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Thursday, January 20, 2011

privacy on the internet

A part of this interesting article about privacy on the internet

On the internet, sometimes the best form of privacy is being anonymous. It's difficult for an attacker to get to you if they can't pinpoint you on the network. And no one covers your tracks better than the combination of Privoxy and Tor.
Tor protects privacy via a distributed network of relays run by volunteers spread across the world. This helps prevent anybody monitoring your internet connections from learning what sites you visit.
Tor works with web browsers, instant messaging programs and many other TCP-based apps. But the various app protocols and associated programs can be coaxed into revealing information about the user, which is where Privoxy comes into the picture. Tor depends on Privoxy and its filtering capabilities to enhance privacy.
Begin by pulling Privoxy from your distro repositories, then head into your browser's advanced settings where you can change its proxy settings. Here just fill in for the HTTP proxy, and specify 8118 as the port. That's all there's to it.
When you're done, start the Privoxy daemon with /etc/ init.d/privoxy start. You can now access Privoxy's interface from or http://p.p.
To hook up Privoxy with Tor, you first need to set up Tor's package repository. This is easily done by adding the following line to your Ubuntu or Debian installation:
deb main
Replace with the name for your distro, like karmic, or sid. Then add the GPG key used to sign the packages by running the following:
gpg --keyserver --recv 886DDD89 gpg --export A3C4F0F979CAA22CDBA8 F512EE8CBC9E886DDD89 | sudo apt-key add -
If you use Yum, create a torproject.repo under /etc/ yum/repos.d with the following content:
name=Tor and Vidalia
type=rpm-md gpgcheck=1
Again replace DISTRIBUTION with the name of your Fedora or CentOS release, such as centos5 or fc13. Now fetch Tor via the package manager, which will also pull in additional packages like the Vidalia Tor GUI controller.
Make sure you don't install the Polipo web proxy app, since we are using Privoxy and the two might conflict because they operate on the same port.
The last step is to get Privoxy and Tor to talk to each other. For this just edit the Privoxy config file under /etc/privoxy and uncomment the following line:
# forward-socks4a /
Also uncomment the following lines to make sure the local network is still reachable:
# forward 192.168.*.*/ .
# forward 10.*.*.*/ .
# forward 127.*.*.*/
Presto! Now all our internet traffic that passes through the Tor and Privoxy proxies is masked.

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