View Full Version : Security and Encryption FAQ - Revision 20.9

Sunday, November 13th, 2005, 05:12 PM
Security and Encryption FAQ - Revision 20.9

by Doctor Who

The most comprehensive SECURITY-FAQ on the Net.

(Expect 2-3 revisions per year. Dr Who has become an accepted authority to to give advise on finetuning a leaky Windows system, a system which was not designed to keep you private. )

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

Article 12 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This FAQ/Tutorial is offered in good faith and is intended to be an encapsulation of my knowledge and experiences gained over the many years that I have been a computer/Net user. There are many roads to security and privacy on the Net, this is just one that I have personally pursued and can recommend from experiences gained.

There are countless reasons why someone may need the reassurance of anonymity. The most obvious is as a protection against an over-bearing Government. Many people reside in countries where human rights are dubious and they need anonymity to raise public awareness and publish these abuses to the world at large. This FAQ is to help such people. Privacy and anonymity are very important principles associated with both freedom of speech and democracy.

"Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority... It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation - and their ideas from suppression - at the hand of an intolerant society."

Justice Stevens, McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, 1996

Changes since previous revision:

Now includes a method of anonymously obtaining a prepaid Debit Card.
Many sites will accept Debit/Credit Card payments, far more than will
accept E-gold. The Virtual Credit Card, when used in conjunction with
E-gold, will ensure you have excellent anonymity online.

I have also taken the opportunity to refine many sections. Several
questions have been changed, updated or omitted and the answers reflect
these changes. These refinements are intended to improve both
readability and accuracy.

Part 1 offers an overview approach to achieve security and anonymity.

Part 2. In the second part will be the practical implementations of
some of the programs mentioned in Part 1. In some cases this will
include detailed setup instructions to help achieve the goal of true
computer and Internet privacy and anonymity. I assume a basic
understanding of computers, such as the ability to copy and paste and a
general knowledge of how to install programs and follow setup

Part 1 (Questions 1 to 30)

1. How does encryption work?

Essentially the plaintext is combined with a mathematical algorithm
(a set of rules for processing data) such that the original text cannot
be deduced from the output file, hence the data is now in encrypted
form. To enable the process to be secure, a key is combined with this
algorithm. The key is protected by a pass phrase. Obviously the
process must be reversible, but only with the aid of the correct key.
Without the key, the process should be extremely difficult. The
mathematics of the encryption should be openly available for peer
review. At first sight this may appear to compromise the encryption,
but this is far from the case. Peer review ensures that there are no
"back doors" or crypto weaknesses within the program. Although the
algorithm is understood, it is the combination of its use with the
pass phrase that ensures secrecy.

Thus the pass phrase is crucial to the security of the data.

2. I want my Hard Drive and my Email to be secure, how can I achieve this?

You need PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) for your Email and DCPP (DriveCrypt
Plus Pack) version 3 and/or TrueCrypt version 3 for your hard drive
encrypted files.

Both DCPP and TrueCrypt are known as OTF (On-The-Fly) type programs.
OTF means the encrypted data is only decrypted into RAM (Random Access
Memory) and remains at all times encrypted on the drive. Thus a crash
close will not leave packets of plaintext on your drive. A very
important feature.

PGP is available for all versions of Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac and
others. The source code is available for compiling your own version
should you wish.

DCPP is Win2000/NT/XP compliant but not compliant with Win98 or
earlier. Regrettably, no source code is available. It has two unique
advantages over other encryption programs. (a) It is a whole boot
drive encryption program. (b) It offers a form of very good plausible

TrueCrypt is a relatively new, free and open source program of great
promise. It does not display any file header info to help a snooper
identify the file's purpose. The header is encrypted and shows as
random garbage.

It also allows encryption of a whole partition or drive and again does
not display any info to help an attacker. The source code is freely
available so it means anyone with the ability can compile the same
program. The importance of this cannot be too strongly stressed. It
means the risk of a hidden back-door is virtually eliminated.

DCPP and TrueCrypt have an additional crucial feature, they both offer
strong plausible deniability.

If the sighting of the source code is important to you, I suggest using
PGP and TrueCrypt. In all cases you must check the PGP signatures of
these files, after downloading from a trusted site. I would never
advocate using any hacked version of a critical security program, or one
sourced from a warez or other dubious site. Certainly not if you are
truly serious about your privacy.

Note 1: PGP, although excellent at ensuring Email privacy, does
nothing for anonymity. The difference is crucial.

I will assume that anonymity is also very high on your list of needs
and so will concentrate on that issue further down the Faq.

3. What is the difference between these encryption programs?

One of the difficulties before asymmetrical key encryption was
discovered was how to get the key to the person wanting to send you an
encrypted message. In the past trusted couriers were used to get these
secret keys to a distant location, maybe an overseas embassy. Nowadays
this is unnecessary because of the discovery of what is called public
key cryptography. Two different keys are used. One key is secret and
the other is made public. The most widespread program of this type for
private use is PGP, invented by Phil Zimmerman. In fact it has become
the de facto standard on the Net. This program is ideal for Email.

Anybody sending you mail simply encrypts their message to you with your
PGP public key. The public key is obviously not secret - in fact it
may be spread far and wide so that anybody can find it if they wish to
send you encrypted Email. The easiest way to ensure this is by sending
it to a public key server. On the other hand, some prefer not to share
their key, except within a small closed group. Your choice.

The only way to decrypt this incoming message is with your secret key.
It is impossible to decrypt using the same key that was used to encrypt
the message, the public key. Thus it is called asymmetrical encryption.
PGP is simplicity itself to install and use. It even offers to send
your newly generated public key to a key server.

For your normal hard drive encryption, you will need a symmetrical type
of encryption program. This means the same key is used for both
encryption and decryption. DCPP and TrueCrypt are of this type and
especially good because they are OTF (On-The-Fly) type programs.

DCPP and TrueCrypt use the pass phrase to encrypt a randomly created
key. DCPP stores an encrypted copy of this key in the keystore which is
a separate entity to the encrypted disk. TrueCrypt stores an encrypted
copy of the key within the headers of the encrypted device. It is the
plaintext of the key that is used to encrypt (and decrypt) the contents
of the disk or container on an as needed basis into RAM memory.

With PGP a public key is chosen to encrypt the message. PGP will then
generate a one time session key which it uses to encrypt the message.
This session key is then itself encrypted with the public key of the
intended recipient of the message. This encrypted copy of the session
key is then wrapped in the headers and sent along with the encrypted copy
of the message to the recipient. Only the recipient has the private
key which can decrypt this session key. If there are multiple recipients,
then this session key is encrypted to the public key of each recipient in
turn. All these different encrypted versions of the session key are then
wrapped in the headers of the message. Each recipient can decrypt his
version of the session key, which will then be able to decrypt the
message. PGP also has a keystore. The keystores for both PGP and DCPP
are protected by the pass phrase.

The sender of a PGP message may choose to sign a message. The message may or may not be encrypted. PGP will then encrypt the hash of the message contents using the senders private key. His public key can then be used by the recipient to check that his hash of the message is identical to the original, thus proving it was made using the sender's private key. Only one private key, the sender's, can encrypt the hash such that it will
check out correctly with the sender's public key. If even a white
space between two words is closed up in a message, the signature will show as bad. This offers a very secure method of checking both the accuracy and the authenticity of a message.

Truecrypt and many other symmetrical encryption programs store the key
within the headers of the partition or container. One question often
asked by newbies is whether the pass phrase is also stored somewhere
within the encrypted file. No. The pass phrase is passed through a hash.
It is the hash output that is stored within the headers of the encrypted
container. The program will compare this hash with the hash it produces
from your pass phrase that you type in to mount (open) the container. If
they are identical, the program will use your pass phrase to decrypt the
key that the program generated to encrypt the disk or container. It is
this key that will then be used to decrypt the disk or container on the

Hashing is a one way action only; it is impossible to derive the key
from the hash output. The hashing process is simply a way of checking
that the correct pass phrase has been input. If the program was somehow
altered to force it to use an incorrect pass phrase, the output would be
garbage. There is no shortcut or fix, without the correct pass phrase
the output will be junk.

4. I have Windows, am I safe?

Windows is a closed source operating system which is a law to itself.
Each new update that is released by Microsoft seems to need further
updates to fix the security holes discovered in the previous releases.
It has been an ongoing process over many years with no end in sight.
These weaknesses can manifest themselves as security holes when on the
Net. A further problem with this operating system is its seeming
determination to write to your hard disk all sorts of information that
may be hidden from your view in all sorts of places that could be found
by a forensic examination of your computer.

Thus we have a two fold problem. Firstly, the problem of Windows having
the potential of security holes that might be exploited by snoops and
hackers using the Net and a different security problem of writing all
sorts of information to sometimes hidden folders that might not be
obvious from a cursory check by you, but easily found by a forensic

If you wish to protect yourself from these potential weaknesses you need
to have an effective firewall, an effective anti-virus and an anti-
spyware program. That will hopefully help to minimize the threats from
outside. That is only the start. You also need to replace your Windows
Internet Explorer browser and your Outlook or Outlook Express Email
client for something a lot more secure. I like FireFox and Quicksilver.
Even these need support from the use of specialist programs.

