I'm uploading files to a website that only allows the files to be uploaded to their server using regular unencrypted FTP. Is there any way to make these file uploads anonymous, as in, in such a way that the server owner could not trace it back to a certain location with an IP address or computer hardware ID? Or is that impossible with FTP uploads?

It would be ideal to do this in Python, if possible.

  • If they allow anonymous submission by VPN, then it is more difficult to trace the source, but not impossible. – DrMoishe Pippik Nov 11 '20 at 18:33
  • Your best bet would be to use a VPN or an SSH tunnel through some other host, so it traces back to them. Most every FTP server has an uploader's IP logged - you cant avoid this. Best to use a VPN instead to mask your address. It goes without saying if you delve into illegal territory, then VPN's may still give out your real IP if they are approached by law enforcement with a warrant... – QuickishFM Nov 11 '20 at 18:34

FTP works mostly the same as any other TCP/IP-based service. Even if you're only uploading files, the communication is still bidirectional, both at TCP level (packet acknowledgements) and at FTP level (responses to various commands that have to be issued before the upload can start). For this to work, the server must know the client's IP address, otherwise it couldn't establish even the basic TCP connection.

So that means you cannot make the file appear out of nowhere; the only thing you can do is borrow someone else's IP address – e.g. by using a VPN service, or Tor, or a SOCKS proxy, or a web-FTP gateway. If you trust that your selected proxy or VPN doesn't keep connection logs (to correlate the packets from both sides), that would give you some relative anonymity.

Meanwhile, there is no specific "computer hardware ID" used in any of those protocols, with the one exception of IPv6 addresses frequently having a MAC-based suffix (depending on OS settings). This usually won't be a problem if you're proxying the connection through someone else's address anyway.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.