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Anonymous on the Internet - Maintaining Anonymity

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Derek W, Jun 2, 2020.

  1. Derek W

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 1, 2008

    Posts: 11,354

    Location: Glebe Park

    With the recent re-emergence of 'Anonymous' (read a specific topic on him / her / them on another forum) it got me thinking that how does an organisation stay anonymous on the internet, because surely on some level there is a way of finding out who each person is?

    It amused me that Anonymous and to a lesser extent anonymous artist Banksy have a raft of social media platforms to promote themselves yet they still want to be anonymous.

    At a basic level, if you sign up to a social media platform you have to give away a certain amount of personal information and if what I've been reading correctly, occassionally they may ask you to email them a form of identification so that your account can be 'verified'.

    I've seen on here that there are the obvious ways to trace back certain elements within either an email header or website using tools like whoislookup etc to find things which aren't necessarily readily available to the average person (although these tools make it available).

    Pieces of information, like contact information, can be withheld by a website if you pay x amount so people can't see that when they use lookup tools, however, the website host will still have that information.

    On a higher level of anonymity, the use of a VPN to disguise where in the world you are. Surely if you sign up to one of these then the company themselves will hold information on who you are and can theoretically be hacked and information found out?

    Regardless of you stance on ethical / unethical hacking / cyber attacks / cyber terrorism or whatever you want to call it surely someone somewhere can find out who these people are?

    Does anyone agree or can someone truly remain anonymous on the internet?
     
  2. Terminal_Boy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Apr 13, 2013

    Posts: 8,085

    Location: La France

    No. If a country’s security services want to know who someone is, they can. Either by using their cyber security resources o back trace or the old fashioned way of persuading an associate of the target to give them the information.
     
  3. Semple

    Soldato

    Joined: Mar 5, 2010

    Posts: 6,601

    I think since the GDPR rules were introduced, domain name registrar information isn't really useful anymore. There was a cafe near to where i live that was quite popular and closed down suddenly a few months ago, recently there's been construction works doing a lot of work, so i wanted to do some digging to see if the owner had gone bankrupt etc, but looking at the whois info on the website barely gives any info.

    There's nothing stopping you putting in "fake names", the tricky part will be paying for the service - your bank should flag up fraudulent activity if the name on a service was completely different to yours. So things like bitcoin would be the ideal way to purchase the service. You can always get things like pre-paid cards that you can purchase with cash and you don't have to pass over any details for those.

    Either way, i can imagine it takes a lot of work and a tremendous amount of discipline to stay anonymous.
     
  4. chroniclard

    Capodecina

    Joined: Apr 23, 2014

    Posts: 15,941

    Location: Hertfordshire

    You could remain fairly anonymous, hard work tho.
     
  5. billysielu

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 9, 2009

    Posts: 11,621

    Location: Oxfordshire

    Tor
     
  6. Rainmaker

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Aug 18, 2007

    Posts: 8,446

    Location: Liverpool

    This. You can buy VPN with a gift card bought cash at any retailer, or even online. Some companies like Mullvad accept cash in the mail - and they only use a single string of numbers as your account ID. Generate a random new account ID over TOR, and mail in some cash with that number on a slip of paper. Your account is then live and anonymous.

    TOR is a thing. A live USB with Tails or Qubes booted into RAM and a VPN connected over TOR, with impeccable 'hygiene' will hide you fairly well. No logging in to services, disposable emails from secure services, random long passphrases, never using personal sites/logins on your secure connection, spoofed MAC, etc. Check out books like The Art of Invisibility by Kevin Mitnick, and anything written by Bruce Schneier and EFF.
     
  7. Pho

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 9,057

    Location: Derbyshire

    If you want to be really anonymous a USB stick running Tails is meant to be super safe.
     
  8. FishFluff

    Soldato

    Joined: Nov 7, 2003

    Posts: 5,339

    Location: Deepest, darkest Leeds

    Yes, but you have to make exactly zero mistakes. Eventually everyone does.
     
  9. mmj_uk

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 26, 2003

    Posts: 24,184

    Banksy is a product if he weren't he wouldn't get so much publicity and would have been arrested for vandalism by now.
     
  10. Derek W

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 1, 2008

    Posts: 11,354

    Location: Glebe Park

    Would these sources not store information which could then trace back to you though?
     
  11. Rainmaker

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Aug 18, 2007

    Posts: 8,446

    Location: Liverpool

    No. Tails and Qubes are Linux live USBs that live and work in your RAM. The second you close down the machine, it's gone forever. They store no data by design. TOR is actually primarily paid for by the US government, for their clandestine ops. They opened it to the public because otherwise everyone on TOR would be a three-letter agent and stand out. TOR is decentralised, open source and you go through at least three anonymous nodes (entry, middle and exit), which are blind to each other. Nobody knows where you came from or who you are, just what hop on the service you want next.
     
  12. arknor

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 22, 2005

    Posts: 37,214

    Location: Newcastle/Zurich

    or just move to the woods
     
  13. Malevolence

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 21, 2011

    Posts: 14,491

    And for an added layer of protection, only use it on a laptop via unsecured wifi networks.
     
  14. Diddums

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 24, 2012

    Posts: 19,544

    Location: London

  15. AHarvey

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Mar 6, 2008

    Posts: 9,973

    Location: Stoke area

    You can also photoshop fake ID for social media accounts and use the fakes to authenticate the account.

    I know this has been done with a wedding certificate and a fake profile and worked. Account was locked for being fake until proven otherwise, ID sent, and it was unlocked and is still in use.
     
  16. Diddums

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 24, 2012

    Posts: 19,544

    Location: London

    People used to (still do? idk) do this with bookies too, to abuse their bonuses. Many bookies have cottoned on now and ask for a photo of you holding your ID.
     
  17. BowdonUK

    Mobster

    Joined: Jan 17, 2016

    Posts: 3,871

    I always thought that these Anonymous types use a multi layered approach for VPN's and other ways to hide their IP's in different countries. That way most police forces wouldn't assign resources to attempt to track you unless it was a big crime.

    Tor isn't 100% anonymous.
     
  18. opethdisciple

    Capodecina

    Joined: May 18, 2010

    Posts: 20,024

    Location: London

    Tails OS for starters.

    It's what Snowden uses.