Anonymous Blogging

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by xrayman, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. xrayman

    xrayman Guest

    I am trying to get some information regarding anonymous blogging. It is
    very important I not be tracked back. I found this link through
    del.icio.us that outlines a plan for blogging anonymously:
    http://www.shorttext.com/u6jb
    Is this overkill? Or is it serious steps I should consider. I would
    like to hear any and all ideas and thoughts concerning the steps
    outlined in the link - or your own ideas.

    Thank you!!
     
    xrayman, Mar 14, 2006
    #1
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  2. xrayman

    ~David~ Guest

    As usual, before reading, don't do anything illegal/stupid...

    1. Get a laptop with wireless
    2. Find a public wifi-spot
    3. Load an Anonym.OS LiveCD (http://theory.kaos.to/projects.html - basically
    OpenBSD with tor for anonymous internet surfing all on a live cd so it doesn't
    touch your harddrive)
    4. Go to an online site, sign up for an email address and blog, never use those
    for anything other than the intended purpose...
    5. DO NOT do anything illegal/stupid

    Hope this helps,
    ~David~

    xrayman wrote:
    > I am trying to get some information regarding anonymous blogging. It is
    > very important I not be tracked back. I found this link through
    > del.icio.us that outlines a plan for blogging anonymously:
    > http://www.shorttext.com/u6jb
    > Is this overkill? Or is it serious steps I should consider. I would
    > like to hear any and all ideas and thoughts concerning the steps
    > outlined in the link - or your own ideas.
    >
    > Thank you!!
    >
     
    ~David~, Mar 14, 2006
    #2
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  3. xrayman wrote:

    > I am trying to get some information regarding anonymous blogging. It is
    > very important I not be tracked back. I found this link through
    > del.icio.us that outlines a plan for blogging anonymously:
    > http://www.shorttext.com/u6jb
    > Is this overkill? Or is it serious steps I should consider. I would like
    > to hear any and all ideas and thoughts concerning the steps outlined in
    > the link - or your own ideas.


    It's not only not overkill, it's false information. First of all, Internet
    cafes and libraries are probably the most vulnerable and frequently
    watched Internet access points there are, your own ISP account included.
    So while you might "blend in" with the rest of the users on a given day,
    what you do and where you go is far more likely to be monitored and
    logged. And since you've joined their local network they can have a lot
    more information about your machine than even your ISP might. You also
    have to contend with the ever growing presence of security cameras and
    such.

    Cafes and libraries are NOT anonymous. Neither are the "web proxies" the
    article suggests, especially in light of the fact that you're going to be
    posting to your blog repeatedly. Make a single post that draws the
    attention of an attacker, and the very next post you make might be your
    last. Compromise the proxy either by cracking it or issuing a warrant and
    you're owned. That's assuming the proxy you choose doesn't log connections
    and give you up before you even get to make the second post. They ALL have
    the ability, it's just a matter of "if". :(

    About the only useful bit of information I read in that article was the
    anonymous credit card stuff. If you travel a considerable distance from
    your home location and buy one, being careful of those cameras of course,
    they can be a pretty secure and anonymous way to spend money on the
    Internet (or fund another anonymous account like something you've set up
    properly at eGold).

    About now you're probably wondering how, if the article's advice can't
    provide it, do you actually maintain an "untraceable" blog. The short
    answer is... you can't. In raw theory the Internet is a real time,
    connection based media that relies on the fact that a path can be traced
    back to you just to function at all. IOW, if you are to be completely and
    totally anonymous, the Internet will never work for you at all.

    There are, however, acceptable compromises....

    There are "mathematically" anonymous services out there. Type II anonymous
    remailers are considered the most secure way of transferring data across
    the Internet today because they implement a protocol that obscures the
    path back to you with layered encryption, latency, and "chaining" of
    several machines in such a way that the ones in the middle are just moving
    encrypted garbage around. They are limited to email though.

    The Tor network functions very similarly to the remailer network, with the
    one major exception that traffic passing through it is in real time.
    There's no latency or "delay" in your connection, so someone watching a
    big chink of the Internet *might* be able to figure out who you are by
    the timing of packets flowing through the connections. The real world
    chances of this are ridiculously slim, even when dealing with an attacker
    as powerful as a government agency.

