When you are surfing the web, you are under constant observation. But there are ways and means to make sniffing and spying difficult for third parties. This website was created to help you to secure your internet connection. Some of the methods we show you are free of charge, but most of them are not.
Hide your identity
Each time you visit the web, you disclose a lot of personal information without knowing it. In addition to the current IP address, the Windows version and the web browser and plug-ins used are also transmitted. This information could be used by malicious attackers to exploit known exploits and break into your system. But the advertising industry is also interested in your surfing behaviour. We will show you the possibilities to prevent snooping and to be able to be halfway anonymous on the web. You will find a guide to online privacy here.
Only with special software can you be truly anonymous on the net. Almost every Internet user can be easily identified on the basis of the connection data. We are testing tools like Tor, JonDo, VPN and Web-Proxies for their respective advantages and disadvantages.
The basis of all anonymizing services is the concealment of the IP address. The IP address is a unique numeric code assigned by the Internet service provider. Similar to a telephone number, only the IP address makes it possible to uniquely assign connected computers. Like your own Internet provider, web pages can easily log the IP addresses of visitors. In Germany and some other countries, Internet providers have to store the connection data for half a year. However, the connection data can also fall into the hands of data thieves or secret monitoring programs such as PRISM.
Virtual Private Networks
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is, in simple terms, a protected direct network connection between two computers via the Internet. In addition to protected access to corporate networks, the technology is also suitable for anonymous surfing. All data sent and received by the user is redirected via a so-called SSL VPN server encrypted via other browsers. For website operators, the IP address of the VPN server is the visible remote station and not the actual IP address of the user.
VPN providers work like Tor and JonDo with their own software or redirect data traffic via a directly accessible proxy server. A special browser is not required. However, it is possible to use Tor and JonDo’s browsers exclusively with VPN services or to link them to the anonymization networks.
VPN services do not redirect the data via a large number of servers and are usually very fast. With a corresponding data rate you surf almost as fast as usual.
By statistically analyzing the packets transmitted to the VPN service, it is theoretically possible to make a fairly accurate estimate of the number of web pages visited. A scientific article on the subject indicates an accuracy of up to 90%. Encryption guarantees a high level of privacy. However, anonymity cannot be guaranteed by VPN services.
The security of VPN services also depends on the trustworthiness of the providers. The VPN service can collect connection data and pass it on. Or the provider’s servers are not sufficiently secured and are monitored unnoticed.
However, you should consider the company’s server location as a security criterion. Services in countries such as Germany or Switzerland are certainly a better choice than a provider from the USA.
In addition to the services presented, web proxies also advertise with anonymity. Instead of the browser’s address line, you call up web pages via an input field of the web proxy. The web proxy displays the content on your own page. The VPN provider HideMyAss offers such a web proxy.
Tor – The Onion Router
Tor disguises the IP address of the users by proxy servers connected in series. The computer at home only communicates with the first proxy server in the Tor network. From there, the service forwards the data with a different IP address. For web pages on the net, the identity of the page visitor cannot be determined by the IP address. In our article Tor Network – the camouflage cap for the web.
The name Tor stands for a software that works in the background, which redirects the complete Internet traffic of the web browser via the Tor network. Tor is operated via a graphical user interface called Vidalia. You can install Vidalia individually or alternatively with the Tor Browser Bundle.
The Tor Browser Bundle installs a version of Mozilla Firefox optimized for security. Without special knowledge you should not use Vidalia alone. The Tor Browser Bundle is the first choice.
After installation, a mouse click is all it takes to surf safely in Tor. Tor starts the Vidalia software, automatically connects to the Tor network and then loads the optimized Tor version of Firefox.
In Vidalia you can disconnect the Tor network with a mouse click. Tor Firefox will no longer work. You can run the Tor browser in parallel with Vidalia and a normal version of Firefox, so you can only access Tor when you need it.
In addition to camouflaging the IP address, the Tor browser with optimized settings and the HTTPS-Everywhere and NoScript add-ons provide additional security. Instead of Google, you can use the secure search engine Startpage or Duckduckduckgo. The extended functions can be operated and adjusted via the toolbar.
Tor allows halfway fluent surfing in the web. For large downloads, video streaming or file sharing you have to cut back on Tor. In our download test, the browser achieved an average data throughput of 240 KB per second. Depending on the data transmitted and the current load on the Tor network, the value may be higher or lower.
If you don’t have the secret service or the police on your heels, Tor is very safe. A comprehensive security test at ip-check. info shows how well Tor disguises the actual ID.
However, a theoretical security risk for Tor is the possibility of listening to the data traffic of the proxy servers. Tor works according to a kind of file-sharing principle with voluntary participants. In the Vidalia settings you can make your own computer available as a proxy server for the Tor network. Only by dividing up the data load is it possible to operate Tor free of charge.
Theoretically, it is possible that interception institutions such as the NSA actively participate in the Tor network with many computers in order to gain access to transmitted data. In 2007, a hacker demonstrated this vulnerability of Tor and gained access to sensitive access data with only five computers participating in the Tor network. All data not transmitted via HTTPS/SSL are easily retrievable. However, it is also technically possible to decrypt SSL connections.
JonDo, also known as JAP or Java Anonymous Proxy, works like Tor through proxy servers connected in series and obscures the personal IP address in this way. Unlike Tor, Tor uses several defined proxy networks from which the user can select one according to country. In addition to free access, JonDo also offers a payment model for higher speed.
Like Tor, JonDo relies on an IP changer placed between browser and Internet. After installing the JonDo program you can access it with any browser. For increased security JonDoFox offers an optimized profile for Firefox as well as the Firefox-based JonDo Browser. The correct connection between the JonDo IP changer and the web browser is set manually in the proxy settings of the browser. We recommend using it with the JonDoBrowser.
The JoDo proxy software and the JonDo browser must be started individually. In the proxy software you can choose between different proxy networks. The locations used in the respective network are identified by flags.
The On button starts the anonymization process. Via the pay button you can buy data packages for faster speed. Unlike Tor, JonDo can also be turned off and browsed with the same browser without anonymization. A parallel operation of several browsers is not necessary.
The JonDo Browser is similar to the Tor Browser in operation and is also a customized version of Firefox. Add-ons such as HTTPS-Everywhere and No Scripts are also used here. JonDo Browser offers a larger selection than Tor for the preset search providers. In addition to Duckduckgo and Startpage, ixquick and metager are also included, as well as encrypted profiles for Wikipedia and Google.
JonDo limits the speed in free operation to 50 KB per second. That’s only one-fifth of Tor’s performance. Surfing in this way is hardly possible. JonDo can also be used for a fee with more than 600 KB per second.
The JonDo network works exclusively with proxy servers of certified partners. With JonDo, it is not possible to distribute the data load among many members as with Tor. This factor makes JonDo slower, but also safer. Only by providing the connection data through all proxy operators used by the user, an identification is theoretically possible. However, most of the partners do not collect the connection data.
Only JonDo is really suitable for 100% anonymous surfing. Tor is a little faster and theoretically anonymous. However, the danger of large-scale surveillance of gates by secret services should not be underestimated after the PRISM revelations. VPN services only provide reliable privacy protection, and for anonymous surfing providers are hardly recommendable. Web proxies should be avoided!