Even with Firefox or any other Web browser it is imperative that you
disable Java and Javascript. More about the reasons why later in the

Secondly, you are well advised to encrypt your whole drive to protect
yourself from what Windows will write to your hard drive. There are
so-called wipe and cleaner programs to remove cookies and many other
files that Windows will save to your hard drive for future reference.
But at the end of the day, the only truly effective counter measure
against these potential weaknesses is to encrypt your whole boot drive.

In some countries, even this might not be enough. Such countries can
force you to hand over your pass phrases to these encrypted drives by
threatening imprisonment. As more and more judicial systems seem to be
leaning ever closer to this sort of injustice (injustice because the
culprit is being forced to self-incriminate himself which is in direct
violation of Article 5 of the Bill of Rights; the right to refuse to
be a witness against oneself), so it is more and more important for the
individual to protect himself.

Because of these encroachments on our liberty I propose in this Faq a
method of plausible deniability. This means you can justify every one
of the files and folders that are on your computer.

5. Which program do you recommend for this whole drive encryption?

Unfortunately, there is at present no modern whole boot drive
encryption program with open source which also allows a hidden
operating system accessible on boot. Of the many different boot drive
encryption programs, I like DCPP. It is easy to install. But its
single greatest benefit is it offers a form of truly excellent
plausible deniability for its presence on your system.

It encrypts the whole partition. So if you want to keep part of your
drive in plaintext you will need to divide your hard drive into
independent partitions or better, have two separate hard drives.

A further major advantage over previously recommended encryption
programs is that the pass phrase is input at Bios level, before Windows
is loaded. The importance of this is difficult to over-emphasize.

This means it is impossible for any software key-logging program that
may be on your computer to detect your pass phrase. Such programs are
sometimes picked up on the Net or arrive via Email and could circumvent
all your efforts at security. It is even conceivable that a snoop or
hacker could steal your pass phrase as you type it in, if this is done
whilst the operating system is running. I am sure someone will mention
that there are hardware keyboard logging devices, which could grab your
pass phrase when you start up, before the operating system is loaded.

However, common sense local site security should minimize this risk.

A Bios level input of the pass phrase in conjunction with whole boot
drive encryption is just about the Holy Grail of security - without
a hardware keyboard logging device, very difficult to intercept and

6. Are there other OTF programs?

There are several. But so far as I know only DCPP operates from boot
and includes the opportunity of creating a second (hidden) boot
operating system.

Others, such as TrueCrypt only encrypt data files, not the Windows
operating system.

TrueCrypt offers strong plausible deniability because it allows you to
encrypt a partition that appears to be unused and without a drive
letter. The method of ensuring this is simply explained in the
Help File that accompanies TrueCrypt. The latest version also allows
you to create a hidden encrypted volume within the first. This further
improves its appeal and prospects of plausible deniability and in
conjunction with DCPP should be excellent for your backup data.

7. How difficult is it to break into one of these programs?

Very difficult, in fact for all practical purposes, it is considered
impossible. In most cases, the weakest link will be your pass phrase,
or being compromised by a hardware key-logger through not having good
security on your desktop.

Your pass phrase should be long. Every extra character you enter makes
a dictionary search for the right phrase twice as long. Each time a
bit is added it doubles the number crunching time to crack into the

Each keyboard character roughly equates to 8 bits, and is represented
on the drive as two hexadecimal characters. This suggests a 20
character pass phrase is roughly equal strength to the encryption. In
practice, probably not. A keyboard has around 96 different combinations
of key strokes, thus multiplying this number by itself 20 times is a
hugely large combination, ensuring a high probability of defeat at
guessing a pass phrase. But few people can remember a truly random 20
character pass phrase. So most people use a less than random one. This
means it should be longer to help compensate for this lack of entropy.

You should also use at least part of both lines of the pass phrase input
screen with DCPP. If you like, two pass phrases.

8. Why?

Because any pass phrase cracker cannot find the correct key until it has
exhausted a key search as wide as the last character you enter. A strong
hint that you should make sure the last character of your pass phrase is
well along the bottom line! For higher security you should spread it
around on both lines.

Although TrueCrypt has a single line entry it will accept a long
pass phrase of at least 57 characters from my simple tests.

Be sure that if any serious snooper wants to view your secret data, they
will find a way without wasting their time attempting a brute force
attack upon your DCPP or TrueCrypt container. In some countries rubber
hose cryptography may be the rule. In some "civilized" countries there
are more sinister methods, such as tempest or the use of a trojan.

Fortunately, tempest and trojan attacks are far less likely to succeed
against DCPP than all the other encryption programs. Hence my strong and
enthusiastic support for this program.

9. What about simple file by file encryption?

I recommend either PGP Tools which comes free with PGP or Kremlin. Of
course this is not necessary for files within your encrypted drive. But
is essential to clear files off your computer that are outside your
encrypted drive.

PGP Tools is a long winded process just to encrypt a single file, as it
asks you to first choose a key before entering the pass phrase. Kremlin
is quicker because it allows you to right click on the file to be
encrypted, a password box opens and that is it. It also similarly
allows you to wipe any file by right clicking. This can also be done by
PGP. Another recommended program to erase individual files is Eraser.

10. Can I encrypt files on a floppy?

Yes, use either TrueCrypt, DCPP, PGP Tools or Kremlin.

11. Does using Encryption slow things up?

Negligibly on any modern computer. The length of your pass phrase is
immaterial to the speed of decryption. But different encryption
algorithms vary significantly. One of the fastest is Twofish and
probably the slowest is 3DES (triple DES). This applies only to
symmetrical encryption programs. PGP uses RSA or Diffie-Hellman
generated keys, which in turn are used to encrypt/decrypt a randomly
generated session key. The RSA key is very slow, but as it is only
used to encrypt/decrypt the 128 bit CAST5 or IDEA session key its
slowness is not noticed.

12. Do I need a PGP pass phrase if I store my keyrings within my
encrypted drive?

Definitely. Just because you have encrypted your drive does not relieve
you of the necessity of protecting yourself whilst online.

13. I use Mac, OS2, Linux, (fill in your choice), what about me?

Use either BestCrypt (by Jetico - do a Google search) or PGPDisk.

There are many others, but I know nothing about them.

14. How can I ensure I do not leave traces of unwanted plaintext
files on my system?

If you are using DCPP this should not be a problem. But you must
disable the Windows hibernation (power saving) feature. When Windows
goes into hibernation it will dump everything that is in RAM memory
onto the boot drive, by-passing the DCPP drivers. By-passing these
drivers means it writes everything to disk in plaintext including the
keyfile data which unlocks your most secret partition. This will
defeat the whole purpose of having encryption.

Although your whole drive will be encrypted I would still install a
program to clean out bloat and cookies. My recommendation for this is
Windows Washer.

To wipe unused space on your drive I recommend Zapempty. Although a
Dos based program, it runs easily even within Win XP. This is a part
of a zipped file of wipe utilities called Wipeutil.zip. Extract
Zapempty onto the drive you wish to clean up and double click it.
But do not use it or any other disk wipe tool on your encrypted drive
or it may be a pointer to where the hidden container lies.

15. What programs do I put in my newly Encrypted Drive?

All your usual programs that you need to use your computer normally,
plus the more specialized ones to help you achieve anonymity. See
further down the Faq.

16. How do I "cover my tracks"?

Never surf naked. Always, always use a proxy. There are now easy ways
to use a proxy. In the early days it was necessary to find and hand
select the proxies you wished to use. This was a laborious process
and needed expert knowledge of which programs to use to find and
exploit them. Some still prefer to do it this way. I call it rolling
your own. It has the distinct advantage of user choice and control
over each proxy to be used in a chain. However, this may offer
anonymity, but not necessarily privacy. Meaning no encryption. I like
privacy and anonymity, so I use other methods. The method I propose
also has the merit of ease of use and total transparency once the
programs are set up.

17. Earlier on you mentioned plausible deniability, what is it?

Plausible deniability is the ability to offer irrefutable justification
for every single file, folder, container, partition and drive that
might contain encrypted data. DCPP version 3.0 offers a world first
because it allows dual booting into either of two entirely separate
boot operating systems, each invisible to the other with both using the
same drive partition. One of these may be called your honeypot
operating system, meaning it contains encrypted data that you are
prepared to show under duress. The second (hidden) operating system
will contain your most secret data that you never release. Its
presence can only be known by correctly guessing the second most secret
pass phrase for that operating system. No other way exists to prove
there is a second operating system. Examination by forensics of your
encrypted boot drive can only show the usual random data that is
associated with an encrypted drive. Nothing else.

This must mean excellent plausible deniability.

18. What if encryption is illegal in my country?

I suggest using TrueCrypt. You will need to ensure it is installed at
the end of a drive. By ensuring there is some space at the end of a
partition, Truecrypt can use this space, despite it not necessarily
being allocated a drive letter by Windows.