    If you want the most secure, and really the only acceptably anonymous way
    to do much of anything, then you should forget public access points and
    follow the instructions found at http://tor.eff.org concerning installing
    Tor and Privoxy, and configuring your web browser. Use that setup to get
    an anonymous blogger account, and if you're really paranoid use the
    remailer network to post to it using blogger's email features (that I was
    previously unaware of by the way).

    This sort of setup will give you the most "untraceable" anonymous blog you
    can currently have on the Internet today, with no exceptions. The methods
    implemented by the remailer network and Tor are so much more secure than
    proxies and cafes that they can be considered actually anonymous, while
    proxies and public access points can not. Apples and oranges... night and
    day... etc. ;)

    All that said, how anonymous do you really need to be? One of the keys to
    maintaining your anonymity is knowing who your attackers are. That means
    the best "technical" anonymity in the world might be useless against an
    attacker who knows you intimately and can recognize your "style", or the
    source of information you're posting. The other side to that coin is that
    even "weak" anonymity might be enough against someone who doesn't know
    you, and doesn't have the "juice" to monitor sections of the Internet or
    force some reputable proxy to hand you over. The key here is what sort of
    information you're dealing in, and who you're going to piss off. Answering
    those questions is critical to deciding if you even want to attempt to
    post the information to an "anonymous" blog in the first place.
     
    George Orwell, Mar 14, 2006
    #3
  4. ~David~ wrote:

    > As usual, before reading, don't do anything illegal/stupid...
    >
    > 1. Get a laptop with wireless
    > 2. Find a public wifi-spot
    > 3. Load an Anonym.OS LiveCD (http://theory.kaos.to/projects.html -
    > basically OpenBSD with tor for anonymous internet surfing all on a live cd
    > so it doesn't touch your harddrive)


    This might completely demolish any anonymity Tor gives you. If you're
    using wireless from a laptop you're part of a local network and they have
    your MAC address (among other possibly critical information). It might be
    possible to trace that MAC address right to a store, date, and even a
    credit card number and address for the purchaser.

    NOTE: Anonym.OS has built in tools for spoofing MAC addresses, but they're
    imperfect in that some hardware won't allow it, and useless because you
    failed to mention them. ;)

    WiFi access also means that your physical location and time line are
    known. In a lot of scenarios this is more than enough to out you. It's
    much more desirable to use a system that can't be traced back to your
    geography and/or "routine" in any way, even if it's just in general.

    > 4. Go to an online site, sign up for an email address and blog, never use
    > those for anything other than the intended purpose... 5. DO NOT do
    > anything illegal/stupid


    That's the key to the whole thing... the user. Even marginally anonymous
    methods might suffice if the poster keeps his wits about him, and good
    anonymity can be trashed by "wit challenged" individuals. :(
     
    George Orwell, Mar 14, 2006
    #4
  5. xrayman

    Jim Guest

    George Orwell wrote on 3/14/2006 3:07 AM:
    > xrayman wrote:
    >
    >> I am trying to get some information regarding anonymous blogging. It is
    >> very important I not be tracked back. I found this link through
    >> del.icio.us that outlines a plan for blogging anonymously:
    >> http://www.shorttext.com/u6jb
    >> Is this overkill? Or is it serious steps I should consider. I would like
    >> to hear any and all ideas and thoughts concerning the steps outlined in
    >> the link - or your own ideas.

