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Becoming Anonymous…

Filed Under (Anonymity, Anonymous, Encryption, Google, Privacy, Security, Web Proxy, WikiLeaks) by admin on 16-02-2011

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Have you ever googled yourself?  What did you find?  Try googling your address, your phone number, your email addresses.  Find anything?  More often than not you did find something and it is probably something that alarmed you.

Gone are the days of being anonymous.  All you had to do in the past is refuse to list your phone number in the phonebook and you were pretty safe.  Nowadays though, every part of your life is being recorded and there is no one to blame but yourself.

Social networks like facebook, myspace, linkedin, flickr, twitter, blogger and many more are making it increasingly difficult to prevent the distribution of your life.  Everything you type on these sites is being harvested.  Google saves all this data and they use it to sell you things and if you think the others aren’t catching on you are wrong.

Do a google on web mining and social networking and see what you get.  It’s a cottage industry and it’s exploding.  Hundreds of articles, techniques and “opportunities” abound.  Can you imagine?  What are your kids going to school for now?  I think by the year 2020 or 2025 the latest every single job will be social network or ad revenue based.   The revolution has begun.

Unless of course you are trying to get away from all of that.  And people are.  It’s called getting off the grid.  Returning to normalcy and real life.  This isn’t just removing yourself from social networks its removing yourself from society the way it has evolved.  It’s about getting off the power grid as much as going anonymous on the internet.

Anonymity is pretty big today with many thanks to the collective efforts of the group known as “Anonymous.”  For those of you who have been living under a rock, Anonymous has been waging wars on all those who oppose WikiLeaks.  Collective in that it has no head, no individual running the show, just a group of like-minded people who their PCs (through proxies of course) to carryout massive DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks against the enemies of WikiLeaks.

Personal anonymity on the web starts with a proxy.  And for those who are unfamiliar with this term should think of it as an internet switching station, your computer connects to the web through your provider but every request you make goes out through that switching station where it is assigned a different IP footprint.   So if it is traced back it only goes as far as the proxy.

Everyone on the web has their own IP address so masquerading or spoofing your IP as a different number by way of a proxy is the first step in claiming your anonymity.  If you are looking for a secure proxy, try googling anonymous web proxy.  Surely that will come up with something.

The second in a long list of techniques for going anonymous is secure email.  Actually its really securing everything you do.  Encryption goes a long way in protecting your data whether it be email, text chat, video chat, or through a web phone vendor such as Skype, Ooma, Vonage, etc.  Securing your internet connection starts with your router, if you are using wireless make sure you lock it down with nothing less than WPA2 encryption.   Everything else short of WPA2 can be cracked rather quickly.  This is no good.  If your router only supports WEP, then its time for a new router.  You have been warned.  For those of you without any encryption at all on your router please email your coordinates in case I need an internet connection and I am in your area.  Next, secure your computer.  I will be honest, I use a make and I lock it down manually, but on my Windows boxes I use Kaspersky and/or NOD32 as well as some custom monitoring apps for port management.  Make sure you have a solution.  I do not use symantec because I find it very invasive, but that is just me.  As far as securing your email look into private anonymous email accounts from HushMail.com or PrivacyHarbor.com.

Third, lock down your social nets.  Get off the ones you do not use.  Remove all information from them first including your education info, your personal life, your photos, your music, your friends, your jobs, your kids, your phone numbers, etc etc and when all of that info is gone try to change your username and personal info so it is no longer relating to you.  Open a dummy email account with one of the privacy based email providers I mentioned above and change your account email to the this one.  Once that is all complete abandon it.  Do not delete it.  Just abandon it.   Do this for all the networks you do not want to be on or use.  Chances are your old data will still show up in searches but over time your current (abandoned) profile will write over that search data and you will become more anonymous.

Like I stated earlier though.  If you are on the web and/or connected to a power grid you can never really be totally off the grid.  You probably pay bills on line, you may have EZ-Pass, credit cards in your name, and if you do, you can be tracked, watched and have your identity stolen.

Since this topic is always evolving and new techniques are discovered everyday I will revisit this topic over the coming months to help you become, just a little more anonymous than you were.

Adios for now…