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Anonymity

Anonymity on the Internet is one of the most difficult things to achieve.  Tor takes your Internet traffic, encrypts it, and in a rather random  way bounces it around the Internet like a pinball before sending it to it’s final destination.  The entire path there and back changes over time.  While this is rather geeky awesome the fact remains that simply turning on Tor does not ensure complete anonymity.  The entities that wish to pierce your anonymity armor to feast on your warm tasty and monitizable inside information have many tools at their disposal.   Cookies, super cookies, flash cookies, fingerprinting, flash in general,  javascript, malware and outright exploits.   It is important to make yourself a smaller target and to reduce your surface area to these prying attacks. You can do this by learning when and under what network circumstances to run your applications.  Learn why your applications exist and how their makers are getting paid.  If it was free, you are probably the tradable commodity.  Those that are harvesting you will continue with Terminator like tenacity.  It makes sense.  Most targets are easy money, low hanging fruit, but not you.  Not any more. 

When using the Internet and attempting to stay anonymous is is best to be cognizant of how informationally promiscuous your applications are likely to be.  For instance, using a browser created by an advertising company running every plugin you have ever come  across plus javascript might not be the best choice.  You must find the alternatives that suit you.  You may also have to modify your behavior to reduce your identifiability.  If you don’t you might as well be Batman with a big “Property of Bruce Wayne” tag stapled to his cape.

Tor alone is not enough to keep your identity safe on the Internet.  Tor is like a warm base layer in the winter.  The TinyHardwareFirewall (THF) provides three very good base layers: the firewall, the vpn and Tor.  Any one of these might be enough for you, we don’t know.  We don’t know how cold it is where you live or how warm you want or need to be.  The threat model facing a Canadian 15 year old on Facebook is different than the threat model faced by a journalist living under an illegitimate narco cleptocracy, so YMMV.

Our current favorite hardened OS solution  is Cubes OS with the TinyHardwareFirewall.  It enjoys the physical separation afforded by using a hardware firewall (with  VPN and Tor) and a "Security by Compartmentalization" approach.  This combo yields near bare metal performance from the XEN hypervisor and a fine grained application security model.  Some assembly is required and we are frankly still working towards a  solution that fits all of our requirements.  We are encouraged by our results thus far we will make a full report in the blog soon.

The list privacy enhancing software below is brief, but we use all of these and more in our day to day operations.    WiFiConsulting, inc.  has no financial interest in any of these  companies.

For more information please see:

The Tor Project (Tor, The Tor Browser, Tails)

Secure Email with Virtru

Ghostery

StartPage

DuckDuckGo

Fingerprint Check

HTTPS Everywhere