It will have to be run off a floppy and you will still need to hide the
floppy effectively in the case of a search. I am sorry I cannot help
you here. It must be down to your own initiative.

19. Are there any other precautions I should take?

Make copies of all your PGP keys, a text file of all your secret account
numbers and passwords and the other details for your E-gold accounts, full
details of your Virtual Debit Card account, copies of INI files for
critical programs, your anonymous Email account details plus anything else
that is so critical your life would be inconvenienced if it were lost.
All these details should now be stored in a folder called "Safe" on your
encrypted drive. A copy of this folder should be stored on an encrypted
CD, preferably within the hidden part of a TrueCrypt container and stored

If you are going to rely on any variation of the ploys suggested here,
then you should keep this Faq within your hidden encrypted drive.

You will need to take further precautions whilst you are online against
threats from hackers and snoops.

20. What are these threats?

They are known as Tempest and Trojan attacks.

21. What is a Tempest attack?

Tempest is an acronym for Transient Electro Magnetic Pulse Emanation
Surveillance. This is the science of monitoring at a distance
electronic signals carried on wires or displayed on a monitor.
Although of only slight significance to the average user, it is of
enormous importance to serious cryptography snoopers. To minimize a
tempest attack you should screen all the cables between your computer
and your accessories, particularly your monitor. A flat screen (non
CRT) monitor offers a considerable reduction in radiated emissions and
is recommended.

22. What is a Trojan?

A trojan (from the Greek Trojan Horse), is a background program that
monitors your key-strokes and then either copies them to a secret
folder for later recovery or sends them to a server when you next go
online. Sometimes referred to as spyware. This may be done without
your knowledge. Such a trojan may be secretly physically placed on your
computer or picked up on your travels on the Net. Perhaps sent by
someone hacking into your computer whilst you are online, or whilst
visiting a Website.

23. How do I do avoid these threats?

First of all you must have a truly effective firewall. It is not
sufficient for a firewall to simply monitor downloaded data, but to
also monitor all attempts by programs within your computer that may try
and send data out. I suggest installing Zonealarm. This firewall very
cleverly makes an encrypted hash of each program to ensure that a re-named
or modified version of a previously acceptable program cannot squeeze
through and "phone home". Zonealarm version 6 also incorporates both
anti-virus and anti-spyware checking, making it an excellent choice.

That is but the start. You also need a Web browser that does not leak
information, plus a method of passing data across your ISP's servers
strongly encrypted to prevent prying eyes from watching all that you do
on the Net.

24. I use the Net for Web browsing, Usenet and Email, am I safe?

Whilst you are online anyone could be monitoring your connection.
They do not need access to your computer to do this. They need only
have access to your ISP. To minimize these risks you must encrypt
the data passing across your ISP's servers.

My suggestion is to use a combination of several programs. Each is
easily set up (see Part 2). Between them you will be secure and
anonymous. The best news, all these programs are free and open

25. Which programs do you recommend?

You need four main programs besides the news client such as Agent (my
favorite) and the Web browser such as FireFox (again my favorite) and
the Email client such as Quicksilver, (yes, another favorite).

Quicksilver will ensure that only text is displayed; all HTML is
banished. This is important because it prevents you being caught by
Email marketers and perhaps snoops and hackers that use linked graphic
files as a means of tracking "live" Email addresses.

You can still receive HTML and attachments with Quicksilver, it just
protects you by putting them into a separate folder, where you can
view them at your leisure when offline.

Other programs are: Stunnel, Freecap, Privoxy and Tor.

They are all very easy to use and really can be setup by a newbie if
you follow the setup instructions I offer in Part 2. They are totally
transparent to the user. Once setup there is no maintenance or
searching for proxies, etc. It is all done in the background with no
further unput required from you.

26. Tell me more about these programs?

Stunnel encrypts the data between you and your news server and is very
simple to use.

Freecap is also easy to setup and acts as the bridge between Stunnel
and Tor.

Tor is a connection-based low-latency (meaning fast) anonymous
communication system that protects TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)
streams for Usenet, web browsing, instant messaging (IM), internet
relay chat (IRC), Secure Shell (SSH), etc.

In basic language Tor is a socks server that accepts and encrypts data
from any program that is "socksified", meaning set up to communicate
with it.

Tor is a new program and is still in Beta development mode. But it is
still a fully functioning Socks proxying system that offers the promise
of great anonymity and privacy. It is free and open source. It is
supported by the Electronic Freedom Foundation, a web based charity
dedicated to freedom of speech online.

Tor will build automatically and transparently to the client (you) an
anonymous and encrypted route across the Net. It uses multiple layers
of encryption, each node only knowing the previous and next node, so
with several nodes your data becomes anonymized. The principle is like
an onion with many layers of encryption and anonymity. Thus it is
called onion routing.

Remember, the data is encrypted both by Tor which uses TLS (Transport
Layer Security) and by Stunnel which uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) as
it leaves your desktop through your ISP and on into the Tor network.
Where it exists the Tor network it continues onwards as SSL encrypted
data on its way to the news server or wherever.

For Web browsing we need Privoxy. This again acts as a bridge between
your browser and Tor.

A web proxy is a service, based on a software such as Privoxy, that
clients (i.e. browsers) can use instead of connecting directly to the
web servers on the Internet. The clients then ask the proxy to fetch
the objects they need (web pages, images, movies etc) on their behalf,
and when the proxy has done so, it hands the results back to the client.

There are many reasons to use web proxies, such as fire walling
(security), caching (efficiency) and others, and there are just as
many different proxies to accommodate those needs.

Privoxy is a proxy that is solely focused on privacy protection and
junk elimination. Sitting between your browser and the Internet, it
is in a perfect position to filter outbound personal information that
your browser is leaking, as well as inbound junk. It uses a variety of
techniques to do this, all of which are under your control via the
various configuration files and options.

Privoxy will bridge the connection between your browser and Tor the
Socks proxy host. It will minimize pop up ads, etc. But its main
advantage is it will help prevent information leakage from your desktop
to any third party trying to sniff your data. Used in conjunction with
Tor it ensures all your Web browsing is totally anonymous.

There is no need to close Privoxy if you wish to use your news client
or whatever. These programs are totally transparent to you once they
are running.

Full setup instructions for these programs are offered in Part 2.

27. Is the data encrypted after it leaves the remote server and Tor?

Yes, providing you are using Stunnel. The only precaution you must take
to ensure both privacy and anonymity, is to use Stunnel in combination
with FreeCap, which ensures it routes all data over the Tor network.

It is possible to use Stunnel alone, but not recommended.

28. How do I subscribe anonymously to a news provider?

In this Faq I offer more choice. You can send cash, a postal order or
use a prepaid Debit Card.

There are now at least 4 news servers offering SSL (Stunnel) encrypted
connections through port 563. These are: Easynews, Newscene, Octanews,
and Meganetnews. Thus I strongly advocate you choose one of these four.
It costs no more to enjoy this extra level of security, so why accept
anything less?

There are also remailers that accept an SSL encrypted connection, which
significantly improves your Email security.

Privacy.Li will act as a sign-up proxy, meaning they will sign you up
anonymously to your choice of news provider, or indeed any other service
you wish. They accept many types of payment, including cash and E-Gold.
They have their own news service, but do not offer an SSL connection, but
as it is only accessed via their SSH connection and Tor, it should be
very safe. To maximize your security, you must sign up anonymously and
only ever access their servers via Tor. This hides your IP address from

E-Gold is not intended to be anonymous, unless you take steps to ensure
it is. By signing up using your choice of discrete details and (most
importantly) on first access immediately disabling the security protocols
which sense your IP address. With anonymous access from different IP
addresses using Tor, it is very important to do this or you will find
your account access blocked. I recommend opening a second E-Gold
account and transferring funds from the first into the second on an as
needed basis. Any spending of your E-Gold should then only be done
from the second account. This doubles the difficulty for anyone trying
to do a back trace. Obviously the accounts should not share any
information. Meaning different bogus names, addresses, pass phrases, etc.

29. How do I create a secure/anonymous Email account with Quicksilver?

Previously I have recommended creating a Nym using one of the remailers.
Because of the huge amounts of spam I was receiving, I have had to
revise my recommendation about this. I now recommend opening a simple
POP3 account with one of the many sites offering a free Email service.
Provided you only ever access them via Quicksilver and Tor, you should
be safe.

One example of this is Hot pop. There are many others. Take a look here:

http://www.emailaddresses.com/email_pop.htm (http://anonym.to/?http://www.emailaddresses.com/email_pop.htm)

All these are only soft anonymous, but they can all be hardened by using
Quicksilver and ensuring it routes only through Tor. You could use
Hot pop as your Email incoming POP3 account and send or post through Tor
and the Mixmaster remailer network.

Both Hotmail and Hushmail (and the latest version of Yahoo) insist on you
having both Java and Javascript enabled before they allow you to open an
account. This is unacceptable to me. I would never recommend using any
Email service with such a requirement. Explanations follow in Part 2.

