtain technical information not only on users but also on the user’s equipment of the Internet anonymity network Tor. A spokesman for Interior Ministry department which placed the Tor project order declined to give a comment when contacted. Also, the Rostec research group did not comment on the matter.
This has not gone down well with Russian authorities especially considering that it is not a huge fan of Internet freedom. And it does not help that the use of the Internet anonymity software is growing in popularity within its borders. The Russian government has put in place draconian censorship laws that effectively stifle Internet privacy.
Judging by the latest developments, it appears Tor is very much secure. Although some strides have been made with regard to gleaning information from Tor network, anonymization has not been a complete failure.
It was never going to be easy for any company to unmask Tor. The government of the US, as well as other nations, has spent much more money to sponsor the building of Tor network. In fact, lots of intelligence agencies would part with a lot more just to access data running over the anonymous network.
About Internet Anonymity Network Tor
Tor, which is just an acronym for The Onion Router, is Internet anonymity software which sends the network traffic of each user to various nodes all over the globe. In so doing, it encrypts the data at every layer, thus making it nearly impossible to track. The network has been embraced by political dissidents, criminals and hackers the world over. Edward Snowden, who is an erstwhile U.S. intelligence contractor and currently living in Russia, is a known admirer of Tor. The number of people using the network in Russia has grown by 40% from the start of this year to reach more than 175,000 users. This is according to data provided by Tor project, the developer of the service.
Using the Internet anonymity software makes it much more impossible to track online connectivity back to the user. In other words, web visits, instant messages, online posts as well as other communication forms to untraceable. The use of Tor is meant to users’ personal privacy, as well as their ability and freedom to communicate confidentially by keeping their Internet activities from monitoring. The US National Security Agency characterized Tor as “King of high-secure Internet anonymity.” In fact, the NSA adds that there are no contenders to that throne in waiting. The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology described Tor as the most popular anonymous Internet communication system by miles. It currently has an estimated user population of 2.5 million people daily.
According to the July 2015 NATO analysis, the world should brace itself for the use of Internet anonymity tools such as Tor as they will only continue to thrive.
People use Tor to prevent their websites from being tracked, to connect to news websites or to access instant messaging service when they are blocked by local Internet providers. By using Tor’s hidden tools, users will be able to publish to websites as well as other services without requiring disclosing their sites’ location. People also use the network for socially sensitive communication.These include web forums and chat rooms for survivors of rape and abuse, or for individuals with illnesses.
A VPN provides a layer of anonymity to online users. It offers the benefits of anonymity to its users by encrypting data from their devices and hiding their actual IP address.
The Internet offers users valuable and helpful information and easier way to communicate, but it also presents some Internet security risks.
Here are some of them.
Avoid identity theft. Here are some Internet security techniques to avoid becoming a victim of online identity theft.
It’s official. Goodbye Pirate Bay. Goodbye bit torrents. Everyone living off freebies from the Internet is crying foul. Content creators are having a field day. Why? Australia’s Senate voted to enact legislation to block websites in a bid to crack down on rampant piracy. How will it affect your Internet activities? Are there repercussions to online anonymity?
How they Voted
The Senate had been debating amendments to the Bill for an entire day. The Bill had bi-partisan support from the Coalition and Labor. As expected, the Greens were opposed to the Bill’s passage without some key amendments. They called for the Bill to be watered down to prevent its usage as a de facto Internet filter against “objectionable” material. The Bill passed through the Upper House without a single successful amendment. They were voted down all through the day.
When the final vote held, the Bill passed with 37 yay votes to just 13 against.
After the Copyright Amendment Bill 2015 has been signed into law by the Governor- General, it’ll only be a matter of time before the first sites start getting blocked. Don’t let the rumours sway you – the Bill is only after copyright infringement, not online anonymity. In fact, online anonymity is in line with your right to privacy, and no one can take that away from you.
What the Anti- Piracy Bill Means
The controversial anti-piracy legislation will see to it that Internet service providers (ISPs) block access to websites which host material that infringes copyright. Online anonymity is not the target of this legislation. Companies can now go to a Federal Court judge and get overseas sites blocked if their “primary purpose” is to facilitate the copyright infringement. At first, you won’t notice any difference. Even if you currently share torrent files such as movies or music without paying, nothing will change. The rights holder first has to succeed in the getting the Federal Court of Australia to order an ISP to block a website. The ISP will then take steps to filter the website and its contents, preventing their customers from accessing them.
The first targets of the legislation are likely to be popular torrenting and file sharing websites KickAssTorrents and The Pirate Bay. Your days of pirating music, TV shows and movies through file sharing sites are numbered. Online anonymity services such as those from VPS won’t be affected. They are still a legitimate online anonymity service for privacy-and security-conscious Internet users.
The Film and TV industry considered it to be a victory whereas for the rest of the citizens it was very shocking. Everyone was used to getting high quality stuff from the Internet for free. According to Vanessa Hutley, the General Manager Music Rights Australia, Australian consumers have more than 30 licensed music sites to choose from online , yet “these illegal sites have continued to flourish and make money for their operators” simply because nothing much could be locally done by the copyright owners to stop them.
Online Anonymity with VPNs
While some have chosen to pirate less, others have decided to go underground. Faced with increased monitoring and potential legal action many file-sharers have taken counter measures- they’ve sought online anonymity. The Aussie anti-piracy legislation has triggered massive surge in VPN and BitTorrent proxy usage. The recent events have driven tens of thousands of new users to anonymizing services. The Internet is like a river-if you try to block its flow, the water will find another way. VPN service providers are prominent as geo-unblocking kryptonite. The online anonymity they offer is a welcome bonus. The Aussie case won’t be the first time that anti-piracy measures have turned people to anonymizing tools. The same thing happened when the US Copyright Alert System was launched. There was also a spike in online anonymity services in Canada after ISPs began forwarding piracy notices.
The government will review the effectiveness of the laws in 18 months.
Internet safety basically includes protection from threats, harassment, and identity theft. Maintaining internet anonymity is also another facet of online safety. Using Internet is much like exploring other areas in real life. One must use common sense and prudent judgment. Whenever you are undertaking any financial transactions online, you should always know why and to whom you’re providing the information. You should avoid unfamiliar websites, and you should never give out any of your personal information like bank accounts, credit cards and your social security number unless you’re 100% sure of the entity you’re providing them to. In addition, never respond or open emails from any unknown contacts; they may contain viruses, malware and other malicious software or programs which can install themselves to your PC without your knowledge.
Safety Measures Online
Choose a strong password. Passwords are much like the keys to your accounts; only the one with that key can be able to access them. Whenever you are choosing your password, you will want to ensure you select one that’s unique, strong, and isn’t easily guessed by online strangers or the ones close to you. You need to choose a password which uses numbers, letters, Upper case, lower case and characters.
Shop safely and always guard your card. Shopping online is a major part of modern online experience and it’s potentially dangerous. You should only shop with trustworthy, reputable websites which offer comprehensive customer protection policy and are properly accredited by reputable organizations. In addition, try and maintain internet anonymity by keeping the credit card(s) information private; any disreputable individual or business that gets your credit card(s) information may hijack your online identity and even make fraudulent purchases.
To protect your online personal information and maintain internet anonymity, you may manually delete the cookies, the temporary files and all other data using “Options” or the “Preferences” feature on your browser. Ensure that you manually sign out or log out of sites and then set the browser(s) to never remember the passwords to make sure that the login data is not ignored or saved when clearing the cookies and various other files.
Additionally, to maintain internet anonymity, turn off “3rd party” cookies so as to reduce trails you leave when surfing the Web.
Every time that you are connected to the Internet, you are potentially exposing yourself to a wide plethora of Internet security risks for your devices and the information that you share via them. These days, Internet security is a growing concern as the number of cyber-attacks keeps on increasing. More and more malicious attackers are out there and target all kinds of people. From the ordinary Internet user to huge corporations, these attackers will stop at nothing that gets in their way. Their aim is usually to steal important data that they can later use for other crimes such as impersonation and bank fraud. In some cases, the attackers may make compromise your device and use it to launch attacks on other suitable targets. This may get you into even greater trouble as you may be the subject of a criminal investigation for cyber-attacks that were carried out using your compromised device.
Internet security attacks happen every day at all times. Even as you are reading this, there is an attack taking place near you. Given the anonymity that cyber attackers have when perpetrating their attacks, it is very important that you stay safe at all times. There are several things that you can do in order to ensure that you stay safe when browsing the Internet. For starters, always make sure that you are connected to a secured network. Most free networks are usually the target of cyber criminals who use the weak Internet security of these networks to steal data from the people using the network. The number of attacks is increasing each day and as a general rule of thumb, you should not perform sensitive transactions over unsecured Wi-Fi networks. You should also install a trusted firewall or antivirus software on your devices or the router in order to keep all incidental attacks at bay.
When surfing the internet, your IP address is usually exposed to cyber hackers who can track it down and access private details that are found in your computer. To avoid such things from happening it’s advisable to install a proxy server for online anonymity. This program acts as an intermediate for incoming requests from clients looking for data resources from other computer servers.
Generally, a user connects to the proxy system requesting for specific services such as access to a file, web page or connection to various apps. The server will then evaluate these requests in order to determine their legitimacy, it would also try to simplify and regulate complexity levels based on the level of web access that one is allowed. Note that proxies can be programmed to either block web browsers permanently or partially, of course depending on the administrator’s online anonymity preferences.
There are three types of proxy servers which include:
a) Normal. It’s designed to track/listen incoming information from a separate port and web users are configured to relay connectivity requests towards that particular port.
b) Transparent. Also known as anintercepting server, this server is designed to eliminate the client’s side configuration settings by residing on the gateway and intercepting all WWW requests from browsers. It subsequently fetches the content afresh and replies using a local cache for maximum online anonymity.
c) Reverse. This application works slightly differently from the others since it benefits web servers rather than the clients. A reverse proxy will cache all static answers from an online server, then reply to clients via its own cache so as to reduce oncoming traffic load.
When web users want their identities to remain undisclosed while visiting other sites they can easily download an anonymous proxy server onto their PCs. To do this, you first have to identify the unsigned server then write down the specific address that you’re looking for. It will establish a connection and retrieve the pages that are being searched before they appear on other proxy server’s database. Consequently, the IP address which the owner of the site you’re visiting shall see will not be yours but that of the anonymous proxy server. This online anonymity strategy allows users to visit any website without leaving behind traces of their footprints.