It is often necessary, while being nefarious on the internet, to become anonymous, and conceal personal information (your IP address is the most important piece of information, but see later for more examples) from websites you are trolling/vandalising/being a menace on. There are several important elements to this; the extent to which you want to cover your tracks depends on who you are dealing with. Conservapedia? No massive deal, although you might receive a couple of threats of calling in the Feds. Wannabe Neo-Nazis with a slight disconnect from reality? Might want to be on the safe side, although, as Encyclopedia Dramatica distastefully, but on the whole accurately, tells us, they are often Internet Tough Guys.
Spheres of interest
Now you're thinking with proxies
One of the most easy, and secure, proxies to use is most likely the Tor network. It's the one used by people in China to circumvent internet censorship there, but, given the level that you're going to be using it at, its advantage over other proxies lies primarily in the way that it sets up on your computer - unlike web-based ones, that open pages within a pane of your browser (it is very easy to accidentally create a link that isn't under the proxy without noticing, in which case the whole point of using them is moot. The following method circumvents that, if you use it right.
- Firstly, if you haven't already got it, install Firefox.
- Then download the Tor/Vidalia bundle - from here.
- Install it and that.
- To use it, first open up Vidalia, and click the 'run' button.
- Then open Firefox. In the bottom right corner of the screen, on the status bar, there is a piece of red text saying 'Tor Inactive', or something to that effect. Click it, turning it green, and reading 'Tor Active'.
- If Tor is active, and Vidalia is running, you are under a new IP. If Tor is active, and Vidalia isn't running, you can't access the internet (503 error). If Tor is inactive, however, it doesn't matter if Vidalia is running or not, because you're still using your own IP. This is useful for checking what your IP is. Always check it before and after starting Tor.
- If your Tor node is blocked (sites such as Wikipedia and the various *chan websites block them on sight, and Conservapedia's worked through a lot of them through specific and range blocks), go to the Vidalia panel, and click 'select new identity' to change your IP. You may have to do this more than once.
- Also, remember to clear your cookies regularly, at least after every session on the browser. They can contain further identifying information.
In order to avoid traffic from your site to their site being identified (a cunning method that the Enemy can use to track you down), there are two solutions.
The first is simple:
- create another site. Be it a forum, Google Group, or whatever, it can allow you to completely hide previous doings, possibly from their view, possibly just as an unrelated trolling group - *chan related ones, from 711chan, 420chan, or partyvan.info splinter groups are good for this, due to the 'anonymous', meme-laden, and generally samey-nature of such groups.
- Register on it with different names, identities, and personal details. This will make it harder to correlate users to sites. It's a waste of time if they see two User:Humans at allegedly different sites, as it's a complete give-away, and can compromise everything.
- Do your stuff.
- The problem with this, of course, is that you have to start from scratch. But is that a bad thing?
The second is also simple, and it's still fairly effective.
- Tinyurl has uses beyond Last Measuring and Rickrolling people; it's also useful for hiding referral information.
- Go to the website, and simply bash in the URL you want to hide.
- It will give you a new URL, of the form http://tinyurl.com/some_bunch_of_numbers, which will redirect to your target; since it's going through a third party, your sticky fingerprints aren't on it.
- Warning - this isn't entirely secure. If They (note the capitalisation) suspect your site, they can find the tinyurl links on your end, and then have a pretty good idea of who's linking to them.