Tag Archives: anonymous

Babble.ly – A Free Anonymous Phone Number Service

imageWordPress has made it very easy to “follow” WP hosted blogs, with the inclusion of a “Follow” widget. Occasionally, I’ll take a quick peek at a new follower’s Gravatar profile simply out of curiosity. Far too often, these profiles list a personal telephone number.

Here’s a recent example, with the telephone number blacked out for obvious reasons.

Gravatar 1

There may be a good reason why this person has chosen to post his telephone number openly on the Internet – but, I can’t think of one that satisfies the most basic of privacy considerations.

It’s not as if there aren’t solutions to freely posting a contact telephone number – without compromising a “real” telephone number – there are. One such solution, and a free solution at that, is offered by Babble.ly.

Rather than focus on the single issue illustrated by the example I’ve laid out above – I’ll rerun last year’s article on Babble.ly. instead. This article provides an overview of how Babble.ly works, and how you might benefit from this free service.

Originally posted January 26, 2011

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, if you fit into this category?

Luckily there are a number of free services that offer solutions to this problem. The new kid on the block is babble.ly – currently in Beta. Babble.ly (currently in Beta  provides a connection service, by way of a URL, which you can post – instead of your actual phone number.

Those with access to this unique URL can call you – with Babble.ly acting as an intermediary which effectively protects your real phone number, as well as the phone number of the caller.

In testing, the process went smoothly and the step by step instructions were clear and very easy to follow.

First, I entered my phone number. The number in the following graphic is a “dummy” number. I did, in fact, enter my real number. After which, I pushed the “Create Link” button.

image

Verifying my number (as per the instructions), prompted a call from the service …….

image

It was a simple matter to enter the required verification code from my handset.

image

Finally, I’ve got my link.

Babble

Clicking on the link you have provided the recipient (which I did), will open the following self explanatory screen.

image

In testing, the call completed flawlessly.

Babble 2

Fast facts:

Easy – Get a free disposable link for your phone number. Post it to Facebook, Twitter, forums, dating sites, anywhere you want!

Private – When the link is clicked, babble.ly will connect your call. Your number always remains private. Don’t want to talk now? Reject the call!

Customizable – Keep the link as long as you want. Done with the link? Revoke it. Log in, or call 415-325-2003 for our automated system.

If you’re looking for a free, safe solution, as an alternative to posting your phone number anywhere on the Internet, Babble.ly should appeal to you.

Note: Calls are limited to 10 minutes and, to U.S. and Canadian numbers during the beta.

Connect with Babble.lyhere.

10 Comments

Filed under Free Anonymous Phone Numbers, Internet Dating Safety Tips, Internet Safety Tools, Privacy

PandaLabs Second Quarter Security Landscape Report

imageIn a rather surprising statement, PandaLabs, in its 2011 Second Quarter Security Report, makes the point that there’s a challenging grey area between “Hacktivism” (LulzSec and Anonymous), and Criminality. Frankly, I don’t subscribe to this “blurry lines” view.

I see the issue in rather simpler terms – if security holes exist in critical systems which enterprise, or government, are either unwilling, or unable to address – ultimately creating a host of innocent victims – then I encourage LulzSec and Anonymous to continue their campaigns of outing non-responsive, and non-responsible organizations. I’m more than a little tired of being placed at risk due to organizational ineptness, or failure to adhere to common sense security practices.

Some key findings from Panda’s report (determined from data collected through Panda ActiveScan) include:

Every minute, 42 new malware strains were created.

image

Trojans constitute 70 percent of new malware followed by viruses (10 percent) and worms (8.53 percent). Surprisingly, Adware, which only represents 1.37 percent of all malware, accounted for more than 9 percent of all infections.

image

China, Thailand and Taiwan continue to lead infection rankings.

image

Top 10 least infected countries.

image

So, should these statistics hold any relevancy for you? Should you be preoccupied, or overly concerned, with these numbers? The answer, it seems to me, depends on how aware you are of the overallInternet security landscape, and where you fit into the following user groups.

  • Those who know.
  • Those who think they know.
  • Those who don’t know, that they don’t know.

Hopefully, you are in that small group who can confidently say – “I know”.

