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Ask Slashdot: Choosing Anonymous Proxies? 211

Posted by timothy
from the you-will-be-my-avatar dept.
bradley13 writes "There are lots of anonymous proxies out there, and anyone concerned about their privacy probably uses one for at least some of their web browsing. The Megaupload story highlights the fact that having servers in the USA is not a great idea. There are also other countries one may not want to trust. Oddly, very few proxy services mention where their equipment is located. What anonymous proxy services do you use? What criteria do you use to select them? How paranoid are you, and for what types of Internet usage?"
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Ask Slashdot: Choosing Anonymous Proxies?

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  • by Christopher B. Linn (2560089) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:03PM (#38808055)
    It's the only way to stay truly anonymous and secure on the internet. You cannot trust companies to provide you true anonymity and proxies, especially if money is involved.

    Never trust anyone, and never expose to anyone who you are. That is the only way to stay secure on the internet.
    • by El Torico (732160) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:10PM (#38808179)
      Agent Mulder, is that you?
      • by bobbied (2522392)
        Smart, Maxwell Smart!

        And Loving It!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No, he is Christopher B. Linn; but don't tell anyone, especially the internet! (he doesn't want to reveal who he is!

        All jokes aside, this reminds me of an XKDC post... about anonymity

        http://xkcd.com/834/

        • That's ok. We all use Christopher's machine for *our* anonymous proxies. Of course, he's probably unaware about those cites he surfed with our handy-dandy XSS routine that implanted the proxy on his machine in the first place. Chris, dude, don't you wonder about your cable bill-- at all?

        • "No, he is Christopher B. Linn"

          Or maybe we can conclude that the one person he is not is Christopher B. Linn. You don't need software to masquerade as someone else, you know. ;-)

    • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:29PM (#38808463) Journal

      Or Tor. Which is the same thing as a bot net proxy, but consensual. Make sure you don't send any personally identifiable traffic through the tunnel, because the exit nodes are monitored.

    • by jamstar7 (694492)
      You sound like one of those evil evil filesharing pirates. Naughty, naughty.

      Now give me the address of a couple good proxies so I can get some more bootlegged Canadian TV shows or I'll turn you in!
    • Solves both problems. And you don't have to trust any one company, or result to illegal tactics like bot nets.

      Its really about time everyone moves over to it.

      • Re:Freenet (Score:5, Informative)

        by Rennt (582550) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @03:34AM (#38816105)

        Tried it. Learned my lesson. The place is choked with CP. I'm talking actual rape here - not merely the kind of naked kiddie pictures that get you sent to a federal prison these days. This is stuff you NEVER see on the internet. The real, horrific, deal. There may be "safe" areas, but I couldn't find any, and I didn't exactly want to hang around to find out.

        I want something like Freenet to exist. I believe we have the right to unregulated communication, individuals should just suck it up when they are offended rather then resorting to censorship and control. But Freenet appears to be used by criminals exclusively. I couldn't see any evidence of the kind of crypto-hippy idealism I expected.

        I'm not going back anywhere near that cess-pit, and I'm not helping to enable it.

  • Anonymouse (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:09PM (#38808143)

    I use this thing [anonymouse.org].

    Selection criteria:

    1. First google hit for [anonymous proxy]
    2. It's been around since forever and I remember its url (but when I don't, see #1)

    Yeah, not that scientific.

    The most venerable lineage in this space is probably The Anonymizer [anonymizer.com], which was once hosted by CMU researchers, but it seems to have been bought and turned into a commercial desktop application.

  • It's easy, free, and for the most part anonymous if all you are doing is simple web browsing.

    Not sure that I would want to do any banking or accessing sensitive data through that network, but it is a start.
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki@co[ ]et ['x.n' in gap]> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:10PM (#38808175)

    See: http://xkcd.com/908/ [xkcd.com]

    Except it's all pointing to one gnarly Tor endpoint

  • The Onion Router (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It is fine for most purposes, and if you are really worried about backtracking, login from an open WiFi, route through TOR out the exit node and through one or two of the numerous free online proxies. Slow as molasses in January, but there it is.
  • Some options (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I use Giganews' 'VyperVPN service. They have servers all over the world and you can select which country you want to use.
    I've also used privatetunnels.com which is based in the Ukraine and that was a great service as well.

