Anonymity in the Internet

Jan 15, 2011   //   by Pabitra // Science And Technology // No Comments

In this age of the internet, almost everyday we spend time surfing the internet in whatever way. Most of us do this oblivious to the fact that we are sending lots of information to the world by doing this. When we visit websites, those websites can pick up our ip-address. With this ip-address, those who mean harm, can access a bunch of information about us, including where we live.

There are ways to protect yourself from this, though. There are tons of websites that offer you tools to browse the internet anonymously . Most of these sites use so-called proxy-servers. So how do these work?

A proxy-server is a tool that lets you type in a url, and opens it for you. Instead of sending your ip-adress, it sends its own, and this way you are protected from people who are trying to register your ip.

Another danger that threatens your anonymity on the internet is e-mail. You may have thought it wasn’t such a big deal, but here is a heads-up. When you send an e-mail, you send a number of things. One of them is the message you send, the visible part that is displayed in your web-based interface or outlook express window. Another is the so-called ‘header’. In this header crucial information is stored, and the people you send e-mails to can read this header and extract that information. By doing that they can gather a lot of information about you.

So what can be done to stop this? There are a number of ways to send free anonymous e-mails. One of them is mail spoofing.

Mail spoofing means you use an SMTP server to fake e-mails. SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, and it is quite simple to use. You just open a DOS command screen and type in:

telnet

o

smtp.example-server.com 25
HELO
MAIL FROM:
RCPT TO:
DATA
subject:
the body of your e-mail

.

QUIT

This way you can fake the sender details and send e-mail anonymously. This does have a downside, because although your real e-mail address is hidden, your ip gets sent along this way. However, the average internet user will be fooled by this neat little trick. I point out that this is more suited for jokes than real anonymity.

There is a way you can send completely free anonymous e-mails, namely through certain websites. These anonymity websites offer either tools so surf anonymously, as I have discussed, or they allow you to send free anonymous e-mails. You can do this by entering the recipient, subject, and body of your e-mail, and the site sends it for you, without revealing you identity to the person receiving the e-mail. They often put a message at the bottom of the e-mail explaining that this is an e-mail sent by an anonymity website and a little disclaimer. You can check this site for a test.

This is a completely anonymous way to e-mail.

So there are a number of ways to secure your anonymity on the web, with simple tools that are easy to find with the magic of google, we can , and send e-mails without revealing our identity. We don’t have to worry about being tracked down to our hometown just by visiting a website.

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All opinions are solely those of the author. Reader's discretion necessary for using any of the contents of this website. (c) Pabitra Mukhopadhyay 2011
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