    >
    > It's not only not overkill, it's false information. First of all, Internet
    > cafes and libraries are probably the most vulnerable and frequently
    > watched Internet access points there are, your own ISP account included.
    > So while you might "blend in" with the rest of the users on a given day,
    > what you do and where you go is far more likely to be monitored and
    > logged. And since you've joined their local network they can have a lot
    > more information about your machine than even your ISP might. You also
    > have to contend with the ever growing presence of security cameras and
    > such.
    >
    > Cafes and libraries are NOT anonymous. Neither are the "web proxies" the
    > article suggests, especially in light of the fact that you're going to be
    > posting to your blog repeatedly. Make a single post that draws the
    > attention of an attacker, and the very next post you make might be your
    > last. Compromise the proxy either by cracking it or issuing a warrant and
    > you're owned. That's assuming the proxy you choose doesn't log connections
    > and give you up before you even get to make the second post. They ALL have
    > the ability, it's just a matter of "if". :(
    >
    > About the only useful bit of information I read in that article was the
    > anonymous credit card stuff. If you travel a considerable distance from
    > your home location and buy one, being careful of those cameras of course,
    > they can be a pretty secure and anonymous way to spend money on the
    > Internet (or fund another anonymous account like something you've set up
    > properly at eGold).
    >
    > About now you're probably wondering how, if the article's advice can't
    > provide it, do you actually maintain an "untraceable" blog. The short
    > answer is... you can't. In raw theory the Internet is a real time,
    > connection based media that relies on the fact that a path can be traced
    > back to you just to function at all. IOW, if you are to be completely and
    > totally anonymous, the Internet will never work for you at all.
    >
    > There are, however, acceptable compromises....
    >
    > There are "mathematically" anonymous services out there. Type II anonymous
    > remailers are considered the most secure way of transferring data across
    > the Internet today because they implement a protocol that obscures the
    > path back to you with layered encryption, latency, and "chaining" of
    > several machines in such a way that the ones in the middle are just moving
    > encrypted garbage around. They are limited to email though.
    >
    > The Tor network functions very similarly to the remailer network, with the
    > one major exception that traffic passing through it is in real time.
    > There's no latency or "delay" in your connection, so someone watching a
    > big chink of the Internet *might* be able to figure out who you are by
    > the timing of packets flowing through the connections. The real world
    > chances of this are ridiculously slim, even when dealing with an attacker
    > as powerful as a government agency.
    >
    > If you want the most secure, and really the only acceptably anonymous way
    > to do much of anything, then you should forget public access points and
    > follow the instructions found at http://tor.eff.org concerning installing
    > Tor and Privoxy, and configuring your web browser. Use that setup to get
    > an anonymous blogger account, and if you're really paranoid use the
    > remailer network to post to it using blogger's email features (that I was
    > previously unaware of by the way).
    >
    > This sort of setup will give you the most "untraceable" anonymous blog you
    > can currently have on the Internet today, with no exceptions. The methods
    > implemented by the remailer network and Tor are so much more secure than
    > proxies and cafes that they can be considered actually anonymous, while
    > proxies and public access points can not. Apples and oranges... night and
    > day... etc. ;)
    >
    > All that said, how anonymous do you really need to be? One of the keys to
    > maintaining your anonymity is knowing who your attackers are. That means
    > the best "technical" anonymity in the world might be useless against an
    > attacker who knows you intimately and can recognize your "style", or the
    > source of information you're posting. The other side to that coin is that
    > even "weak" anonymity might be enough against someone who doesn't know
    > you, and doesn't have the "juice" to monitor sections of the Internet or
    > force some reputable proxy to hand you over. The key here is what sort of
    > information you're dealing in, and who you're going to piss off. Answering
    > those questions is critical to deciding if you even want to attempt to
    > post the information to an "anonymous" blog in the first place.
    >
    >
    >
    >

    Why not just put on some sunglasses and head down to the public library?

    Jim
     
    Jim, Mar 14, 2006
    #5
  6. xrayman

    xrayman Guest

    This is really excellent information. So much to digest. One quick
    question:
    How can one "spoof" the MAC address? Are there tools available to do
    such?
    Thanks again - good stuff.
     
    xrayman, Mar 14, 2006
    #6
  7. xrayman

    nemo_outis Guest

    "xrayman" <> wrote in
    news::

    > This is really excellent information. So much to digest. One quick
    > question:
    > How can one "spoof" the MAC address? Are there tools available to do
    > such?
    > Thanks again - good stuff.




    There are a million good software ones (I used to "roll 'em by hand" and
    edit the registry). One good one:

    SMAC
    http://www.klcconsulting.net/smac/

    or you can go hardware:

    speed-demon
    http://www.sdadapters.com/products.htm

    Regards,
     
    nemo_outis, Mar 14, 2006
    #7
  8. xrayman

    ~David~ Guest

    The Anonym.OS CD allows a user to spoof a MAC address assuming the hardware
    supports it; almost anything with a prism or atheros chipset supports it. (goto
    madwifi.org). Upon boot up the cd asks if you would like to randomize the MAC
    address; if you click yes, it does. The "manual" way to do it is on the command
    line:
    ifconfig ethX hw ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx where ethX is the interface

    ~David~

    xrayman wrote:
    > This is really excellent information. So much to digest. One quick
    > question:
    > How can one "spoof" the MAC address? Are there tools available to do
    > such?
    > Thanks again - good stuff.
    >
     
    ~David~, Mar 16, 2006
    #8
  9. xrayman

    ~David~ Guest

    You are correct: Assuming the user has hardware that allows this, they can do
    it fairly easily as the CD _prompts_ you upon bootup to see if you want to
    randomize the MAC address. How much easier can it get?

    And yes, you have to make sure you are fairly physically anonymous. Many
    universities have large wireless networks that are easy to get on and hard to
    track people on because of their large size. For example, my university has a
    HUGE campus and it would range from _very_ difficult to impossible to track a
    person if they were using a fake MAC. The only thing authorities/sys admins
    would know, assuming they could get through Tor's anonymity (no small feat) to
    trace the true point of origin, is that a user with a wireless network card
    accessed the network with a fake MAC on a system that sort of looks like winXP,
    which is what anonyOS looks like. Reboot the system, take the CD out of the
    drive, and all traces go away.

    ~David~

    George Orwell wrote:
    > ~David~ wrote:
    >
    >> As usual, before reading, don't do anything illegal/stupid...
    >>
    >> 1. Get a laptop with wireless
    >> 2. Find a public wifi-spot
    >> 3. Load an Anonym.OS LiveCD (http://theory.kaos.to/projects.html -
    >> basically OpenBSD with tor for anonymous internet surfing all on a live cd
    >> so it doesn't touch your harddrive)

    >
    > This might completely demolish any anonymity Tor gives you. If you're
    > using wireless from a laptop you're part of a local network and they have
    > your MAC address (among other possibly critical information). It might be
    > possible to trace that MAC address right to a store, date, and even a
    > credit card number and address for the purchaser.
    >
    > NOTE: Anonym.OS has built in tools for spoofing MAC addresses, but they're
    > imperfect in that some hardware won't allow it, and useless because you
    > failed to mention them. ;)
    >
    > WiFi access also means that your physical location and time line are
    > known. In a lot of scenarios this is more than enough to out you. It's
    > much more desirable to use a system that can't be traced back to your
    > geography and/or "routine" in any way, even if it's just in general.
    >
    >> 4. Go to an online site, sign up for an email address and blog, never use
    >> those for anything other than the intended purpose... 5. DO NOT do
    >> anything illegal/stupid

    >
    > That's the key to the whole thing... the user. Even marginally anonymous
    > methods might suffice if the poster keeps his wits about him, and good
    > anonymity can be trashed by "wit challenged" individuals. :(
     
    ~David~, Mar 16, 2006
    #9
  10. ~David~ wrote:

    > You are correct: Assuming the user has hardware that allows this, they
    > can do it fairly easily as the CD _prompts_ you upon bootup to see if you
    > want to randomize the MAC address. How much easier can it get?


    Super! As I remembered it this wasn't automatic, and had to be done after
    the OS had loaded. A bit of a security risk in itself.

    > And yes, you have to make sure you are fairly physically anonymous. Many
    > universities have large wireless networks that are easy to get on and hard
    > to track people on because of their large size. For example, my university
    > has a HUGE campus and it would range from _very_ difficult to impossible
    > to track a person if they were using a fake MAC. The only thing
    > authorities/sys admins would know, assuming they could get through Tor's


    <snippage>

    If an attacker has the ability to break Tor the rest is likely
    meaningless. Even if they just have the ability to narrow down your
    location with traffic analysis of a "hunch" netwqork segment,
    triangulating your precise location would probably be trivial.

    Still, using hard wires is inherently more secure than wireless access at
    this day and time, and being behind a router is preferable to being part
    of a very large and likely closely monitored network. Both wireless and
    joining a LAN leave a considerable number of doors open that aren't there
    otherwise. In fact, just broadcasting a encrypted signal itself to the
    general public might be the thing that garners you unwanted attention and
    leads to ultimate compromise.

    > anonymity (no small feat) to trace the true point of origin, is that a
    > user with a wireless network card accessed the network with a fake MAC
    > on a system that sort of looks like winXP, which is what anonyOS looks
    > like. Reboot the system, take the CD out of the drive, and all traces go
    > away.


    I agree that for most applications "drive by" access, if practiced and
    done correctly, is not much less secure than the good ol' desktop PC on a
    private network accessing the Internet through a gateway device that
    physically isolates it. But there's still a larger number of things to
    consider and secure, and consequently a larger number of things to go
    wrong. That said, I'd wager that the OP would be just fine either way
    assuming he realized it was something like Tor providing the anonymity and
    not the "Internet Cafe" the poster first asked about. Tor is acceptably
    secure. Direct connections, no matter how obscure, are not.
     
    George Orwell, Mar 17, 2006
    #10
  11. xrayman

    ~David~ Guest

    George Orwell wrote:
    > ~David~ wrote:
    >
    >> You are correct: Assuming the user has hardware that allows this, they
    >> can do it fairly easily as the CD _prompts_ you upon bootup to see if you
    >> want to randomize the MAC address. How much easier can it get?

    >
    > Super! As I remembered it this wasn't automatic, and had to be done after
    > the OS had loaded. A bit of a security risk in itself.


    Upon bootup of the CD, you get a prompt asking if you want to randomize the MAC
    address after the system initializes the NIC drivers but before asks whether you
    want DHCP or manual network setup. In other words, I believe you randomize the
    MAC before any frames are actually sent out, so you are secure.

    >> And yes, you have to make sure you are fairly physically anonymous. Many
    >> universities have large wireless networks that are easy to get on and hard
    >> to track people on because of their large size. For example, my university
    >> has a HUGE campus and it would range from _very_ difficult to impossible
    >> to track a person if they were using a fake MAC. The only thing
    >> authorities/sys admins would know, assuming they could get through Tor's

    >
    > <snippage>
    >
    > If an attacker has the ability to break Tor the rest is likely
    > meaningless. Even if they just have the ability to narrow down your
    > location with traffic analysis of a "hunch" netwqork segment,
    > triangulating your precise location would probably be trivial.

    Most places with wireless access points do not have the equipment needed to
    pinpoint the origin of a wireless signal - besides, in a large public wifi
    network, by the time someone finds the actual network and wireless access point
    you were transmitting from by getting through Tor (even if this took only a few
    hours) you would be long gone and with many other users concurrently using the
    network, and coming and going rapidly, there would be no feasible way to track
    you, unless they were looking for someone in that area at the time in question.

    > Still, using hard wires is inherently more secure than wireless access at
    > this day and time, and being behind a router is preferable to being part
    > of a very large and likely closely monitored network. Both wireless and
    > joining a LAN leave a considerable number of doors open that aren't there
    > otherwise. In fact, just broadcasting a encrypted signal itself to the
    > general public might be the thing that garners you unwanted attention and
    > leads to ultimate compromise.
    >

    Again, with a fake MAC and no way of physically locating you, it still would be
    hard.
    >> anonymity (no small feat) to trace the true point of origin, is that a
    >> user with a wireless network card accessed the network with a fake MAC
    >> on a system that sort of looks like winXP, which is what anonyOS looks
    >> like. Reboot the system, take the CD out of the drive, and all traces go
    >> away.

    >
    > I agree that for most applications "drive by" access, if practiced and
    > done correctly, is not much less secure than the good ol' desktop PC on a
    > private network accessing the Internet through a gateway device that
    > physically isolates it. But there's still a larger number of things to
    > consider and secure, and consequently a larger number of things to go
    > wrong. That said, I'd wager that the OP would be just fine either way
    > assuming he realized it was something like Tor providing the anonymity and
    > not the "Internet Cafe" the poster first asked about. Tor is acceptably
    > secure. Direct connections, no matter how obscure, are not.
    >

    I agree with you there; no anonymity exists when using a PC cafe, especially
    when paying with a credit card to get access. Tor + AnonOS or another LiveCD
    with wireless is probably the closest you can get IMHO.
     
    ~David~, Mar 17, 2006
    #11
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