30. Can you briefly summarize all the above?

You need PGP and Quicksilver for your Email and DCPP and/or Truecrypt
for encryption of your hard drive. These recommended programs should
help you achieve a very high level of plausible deniability and privacy.

You will need other programs to ensure you are anonymous whilst online.

You need to be anonymous online for both browsing and whilst subscribing
to any Web services. For this you need at least one, but preferably two
E-Gold accounts and a pre-paid Debit Card. You must only access your
email POP3 accounts using Quicksilver and Tor.

Part 2

31. How do I achieve maximum plausible deniability?

You must have two separate bootable drives. Drive C is your regular
drive, it should not be encrypted. Your second bootable Drive D is the
one we shall concentrate on. I recommend leaving Drive C as your
regular plaintext drive for ordinary usage. But there is good reason
to have these programs also installed onto your Drive C.

To achieve dual boot with your Drive C as the default, you will need to
re-install Windows onto firstly your Drive D and then again onto your
Drive C. This is because Windows always makes the last install the
default. Alternatively, you can modify your boot.ini file, provided
you know what you are doing.

I recommend re-formatting both drives. Obviously you should backup
essential programs and data before you do this.

It should be possible to boot into either Drive C or D after you have
created a dual boot system and at this point without any pass phrases.

You should then do everything from within the second Drive, D; meaning
you first install Boot Authentication and immediately create an ER
(Emergency Repair) disk. Choose the screen option with the Dos tools,
just in case of future problems.

Then check by booting into both drives (now needing the pass phrase of

You should then boot into D and encrypt D. At this stage you will still
need to start DCPP from within Drive D to do this. Then immediately
after encryption is completed, update your ER disk before re-booting.

Now re-boot into Drive D and again start DCPP from within Windows. You
must now create a new keystore and key using your ultra secret pass phrase.

It is very important that this new keystore and key is stored only on a
floppy. Now you can clone your encrypted drive. Immediately after doing
this, update your ER disk before re-booting. I recommend you create two
at this stage - just in case.

You should then check you can still boot into the first (original)
encrypted drive on D. Now re-boot and using the ER disk (to test it)
and using your most secret second pass phrase, boot into the hidden OS on Drive D. You should once again start DCPP from within Windows using your secret key and pass phrase to gain entry. Now encrypt this OS using your most secret key.

Before re-booting ensure you update both ER disks.

You must now remove Boot Authentication off your desktop. One easy way
is to use the Tools facility on your ER disk. Press T in place of B and
follow the onscreen instructions. They do sound very ominous about being
sure you know what you are doing, etc. Just say Ok or YES and revert to
the original MBR (Master Boot Record). Do not worry, you will still be
able to access your encrypted secret drive by using either of the ER
disks. But henceforth this will be your only means of access.

Obviously you must not attempt to update your ER disk after doing this!

32. So far, so good. What now?

When booting you can simply boot immediately into your plaintext Drive C
or by using the ER disk, input either pass phrase and boot into either
the honeypot encrypted drive or your hidden operating system drive.

Clever, very clever. Superb plausible deniability. Or is it?

What happens when an attacker finds that the dates of all the files in
the first encrypted partition have never been opened perhaps for months?

My justification for this scenario is that Drive D is an encrypted
backup of my Drive C. It is encrypted to minimize the risk of it
being corrupted should my computer catch a virus. When dismounted
(closed), my encrypted drive will be shown by Windows to be unformatted.
As such, Windows will not normally write to it. Thus it offers a layer
of security that should I lose all of my Drive C, I can recover by
booting into my encrypted Drive D. I am not going to argue the fine
print here. This is my justification for having encrypted my Drive D.
If there are viruses which can cause Windows to format Drive D, so what?
I will argue I am ignorant of such things.

If doubts are raised they are impossible to prove without correctly
guessing your second pass phrase. Even if your attacker convinces
you he knows DCPP offers the possibility of a hidden partition there
is a plausible defence.

Note: It is not a good idea to simply copy your Drive C installation
to your Drive D, because all the registry entries will refer programs
back to your plaintext drive C, thus undermining all your efforts at
security. Far better to do two independent installs.

33. Is it as straight forward as this?

Not quite. After creating the first encrypted partition on your second
hard drive you have to avoid a couple of slight bugs.

First of all it is essential to ensure the data are compacted to the
front of your D drive. The easiest way I have found of doing this is
prior to doing any encryption is to use Windows' backup tool to copy
all the data on Drive D to another drive, perhaps a folder on your
Drive C. Then do a quick re-format of Drive D (or delete everything
but a quick format is so much faster). Now using Windows, restore all
back to Drive D. Easy. You should find all your data is now compacted
to the front of the drive which will allow you to easily create the
hidden OS later on.

However, another little bug raised its head when I tried again to get
it to clone. I found that the password input screen DCPP displayed
before it would clone only allowed a shorter pass phrase to be input.
There is no error as such, just that DCPP tells you it has found the
keystore but cannot open it because either it is corrupt or it is the
wrong pass phrase. As long as this bug remains, it offers you the chance
of further plausible deniability. The second bug sets a limit on the
length of your second most secret pass phrase of about 21 characters.

The easiest work around is to use a shorter pass phrase to clone and to
change it to a longer one before encrypting the clone.

Note 1: I would strongly urge you not to store this second keystore on
your honeypot encrypted drive. I suggest creating and storing it on a
floppy. Later, after cloning, encrypting and updating your ER floppies,
you should completely destroy this floppy. This ensures this critical
keystore was never written to your honeypot drive.

Note 2: There is no requirement to keep a copy of this key file. If at
any future date you wish to decrypt this clone or the original you can
use the ER disk recovery tools to do so.

The finding of a second keystore on your honeypot drive will totally
destroy any attempt at plausible deniability. Or will it?

Not necessarily. You could create a false keystore, one with a very
long (and different) pass phrase to suggest you have been attempting to
create a hidden drive but without success. You can prove this is
feasible by demonstrating this keyfile cannot create a hidden operating
system (naturally, only after you have already proven this to yourself
with this particular keyfile). Ostensibly you have no idea why DCPP
refuses to cooperate, but the pass phrase opens the keystore, proving it
is correct.

That is superb plausible deniability.

34. Any other precautions?

It is absolutely essential that no further data are added to your
honeypot drive at the risk of destroying altogether your hidden drive.
This is no idle threat. To (slightly) help in this regard, when about
to clone the operating system, you are offered a choice of spacing
between the two partitions, input at least 500 megabytes or more for this
gap space.

I would recommend that you initially test out both pass phrases. But
use your honeypot pass phrase just once to test it works. Never again use
it. Windows is a very pro-active operating system and it will do things
you may not be expecting. Things such as automatic backing up of the
registry, defragging, etc. Everyone must have noticed how their drive
can sometimes be very active when they are not doing anything. This is
Windows doing its thing. So mount once to test, then forget all about it.
But do not forget the honeypot pass phrase, it may be your credibility

35. Any more hints about this system?

Another option that you should consider is disabling your C: drive from
within your Hidden OS drive. To do this open Control Panel > System >
Hardware > Device Manager > Click on Disk Drives to expand and select the
drive you wish to disable. This will have the effect of hiding your Drive
C when you are in your hidden encrypted drive, thus minimizing the risk of
Windows writing anything to your plaintext Drive C. It also helps to
minimize the risk of you saving or installing something to your Drive C

Note 1: the devices are shown using their boot identification, not as
drives C, D, etc. You must check by looking in your boot configuration to
correctly identify these entities.

Note 2: This action will only be implemented when booting into the drive
from which it is setup. By doing it from within your hidden OS you
ensure you can still boot into Drive C normally.

Note 3: You could do this from within your Drive C to hide your encrypted
drive. But it will not fool a forensics expert for one moment, thus it
foolishly red flags what should not be of any concern.

36. What programs do I need and where do I get them?

There are seven programs recommended for security and anonymity:

DCPP, PGP, TrueCrypt, Stunnel, FreeCap, Privoxy and Tor.

And three others recommended for Email, Usenet and Web browsing:
Quicksilver, Agent and FireFox.

In all cases where there is a choice of download, ensure you download
the version that is compliant with your operating system, e.g. Windows
XP or whatever.

Get them here:

PGP: http://www.panta-rhei.dyndns.org/dow...gp658ckt08.zip (http://anonym.to/?http://www.panta-rhei.dyndns.org/downloads/PGP/pgp658ckt08.zip)

TrueCrypt: http://www.truecrypt.tk/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.truecrypt.tk/)

Stunnel is used for NNTP secure connections to your news provider.

