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Need Advice IT help - effective way to browse the internet without tracking?

Discussion in 'Community Broadband & Computers' started by Mike-and-Kim, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Mike-and-Kim

    Mike-and-Kim Member

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    Recently we went on a vacation. After buying plane tickets hotels etc we went back to nail down the car rental. It had gone up $80...

    Then, tried another computer and also using an IP blocking program, and the price was back was $80 less - as before.

    So...for all the IT guys out there: Do you have a preferred method of dealing with this?

    I google'd the subject line of this post, and these were interesting

    http://lifehacker.com/5887140/every...what-you-do-on-the-web-heres-how-to-stop-them

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57457473-83/how-to-browse-sensitive-subjects-without-being-tracked

    It would also be nice to be able to act like I am in the US - for example I had purchased something on ebay but was not able to pay for it while I was gone because paypal would not work in France. And strangely, when I got back it still thought I was in France and sent me the email receipt in French. I could not even call the help line as the webpage was entirely in French...

    Also it would be nice to have a known secure connection at the hotels. Once upon a time a friend of Kim's showed me how to tunnel into the home computer - but when we tried it away from the house the Linksys router possibly could not handle it and was completely reset after a while! I wrote this off to crappy hardware, but don't really know what caused it.
     
  2. Brian12

    Brian12 New Member

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    Hi Mike,

    I personally use Adblock with EasyPrivacy. EasyPrivacy "completely removes all forms of tracking from the internet, including web bugs, tracking scripts and information collectors."

    To hide your IP address, you can either use a proxy server or a VPN service, such as HotSpot Shield. You can read more about it here: http://whatismyipaddress.com/hide-ip

    I hope this helps you. :)

    Brian (author of the Malware Removal Guide for Windows)
     
  3. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    The brute force simple way is to use private browsing/incognito mode.. that will stop anything that relies on your history and won't let stuff be saved for future sessions. But you lose everything in those cases..

    for languages, browsers use geo-location and language detection making it hard to avoid unless you always VPN or proxy from a place here in the US. If you have something that 'sticks' even after your location has changed, just open the cookie history in your browser, search for that site's name.. and delete any cookies for that site, and reload your browser.
     
  4. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    The two articles you found have a lot of good info in them. At the end of the CNET article they mentioned Tor https://www.torproject.org/

    I do use Tor and there are some others in that category if you want to go down that route, one example

    http://www.i2p2.de/ - i2p anonymous network

    You sacrifice speed so I'd only use them when needed.

    @Brian, nice site. Are you also active on any of the Microsoft forums. Looks like you could become a Microsoft MVP (thinking consumer security)

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  5. Brian12

    Brian12 New Member

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    Hi Mike,

    Yes, I am active on Microsoft Answers forums. I may become an MVP in the future, but not anytime soon.

    Thanks,
    Brian
     
  6. Mike-and-Kim

    Mike-and-Kim Member

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  7. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    Not to derail the thread, but you are on the right track. Also start going to local Microsoft events (Reston and Chevy Chase offices for example). That way you can get your name out there even more.

    I'm an MVP for Active Directory and I think once you get in it is easier to keep it as long as you keep up your activities. The first one did take me years of message boards and getting to know the right people.

    Good Luck

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  8. IRideYZFR6

    IRideYZFR6 Linux Guru

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    Probably a little late for advice but I use ananymoX plugin for Firefox. You can;

    -change your country source IP
    -visit blocked sites base on your source IP

    There are a few other tor related plugins for Firefox but I found this one the easiest to use. I use this when we go to Aruba every year to “fake” an US IP.
     
  9. Mr. Linux

    Mr. Linux Senior Member & Moderator Forum Staff

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    ananymoX uses TOR. While TOR is fine for casual browsing and such, I wouldn't use it for anything more. While you're 'anonymized' as you go hop to hop within TOR, the TOR end nodes are not protected from monitoring, etc. And since those end nodes are a known entity, they are a prime target for monitoring by entities in whatever country they are located in. Since it's safe to assume that folks using such services are trying to hide something (either legal or illegal), they draw the attention of local authorities pretty quickly.

    Additionally, it has been shown that certain forms of traffic going through TOR can indeed be traced back to the originating IP. Bitorrent is a prime example; in March 2011, researchers in France documented an attack that is capable of revealing the IP addresses of BitTorrent users on the Tor network. In 2007, a Swedish researcher was able to capture a large number of email account usernames and passwords by monitoring an exit node he had setup.

    As Tor does not, and by design cannot, encrypt the traffic between an exit node and the target server, any exit node is in a position to capture any traffic passing through it which does not use end-to-end encryption such as TLS. While this may or may not inherently violate the anonymity of the source, if users mistake Tor's anonymity for end-to-end encryption they may be subject to additional risk of data interception by self-selected third parties.

    Finally, keep in mind that TOR was originally designed to be used to gain access to censored information, to organize political activities, or to circumvent laws against criticism of heads of state. It doesn't encrypt your data flowing across the net.

    Long story short, if you're going to use something based on TOR, make sure you are only visiting sites using HTTPS. Otherwise, your data can still be intercepted and profiled...

    (Some information above was pulled from Wikipedia)
     
  10. IRideYZFR6

    IRideYZFR6 Linux Guru

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    Agree with Eric above, when I am using any type of tor plugin I don’t bank, login to email, etc. I just use it to surf as if I am physically located in the states.

    A solution that you could look at if you are willing to keep a server/computer on in your home while on vacation is to set up your own VPN solution. On the computer that will stay on at your home while on vacation install a VPN server app like Hamachi or OpenVPN. On your router/WAP/modem of course port forward 1723 or whatever port you will use for your VPN to the home computer. Install the client on your laptop that you will be taking, test the VPN of course before you leave. You will be able to VPN back to your home and surf the internet as if you’re sitting at home.

    Here is a good write up on how to do it.
    http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/04/how-to-build-your-own-vpn/
     

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