3 Most Popular Security Tools For Internet Anonymity

Internet anonymity has assumed a great deal of importance more than ever now because your only privacy is constantly under attack. The good news is that you can make use of Internet anonymity tools to protect your privacy and security. The aim of this article is to provide you with some information about three most popular security tools for Internet anonymity.

The Onion Router (Tor)

If Internet anonymity is what you are looking for, you need Tor, which makes use of a large network of computers in order to route the traffic to your website through several encrypted layers for obscuring the point of origin of the traffic. It is an important tool as far as whistleblowers and political dissidents are concerned. It helps them to share information anonymously. You can also use it for ensuring your Internet anonymity.

The Onion Router

All that you have to do get started is to download the Tor Browser Bundle. The Firefox’s customized branch also incorporates browser extensions to enhance privacy and connects you to the Tor network automatically. Though this package offers everything needed to successfully use Tor, you will have to change your behavior when it comes to web surfing in order to ensure Internet anonymity. You should comply with the Tor warnings because it is not a magic pill for Internet anonymity.

Tor, developed to protect the online communication of U.S. Intelligence, may substantially reduce the browsing speed as your data has to hop through a number of layers. The data transmitted across Tor may be encrypted at the relay nodes, but privacy can be compromised if the site requested for does not use SSL. Further, your online activity may be monitored as Tor is widely used by journalists, political dissidents and criminals.

VPN

The Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection enables you to browse the Internet securely as it makes you to appear as though you are from another place. This is achieved by creating an encrypted virtual tunnel from your computer to the server of the VPN provider. As a result, it appears as though you are using a specific server. As the Internet traffic is routed through this encrypted tunnel, your data will not be exposed to eavesdroppers.

VPN

If you are serious about maintaining Internet anonymity, you must consider using a VPN solution. This is because VPN, especially stealth VPN offered by some providers, disguises your traffic by hiding your real IP address from the world and making it difficult for others to decipher your traffic. VPNs are the best bet when it comes to bypassing censorship.

However, it important to choose a quality VPN provider that does not store communications logs or data. Further, the VPN provider should be one that implements server randomization and proper load balancing so that you are always connected to different VPN servers.

Proxy Sever

A proxy server can be defined as an intermediary between the Internet and your computer. The traffic that is routed through proxy servers will appear as though it is coming from the IP address of the server and not your computer. Proxy servers are not required to devote resources for the purpose of encrypting all traffic passing through them. Therefore, they can accept connections simultaneously from tens of thousands of users. Proxy servers make use of different protocols, HTTP/HTTPS and SOCKS (Private), to communicate with the Internet.

Proxy Sever

HTTP and SOCKS proxies do not encrypt data. On the other hand, HTTPS proxies offer encryption to the same level as any of the SSL websites. However, proxies are not designed to provide protection to all of the Internet traffic. Typically, it protects only the browser. Further, many proxies pass on the original IP address of the user to the destination site. This makes proxy servers less suitable for security or Internet anonymity. Finally, the proxies are required to be configured separately for each of the application such as browser, email, third-party apps, etc. Moreover, some applications may not support proxies.

As such, you need to judiciously choose one or more of these tools, depending on your specific requirement, in order to maintain the required level of Internet anonymity.

Tor Announces Their New Executive Director

After five months of pursuit for a new Executive Director, Tor’s quest has finally come to an end. Tor had been looking for someone to continue leading the organization with the same enthusiasm and having in mind the same values this giant has been promoting over the years; someone who can work on educating the public about the importance of online anonymity.

It is Shari Steele, a former Executive Director at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), that has been announced as the new Executive Director of Tor Project. The choice is really quite logical, for the two organizations have more than one thing in common.

While Tor provides online anonymity for its users using the encrypted multilevel relays, the EFF describes itself as the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Tor provides specific online service to its users and EFF is more involved in protecting human rights in legal sense.

Who is Shari Steele?

Shari Steele

According to Wired’s opinion, Steele sounds like an ideal person for leading the Tor Project. She started her career at EFF as a leader of a small group of lawyers and led them into becoming the world-class team. EFF has been involved in almost every significant legal battle of the digital world; it even battled with NSA’s dragnet surveillance programs and challenged the government’s use of National Security Letters.