Stunnel: http://www.stunnel.org/download/binaries.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.stunnel.org/download/binaries.html)

Stunnel requires the executable file plus 2 others.

stunnel-4.05.exe.asc (digital signature file optional but recommended)

Open SSL Libraries (required files):


libssl32.dll.asc (optional)
libeay32.dll.asc (optional)

FreeCap: http://www.freecap.ru/eng/?p=index (http://anonym.to/?http://www.freecap.ru/eng/?p=index)

Privoxy: http://www.privoxy.org/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.privoxy.org/)

Tor: http://tor.freehaven.net/ (http://anonym.to/?http://tor.freehaven.net/)

Not essential, but strongly recommended:

Agent: http://www.forteinc.com/main/homepage.php (http://anonym.to/?http://www.forteinc.com/main/homepage.php)

FireFox: http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/)

Quicksilver: http://www.quicksilvermail.net/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.quicksilvermail.net/)

37. Where do I put these files?

PGP should be installed onto your hidden operating system. It may
offer to install onto your Drive C. Avoid that unless you want to
deliberately offer a sanitized version on your Drive C.

Actually there is good reason to install all of the above onto your
Drive C. This may sound alarming, but consider, their presence might
be deduced if any snoop has been monitoring your ISP data. It will
always pass across as encrypted data. If an examination of your hard
drive were to reveal the absence of such programs, how do you show how
you were doing it? The presence of these programs is not illegal at
all. On the contrary, there are very good and sensible reasons why you
want to avoid both spam and having your privacy invaded.

For the other files, create a new folder called Proxy. Open Proxy and
create the following sub-folders: FreeCap, Stunnel, Privoxy, Tor

Install by copying all of the downloaded files into their respective
folders. Ensure the library files for Stunnel are in the same
sub-folder. The latest version of Tor now includes a Windows install.

Each program can then have shortcuts made and placed on your desktop,
or wherever you choose if different.

38. How do I configure Privoxy?

Privoxy is used for HTTP secure connections to the Web. It works in
conjunction with Tor. It is not used for Usenet or Email.

The config.txt file looks daunting, but you just remove # from the
beginning of any line to make that line active. The only change you must
make is to ensure Privoxy routes through the Tor network. To ensure this,
scroll down to section 5.2 in config.txt

Copy and paste the following line exactly as shown, into section 5.2:

forward-socks4a / .

The spacing and the period at the end are important. You should leave
the other lines alone unless you know what you are about.

The above is mandatory, but optionally and strongly recommended once you
have succeeded in getting privoxy working properly, is to stop it logging
your actions. Do this by commenting out (using # at the start of the
line) "logfile privoxy.log" and "jarfile jar.log".

By default it will run on startup and minimize to the task bar.

39. How do I configure Stunnel?

Stunnel is required for an NNTPS, meaning secure, connection to Usenet.

Copy and paste all of the following in Notepad and save it in the
Stunnel folder, name the file stunnel.conf:

#Stunnel client configuration file
client = yes
options = ALL
RNDbytes = 2048
RNDfile = bananarand.bin
RNDoverwrite = yes
#accept = 119
#connect = news.meganetnews.com:563
#delay = no
accept = 119
connect = secure.news.easynews.com:563
delay = no
#accept = 119
#connect = news.x-privat.org:563
#delay = no
#accept = 119
#connect = snews.octanews.com:563
#delay = no
#accept = 119
#connect =
#delay = no
# End of config file

Remove the # from the beginning of any bunch of lines you wish to
make active. The above is setup to optionally allow (When the # is
removed) routing through several news providers using a secure SSL

Note the lines:

#accept = 119
#connect =
#delay = no

This is an option to route your Usenet connection through a SSH
(Secure Shell) host server using Putty.

This option is strongly recommended for Usenet posting when used
together with Tor for maximum anonymity and security.

The file (stunnel.conf) does not exist until you create it. Stunnel
cannot work without its presence. You will just get some server
error. This might happen if you or Windows names it incorrectly.

You may need to get Explorer to show extensions to known file types,
otherwise Windows may save the file as stunnel.conf.txt. If you are
not sure, go to Tools > Folder Options > View > uncheck "Hide
extensions to known file types". Click on Ok.

Note: In the previous Faq I had shown a long list of various remailers.
I have omitted them all from the above config file as the latest
Quicksilver allows direct connections into Tor and thence on to the
remailer network. This means it is easier and quicker to send and
receive mail using Quicksilver and Tor.

If you want options I suggest creating several folders called Stunnel 1,
Stunnl 2, etc and copy Stunnel.exe plus the two library files and
stunnel.conf into each. Now make active different combinations of the
above in each folder. Ensure that only one option is active in each
stunnel.conf file or you may get conflicts and problems. Create
shortcuts to each stunnel.exe and copy to your desktop (renaming as

40. How do I configure FreeCap?

Go > File > Settings > Default Proxy. Type into the server
window and 9050 into Port. Click OK.

With the program back at the opening screen, drag and drop the Stunnel
shortcuts into the FreeCap window. You will immediately see the Stunnel
icons position themselves along the top of the screen. As each is
loaded, re-name it to easily distinguish it from the others. Do this by
right-clicking on an icon and selecting Modify. Change the name on the
top line to something self-descriptive, such as Easynews or Putty or

You have now socksified Stunnel. That is all it takes. Whenever you
run Stunnel you must start it by clicking on one of the icons from
within FreeCap, which obviously means first starting Freecap. Stunnel
secures the programs and by socksifying it with Freecap, ensures all
data is routed over the Tor network. Just minimize Freecap after
starting Stunnel. To close Stunnel, right click on its icon on the
taskbar and select Exit.

Note: Some may experience problems with FreeCap. If you do, an
excellent, free for non-commercial use alternative, (but not open
source) is SocksCap. It is here:

http://www.socks.permeo.com/Download...load/index.asp (http://anonym.to/?http://www.socks.permeo.com/Download/SocksCapDownload/index.asp)

41. How do I configure Tor?

Nothing to do. Just click on its shortcut and watch the screen. Wait
a minute for it to create its onion route across the Net. Once this
is enabled it will display, "Tor has successfully opened a circuit.
Looks like its working."

minimize (not close) the program and that is it for Tor.

Note: I recommend checking back regularly for the latest version of Tor
as it seems to be changing very frequently. Older versions may cause
problems of incompatibility or other minor glitches. I also recommend
you take the bother of reading at least the basics of how Tor works.

42. How do I configure my Browser?

To ensure your browser chooses to route through Tor you must now go to
its Proxy settings Window. With FireFox this is > Tools > Options >
Connection Settings.

Input into each line except Socks Host. Leave that line
completely clear. Input 8118 into the Port window for each line, but
again leave the Socks Host line clear. This is because Privoxy listens
for connections on port 8118 by default. Remember we have already
configured Privoxy with the line: "forward-socks4a / ."
This is telling Privoxy to pass on its connections to Tor which is
listening on Port 9050 by default.

Click on > Tools > Options > Web Features and uncheck "Enable Java"
and "Enable Javascript". This is very important to ensure no remote
site can take control of your desktop and invade your privacy. I
would also disable "allow Web Sites to install software"

You will find some Web sites will not now work correctly. This is the
penalty of ensuring you do not give away your private details to any
snooper who may be trying to sniff them.

43. How do I configure my news client?

You must now configure your news client by inputting into the
window which asks for your news server name. If you have never used a
proxy prior to this, go to the screen displaying "News Server". In
Agent 1.91 this will be Options > User and System Profile > User.
Enter for the server name. Click OK. The port is set in the
Agent.ini file to 119, do not change that. Stunnel has already been
configured to listen on port 119 anyway and to forward through port 563.

Note: Stunnel can only be used with a news provider that offers a
secure (NNTPS) connection (by default on port 563). For other news
providers Stunnel is useless. For these less secure sites I suggest
socksifying Agent, by dragging and dropping the Agent shortcut into
FreeCap. Not nearly as secure, as your data will not be encrypted after
it leaves the Tor network on its way to the News provider. It costs no
more to subscribe to a secure news provider than it does to one that does
not offer an encrypted connection. So why choose anything less?

Each of these four programs, Stunnel, FreeCap, Privoxy and Tor accepts
connections from either your Web browser, into Privoxy and on to Tor, or
from your News client into Stunnel, socksified by FreeCap and again on to
Tor. Many programs can be socksified, not just those mentioned. The
procedure is exactly the same, just drag and drop the shortcut of the
program to be socksified into Freecap.

44. How do I test these are all working?

Let's check the Web first.

Start Privoxy (which by default normally starts with Windows).

Open your browser and input: http://p.p/ (http://anonym.to/?http://p.p/)

You should see the Privoxy main page with the following:

"This is Privoxy 3.0.3 on localhost (, port 8118, enabled."

If you see that, be assured you have accessed via Privoxy.

If you see "p.p. could not be found, please check the name and try
again." You are definitely not accessing via Privoxy.

Go back through the above and check everything very carefully.

Note: This is an internal test, not via the Web. It just proves that
Privoxy was invoked to display that page from its own folder, which you
will see displayed if you click on "View and change the current

You will then see a clear display of all the configuration settings.

Do not change anything unless you have a backup file and know what you
are doing.

Let's assume your Web browser is functioning as it should and you see
the p.p. page displaying the confirmatory message.

You should now test your news reader client.

45. How do I test my news connection is anonymous?

Open FreeCap and click on the Stunnel icon in the FreeCap Window.

