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Ghost Protocols


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Something that may come in handy during any age with computers, is "how would I go about covering my tracks?"
There is a footprint that we all leave online. Pieces of information that can be used to track you down, if someone is determined enough. 
--You can never 100% get rid of your footprint, but you can minimize it in such a way that your chances of being found are much lower.

If this is something people are interested in, I might make this a series.
For now I'll discuss what someone would do if they knew absolutely nothing & wanted to start being more private / secure online.

Internet Basics - VPN

To send and receive communications on computers they must have a reachable address. This true for internal (local) networks & external networks like the internet. 
For the most part your home devices will all have their own private / internal IP addresses. Private IPs are unreachable from the internet, and most often in the Class C (192.168.X.X) or Class A (10.X.X.X) range. I won't go into much detail on private addressing unless there's any questions. Home routers do a decent job of this on their own.

Once you try to access the internet there must be a Public Address.
There are several websites out there that will tell you your public address, such as https://www.whatsmyip.org/ <-- Take notice of what kind of information is identifiable. 
An unsecure IP can be traced to a geographic location & Internet Service Provider (see https://www.iplocation.net/ for example). Those two in conjunction significantly narrow down the location of a given individual--so your job is to do your best NOT to make it that easy for strangers to follow you. The very first step is masking that IP, which is where VPN comes in. 

What is a VPN?
Think of your home network as an island in an ocean on the internet & all websites like other islands. To get to any other island (like TTI), you'd have to sail or swim through the waters. Those waters are the internet, which has a certain flow to it. If you have no worries & don't care, the internet does a decent job of carrying your information back and forth where it needs to go--but you're opening yourself up to shark attacks or ships scooping you up. 
          What you need is an underwater tunnel or a bridge

A VPN at the very least will mask your public address, so it's just a little bit harder to trace back to you.
You can make yourself appear to an outside observer that you're in Florida, or Atlanta, or California, or Berlin, or Moscow, or really anywhere that you wish to have people look for you that isn't your actual location. Metaphorically it's as if you're walking through the forest & dusting your footprints behind you. This does of course make things load a little slower, but it's a small price to pay for additional anonymity. 

Where to get VPN?

There are several websites out there that offer services. The two off the top of my head I'd recommend are IPVanish or Nord VPN
There are MANY MANY MORE VPNs out there, which you can find better and better ones over time---but you've gotta start somewhere. 

Hope this helps!
-Oz

 

 

 

 

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"There are several websites out there that offer services. The two off the top of my head I'd recommend are IPVanish or Nord VPN
There are MANY MANY MORE VPNs out there, which you can find better and better ones over time---but you've gotta start somewhere.:

How can you trust these services?  I think there is a way to set up your own VPN in Windows.  We wanted to crate a VPN to get around our broadband bandwidth limit. (We use Sling for TV so we use hoards of data).  We are throttled when we reach our limit.  Someone suggested a VPN would help our bandwidth not be detected. But, I worry the company would know and would stop service. 

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1 hour ago, PaulaJedi said:

"There are several websites out there that offer services. The two off the top of my head I'd recommend are IPVanish or Nord VPN
There are MANY MANY MORE VPNs out there, which you can find better and better ones over time---but you've gotta start somewhere.:

How can you trust these services?  I think there is a way to set up your own VPN in Windows.  We wanted to crate a VPN to get around our broadband bandwidth limit. (We use Sling for TV so we use hoards of data).  We are throttled when we reach our limit.  Someone suggested a VPN would help our bandwidth not be detected. But, I worry the company would know and would stop service. 

You don't want to put all your trust in them; they're just another layer of security. When you're on VPN with one of the mainstream services you're put onto a subnet that other people might be sharing. It's only step 1 because it breaks the trail from you -> internet websites from being so direct. You can also setup your own private VPNs, but they take more work & don't really provide much more than a one stop hop somewhere else. It's not much better to have a localized VPN in one geographic area under one ISP. If you've got another machine you can hop to in a different state it's even better--but the two I mentioned out of the box let you hop across countries. That takes a lot more effort / setup to reproduce on your own. 

The biggest benefit of using any VPN in general, is that your ISP cannot spy on you. They can monitor all of your traffic / internet messages that leaves your house--but not that which is masked by a VPN tunnel. So you're protecting yourself against your ISP as well as making it more difficult for people to track you down. Since it's not illegal to use VPN an ISP would have difficulty stopping service without good cause.

-Oz

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20 minutes ago, PaulaJedi said:

So, just use TOR then..... for the web, anyway.

TOR would be step 2, and used with a VPN. The reason is because even when using TOR--the first hop and last hop are visible by ISPs. 
So in essence using TOR without VPN causes more attention to yourself, because ISPs can see that you're using .onion links. 

-Oz

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On 7/20/2020 at 4:56 PM, _Oz said:

TOR would be step 2, and used with a VPN. The reason is because even when using TOR--the first hop and last hop are visible by ISPs. 
So in essence using TOR without VPN causes more attention to yourself, because ISPs can see that you're using .onion links. 

-Oz

 I didn't think of that. First and last.... makes perfect sense.  You are someone who knows computers and security.  Wonder if I already know you. 

(Apologies, I am finding a few months worth of new posts I somehow missed).
 

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