Tag Archives: Anonymity

Free Hotspot Shield 1.47 – Surf The Internet In The “Dark”

image I live in Toronto, Canada, but when I travel the Internet, for all intents and purposes I live in White Plains, New York. So is this magic; do I have the power to teleport (sort of, beam me up Scotty), or have I mastered a paranormal skill?

I wish! But being in one place and appearing to be in another place on the Internet, is magic, of a sort.

I’ve been surfing the Internet since day one essentially, and during that time I’ve become increasingly concerned with protecting my privacy, and anonymity, while surfing the Internet.

If you consider this slightly paranoid behavior, well …. you’re right. But, as I’ve said here numerous times – “ …. we all need to become infected with a mild case of paranoia when using the Internet. Being paranoid, suspicious, and untrusting while surfing the web, might not make you invulnerable to malware infections or worse, but it will certainly reduce the odds enormously”.

Other than my personal concerns, there are more obvious reasons, you may have, for anonymous surfing, including – 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 to ensure protection from snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, or curious family members.

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.xxx

Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/Firefox/3.5.3

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 d2xx- xxx.xxx.xxx.cable.net

Actually, this is mild, depending on the web site, considerably more information, about you, can be captured.

Hotspot Shield, is a free solution which uses both a proxy server and encryption technology, which can increase security (particularly at off site locations), and protect your privacy as well, by effectively hiding your IP address .

image

image

According to the developers “Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone, and our Internet gateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers, ISP’s, from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network”.

Upside: I’ve been using this application for some time now, and it does exactly as it says. Despite the fact this is a proxy service, I find no slowdown in accessing sites, pages, or streaming content.

I’m satisfied with its performance – it works well, and is easily turned on/off via the system tray icon. Incidentally, Hotspot Shield was named as one of the best free applications of 2008 by PC Magazine.

Hotspot 3

Downside: This is an ad supported application and it puts banner ads on every web page that you view.

Fast facts: Ensure you are private, secure, and anonymous online!

Secure your web session, data, online shopping, and personal information online with HTTPS encryption.

Protect yourself from identity theft online.

Hide your IP address for your privacy online.

Access all content privately without censorship; bypass firewalls.

Protect yourself from snoopers at Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, corporate offices.

Works on wireless and wired connections alike. Provides Unlimited Bandwidth.

Works on the PC and the MAC, including new operating systems (Windows 7 and Snow Leopard)

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a free application which will keep your web surfing private, Hotspot Shield is definitely worth a look.

System requirements: Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, and Windows 7

Download at: Download.com

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anonymous Surfing, cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, Privacy, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Download Hotspot Shield – Secure Your Public Internet Connections

image

On weekends, I’ve noticed that a disproportionate number of hits on this site come from Hotels. How do I know this? It’s easy really –  I just look at the Label IP Address in my site’s hit counter (StatCounter), which gives me this information.

Don’t be alarmed; no personal information of any kind can be deduced from the statistical information StatCounter generates.

Your Internet Browser provides much more information to every web site that you 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.xxx

Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/Firefox/3.6

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.xxx

Your Host Name is x2xx- xxx.xxx.xxx.cable.net

As opposed to this, the following graphic illustrates what StatCounter’s report looks like. I’ve used an example from a Police agency in the UK, since I’m reasonable sure this is a hardened site, rather than a Hotel, which I’m reasonable sure would not be a hardened site.

Essex Police

So what kind of information can I gather from this Hotel traffic? Well, nothing personal, or of any real value, except this; these Hotel guests are potentially playing with fire.

Hotel room Internet connections including both Wi-Fi, and wired, are notoriously vulnerable to hacking. This vulnerability is not restricted to Hotel rooms of course. Other vulnerable locations include internet cafes, and public terminals in libraries.

The YouTube video “Sidejacking using Ferret and Hamster”, is a good illustration of just how easy sidejacking (session hijacking) can be.

Hotspot Shield, is a free solution which uses both a proxy server and encryption technology, which can increase security (particularly at off site locations), and protect your privacy as well, by effectively hiding your IP address .

image

According to the developers “Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone, and our Internet gateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers, ISP’s, from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network”.

Upside: I’ve been using this application for some time now, and it does exactly as it says. Despite the fact this is a proxy service, I find no slowdown in accessing sites, pages, or streaming content.

I’m satisfied with its performance – it works well, and is easily turned on/off via the system tray icon.

image

Incidentally, Hotspot Shield was named as one of the best free applications of 2008 by PC Magazine.

Downside: This is an ad supported application and it puts banner ads on every web page that you view.

