Other web resources

The following excellent links were submitted by my clever deep stealth readers.

TOR (http://tor.eff.org/)

There is also a program called TOR http://tor.eff.org/ that you could have a look at. It defends users against traffic analyzing. Protecing against sites that tries to profile internet usage.

SamSpade (http://www.samspade.org)

    This site has several great tools, but the best for surfers is their safebrowser option. It opens a page through their website, so there is no trace back to you. This browser lists source code and not images, though. That means you'll get the text, but you'll also get the code that formats the web page, which can make it hard to read. For text-based sites, this is good, but you will not be able to see any photos. To see a page as it's laid out, I suggest looking at the cached version of a page through Google's search engine. This is only available for pages catalogues by Google, though.

Fravia's Pages of Reverse Engineering (currently available at: http://www.anticrack.de/fravia/noanon.htm)

    This excellent overview gets into a lot of the technical matters if you want details on how websites and their owners can keep tabs on your online activity. The submitter writes: "His site has a very good section on anonymity on the Internet and hiding your tracks. His corporate survival pages are also handy."

Encription for the Masses (http://www.e4m.net/)

    This is a free program that converts files to code that can only be unlocked by you. Good if you share a computer with others or have a snoopy roommate or relative.

The Freedom Project(http://freedom.gmsociety.org/) is maintained by the George Mason Society

    Anonymous remailers like this are fewer in number, but there are still a few. This one has a good web interface that's easy to use.


Identity theft protection

Identity theft is the fast-growing crime in America and is tightly linked to the concerns listed above. I know a woman in our community whose identity was stolen, and the perpetrators got ahold of all her personal information, including old name, addresses, etc. It is extremely important to protect your privacy whenever possible.

A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.

1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

4. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards, etc. Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more.

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them

2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is perhaps most important: (I never even thought to do this.)

3. Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done.

There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them in their tracks.

The numbers are:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

Conclusion

I've discussed a range of security options from basic safety to complete paranoia. I recommend taking considerable caution if you think stealth will be an option. What you do online now may have lasting consequences and can be a source of regret during transition and even long, long after you've been stealth.

Have fun, learn lots, but be careful, OK?

In this section: