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ANONIMITY ON THE INTERNET



(On the Internet, Nobody knows you're a dog?)

There are many reasons one may want to protect their real identity, Put simply you have a right to privacy & anonymity as long as you use those rights ethically and responsibly. You may want to protect yourself from an oppressive government, Send something "off the record" to a journalist, Communicate with a self-help organization, Maybe because you are a member of a minority group subject to discrimination, or just want to post all those politically incorrect thoughts from your work account at the Christian Coalition.

Just changing or clearing the 'real name' field in your newsreader setup won't help you much unless your trying to pull a fast one on one of your friends, It's very easy to trace a message back to its original site by reading the headers in the mail message, and the system administrator can easily look up the senders 'real name'.

Clearly there is a better solution by using an Anonymous Remailer, These systems strip all headers from the message making it next to impossible to trace where the message originated. Some systems give you an anonymous address that other people can send you mail, which is then forwarded to your real address, (Sometimes known as a pseudonymous server) A majority of remailers use encryption.

Below is a list of links and original content on anonymous remailers & anonymity on the Internet, Send changes, corrections and pointers to William Knowles erehwon@dis.org


Remailer List

This is an automatically generated listing of remailers. The first part of the listing shows the remailers along with configuration options and special features for each of the remailers. The second part shows the twelve day history, average latency, and uptime for each remailer. You can also get this information by fingeringrlist@publius.net.

This is a more or less comprehensive list of the known working Type-1 remailers. For information on Mixmaster (also known as Type-2) remailers, See the Mixmaster list.

$remailer{"athena"} = " mix post";
$remailer{"base"} = " cpunk pgp hash latent cut post ek esub ksub reord klen29";
$remailer{"bpm"} = " mix";
$remailer{"clive"} = " cpunk mix hybrid middle pgp pgponly latent ek cut hash ksub repgp repgp2 remix remix2 ext reord test rhop5 inflt50 klen500";
$remailer{"cracker"} = " cpunk mix remix remix2 pgp pgponly middle hash ksub esub latent cut ek reord post klen1024";
$remailer{"cripto"} = " cpunk mix remix remix2 pgp hash ksub esub latent cut ek reord";
$remailer{"cyber"} = " alpha pgp";
$remailer{"dctest"} = " cpunk pgp ext hybrid latent ek cut hash ksub post repgp repgp2 reord test rhop5 inflt30 klen1000";
$remailer{"dongco"} = " newnym pgp";
$remailer{"drule"} = " cpunk mix ext hybird pgp latent ek cut hash ksub repgp repgp2 remix remix2 reord test rhop5 inflt30 klen1000";
$remailer{"gretchen"} = " cpunk pgp latent ek cut hash ksub ext test rhop5 inflt50 klen200";
$remailer{"hr13"} = " cpunk mix pgp hash latent cut ek pgponly test";
$remailer{"hyper"} = " cpunk mix remix remix2 pgp hash ksub esub latent cut ek reord post";
$remailer{"lcs"} = " mix klen1000";
$remailer{"mccain"} = " mix middle klen200";
$remailer{"mix"} = " cpunk mix pgp hash latent cut ek ksub reord klen1000";
$remailer{"nitemare"} = " cpunk mix ext hybrid middle pgp latent ek cut hash ksub repgp repgp2 reord klen128";
$remailer{"nowhere"} = " ? cpunk mix remix remix2 pgp hash ksub esub latent cut ek reord klen1000";
$remailer{"nym"} = " newnym pgp klen1000";
$remailer{"passthru"} = " mix middle";
$remailer{"pilot"} = " cpunk mix hybrid pgp latent ek cut hash ksub post repgp repgp2 remix remix2 ext test rhop5 inflt50 klen1000";
$remailer{"piratech"} = " cpunk ext pgp latent ek cut hash ksub repgp repgp2 test rhop3 inflt50 klen1000";
$remailer{"privacy"} = " mix";
$remailer{"redneck"} = " newnym pgp klen1024";
$remailer{"replay"} = " cpunk mix remix remix2 pgp hash latent cut post ek klen1000";
$remailer{"squirrel"} = " cpunk mix pgp pgponly hash latent cut post ek esub ksub reord remix remix2 klen1000";
$remailer{"swiss"} = " mix";
$remailer{"tea"} = " cpunk middle pgp pgponly remix latent hash cut ek post klen200";
$remailer{"virus"} = " cpunk mix ext hybrid middle pgp pgponly latent ek cut hash ksub post repgp repgp2 remix remix2 reord test rhop5 inflt30 klen250";
$remailer{"zoom"} = " cpunk mix remix pgp hash ksub esub latent cut ek reord";

Groups of remailers sharing a machine or operator:
(nym lcs)
(cyber mix)
(cracker redneck)
(hyper dongco)

Maximum message size to juno.com is 60K.

Rankings are a bit pessimistic for both reliability and latency
because publius.net recently got moved.

Last update: Sun 27 Jun 99 2:03:14 PDT
remailer  email address                        history  latency  uptime
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
squirrel mix@squirrel.owl.de              -----------+  2:30:15  99.99%
nym      config@nym.alias.net             ###*#++#####     1:51  99.98%
replay   remailer@replay.com              + ***+ +****     6:04  99.75%
hr13     remailer@hr13.zedz.net           - ----- ---   4:39:08  98.63%
mix      mixmaster@remail.obscura.com     -.-+.._.     19:10:35  94.14%
cripto   anon@ecn.org                     +--+++++++++  1:21:42  91.20%
nitemare nightmare@uni-muenster.de         - -.     -   4:03:51  78.38%
drule    remailer@drule.org                     .--    10:44:36  61.95%
nowhere  mixer@nowhere.to                                 40:56   0.00%
tea      tea@notatla.demon.co.uk                       28:45:34   0.00%
hyper    mix@sind.hyperreal.art.pl                        19:35   0.00%
base     remailer@base.xs4all.nl                        3:45:47   0.00%
dctest   remailer@dragoncon.net                         2:32:22   0.00%
piratech remailer@piratech.net                         12:03:19   0.00%
dongco   config@dongco.hyperreal.art.pl                    8:58   0.00%
History key
Options and features
cpunk
A major class of remailers. Supports Request-Remailing-To:field.
eric
A variant of the cpunk style. Uses Anon-Send-To:instead.
penet
The third class of remailers (at least for right now). Uses X-Anon-To: in the header.
pgp
Remailer supports encryption with PGP. A period after the keyword means that the short name, rather than the full email address, should be used as the encryption key ID.
hash
Supports ## pasting, so anything can be put into the headers of outgoing messages.
ksub
Remailer always kills subject header, even in non-pgp mode.
nsub
Remailer always preserves subject header, even in pgp mode.
latent
Supports Matt Ghio's Latent-Time: option.
cut
Supports Matt Ghio's Cutmarks: option.
post
Post to Usenet using Post-To: or Anon-Post-To:header.
ek
Encrypt responses in reply blocks using Encrypt-Key: header.
pgponly
Accepts only pgp encrypted messages.
special
Accepts only pgp encrypted messages, and has slightly different formatting.
mix
Can accept messages in Mixmaster format.
reord
Attempts to foil traffic analysis by reordering messages. Note: I'm relying on the word of the remailer operator here, and haven't verified the reord info myself.
mon
Remailer has been known to monitor contents of private email.
filter
Remailer has been known to filter messages based on content. If not listed in conjunction with mon, then only messages destined for public forums are subject to filtering.
middle
Is a "middleman" style remailer - creates its own chain of other remailers.
newnym
Supports the nym.alias.net format of nym service.
?
Has had problems chaining with other remailers. Not recommended for use in chains, and automatically deselected by premail.

Penet remailers

The original Penet remailer was anon.penet.fi run by Johan Helsingius which was closed in 1996 after troubles with the Church of Scientology, Spammers, and a story ran in the Sunday Observer alleging transmission of child pornography from the penet.fi remailer which was later proven false by Police Sergeant Kaj Malmberg of the Helsinki Police Computer Crime Squad.

Recently a new penet class remailer is now open for business and as of the 21th of December 1998 had around 2000 regular users.

