“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you” Kurt Cobain
The internet is not always friendly. Just as an example: PhishTank reported that in April 2011, over 18000 phishes were reported, of which close to 15000 were verified. A quick peak around Shadowserver Foundation‘s Statistic pages will also give you an idea of just how unfriendly it can be.
With that in mind, part 3 is focused on being a bit more ninja-like on the net.
1) Tor Project
By using the Tor software you connect to it’s open network which helps you defend against any type of network surveillance. However like any technology, there are also the darker elements such as the Silk Road Marketplace and others, which are only accessible while on the onion network (the protocol which Tor uses). This topic would take an entire post on it’s own, so maybe I will one day, but for now go have a look for yourself.
TIP: Use at your own risk, some ISPs aren’t too fond of Tor.
If you hate spam as much as I do, this will make you very happy. BugMeNot allows you to use or share logins for sites that require you to register, such as NY Times, IMDB and many others, just type in the url of the website and check if there is anything available.
Tip: Don’t fall for the “Click YES to show password”. These are just spam and make it harder to find legit accounts to use.
Sometimes you need a disposable email address to receive a confirmation or to register for some service, but don’t feel like the crap that follows. 10 Minute Mail creates one of the email addresses for you and after 10 minutes, if you don’t click the renew button, it deletes the address. Very simple and useful!
Wondering if your username is available on a specific website or across a whole range? namechk makes this easy. You type in the desired username and it will scan the 159 websites in it’s database to check if it is available, or taken, and on which sites. This is also useful to check if there is someone with the same username that may be out there.
This one is bordering on illegal, but it all depends how it is used. As they say in their FAQs:
We do not condone, support, or encourage illegal activity of any kind. We will cooperate with law enforcement organizations to assist in the prosecution of anyone that misuses the information we provide or that asks us to provide illegal materials, such as forged documents or genuine credit card numbers.
That being said, we really don’t see how it could be. If you make up a random name and address off the top of your head, do you really think its illegal?
Choose the gender, name set and country (there are also advanced options) and soon you’ll be Aaron Hope of Pont Crugnant, a training consultant weighing in at 206.4 pounds. It’ll even give you an email address and “credit card number” (just don’t try use it).
This can be very useful when registering for certain sites on the web where you’d rather not share your own information on.
- Useful Tools for Making Your Life Online Easier (noupe.com)
- Top 10 Fixes for the Web’s Most Annoying Problems (kozar.wordpress.com)
- 2 Anonymous Web Browsers That Are Completely Private & Secure (makeuseof.com)
- EFF launches campaign to protect privacy (ecmplus.wordpress.com)
- Tor and the End of the World (blogs.forbes.com)