Fast facts:

Securing your web session with HTTPS encryption

Secure your data & personal information online

Hiding your IP address for your privacy online

Securing your connection at both your home Internet network and public Internet networks (both wired and wireless)

Allowing you to access all content privately without censorship; bypass firewalls

Protecting you from snoopers at Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, corporate offices and ISP hubs

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a free application which will raise your level of security and keep your web surfing private, Hotspot Shield is definitely worth a look.

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista,  XP, 2000, Vista. Mac OS X (10.4 Tiger), Mac OS X (10.5 Leopard), Mac OS X (10.6 Snow Leopard)

Download at: Major Geeks

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

12 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Online Safety, Privacy, Software, StatCounter, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Free Hotspot Shield – Internet Privacy to the Max

image I live in Toronto Canada, but when I travel the Internet, for all intents and purposes I live in White Plains, New York. So is this magic; do I have the power to teleport (sort of, beam me up Scotty), or have I mastered a paranormal skill?

No, I haven’t mastered a paranormal skill, but being in one place and appearing to be in another place on the Internet is magic, of a sort.

I’ve been surfing the Internet since day one essentially, and during that time I’ve become increasingly more concerned with protecting my privacy, and anonymity, while surfing the Internet.

If you consider this slightly paranoid behavior, well …. you’re right. But, as I’ve said here numerous times – “ …. we all need to become infected with a mild case of paranoia when using the Internet. Being paranoid, suspicious, and untrusting while surfing the web, might not make you invulnerable to malware infections or worse, but it will certainly reduce the odds enormously”.

Other than my personal concerns, there are more obvious reasons, you may have, for anonymous surfing, including – 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 to ensure protection from snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, or curious family members.

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.xxx

Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.12) Gecko/Firefox/3.5.3

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 d2xx- xxx.xxx.xxx.cable.net

Actually, this is mild, depending on the web site considerably more information, about you, can be captured. One of the solutions I’ve come to rely on, to maintain my privacy and anonymity while surfing the Internet, is a free application from AnchorFree – Hotspot Shield.

Hotspot 1

Hotspot 2

According to the developers “Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop or iPhone, and our Internet gateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers, ISP’s, from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network”.

Upside: I’ve been using this application for some time now, and it does exactly as it says. Despite the fact this is a proxy service, I find no slowdown in accessing sites, pages, or streaming content.

I’m satisfied with its performance – it works well, and is easily turned on/off via the system tray icon. Incidentally, Hotspot Shield was named as one of the best free applications of 2008 by PC Magazine.

Hotspot 3

Downside: This is an ad supported application and it puts banner ads on every web page that you view.

Fast facts:

Securing your web session with HTTPS encryption

Secure your data & personal information online

Hiding your IP address for your privacy online

Securing your connection at both your home Internet network and public Internet networks (both wired and wireless)

Allowing you to access all content privately without censorship; bypass firewalls

Protecting you from snoopers at Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, corporate offices and ISP hubs

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a free application which will keep your web surfing private, Hotspot Shield is definitely worth a look.

System requirements: Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, and Windows 7

Download at: Major Geeks

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

4 Comments

Filed under Anonymous Surfing, downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Paranoia, Privacy, Software, Surveillance, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Anonymous Phone Numbers for Online Safety

Privacy is a major issue for most people who use the Internet; particularly those who use web based listing service such as eBay, craigslist, and online dating services. Not surprisingly, to interact with these services, participants need to provide a contact phone number.

Not all participants feel comfortable in providing their home, business, or cell phone numbers to unknown parties that can conceivably place them at risk.

So how can you address this challenge? Well, luckily there are a number of free services that offer solutions to this problem.

The new kid on the block is LetsCall.me. Currently, LetsCall.me connects numbers in the US and Canada only.

From the LetsCall.me web site:

This is a free service that makes it easy and safe for people to call you. Use with online services such as Craigslist, or any other situation you want to talk, but don’t want to reveal your phone number.

Create a web address to give to people that want to call you:

http://letscall.me/

Benefits of LetsCall.me

Accept calls anonymously without revealing your phone number

No caller id blocking – always know who’s calling

Block unwanted callers

Easier to remember than a phone number

Great for Craigslist and other internet sites

Be safe – don’t give out your phone number, use LetsCall.me

How it works

Pick your own URL such as letscall.me/johndoe

Instead of giving out your phone number, share your LetsCall.me page

People who want to call you input their phone number on your LetsCall.me page, and then we will call them and connect them with you.

Your phone will ring with the other person’s Caller ID – since the other person needs to receive the call first, they cannot fake their number

Talk with the other person as often and as long as you want

If you want to block the person from calling you, just tell us their number

Check out this free service at LetsCall.me

Another recent addition to this category of fee service providers is Hookup digits.

Take a look at this from Hookup digits website.

How does it work?

Simply type in your REAL phone number (cell or landline number)…then our system will automatically give you a hookup digit phone number. Share this number with who ever you like. The caller never sees your REAL number. (unless you call them) All incoming calls through this number are anonymous.

In addition, the person calling you also shows up anonymous. (the caller ID will show your hookup digits as an incoming call so you know it isn’t your mom calling) The callers are protected too. No sharing of REAL numbers will happen unless you want them to.

What else do I need to know?

Your hookup digits will be active for 7 days, during which anyone can call you anonymously.

After 7 days, if you don’t want to use the number any more, you don’t have to do anything, it just expires. If you still need the number, just return to the site and renew it.

Calls can last for up to 10 minutes, if you need more time, just have the caller call you back. You can do this as many times as you like!

And best of all, its completely free!

Check out this free service at the Hookup digits website.

3 Comments

Filed under Free Anonymous Phone Numbers, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Personal Perspective, Privacy, Safe Surfing, Windows Tips and Tools

Surfing on Public Computers? – Stay Anonymous – Two Free USB Applications

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.

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.

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, 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 is, since all transmissions are encrypted and transmitted across many nodes, anonymous surfing can be slower.

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Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Privacy, Safe Surfing, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

FREE Anonymous Phone Numbers for Online Safety

The Web service Numbr offers a novel way to protect your privacy: a disposable phone number that provides a safe and private way to connect. The service allows users of dating websites, personal ads, chat rooms, instant messaging programs, classifieds listings, social networking sites, blogs and other forms of faceless communication to provide a phone number that is safe and secure.

The phone number is temporary, disposable, and entirely anonymous and it forwards calls to your real cell or landline. The screening features are impressive: send all callers to voice mail, screen callers (the caller records a brief greeting that you listen to), and set Numbr to reject telemarketing calls. And if you live in one of 23 metropolitan cites, Numbr will supply you with a local number.

numbr-copy.jpg

You can get your Numbr from the site or, if you don’t have access to a PC, by calling 415-234-5678.

Numbr key benefits (from the numbr web site)

Anonymity
Talk without sharing your real number!

Disposable numbers
Set your numbr to expire in an hour, day, week or month.
Additionally, you can have the number expire before your opted limit.
Say, if you sell your item in three days, why keep a numbr for a week?

24×7 Reachability
Inbound calls to your numbr will be forwarded to your first phone, and then
to your second optional phone. If you are unavailable on both phone numbers, the
caller can record a voice-mail, which will be sent to you on your e-mail. In all,
you can be reachable on your numbr for all calls – unless you have chosen
to block off certain numbers, or the caller was a known telemarketer

Call-to-get™ numbr
You don’t have to be on-line to get a numbr!
In a bar and need one? Simply call: (415) 234-5678 and get a numbr!
Share that number with anyone. Calls to your numbr will be forwarded to
the number you used to call from. so, make sure you call from your mobile 🙂

Call screening
You can have your caller record a brief greeting, listen to the greeting, and then
choose to accept or reject the call. In short, you control who talks to you, even
on your anonymous phone number!

Block off Telemarketers!
numbr has a built-in filter to block off telemarketers. In addition, you can
block off calls from any number by pressing #0 (feature coming soon!), and that’s
pretty much it – no more calls to you from annoying callers!

Parental Controls
numbr provides a rich array of features to enable parents enforcing more
control and hence protect their kids from predators and phone-abusers. This is
especially useful if your kids are hanging out on social networking sites, sharing
their phone-numbers with strangers. numbr can mail you a detailed call
record of all calls received by the kids while protecting their privacy.
numbr also blocks calls from known telemarketers and offenders in order
to protect the kids from harms way.

YourCallRecords™
We believe you should have complete access to all your call-records at all times!
For your numbr, you can request all the call details (ex. calling number,
duration, and time-stamp of the call) for each numbr.

iNumbr™ widget
We provide a free widget for you to download, record a personal greeting and
embed in your listing or Blog or web-page. If readers click on your web-embedded
iNumbr widget, they will listen to your recording, and if they choose to, could call
you on your numbr. Naturally, the iNumbr widget will expire when you
retire your numbr!

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Filed under Living Life, Online Safety