Shari Steele is often described as a passionate advocate of free speech, and during her time at EFF as Executive Director her main responsibilities were fundraising, financial structure, employee welfare and benefits, support system for the office and many other things. Her leaving the organization was the result of her wish to move.

Shari Steele has proven herself a great leader and probably the best testimony for that is the “Farewell blog post” by her former colleagues.

The founder of EFF, Mitch Kapor recalled the early days of the organization which also coincides with the early days of cyberspace. He also spoke about Steele’s role in stabilizing and transforming the organization into, as he put it “a beacon of freedom in today’s online world.” Kapor went on to express his huge personal gratitude to Steele, wishing her best of luck in her future business ventures.

Her interest in taking the role of Tor’s ED is not a big surprise, since this is not the first time Steele is involved with Tor. At very same farewell blog post, Roger Dingledine, Project Leader, Director, Researcher at Tor Project remembered Steele’s crucial decision when she “took a chance” and helped fund the project in 2004, despite EFF being more focused on legal aspect of the similar idea. Dingledine pointed out that Tor and online anonymity might not even exist today if it wasn’t for Steele at the crucial moment. On two more occasions Steele stepped in for Tor, once with resources in staff and the second time as fiscal sponsor when Tor applied for Omidyar grant.

Tor Today

Despite being created as means for online anonymity, which was supposed to provide Internet users with security and freedom, Tor has met with many negative reactions of the general public, mainly due to excessive misuse by the drug dealers selling illicit drugs on darknet markets. These darknet markets can only be accessed via Tor Browser; hence its appeal.
tor browser logo

Nevertheless, there are still more positive applications of Tor network and online anonymity it provides, for many journalist and freedom fighters use it a tool for communicating with whistleblowers, especially in countries with limited freedom of speech.

New Executive Director of Tor will have a difficult job of presenting it to the public as a good thing; an idea of online anonymity that really should be supported with heart and soul; as well as sponsored. Shari Steele believes that no major turnover in Tor’s business will take place after she assumes her position – it will remain the leading provider of online anonymity and security on the internet today; plus, she is promising to expand the boundaries to new horizons. What this boundaries-and-horizons part means exactly remains for us to see.

In the meantime, Roger Dingledine is relieved to have the new Executive Director and is very excited that his team of developers will finally be able to completely devote to improving Tor network.

Roger DingledineSome might say “About time!” because earlier this year one of the darknet markets, Agora, “retired” from business claiming that they have found a glitch in Tor’s security system and decided to wait some time until this is fixed.

Another incident is also related to this glitch in Tor network. Back in 2014 in the Operation Onymous more than 27 darknet markets have been seized because the online anonymity Tor was supposed to provide was compromised.

The Role Of Online Anonymity Tools

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmL9UsPY_S4&feature=youtu.be

Online anonymity tools help users in protecting their personal data and information from being shared publicly. Online anonymity programs such as VPN provide security and privacy.

A Smartphone Designed To Preserve Internet Anonymity

An Australian-based smartphone company, Ncryptcellular, has designed a unique handset which gives users maximum privacy and Internet anonymity when browsing the net. These devices have gained tremendous popularity all around the globe since their launch. They are available in 3 versions which include the Ncrypt Mega ($1465), Ncrypt Super ($1314) and Ncrypt Slim ($1182).

Ncryptcellular
These Android-based gadgets are fitted with unique open-source apps and custom Internet anonymity tools, which allow owners to conceal identity information, encrypt voice and data communications as well as generate forged traffic designed to confuse government metadata breach attempts.

The company’s chief technical officer, Alex Kesik, says that these Internet anonymity smartphones were created as a response to people’s concerns that state agencies could be snooping on their web usage. A marketing campaign seeking official distributors has already been launched, spawning immense response from potential retailers keen on buying the smartphones wholesale and then selling to their native countries.

Ncryptcellular devices
Ncryptcellular devices are increasingly becoming popular amongst business and personal users, most of who want their online activities to remain anonymous. They have cutting-edge security features such as connectivity to the Tor network, and an integrated XMPP app which can also be linked to the onion system. In addition, there’s a Secure Talk, Secure Text and encrypted SMS service that ensures not only your web activities are kept safe but also everyday phone communications.

Furthermore, the Internet anonymity devices contain Anti Listening properties capable of detecting coded IMSI-Catcher surveillance programs, which may have been implemented as proxy Wi-Fi base stations. Ncryptcellular smartphones prevent such security breaches from happening, by determining what type of data each particular app can access. They also contain properties which spoof GPS web locations, allowing owners to alter their GPS details so as to confound any attempts towards hacking.

Though this software may be allowed to operate on other smartphone brands in the future, as for now they are only available on Oppo units which were selected because of their sleek design and comprehensive manufacturer warranty.

Strong Encryption And Online Anonymity Are Important To Protect Rights

On June 17th, 2015, the UN special rapporteur for freedom of media expression, David Kaye, presented a documented report on the importance of using encryption and web anonymity in virtual communications. His report was presented to the 29th session of the Human Rights Council for consideration. It recognizes the use of these technologies in helping people exercise certain privileges like the freedom of opinion, self-expression and online anonymity.

KeyCode

Senior researcher at Human Rights Watch Mrs. Cynthia Wong had said that strong data encryption and online anonymity are critical tools in protecting human rights activists, journalists, and other ordinary internet users in the modern age that we live in. It gives them a safe and secure place to express their thoughts without worrying about arbitrary arrests coming from the state, especially at a time when most governments around the world are looking for ways of expanding invasive surveillance programs. Some of the report’s key recommendations include:

I. Signatory countries should avoid taking measures that are aimed at weakening security for citizens who use the Internet, such as authorizing “back door” infiltrations, fallible encryption standards and corrupting key escrow arrangements. The report also requires technology companies to avoid building vulnerabilities into secured digital products, since this can greatly undermine the security of those using such products.

II. Countries should refrain from imposing blanket prohibitions on matters encryption and online anonymity, such polices only infringe on the rights of innocent people to access the web freely and are therefore not necessary. Some of these blanket restrictions include the state controlling importation and export of decoding tools and users requiring licensing before getting encryption on their respective PCs.

Identity Hide

III. Nations should avoid making official identification of users a requirement before accessing web services, or SIM card registry for those who use mobile phones to browse the net. Any restrictions whatsoever on online anonymity should be based on logic, targeted on a specific case-basis such as when there’s enough evidence that one is using their privilege to break certain Internet laws.

Snowden: Two years after NSA Leaks

Two years after the publicized U.S surveillance programs data leaks by Mr. Edward Snowden, the nation’s tech firms are still anxious about backlash from other governments. According to Yael Weinman, the Vice President of international privacy policy at ITIC, many foreign states continue pushing for policies which require that all data generated within their borders be stored within the country and not outside. He says that such barriers to cross-border data flow only makes doing business become a difficult thing, given that today the world is more of a global village.

Edward Snowden

The initial surveillance leaks from Snowden, former contractor of the U.S. National Security Agency, has drawn major debate on whether it’s appropriate for governments to share their virtual information with other states for security reasons. The heightened pressure in some nations for Internet anonymity data policies will not just hurt U.S tech gurus, but also vendors from other countries around the world since they’ll have to comply with these same regulations as well. For instance, a Russian data localization law is expected to be passed by September 2015.

NSA leaks

Generally, it’s estimated that the data backlash exhibited by these foreign states will cost U.S. tech companies anywhere between $21.5 and $35 billion dollars. It’s now emerging that the entire U.S. IT economy, and not just the cloud-computing sector, has immensely underperformed since Snowden’s revelations. Apart from Russia’s upcoming regulation, Germany and France are also trying to create their own private Internet anonymity networks while other countries such as China, India and Australia have already imposed data localization laws. Even before Snowden’s revelations, some countries had already began pressing for regulation of data within their respective territories, but this unfortunate event only made them more adamant in pursuing this goal for Internet anonymity reasons.