Recently multiple statements issued by governments and other official sources report on various surveillance techniques now being used across the globe. Regular citizens being aggressively investigated as political dissidents aka ‘domestic terrorists’, are seemingly nonstop and without any end in sight. If you don’t think this is so, simply look at some of the legislation in place, or that is in process: Bill HR 5077; The 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act. There are many more, you need only look.
If you believe you should be able to use the internet as you see fit, without the government watching every move you make, then you want to be as anonymous as possible. Anonymity is not only more popular now more than ever; but also more necessary. Nothing that anybody does over the internet goes unnoticed. Everything you do is definitely logged, and possibly monitored. Every website you visit; every e-mail you send/receive; every picture you view/download; every video you watch; in fact every move you make over the internet is logged by your Internet Service Provider(ISP) and you are identified by your IP address.
If you don’t believe any of this will cause you any harm, think again. Unless you are simply a sheep to a corrupt US government, make no mistake about it, you are indeed a target.
If anonymous computing is what you seek, then this post is definitely for you. This information is what it takes to protect who you are, and where you go when using the internet. Do not be daunted, it’s not really all that complex, and frankly most teen aged kids can do most of this effortlessly. The world is changing around you, you need to change with the times, or simply become a victim.
This Anonymous Computer utilizes Debian Linux as a host, and the Whonix Gateway and Workstation as a guest, for the core system. All anonymous computing takes place under TOR, through the guest. Although not required, it is highly recommended to use a VPN on the host.
If you have read the following posts, you should be familiar with the procedures and softwares required to configure this Anonymous PC:
- Debian Linux: The Universal Operating System
- VirtualBox: What Is It?
- Whonix: What Is It?
- Anonymity On The Internet: The TOR Browser
- Hexchat in the Whonix OS: For Anonymity
- Pigeon & OTR: IM Privacy via Encryption
- Encrypting Email: Using Enigmail in IceDove
Checklist for configuring your truly anonymous personal computer:
- Install Debian Linux as the host operating system on your PC.
- Install the VirtualBox software, so as to run the Whonix Gateway and Workstation as guests on your Debian host.
- Install the Whonix Gateway and Workstation to a virtual machine using VirtualBox.
- Start up the Whonix Gateway first, then the Whonix Workstation, (shut them down in the opposite order), and run the TOR Browser for the first time.
- Install and setup KeePassX for password management.
- Install and setup HexChat for use over IRC.
- Install the OTR plugin for the Pigeon instant messaging software, then configure Pigeon for the Jabber network.
- Install and setup the Enigmail plugin to IceDove, for email encryption.
- Mitigate malware by creating a virtual hard disk for the Whonix Workstation, (optional but recommended).
All the software in the world can’t stop you as a person from giving yourself away as a consequence of your own actions. Practicing safe computing habits is just as important as using safe software solutions. Here are some practices that will keep you secure, private and anonymous while computing under the Anonymous PC. While this list is by no means comprehensive, it should get you into the habit of hiding yourself, and keeping yourself hidden:
- Use a VPN, and configure it to work under Whonix.
- Use a dedicated PC for anonymous computing.
- Keep all the software on your Anonymous PC up to date.
- Never disclose any personal information (including gender).
- Create several usernames strictly for use on your anonymous PC, and rotate them.
- Don’t download anything to your anonymous PC. If you do, download it to a USB drive, and open the files on a different PC. Never ever open a file from the internet on your anonymous PC.
- Don’t make online purchases with your anonymous PC.
- Don’t use social media on your anonymous PC (nor its username).
- Create a unique email accounts using your unique usernames for computing on your anonymous PC.
- Always encrypt your email, and use an email service such as RiseUp.
- Do not modify in any way the TOR browser in Whonix.
- Do not use any add-ons with the TOR browser.
- Do use the strongest passwords possible using a pawword manager like KeepassX.
- Stay away from search engines like Bing and Google; try Duck DuckGo.
The Anonymous Personal Computer is the forth and final installment of the 4-part series ‘Personal Computing: How to do it Securely, Privately, and Anonymously’. Use the tools in this series, and compute with confidence that you can operate the Internet using some of the best counter-surveillance available, at no cost. Remember, privacy over the Internet is your own personal responsibility in todays modern computing age.
Here are the first three parts of ‘Personal Computing: How to do it Securely, Privately, and Anonymously’