Without opening Tor at this stage, start your news client. As a small
precaution ensure you are in an appropriate newsgroup and attempt to
download its headers. You should see connecting to
displayed on the lower taskbar in Agent or wherever in the version you
are using, followed by error reported by Winsock driver. Good. This
proves Stunnel was attempting to connect to Tor which is offline of
course, thus no connection was possible.

Now start Tor. Try again. Hopefully this time you will have more
success and it should connect to the news server and start downloading

Note: It can sometimes take a considerable time to connect when using
the Tor network. This is normal, but means patience is a virtue here.

Go to a multimedia group and start to download a large file. While the
download is in progress, close Tor. You should see an immediate error
about connection to server closed unexpectedly. Good.

Re-start Tor. Re-establish the connection with the server and start
over. This time close FreeCap. Notice the download will continue.
Do not panic! It is still accessing via Tor. Prove this for yourself
by closing Tor and notice the download again stops immediately and
there is the same Winsock error. However, do not normally close any
of these programs until you are ready to go offline. Always close
the news reader first to ensure no data is being accessed which might
just possibly jump across and appear in the clear.

The usual way to open each of these programs is go online with your
ISP. Open Freecap, start Stunnel from within FreeCap. Open Tor, then
last of all open your news reader. Test the system from time to time
to satisfy yourself all is as it should be. Closing down is the reverse
of this procedure.

If you have got this far, you have succeeded in creating a secure and
truly anonymous network connection for both your browser and your Usenet posting/downloading.

Note: It is imperative that Stunnel be started only from within FreeCap
and thus be socksified. Otherwise it will simply connect directly with
your news provider, bypassing the Tor proxy network. Certainly it is an
encrypted connection but totally useless from an anonymity point of view.
Your ISP will know exactly where you are connected. Your news server
could also log your ISP address!

46. What if no exit server exists on Tor with port 563 (or 119)

Unfortunately this might very well happen occasionally. Because of
abuse or over-use (what is the difference?), admins are reluctant to open
ports to Usenet. There are options. One is to find a premium news
provider that allows a secure connection on a different, non-standard
port. Octanews claims they will allow a connection on any valid TCP port.
But my experience suggests otherwise, try it for yourself. Meganetnews
will allow a port connection on port 23, but it is not secured.

Another alternative is to subscribe to a Secure Shell (SSH) host, such
as Cotse, Find.Not or Privacy.Li. There are others. I have only had
experience with Privacy.Li. Rarely had a problem. Their servers seem
very reliable. But using any of these services will add overhead and
therefore slow things up considerably.

Of course if all you want is to access the privacy groups you can
configure your stunnel.conf file to include:

accept = 119
connect = tyrndfbdb2x6g3vg.onion:563
delay = no

This is Banana's hidden service. Because it is a hidden service, it
does not rely on any Tor exit server having ports 119 or 563 enabled.

Note that only a very few news groups are available through Banana.
Panta offers a similar service, also with just a few news groups. Both
are useful for posting to news:alt.anonymous.messages

If you would prefer to subscribe to a Secure Shell host, then you need
to use Putty as the SSH client.

Putty is here: http://www.tucows.com/preview/195286.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.tucows.com/preview/195286.html)

or here:

http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/%7Esgtatham/putty/download.html)

You will still need Stunnel to allow the NNTPS (encrypted) connection
into your news provider and FreeCap to act as a bridge between Stunnel
and Tor. Tor is the socks proxy that hides your true IP from the
Secure Shell host server. As Putty will channel everything through
port 22, you will have a lot more choice of exit servers with Tor.

See the above example stunnel.conf file.

I have copies of Stunnel and the library and config files in several
folders called Stunnel 1, Stunnel 2, etc and then I have socksified
each of the shortcuts on the Desktop. By renaming these icons within
FreeCap I can use whichever I wish.

The sequence is: Agent > Stunnel > Freecap > Tor > SSH server > news
server (or wherever).

This is the route to go for the strongest anonymity. It is especially
recommended for hard anonymous posting to Usenet. For lurking, the
requirements are not quite as critical and it is sufficient to just go
Agent > Stunnel > Freecap > Tor > news server.

Contrast that with the usual newby connection of Agent > news server.

47. How do I configure Putty?

Open Putty. Load one of your SSH servers, but do not yet open the

Go down left hand column to Proxy. Click on Socks5

Enter into Proxy Hostname and 9050 into Port.

Click on Yes for "Do DNS name lookup at Proxy end."

Go down to Tunnels. Remove your existing news server which will be
using port 119.

Input 563 for local port. Then input "secure.news.easynews.com:563"
(or whatever name your news provider has assigned you) in the
destination host box (without the quotes) and click on ADD.

Your entry will then look something like this:

L563 secure.news.easynews.com:563

Go back up to the opening screen in Putty and click on Save.

48. Can I post binaries anonymously to Usenet with this system?

Absolutely. If you choose to use Agent, it will always use your news
provider as the posting host. This is why I recommended you subscribe
anonymously to this news provider - see further down regarding anonymous

If you are into heavy posting then you should use Power Post or
something similar that allows you to choose whole folders of files for

If you use Quicksilver for posting to Usenet it will always use one of
the mail2news gateways. All data from your desktop is encrypted
through to the first remailer and then on through the Mixmaster
remailers and onto Usenet. The one and only down side is that the
anonymous remailer network does not readily accept large files, such as
binaries. Do not try and post as attachments, better to write it into
the body of the message, if possible. Agent does this by default,
even when you use its attachment feature.

To post binaries, use Agent or Power Post or similar and post via your
socksified Stunnel and Tor via your SSH server using Putty.

A warning: If you post illegal material, you may find your anonymous
account closed without warning and no possibility of any refund! Of
course no such opportunity exists when you channel through the remailer
network, which is precisely why so many choose to use it.

49. what about sending Email?

I recommend Quicksilver. Quicksilver now supports a direct route
through to Tor, providing you specify it. To ensure this go > Tools >
POP Accounts > Proxy > input in the Proxy Server window and
9050 in the Proxy Port window and choose 5 for Socks Level from the drop
down options. Obviously, you must also input your POP3 userid and
password in the POP Accounts section.

There is no need to worry about socksifying it through Stunnel and
FreeCap. Here are sample templates for this. Just copy and paste
them into a Quicksilver template.

This one is for Usenet, name it Panta-news:

Fcc: outbox
Tor:,4a; nowhere.invalid;
Host: panta-rhei.dyndns.org:2525
From: kwiktime <kwiktime@kwiktimemail.net>
From: urnym.goes.here
Chain: panta,*,*,italy; copies=2
To: mail2news_nospam@anon.lcs.mit.edu (http://anonym.to/?mailto:mail2news_nospam@anon.lcs.mit.ed u),
mail2news_nospam@freedom.gmsociety.org (http://anonym.to/?mailto:mail2news_nospam@freedom.gmsocie ty.org)

.and this one is for Email, name it Panta-Email:

Fcc: outbox
Tor:,4a; nowhere.invalid;
Host: panta-rhei.dyndns.org:2525
From: kwiktime <kwiktime@kwiktimemail.net>
From: urnym.goes.here
Chain: panta,*,*,italy; copies=2

Notice that in both cases truly excellent anonymity is assured because
in addition to the anonymity offered by Tor, your messages are further
anonymized by passing across the Mixmaster remailer network. It should
be truly impossible for your ISP to be able to even discern that you are
posting or sending Emails. This is because you are not using your ISP's
SMTP server to send mail or to post.

Hashcash is a requirement for panta-rhei, banana and dizum. Without the
Hashcash token your message will be either randomly sent to another
remailer or lost. To use Hashcash you must get the Hashcash zipped file
from here: http://www.panta-rhei.dyndns.org/downloads/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.panta-rhei.dyndns.org/downloads/)

Unzip and install in a convenient folder. After installation go > Start >
Programs > Universal Hashcash Minter and copy or drag and drop the
shortcuts shown into your desktop, or wherever. Now all you need to do
is click on the shortcut to mint tokens, copy the appropriate token to the
clipboard so you can paste it into the header of your Quicksilver template.

Hashcash is being forced on remailer admins to help minimize junk mail.
Without it, some might simply close. We all benefit from the remailer
network and this is the price we have to pay for this service.

To read more about Hashcash go here: http://www.hashcash.org/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.hashcash.org/)

A further refinement when using Quicksilver is to ensure that when you ask
it to update the remailer listing, it always uses Tor. To ensure this, on
the Tool Bar go > Remailer Documents > Proxy > in Proxy Host type and Port 9050 and Socks Level 5.

50. Why is the remailer network so secure and anonymous?

Although not perfect (nothing is), it does offer a level of anonymity well
above and beyond what simple anonymous services (such as Hotpop) offer.
It uses the Mixmaster remailers and has protocols to ensure your messages
are very difficult to trace and decrypt. Remember, by using Quicksilver
in the recommended way, you are not just using Mixmaster, but also using
the Tor network which then sends all data on to the Mixmaster remailer

Mixmaster is the type II remailer protocol and the most popular
implementation of it. Remailers provide protection against traffic
analysis and allow sending email anonymously or pseudonymously.

