Surf Anonymously – 2 Free USB Apps – OperaTor and XeroBank

There are numerous reasons why someone would want to surf anonymously: to ensure protection from snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, or curious family members.

More obvious reasons for anonymous surfing include, surfing in internet cafes, public terminals in libraries, or hotel business centers.

In fact, you may want to surf anonymously on any PC where you don’t want to leave traces of your private surfing activities.

Interestingly, previous reviews of anonymous surfing applications on this site, have been read disproportionately by readers from Middle Eastern countries. Perhaps, there are more reasons to surf anonymously in these countries, than in others.

Most typical PC users are amazed at the amount of information their browser provides to web sites they visit. For example, the information below is available to every web site I visit. I have X’d out certain parameters for privacy purposes only.

Your computer is connecting to the internet at xxxxxxx, xxxx, in the xxxx, with an IP address of 24.xxx.xxx.142

Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: 1.8.1.12) Gecko/20080201 Firefox/2.0.0.12

Your Referrer is being reported as:

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client= ient=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en

Your IP Address is 24.xxx.xxx.142

Your Host Name is d235- xxx.xxx.home1.cable.net

A trace to your phone comes back with an area code of: 0

The objective of anonymous surfing then, is to conceal this information from web sites and other computers, and typically you would use an anonymous proxy server between you and the web site to accomplish this.

When surfing anonymously, your web browser talks to the proxy server; the proxy server talks to the web site. Effectively this means, the web site does not know you; it knows only the anonymous proxy server.

(Click pic for larger)

You have a number of choices when it comes to anonymous surfing. You can use a free proxy server service; not my personal first choice – but that’s fodder for another article!

More reliable and safer, in my view, is to download and install a client application which manages the details of anonymous surfing for you.

One such application is OperaTor, a free utility that includes the Opera browser, the Privoxy Web proxy , and The Onion Router, which is a method used for anonymous Internet communication. All components launch simultaneously.

OperaTor, and the component pieces, does not require an installer and the utility can be installed and launched from a USB flash drive. This makes it ideal for surfing at public computers.

Download at: Download.com

A second free utility is XeroBank Browser, a special version of FireFox that runs in conjunction with the free Tor anonymizer service and that can also run directly from a USB flash drive. Just plug in your USB stick to any PC with a USB port and FireFox V2 is automatically launched and set up for secure and private surfing.

TorPark creates a secure encrypted connection between the PC you are using and the first Tor server. This allows you to safely transmit information without fear of local interception. This makes it ideal for surfing on open Wi-Fi networks.

Download at: Download.com

One caveat you should take note of however; since all transmissions are encrypted and transmitted across many nodes, anonymous surfing can be very slow.

9 Comments

Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Browsers, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Mobile Applications, Online Safety, Portable Applications, Privacy, Software, USB, Windows Tips and Tools

9 responses to “Surf Anonymously – 2 Free USB Apps – OperaTor and XeroBank

  1. As a person who is quite concerned about the erosion of privacy in modern society (there are plenty of wags who claim that the whole concept of personal privacy is dead/obsolete) I am very glad to see this information published, and I thank you.

    Yes, there are ways you can “fight back”, and the use of Tor is probably the best available to the average person. But I also want to thank you for mentioning the caveats:
    1) many of the free proxy server services are not information protectors but information gatherers.. and you can never tell which one is which. I would not touch one with a ten foot pole.
    2) the Tor system is slow, and for those of you who think this might be a safe way to satisfy your curiosity about the world of free porn, forget it. It’s much too slow for video, and a page full of jpegs will take all day to load.

    One thing this is extremely useful for, however, is when you are traveling, and must make use of public computers. Use this when want to log in to your e-mail.

    You are a wonderful Public Service, Mr. Mullins! Information is the key.

    • billmullins

      Hey TechPaul,

      Thanks for the comment. I’ve been called a lot of things – but a “Public
      Service”; that’s gotta be a first!

      You’re right; privacy on the Internet doesn’t exist, and in fact, has never
      existed. I agree that free proxy server services can often be information
      gatherers. Personally, I avoid them at all costs, (pun intended)!

      Bill

  2. Hi Bill:

    Now you can visit my blog and read it, I add a Translate Blog widget, so you can read it in english. Maybe you’ll see some inaccuracy, but I think it works. Don’t forget to write me your impressions, they’ll be very valuable for me.

    See Ya!

    • billmullins

      Hey Radams,

      A terrific idea. I visit your site regularly, but up to now I’ve had to use
      Google translate to do the translation for me. This is going to save me some
      time, and I appreciate that.

      I took a look at the translator; works very well.

      The weather hear sucks, (Winter is coming), and just last night I was
      thinking about you tucked away in you corner of the Caribbean, all toasty
      warm. Lucky guy!

      To make things easier in future, I’ve added you to my Blogroll.

      Bill

  3. Thank you for the heads-up on those anonymizer tools. I travel a lot and often find myself using public terminals in hotel lobbies, coffee shops, etc. It will be nice to have this layer of security to carry along on a USB stick.

    • billmullins

      Hi Kevin,

      Thank you for the comment.

      For a person such as yourself who travels frequently, you’re quite right in
      stating, that an extra layer of security is important.

      Bill

  4. james r six

    It says OperaTor can be Installed and launched from a USB drive, how do you Install it to the USB drive?
    Just want to make sure I do it right

    Thanks for your help

    ROB