  • by Dareth (47614) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:16PM (#38808273)

    I do not trust Anonymous proxies. So I always host my own "anonymous" proxies myself. That is what I call secure!

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by multimediavt (965608)

      I do not trust Anonymous proxies. So I always host my own "anonymous" proxies myself. That is what I call secure!

      How do you figure that's "anonymous"? You are paying for the Internet connection so SOMEBODY knows who you are. If you are using a machine at work to do same, then still, SOMEBODY knows who you are. The bottom line is, there is no truly anonymous proxies anymore...not that there really were any to begin with. Somebody always knows unless you are IP spoofing on top of a proxy, but even that is becoming less secure as governments and law enforcement get more capable.

      • by v1 (525388) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:35PM (#38808539) Homepage Journal

        How do you figure that's "anonymous"? You are paying for the Internet connection so SOMEBODY knows who you are.

        I think that falls under the "I'm behind seven proxies, good luck!" meme. Granted, you get more and more latency each hop, but if you can give someone enough busywork trying to follow the breadcrumbs, you're likely to either (A) make them decide it's not worth the effort to get a 5th, 6th, and 7th court order, or by the time they get to the last proxy they have wiped your session data and simply have nothing to give anyone with a badge on their letterhead.

        Good proxy providers make a point to not retain session data for any longer than is absolutely necessary. Or if they don't, you've made a bad selection of providers. I know if I were working in Anonymous, I sure as hell would be using a proxy chain paid for using prepaid visa cards.

        • by Ocker3 (1232550)
          So, uh, with all this talk of warrantless wiretaps, you still think it's going to take a court order for them to back-trace the signal?
          • by v1 (525388)

            So, uh, with all this talk of warrantless wiretaps, you still think it's going to take a court order for them to back-trace the signal?

            The reason warrantless wiretapping works so efficiently in the USA is that every major phone exchange has a small room in the building with more alarms than you can shake a stick at, that's run remotely by DHS, and that's their siphon point for any traffic that runs through the building. (not making this up, I actually know someone that is cleared to work on the computers i

      • by elsurexiste (1758620) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:36PM (#38808557) Journal

        I finally understand the "Woosh" idiom! Thank you multimediavt!

    • by kiwimate (458274) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:35PM (#38808541) Journal

      Pfft, amateur. I use a WGET to have my web pages e-mailed to me. That way anyone who's watching my activity thinks it's Richard Stallman.

  • Overplay (Score:5, Informative)

    by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:18PM (#38808305) Journal

    I use Overplay for region-restricted web content. Very useful when watching British TV shows on the BBC iPlayer and Irish Gaelic sports like hurling [youtube.com] and Gaelic football [youtube.com] which saves me the trouble of having to go to a pub and pay $20 per game.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:19PM (#38808317)

    Google for "vpn services accepting bitcoin". Done. We learned from the spectacular failure of HideMyAss that you cannot pay for you proxy with credit card when the FBI comes looking.

    • by bryanp (160522)

      Pay cash for a visa gift card. Pay for proxy service with said gift card. When time comes to renew, repeat.

  • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:24PM (#38808383) Homepage Journal

    I personally use open wifi connections, they are about as anonymous as you can get. I picked up a 10" google pad with GPS, installed the software and took a drive. They are all over the place, that is assuming you dont use the open one at the local bar, Denny's, McDonalds, Cigar club, Starbucks, etc, etc, etc.

    If you look, you will find that open and available wifi connections are easy to find, completely anonymous, and fun. Fun because it is amazing what people will share on there local network with an open wifi connection ;)

    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:50PM (#38808763)

      I personally use open wifi connections, they are about as anonymous as you can get. I picked up a 10" google pad with GPS, installed the software and took a drive. They are all over the place, that is assuming you dont use the open one at the local bar, Denny's, McDonalds, Cigar club, Starbucks, etc, etc, etc.