Broken record time:

I’ll risk sounding like a broken record, once again, and repeat what I’ve said here numerous times –

“Controlling malware intrusion, while surfing the Net, through the use of a  “virtual” environment rather than operating in a “real” environment, makes sense given the escalating level of cyber criminal activity on the Internet.”

BufferZone, is a particular effective and easy to use freeware virtualization application (perfect for casual users), which creates an isolated environment called the Virtual Zone, while you surf the Internet. You can read more about BufferZone, here.

About PandaLabs:

Since 1990, PandaLabs, Panda Security’s malware research laboratory, has been working to detect and classify malware in order to protect consumers and companies against new Internet threats.

To do so, PandaLabs uses Collective Intelligence, a cloud-based proprietary system that leverages the knowledge gathered from Panda’s user community to automatically detect, analyze and classify the more than 73,000 new malware strains that appear every day.

This automated malware classification is complemented through the work of an international team with researchers specialized each in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and other attacks) to provide global coverage.

The full report (PDF), is available here.

Follow Panda on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

4 Comments

Filed under Adware, Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, Don't Get Hacked, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Reports, Panda Security, PandaLabs, trojans, Windows Tips and Tools, worms

Use Babble.ly Free Anonymous Phone Number For Online Safety

image

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, if you fit into this category?

Luckily there are a number of free services that offer solutions to this problem. The new kid on the block is babble.ly – currently in Beta. Babble.ly provides a connection service, by way of a URL, which you can post – instead of your actual phone number.

Those with access to this unique URL can call you – with Babble.ly acting as an intermediary which effectively protects your real phone number, as well as the phone number of the caller.

In testing, the process went smoothly and the step by step instructions were clear and very easy to follow.

First, I entered my phone number. The number in the following graphic is a “dummy” number. I did, in fact, enter my real number. After which, I pushed the “Create Link” button.

image

Verifying my number (as per the instructions), prompted a call from the service …….

image

It was a simple matter to enter the required verification code from my handset.

image

Finally, I’ve got my link.

Babble

Clicking on the link you have provided the recipient (which I did), will open the following self explanatory screen.

image

In testing, the call completed flawlessly.

Babble 2

Fast facts:

Easy – Get a free disposable link for your phone number. Post it to Facebook, Twitter, forums, dating sites, anywhere you want!

Private – When the link is clicked, babble.ly will connect your call. Your number always remains private. Don’t want to talk now? Reject the call!

Customizable – Keep the link as long as you want. Done with the link? Revoke it. Log in, or call 415-325-2003 for our automated system.

If you’re looking for a free, safe solution, as an alternative to posting your phone number anywhere on the Internet, Babble.ly should appeal to you.

Note: Calls are limited to 10 minutes, and to U.S. and Canadian numbers during the beta.

Connect with Babble.ly, here.

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.

4 Comments

Filed under Beta Software, Cloud Computing, Connected Devices, FaceBook, Free Anonymous Phone Numbers, Interconnectivity, Internet Dating Safety Tips, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Privacy, Windows Tips and Tools

Anonymizer Universal – Multi System Compatible Anonymous Surfing Application

We’ve covered anonymous surfing, and the applications designed to facilitate this, a number of times in the past two years here on Tech Thoughts.

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

Anonymous surfing (the use of an anonymous proxy server between a user and the Internet), offers protection against snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, or even curious family members. And, if the large number of readers fro the Middle East is any indication, from repressive governments.

Additional reasons for for choosing anonymous surfing include, surfing in internet cafe, public terminals in libraries, or hotel business center hotspots. All are “hangout spots”, frequented by hackers.

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.

image

You have a number of choices when it comes to anonymous surfing. You can use a free proxy server service; some of which are quite good and up to the task; most however, are less than reliable.

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

Anonymizer Universal is a fee based anonymizer application with a difference – it’s PC, Mac, and iPhone, iPod touch, iPad compatible. Anonymizer Universal, routes all of your Internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel from your computer, or iPhone, to Anonymizer’s secure and hardened servers. Anonymizer Universal then changes your real IP address to a different untraceable IP address each day, to ensure continuous anonymity.

Whether you are using a Web browser (such as Internet Explorer‚ Safari‚ Firefox‚ etc.)‚ checking email‚ using an instant messaging program‚ or conducting any other type of personal online business‚ all of your activities are protected.

image

Fast facts:

Total Network Security

All Anonymizer Universal’s servers and authentication procedures are completely secure and can only be accessed by Anonymizer.

