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I am looking for software (preferably Windows but I am also using Ubuntu) which aloes me to surf anonymously? There is a lot of stuff available in internet but is very difficult to avoid using fake/tacky software :(

If you can recommend something which will be suitable for me that will be great.

Thanks!

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3 Answers 3

VPN service providers are the easyest & secure solution. But it's not easy to choose one, they are many things to take in balance:

  • Level of privacy : Trusted company? Encryption used? Single-hop or multi-country-hop? Not logged? Laws concerning privacy in your country and the countries of the VPN provider and of theirs servers?
  • Possible limitations : Transfert volume? Open port for hosting or p2p? Shared IP? Only for some OS? Advertisement?
  • Speed
  • Prices

Some popular VPN providers:

(I mention the country related to the laws, customer services and servers proximity (but most of the providers have multiple servers around the world))

Some other VPN providers lists/reviews:

For more info read these threads on wilderssecurity.com: How to choose the best vpn provider - Secure Anonymous VPN (and more generaly this forum is a good source for all the security concerns)

Another (more complexe) solution is to set your own VPN with OpenVPN on an anonymous dedicated server

Note: Even if VPN is the best solution, you will still have privacy conerns:
Do the data transfered between the last VPN hop and the sites you visit could identify uniquely your computer or the program that you use on the net? And worst: could they link them to your identity? For browsers pay attention to cookies, browser id (google chrome), history, cache, java, flash, other plugins, extensions, ...

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Tor's good, performance suffers but that is a trade off you will have to deal with. There are other some other issues - Tor did not generally protect your DNS footprint in earlier releases but that hole has been closed in recent versions. General purpose proxying may or may not hide your DNS footprint either but this may not be an issue if the anonymity you are looking for is specifically at the end point rather than local.

One problem with Tor is that it has been attacked in the past (see here) as part of an academic exercise but that weakness still exists and you must be very careful about end to end encryption if you are choosing any anonymizing system, not just Tor, as it is a trivial exercise for the person running the proxy\Tor node to inspect traffic for anything interesting which is what happened in this case with fairly shocking results, frankly.

Also there has been quite a bit of recent work in relation to "de-anonymizing" sessions based on other things (like browser meta-data footprint that Panopticlick uses) and things like hijacking web history to build up an identity based on Social Network Groups memberships.

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Either a proxy server or Tor.

Also consider the various privacy plugins/private browsing mode for firefox, and Chrome's incognito mode.

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@BlueNovember - thanks for link, anyone else have used Tor before, opinions please? –  c1. Feb 7 '10 at 15:44
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Generaly proxy server aren't secure and Tor achieve better security, but is also really slow –  fluxtendu Feb 7 '10 at 20:35

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