      Hmm... so "Anon-Admin" likes cigars, lattes, Big Macs and Grand Slam Breakfasts - that narrows things down considerably... I've almost got him!

      • Ok, that is funny...

        Cigars, yes

        The rest, well they showed up on the wifi scan and most surprised me. Heck, all the Whataburgers now have open wifi's. I never would have thought that a chain like Wataburger would have open wifi.

    • by Crudely_Indecent (739699) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @03:23PM (#38809231) Journal

      Be sure to alter the MAC address of your wireless adapter, or the log files on the open wifi router could be used to identify your computer.

      • by Maniacal (12626)
        Wouldn't the ability to use spoofed MAC addresses negate the possibility of law enforcement identifying someone using MAC address. I mean it seems like any 2 buck lawyer would be able to argue that someone could have just spoofed your MAC address.
        • Yes, but, if you're in the habit of doing illegal things using open access points, you might not want to leave a trail that can be followed. Randomly assigning a mac address before connecting to an open wifi is a good way to prevent that kind of trail from ever getting started.

        • by mlts (1038732) *

          In reality, the defense lawyer will argue that, while the prosecuter will then rebut with "realistically, would someone actually do this?"

          A jury of /.-ers would acquit, or nullify. However, even though we wish that we would get a jury of our peers in cluefulness, most likely the jurors picked will have almost zero clue what a MAC address is, so a good prosecutor setting up a case can say something like it is impossible to forge with almost no real life cases. With this in mind, plus a "ignore the defense'

      • Don't forget your computer's hostname gets logged as well...

    • by mollymoo (202721)
      I hope you're spoofing your MAC address. Not that it's very likely random open networks will keep the log for very long, if at all, but if you really care you'd want to be sure.
      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        I hope you're spoofing your MAC address. Not that it's very likely random open networks will keep the log for very long, if at all, but if you really care you'd want to be sure.

        How does one do with with a windows machine?

        • by jackbird (721605)

          It's driver-dependent. All the consumer Linksys stuff I've run across has it, and some other vendors, too.

      • by Defenestrar (1773808) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @04:39PM (#38810255)

        Go for something like 01:23:45:67:89:AB. That way even if the logs get nabbed it'll save a lot of headache for both the open network admin and others involved. It makes it obvious that further tracking is pointless (good for you) and does a nice turn for anyone kind enough to leave open bandwidth for public use by (presumably) ending their harassment by investigators.

        The other way to do it is to leave your home router's wireless open to the public (regulating bandwidth as you see fit), control the logs yourself, and then make any connection to a proxy via (registry/OS footprint free) utilities on a hidden volume or usb drive. Thus even if all of the proxies, anonymizers, and etc. are compromised you'll still have enough reasonable doubt. Of course reasonable doubt is only good in some locations. The places or circumstances these tools are often invented for (i.e. Arab Spring) may not care enough about western due process in the middle of a civil revolution.

        • Go for something like 01:23:45:67:89:AB. That way even if the logs get nabbed it'll save a lot of headache for both the open network admin and others involved. It makes it obvious that further tracking is pointless (good for you) and does a nice turn for anyone kind enough to leave open bandwidth for public use by (presumably) ending their harassment by investigators.

          Unless you happen to be the only person using that fake MAC address.

          • Well don't leave your nic setup that way! What's the point of spoofing (in this case) if you stick around long enough to be photographed, triangulated, or otherwise caught with proof on the equipment seized?

            Rules of MAC cloning: 1) leave it cloned if you're using a router with your ISP, 2) wipe the clone if you expect the inquisition to drop by for a late over a pendulum session.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          No thanks. I prefer to change the mac address randomly EVERY time the dhcp lease is up. Trivial to do on any powerful OS.

    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      Doesn't count as unauthorized access to a computer network and is thus a crime?
    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      I picked up a 10" google pad with GPS, installed the software and took a drive.

      What software did you install on the google pad?

  • It's never been a problem. Ditto for lots of other people and companies. What's the issue?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kiwimate (458274)

      1. People want to do illegal stuff and not get caught; and/or
      2. People are overly paranoid.

      Modern life is complicated enough without trying to get into trouble. Why bother? (Answer: people have a raging sense of entitlement. "Whine, I don't want to pay for stuff.")

      • by RatBastard (949)

        It's not always about not paying for things. Some people have fetishes for... well, let us just say illegal things. In some places frontal nudity would count. Other places you're talking pictures featuring pyrohomonecropedobestiality.

        • by Fned (43219)

          pyrohomonecropedobestiality.

          I'm trying to figure out how this would work... fucking a fertilized-egg omelet with a strap-on...?

  • Coffee shop? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:24PM (#38808389)

    How about a coffee shop's free Wifi using a spoofed MAC address while I'm sitting at the restaurant next door?

    • Re:Coffee shop? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by parlancex (1322105) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:55PM (#38808851)
      Just make sure if you buy anything it's cash only. :)
    • by Joe Snipe (224958)

      Pawn Shop laptop at a McDonalds. Only way to go.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Why?

        Your laptop running a Live linux distro and USB drive. Untraceable, or do you think that Mac addresses can not be changed.

        It is perfectly safe to use the same laptop for good and evil.

    • by BitterOak (537666)

      How about a coffee shop's free Wifi using a spoofed MAC address while I'm sitting at the restaurant next door?

      Just make sure the restaurant doesn't have any security cameras. And make doubly sure you don't walk past that coffee shop going to the restaurant as their security cameras might pick you up through the window. And don't park anywhere nearby. And make sure no security cameras catch you walking from the restaurant to your car, etc.

  • panopticlick (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jginspace (678908) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {ecapsnigj}> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:26PM (#38808417) Homepage Journal

    What degree of anonymity are you looking for? Exactly which of the HTTP request headers do you wish to be anonymized? Okay so your proxy is not passing on your IP address. So It's not passing on common proxy behaviours (like HTTP 1.0 requests). And there's no 'proxy' anywhere in the request. You're not even using TOR. Well done. Now check Panopticlick [eff.org]. You're not anonymous. Now exactly what kind of proxy where you looking for and what kind of anonymity were you looking for?

    • Wow - people should take a look at this. Great (if a little disturbing) info! I should really donate a few bucks to EFF.
  • I use Cocoon ( GetCoccon.com [slashdot.org]). It's free, and they are very clear in their privacy policy that they don't store logs tracking where you go:

    .

    "Inside Cocoon we do not track where you go or what you do online... Only operational information, such as processing speed or what features are under greatest demand, may be used to ensure Cocoon provides the best possible performance and experience to our users."

    There is the question of how enforceable this promise is, since Cocoon is ad-supported. It's in their

  • Like always, the question you have to ask is "who am I hiding it from"?

    TOR works well, but is neither anonymous or private (meaning TOR traffic is easy to identify at entry, so the ISP will know you're doing it). At exit, the traffic is the same as it entered .. so unless your transport itself is encrypted, it's game over if the exit op is malicious.

    Paid proxies are good for casual "don't want the boss seeing it", and many of these are plain HTTPS so they're harder to spot. Teathering your personal phon
  • Let me point out the elephant is in the room.

    How do you verify the anonymity?
    • by Dwedit (232252)

      Load a website you control and look for "X-Forwarded-For" in the HTTP headers?

    • by kiwimate (458274)

      How do you verify the anonymity?

      Because they haven't been caught yet. Duh.

      It's either that, or face up to the fact that nobody's actually looking for you/you're not really all that terribly interesting.

