Possibilities for anonymous email & anonymous blogging
These are notes I took as I poked around to discover how much trouble it would be to create a reasonably anonymous email and a reasonably anonymous blog. The Tor Project stood out. The security level need not be too high; I was mainly interested in keeping average and slightly above average users from being able to quickly determine the identity of the blogger.
Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis.
Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.
Individuals use Tor to keep websites from tracking them and their family members, or to connect to news sites, instant messaging services, or the like when these are blocked by their local Internet providers. Tor’s hidden services let users publish web sites and other services without needing to reveal the location of the site. Individuals also use Tor for socially sensitive communication: chat rooms and web forums for rape and abuse survivors, or people with illnesses.
Why you need Tor
Using Tor protects you against a common form of Internet surveillance known as “traffic analysis.” Traffic analysis can be used to infer who is talking to whom over a public network. Knowing the source and destination of your Internet traffic allows others to track your behavior and interests. This can impact your checkbook if, for example, an e-commerce site uses price discrimination based on your country or institution of origin. It can even threaten your job and physical safety by revealing who and where you are. For example, if you’re traveling abroad and you connect to your employer’s computers to check or send mail, you can inadvertently reveal your national origin and professional affiliation to anyone observing the network, even if the connection is encrypted.
How does traffic analysis work? Internet data packets have two parts: a data payload and a header used for routing. The data payload is whatever is being sent, whether that’s an email message, a web page, or an audio file. Even if you encrypt the data payload of your communications, traffic analysis still reveals a great deal about what you’re doing and, possibly, what you’re saying. That’s because it focuses on the header, which discloses source, destination, size, timing, and so on.
A basic problem for the privacy minded is that the recipient of your communications can see that you sent it by looking at headers. So can authorized intermediaries like Internet service providers, and sometimes unauthorized intermediaries as well. A very simple form of traffic analysis might involve sitting somewhere between sender and recipient on the network, looking at headers.
Resources: Anonymous email, anonymous blogging
Andy Baio: Think You Can Hide, Anonymous Blogger? Two Words: Google Analytics -Wired
Hide My Ass – Anonymous Email – Free disposable email service for receiving emails anonymously
Google Analytics A Potential Threat to Anonymous Bloggers – Waxy
How to Blog Anonymously Using TOR
How to make an anonymous blog (Part 2) – Jay Whale
A Technical Guide to Anonymous Blogging: Security measures for hiding your identity online – Tech Soup
How To Send Anonymous Emails – Tech Cast
Tor for Windows 2.2.35-5
Internet Tool Downloads: Tor – PC World
This post was started on Monday, February 13, 2012.