Mixmaster consists of both client and server installations and is designed
to run on several operating systems including but not limited to *BSD,
Linux and Microsoft Windows. It does not use PGP, but RSAREF with its own keys and key formats.

In the above cases, this anonymity is further reinforced by using the Tor
network to anonymize you from the panta-rhei first remailer in the
Mixmaster network. Double anonymity - excellent.

On the horizon is a new remailer system called Mixminion. It is available
now, but only as a beta service, so by all means experiment, but be

51. How do I receive Email with Quicksilver?

You can set up Quicksilver to look for Emails on any POP server such as
Fastmail.fm or hotpop.com. All your mail is then recovered via the Tor
network which helps you remain anonymous.

Go > Tools > POP Accounts > Proxy > for Proxy Server, 9050 for
Port and Socks level 5. Ignore the two lower lines. This will route
your Email path through Tor. You can choose to ensure that quicksilver
only downloads PGP encrypted mail and to delete or leave on the server.
Very flexible.

52. What about P2P and IRC?

P2P using eMule or whatever is very risky from a privacy view point,
unless you know what you are doing. I believe some have used it in
conjunction with Find.not, but you will have to do your own research
about this. I am sorry I cannot help as I have never tried it.

The Tor Website claims you can use Tor for IRC and IM, but again, I have
never used Tor in this fashion myself.

I used to recommend Trillian until I found that it is considered unsafe.
Take a look here: http://securityfocus.com/bid/5677 (http://anonym.to/?http://securityfocus.com/bid/5677)

53. How do I get access to the premium (paid for) services?

Apply on their sites. But always access via Tor and ensure you subscribe
anonymously. The easiest way is by means of a prepaid Debit Card.

54. I want a Pre-paid Debit Car, how and where do I get one?

Go here: http://www.money-around-the-world.com/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.money-around-the-world.com/)

They will accept many forms of payment. E-Gold is my preferred way using
two different E-gold accounts back to back. Why? Because it is much more difficult to do a back trace.

The Debit Card is acceptable to many more web sites, especially news
providers, than E-gold. Note this card is solely for Net use. It is a
virtual card. You get Emailed the card details, you do not receive a
physical card through snail mail. Thus the name and address you supply
need only match the name and address you have used when creating your
second E-gold account. Naturally, this is the same address you must use
when using your card to subscribe to a Web site. But this name and
address is your choice! If in the United states, the Zip code must match
your area. But so far as I can tell, that is the only check that is made.
Just take an address out of the phone book, but change the name and street to something innocuous.

Of course the Email address you offer, must be accurate, secure and most
importantly, anonymous.

55. Are there any disadvantages to this type of card?

Cost. They charge you 50 US Dollars, plus 6 percent of the value you wish
to load into the card. Future top ups are also charged 6 percent of the
amount you wish to load into the card. Plus it only has a 12 month
lifespan. At the end of the year, you need to re-apply for another. It
can only be used for Web purchases.

Its truly big advantage is it can be purchased anonymously. No online
identity checks or credit checks and no need to offer a genuine postal

But be certain to use an accurate and anonymous Email address.

56. What about funding my E-gold account?

This can be a disadvantage if you choose a market maker unwisely. Some
will want to identify you as per the latest Government homeland security
bills. However, if you choose an Asian market maker, you can pay directly
into one of their branches with a fake identity. Remember this is your
initial E-gold account. The name you should use must be different to your
second E-gold account. The second E-gold account receives its funding by
you transferring money from one account to another. To E-gold it would
seem as if you were sending money to someone else with no connection with you. Always use Windows Washer between accessing these accounts, to ensure there can be no connection between them by E-gold's use of cookies.

57. What is so bad about MS Internet Explorer?

MSIE is a dangerous program designed by MS to allow remote servers to
access your computer's registry. Although designed for use by MS to
allow easy updating of the Windows Operating System, this feature could
be used by any site to access your IP address, even your machine ID and
your personal Credit Card details or worse, far worse, your saved
pass phrases. This can be done even if you have logged onto a site
through a chain of proxies. In other words Microsoft Internet Explorer
is an absolute no-no as far as anonymity is concerned.

Be wary also of Windows Media Player. It creates a unique ID number in
the form of a 128-bit GUID (Globally Unique Identifier) which will
uniquely identify your computer to the world at large. It is stored in
the Windows Registry here:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Win dowsMedia\ WMSDK\General\UniqueID.

This ID number can be retrieved by any web site through the use of
JavaScript. Hence the reason why it MUST be disabled. The ID number is
called a super cookie because it can be retrieved by any web site. This
super cookie can be retrieved by any site to track you and web sites can
share this information with each other, allowing them to create a
sophisticated profile about your Internet usage. Worse, cookie blockers
cannot block its use!

The easy way to fix the problem is in Windows Media Player > Tools >
Options > Player. In the "Internet settings" section, uncheck the box
next to "Allow Internet sites to uniquely identify your Player."

Or you can ensure that Windows Media Player is not enabled at all. To
do this go Start > Settings > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs > Set
Program Access and Defaults > Custom > clear the button for both Real
Player (another bad one) and Windows Media Player and also clear the
button where it says "Enable access to this player" for both of them.
I choose both of the above methods as I believe in belts and braces when
it comes to privacy.

58. Surely all this is totally over the top for the majority of users?

It is certainly over the top for 99 per cent of users for 99 per cent of
the time. If, however, you are the one in a hundredth and you do not
much like the idea of being at risk for 1 per cent of the time, then no,
it is not over the top at all.

In any case, using these tactics helps create smoke which in turn helps
protect those who really do need all the protection and security they can

Remember this Faq is intended to help many different people. Some may be
living in deprived conditions, in countries where human rights
abuses are a daily fact of life.

59. What about backing up my Data?

Create another encrypted container using TrueCrypt on an external hard
drive. Open this partition and copy some innocuous data from your
normal plaintext drive. Now close this container and create a hidden
container, following the instructions in the documentation that comes
with TrueCrypt. Now copy all your secret data across into this secret

Restoring is just as simple. Just open the secret container and copy
into your DCPP partition.

60. Are there any other hints?

A few items that may be of interest if you run Windows XP, although not
of any value as snoop protection. To make your system run faster do
this: Right-click on the Start menu button > Properties > Start
Menu > Classic Start menu > Customize > Advanced Start > scroll down to
"Show Small Icons in Start menu" and uncheck the box. Click OK, again
OK. Now right-click on your Desktop > Properties > Appearance > effects.
Uncheck everything. Click OK in the Display Properties dialog and OK
again. You have just got rid of much of the Windows kludge. It will
run faster and will seem more enthusiastic about everything.

A further small improvement in securing your hard drive is to disable
Write Behind Disk Cache, if allowed. My version of Windows XP Pro
does not now allow it. If yours does, do this: go > Start > Control
Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager > Disk Drives - show
devices > open the appropriate disk > Policies > Uncheck Enable write
caching on the disk. Click OK, close the boxes. And that's it!

Write behind disk caching is just another kludge thing from Windows.
Theoretically it will speed things up, but at the cost of causing
more program crashes and certainly to reduce your security, so
disable it.

........................................ .......... ...........

That's it. I hope this Faq has been of some help to you.

I am aware that this Faq has grown over the years and will seem very
daunting to someone new to the Net. My suggestion is to take it one
step at a time. Experiment with PGP. Generate a few keys, test them
out by sending Email to yourself. Only when you understand what you are
doing should you then go on to the next step. I would suggest this might
be by investing in a new hard drive and experiment with encrypting it
using DCPP. Once this has been successful, attempt to clone it and then
finally to encrypt your hidden OS within it.

Only then should you try installing the files required for anonymity and
privacy. Again, take it one step at a time. Do not over-reach yourself.

Despite my attempts at thoroughness, this Faq still falls woefully short
of a truly comprehensive explanation of all that is required for true Net
privacy and anonymity. Hopefully individuals will take time to read and
learn more as they go along.

I have received several Emails from individuals who tell me they have
encountered various problems trying to follow my Faq. Basically, it
appears that some machines just do not like DCPP. Dell is one such brand.
- - - From what I have learnt, it seems impossible to create a hidden drive.
In some cases, not even on Drive C. However, some success was achieved following my suggestion to use the ER disk to attempt to boot into the
hidden disk instead of relying on the disk's MBR (Master Boot Record)
after cloning. Do the same whenever you wish to boot into the hidden
drive. In another incidence it seemed beneficial to switch off the
machine altogether before attempting a re-boot. Yet another ploy was to
reduce the size of the DCPP drive to just below 30 Gigs. A larger drive
caused boot errors.

No idea what is going on, but if you are having similar problems, try one
or more of these suggestions. They may help.

To contact me, please send encrypted mail to jeremiah@fastmail.fm (http://anonym.to/?mailto:jeremiah@fastmail.fm) My key is on the server at Http://pgpkeys.mit.edu (http://anonym.to/?http://pgpkeys.mit.edu/) - ensure you include your key
if you want a reply. Note only PGP encrypted mail is accepted. All plaintext mail is discarded.