  • I completely respect people's privacy, but when they insist on SO MUCH and total privacy, it even makes me wonder what they're up to. Personally, I use the "do not track" feature on firefox, which is probably useless and per the WSJ article on privacy, I added the Ghostery and Better Privacy add-ons to Firefox...they're supposed to further help. I'm not sure what I'd be doing to require a botnet or a truly anonymous proxy. Even when I thought about growing my own pot, I just used my regular browser and e
  • http://www.hideipvpn.com/ [hideipvpn.com] has servers in the US & UK; I use them once in a while if I want to access region specific content. Pretty cheap and fast enough for my needs so I'm happy.

  • Many people will post suggestions for incredibly difficult to implement solutions. I work with groups of people (journalists, mostly) which need something NOW, that they can run themselves without getting a degree in network engineering.

    For them, I send them to AnchorFree Hotspot Shield.

    Free, ad supported (you can run AdBlockPlus) and allegedly does not log for non-paying accounts (I wouldn't want to know either). It gives you a random IP address terminating in Northern California, which is very helpful for

  • by AlienSexist (686923) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @03:41PM (#38809433)
    Being paranoid, I cannot resolve the chain-of-trust for anonymous proxies. For all I know Big Brother, with his infinite budget, owns and operates all of these so called proxies anyway. Honeypots if you will. Not only are they well-positioned to see what you are trying to conceal but even collaborate among other owned nodes to see just how far you're willing to take it. So in the worst case you are drawing even more attention upon yourself. You cannot really know. Is it safer than not using a proxy at all? Possibly.
  • by IronHalik (1568993) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @03:46PM (#38809515)

    IPpredator.se and anonine.se. Both from the freedom loving land of Sweden. You get SSL and PPTP with 2048kb or 128kb encryption (IPredator supports PPTP only IIRC).

  • PRQ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dissy (172727) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @03:47PM (#38809531)

    http://prq.se/?p=tunnel&intl=1 [prq.se]

    PRQ is based in Sweden, and has their own ASN (read: they are their own network, connected to multiple upstream backbones)
    They offer all types of services in addition to VPNs: colo, dedicated hosting, and shared hosting.

    Their tunnels offer a static IP and no ports blocked (for running servers if that's your thing), so you'll want to provide your own firewalling. They use straight OpenVPN too.
    They have a strict privacy policy and appear to follow it.

    This is the same ISP that hosts the pirate bay too, which should give you an idea how they handle requests from certain other countries due to the whining of certain media cartels...

    I've been a customer for awhile now and quite happy.
    I am even planning to colo with them in the next couple of months if all goes well. (Previous data center I've been with has changed company names like three times now in the past six months, and now plans to jack their pricing up)

  • by PPH (736903)

    1) Log on using someone else's credentials (someone you don't like).
    2) Generate a file of random bytes.
    3) Post it to a file sharing site through the proxy with an annotation that these are the final plans for World Jihad. Append "Allahu Akbar" for good measure.
    4) See if the person who'd credentials you borrowed is dragged off to Gitmo.

  • Think what you could do with an unlimited budget and sufficient taps of peering and backbone links. Now add in CALEA backdoors with poor security, and think about how these scale. Now think about how anonymizers work. Now read up on traffic analysis. Don tin foil hat...
  • by dohnut (189348)

    Just so you know, some of these file sharing services block IPs coming from well known (often commercial) proxies. There are, of course, other sites that block IPs from proxies too which may or may not adversely affect your Internet experience while using said proxy.

    The main reason to use a proxy when doing things like file sharing is to avoid detection by your ISP. Some ISPs are quite nosy and will block you from file sharing sites especially if they notice you are consuming "too much" bandwidth transfer

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:12PM (#38810743) Homepage

    Pay for a proxy, but use a prepaid visa that is not registered in your name (hard to od but not impossible) then NEVER connect to that proxy from the same starbucks, mcdonalds, etc...

    Yes this means you have to use hacker tactics for not getting caught. That is the price for living in a oppressive country.

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:35PM (#38813521) Homepage
    I live next door to CowboyNeal and use his unprotected wifi.

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