Anonymous e-mail for everyone from the tiny nation of Estonia offers all the same features of anon.penet.fi but comes with a warning on the main page not to use the anon.isp.ee remailer for harassment or other illegal purposes, Otherwise they will start logging and one bad apple will ruin it for everyone.


Mixmaster remailers

Mixmaster remailers are the next generation of remailers, Using advanced techniques and strong cryptography to make most methods of traffic analysis next to impossible, It however requires the use of a special client to generate the Mixmaster messages. Below is a lists of links for more information on Mixmaster remailers.


Run your own remailer!

Joey Grasty probably summed it up best on why the Windows based remailers are needed, For the most part remailers have been installed and run by a dedicated, but very small group of skilled cypherpunks who wrote and ran remailers on Unix systems. These remailers require detailed knowledge of the Unix operating systems. Most potential remailer operators do not have this skill set and do not have the computers that run Unix. To fix this problem, Joey created a remailer that runs under Windows and is comparatively easy to setup and use. But unfortunately Joey is no longer working on the WinSock remailer. But that doesn't mean there are no more Windows based remailers.

Reliable v1.0 offered by Potato Software is an anonymous Type I/Type II, Hybrid remailer to run on the Windows operating system. Reliable has several new options not seen on other remailers. The Potato home page has all the information to set it up.

Required equipment to run the Reliable remailer are...

I should mention that will the relative low cost of Windows computers today, There is no real reason not to start a remailer, Either for your own personal use, for private groups, or to take some of the load off the existing remailer network. Check this space in the future when I am ready to announce the start of my remailer.


Remailing from the WWW

There may be the occasion that you don't have access to your home machine and you have to send an anonymous message to somebody, It is not as secure as composing your message off-line, Your message and the final recipient are sent unencrypted to the WWW server being used, (Unless you're using SSL) Opening yourself and your recipient to aMan-In-the-Middle Attack, and your adversary can learn who and what it is that you're mailing.


Newsgroups dealing with Anonymity

alt.anonymous
alt.anonymous.email
alt.anonymous.messages
alt.hackers
alt.security.keydist
alt.security.pgp
comp.security.pgp
comp.security.pgp.announce
comp.security.pgp.discuss
comp.security.pgp.resources
comp.security.pgp.tech
misc.security
sci.crypt
sci.crypt.research


Mail 2 News gateways

A mail 2 news gateway allows you to post to newsgroups via e-mail, This is very convenient if you want to use a remailer or can't post to a particular newsgroup because its not carried on your news server or your provider doesn't offer news.

Don's Mail 2 News list is still working, And at this time there is only six Mail 2 News gateways running. Many of them have been abused by spammers and those carrying out mail bombings and are no longer in business.

An excellent site that just recently popped up is the Mail2News Gateway Testpage where you can test out gateways before going through the trouble of sending a message only for it to never post to the newsgroup that you wanted.


Remailer Tools

Using a remailer at times can be a real pain in the ass, but there are some tools and commercial products aimed at streamlining the process of sending anonymous mail.



Anonymous & Public Proxy's

You would be amazed the about the amount of information left behind every time you visit a website, If you send mail from Hotmail, it will log your providers IP number and send it with your message. Proxys allow you to avoid using your provider's IP address, Some ISP's and countries have blocked certain IP's from accessing certain sites on the Internet, A proxy will allow you to access those sites.


Privacy & Anonymous service providers

I have been trying to put together a list of providers who care more about the privacy and security of their users than that of the almighty dollar, Surpassingly they are few & far between (Probably too anonymous to tell anyone.) Most of these providers use telnet, Some use SSH, or S/Key to log in for added protection. Mail me if you would like your company listed.

Not too anonymous, but better than nothing...

Anonymity Technology

Not ready for prime-time, But worth a look...

Organizations and interest groups


Publications & articles on anonymity


Freedom of expression must be allowed. With this freedom comes all sorts of problems, but these types of problems are not unique to the Internet. Unpopular speech is a necessary consequence of free speech and it was decided during the drafting of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, that the advantages of free speech outweigh the disadvantages. This principle should hold in cyberspace as well.

Last updated on 27.07.99

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fax: 0039/02/700.405.087

e-mail

back to LoneRonin

home|traps|privacy|hojojutsu|martial arts|the art of war|swords|links|e-mail