This is my key fingerprint: F463 7DCB C8BD 1924 F34B 8171 C958 C5BB

Remember, anybody can call themselves by my Nic, but there can only be one key fingerprint like the above - mine. It thus ensures you are encrypting your mail to my key and not some spook trying to trap you.

Look for the latest revision of this Faq here:

http://www.panta-rhei.dyndns.org/pan...dEncryptionFaq (http://anonym.to/?http://www.panta-rhei.dyndns.org/pantawiki/SecurityAndEncryptionFaq)

Links to items specifically mentioned or recommended in the Faq:

PGP: http://www.panta-rhei.dyndns.org/dow...gp658ckt08.zip (http://anonym.to/?http://www.panta-rhei.dyndns.org/downloads/PGP/pgp658ckt08.zip)
(This is the version I prefer)

DCPP: http://www.securstar.com (http://anonym.to/?http://www.securstar.com/)

TrueCrypt: http://www.truecrypt.org/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.truecrypt.org/)

Putty: http://www.tucows.com/preview/195286.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.tucows.com/preview/195286.html)

or here:

http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/%7Esgtatham/putty/download.html)

Stunnel is used for NNTP secure connections to your news provider.

Stunnel requires the executive file plus 2 others.

Stunnel: http://www.stunnel.org/download/binaries.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.stunnel.org/download/binaries.html)

stunnel-4.05.exe.asc (digital signature file optional but recommended)

Open SSL Libraries (required files - scroll down the page:


libssl32.dll.asc (optional)
libeay32.dll.asc (optional)

Privoxy Home page: http://www.privoxy.org/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.privoxy.org/)

Tor: http://tor.freehaven.net/ (http://anonym.to/?http://tor.freehaven.net/)

Quicksilver: http://www.quicksilvermail.net/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.quicksilvermail.net/)

Mixmaster: (required by Quicksilver) can be downloaded after
installing Quicksilver, just go > Window > Update Wizard and
follow the onscreen steps

POP Email services: http://www.emailaddresses.com/email_pop.htm (http://anonym.to/?http://www.emailaddresses.com/email_pop.htm)

Hashcash Zip file: http://www.panta-rhei.dyndns.org/downloads/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.panta-rhei.dyndns.org/downloads/)

Hashcash site: http://www.hashcash.org/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.hashcash.org/)

Kremlin: http://kremlinencrypt.com/download.php (http://anonym.to/?http://kremlinencrypt.com/download.php)

Wipeutil: http://short.stop.home.att.net/freesoft/filutil2.htm (http://anonym.to/?http://short.stop.home.att.net/freesoft/filutil2.htm)

Windows Washer is here: http://www.webroot.com (http://anonym.to/?http://www.webroot.com/)

E-Gold: http://www.e-gold.com (http://anonym.to/?http://www.e-gold.com/)

Virtual Debit Cards: http://www.money-around-the-world.com/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.money-around-the-world.com/)

Privacy.Li: http://privacy.li (http://anonym.to/?http://privacy.li/)

Agent: http://www.forteinc.com/main/homepage.php (http://anonym.to/?http://www.forteinc.com/main/homepage.php)

Zonealarm: http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/home.jsp (http://anonym.to/?http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/home.jsp)

Other links that might be of interest:

UUDeview: http://www.fpx.de/fp/Software/UUDeview/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.fpx.de/fp/Software/UUDeview/)

Jstrip: http://www.davidcrowell.com/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.davidcrowell.com/)

BLJoin: http://www.all4you.dk/FreewareWorld/links.php?id=8866 (http://anonym.to/?http://www.all4you.dk/FreewareWorld/links.php?id=8866)

JAP: http://anon.inf.tu-dresden.de/desc/encr_jap_en.html (http://anonym.to/?http://anon.inf.tu-dresden.de/desc/encr_jap_en.html)

SSL Proxy info: http://www.jestrix.net/tuts/sslsocks.html#intro (http://anonym.to/?http://www.jestrix.net/tuts/sslsocks.html#intro)

WinHex: http://www.winhex.com/winhex/order.html. (http://anonym.to/?http://www.winhex.com/winhex/order.html.)

ACDSee: http://www.acdsystems.com/english/products/acdsee/index (http://anonym.to/?http://www.acdsystems.com/english/products/acdsee/index)

Thumbs Plus: http://www.cerious.com (http://anonym.to/?http://www.cerious.com/)

VuePro: http://www.hamrick.com (http://anonym.to/?http://www.hamrick.com/)

A Proxy site listing: http://www.samair.ru/proxy/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.samair.ru/proxy/)

News Providers: http://www.exit109.com/~jeremy/news/providers/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.exit109.com/%7Ejeremy/news/providers/)

Freenet: http://freenet.sourceforge.net/ (http://anonym.to/?http://freenet.sourceforge.net/)

Nym remailers:

nym.alias.net, home page: Http://www.lcs.mit.edu/research/anonymous.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.lcs.mit.edu/research/anonymous.html)

Anon.efga.org, home page: http://anon.efga.org/ (http://anonym.to/?http://anon.efga.org/)

In case you need convincing:

http://www.gn.apc.org/duncan/stoa_cover.htm (http://anonym.to/?http://www.gn.apc.org/duncan/stoa_cover.htm)

Useful programs:

Partition Magic: http://www.powerquest.com/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.powerquest.com/)

FSRaid: http://www.fluidstudios.com/fsraid.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.fluidstudios.com/fsraid.html)

HJSplit: http://www.freebyte.com/hjsplit/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.freebyte.com/hjsplit/)

Mastersplitter: http://www.tomasoft.com/mswin95.htm (http://anonym.to/?http://www.tomasoft.com/mswin95.htm)

PowerPost: http://www.cosmicwolf.com/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.cosmicwolf.com/)

Quickpar: http://www.pbclements.co.uk/QuickPar/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.pbclements.co.uk/QuickPar/)

SmartPar: http://www.smr-usenet.com/tutor/smartpar.shtml (http://anonym.to/?http://www.smr-usenet.com/tutor/smartpar.shtml)

WinAce: http://www.winace.com/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.winace.com/)

WinRAR is here: http://www.rararchiver.com/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.rararchiver.com/)

YProxy is here: http://www.brawnylads.com/yproxy/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.brawnylads.com/yproxy/)

Media Player Classic: http://sourceforge.net/projects/guliverkli/ (http://anonym.to/?http://sourceforge.net/projects/guliverkli/)

Some anonymity sites:

http://www.worldnet-news.com/software.htm (http://anonym.to/?http://www.worldnet-news.com/software.htm)

http://www.skuz.net/potatoware/index.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.skuz.net/potatoware/index.html)

http://www.skuz.net/potatoware/jbn/index.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.skuz.net/potatoware/jbn/index.html)

http://packetderm.cotse.com/ (http://anonym.to/?http://packetderm.cotse.com/)

http://www.cotse.com/refs.htm (http://anonym.to/?http://www.cotse.com/refs.htm)

http://freeyellow.com/members3/fantan/pgp.html (http://anonym.to/?http://freeyellow.com/members3/fantan/pgp.html)

http://www.all-nettools.com/privacy/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.all-nettools.com/privacy/)

http://Privacy.net/ (http://anonym.to/?http://privacy.net/)

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/3969/gotcha.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/3969/gotcha.html)

http://www.junkbusters.com/ht/en/links.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.junkbusters.com/ht/en/links.html)

http://www.skuz.net/potatoware/privacy.txt (http://anonym.to/?http://www.skuz.net/potatoware/privacy.txt)

Other additional useful sites:

Beginner's Guide to PGP: http://www.stack.nl/~galactus/remailers/bg2pgp.txt (http://anonym.to/?http://www.stack.nl/%7Egalactus/remailers/bg2pgp.txt)

PGP for beginners: http://axion.physics.ubc.ca/pgp-begin.html#index (http://anonym.to/?http://axion.physics.ubc.ca/pgp-begin.html#index)

Faq for PGP Dummies: http://www.skuz.net/pgp4dummies/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.skuz.net/pgp4dummies/)

The PGP Faq: http://www.cryptography.org/getpgp.txt (http://anonym.to/?http://www.cryptography.org/getpgp.txt)

The SSH home page: http://www.ssh.com/products/ssh/ (http://anonym.to/?http://www.ssh.com/products/ssh/)

Anonymous Posting: http://www.skuz.net/Thanatop/contents.htm (http://anonym.to/?http://www.skuz.net/Thanatop/contents.htm)

Anonymity Info: http://www.dnai.com/~wussery/pgp.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.dnai.com/%7Ewussery/pgp.html)

Nym Creation: http://www.stack.nl/~galactus/remailers/nym.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.stack.nl/%7Egalactus/remailers/nym.html)

General info: http://www.stack.nl/~galactus/remailers/index-pgp.html (http://anonym.to/?http://www.stack.nl/%7Egalactus/remailers/index-pgp.html)

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[B]Revision 21.0