Compatibility/Portability

Universal compatibility across platforms–Mac‚ iPhone‚ and Windows

Secure mobile Internet access from your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad

Concurrent logins that allow you to be protected on your mobile device and computer simultaneously

Technologies

Powerful encrypted L2TP/IPSec VPN connection and tens of thousands of untraceable rotating IP addresses combine for the ultimate protection for all your online activities‚ from Web browsing to email and chat.

The advantages of L2TP/IPSec VPN technology include:

An encrypted tunnel for all of your Internet traffic as it travels to Anonymizer’s secure servers.

Confidentiality and security as your data and personal information travel the Web.

An extra layer of protection for your Wi-Fi no matter where you connect.

All ports and protocols secured (outgoing mail port 25 is blocked).

Proprietary IP Rotator Technology

Trialed and tested Anonymizer IP Rotator technology guarantees your anonymity every time you connect online.

Each day‚ your computer’s IP address gets replaced with a different‚ anonymous IP address.

Your daily‚ anonymous IP address comes from a pool of tens of thousands of U.S. IP addresses that are ordinary and untraceable.

Ease-of-Use

Simple installation

Easy-to-use interface

Seamless connection

System requirements:

Windows XP‚ Vista, Windows 7 (Microsoft .NET framework)

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

iPhone, iPod touch, iPad – iPhone OS 3.0 or greater

About Anonymizer:

As the global leader in online privacy, anonymity, and identity protection solutions for over 15 years, Anonymizer continues to push the envelope with products that allow consumers and organizations to remain safe, secure, and anonymous each time they go online.

Proprietary Technologies—Customizable Solutions

Our proprietary technologies allow us to provide solutions that address the needs of home users, businesses, and other customers. In addition, our state-of-the-art solution sets can be uniquely adapted and customized to meet the needs of any client.

Billions Protected—and Counting

Each day, Anonymizer’s solutions protect the identities and privacy of worldwide users as they go online. With a pristine 15-year history of protecting customer online identities, our products have protected billions of Web searches and personal communications. Anonymizer has set the standard in Internet privacy solutions.

A one year home user license is $79.99 USD. Visit the developer’s site for more information.

If you are more inclined to go with a less costly, or even a free solution, then checkout OperaTor and XeroBank – Anonymous Surfing Tools, here on this site.

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.

11 Comments

Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Cell Phone Apps, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, Online Safety, Privacy, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Iranian Surfers Downloading Anonymous Surfing Tools

Over the years I have written a number of articles on anonymous surfing and the applications, generally free, that make that possible. I’ve noted, over that time, that the majority of readers seem to come from countries that have restrictive human rights policies which I found intriguing, but not particularly surprising.

The recent, and continuing turmoil in Iran, has led to a major increase in readership on this site from Iran on my anonymous surfing articles, and application download links. Small wonder, when one considers the human rights violations committed by this regime – which includes such abhorrent practices as hanging teenage girls and homosexuals.

For our friends in Iran the following is a repost of a recent article “OperaTor and XeroBank – Anonymous Surfing Tools”.

image 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.

Additional good reasons for anonymous surfing include, surfing in internet cafes, at 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.

image

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, XeroBank Browser, is 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 (30-day trial)

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

17 Comments

Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Browser add-ons, Firefox, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Internet Paranoia, Personal Perspective, Privacy, Software, Software Trial Versions, Windows Tips and Tools

OperaTor and XeroBank – Anonymous Surfing Tools

image 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.

Additional good reasons for anonymous surfing include, surfing in internet cafes, at 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.

image

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 (30-day trial)

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

2 Comments

Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Privacy, Software, Software Trial Versions, USB, Windows Tips and Tools

OperaTor and XeroBank – Surf the Internet Anonymously

anonomous Surfing anonymously on the Internet seems to be more popular than ever; and why not? Anonymous surfing offers protection against 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.

The truth is, 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/3.0.5

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

The objective of anonymous surfing then, is to conceal this information, and more, 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; some of which are quite good and up to the task. 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.

Opera Tor

(Click pic for larger)

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

XeroBank 2

(Click pic for larger)

A second utility (free for 30 days), 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 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.

1 Comment

Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Browsers, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Portable Applications, Privacy, Software, Software Trial Versions, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools