Questions on how to stay anonymous rank at the top of the list for SpyBlog.net readers. There is NO way to prevent yourself from being tracked, but these methods generally will help minimize your exposure. Read and use at your own risk. Most of the steps are highly technical so sign up for our newsletter to receive a more simple guide in PDF format.
A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network, in Bittorrent sense, is a way of disguising your IP and encrypting all of your internet traffic so your Internet Service Provider and hackers at coffeeshops sniffing data cannot see what you do online. Many people regard VPNs as a excellent, and easy way of protecting yourself, especially on Public Bittorrent sites such as Demonoid.me, ThePirateBay and isoHunt.
In some cases, they also allow you to bypass ISP throttling for Bittorrent, or may slow your VPN connection speed entirely.
VPNs will likely be outdated in terms of encryption when IPv6 comes out, but right now, it’s a awesome solution.
A list of VPN providers who “claim” to be P2P friendly. They are not required usually, under their jurisdiction, to claim that they keep logs if they only use it for law enforcement purposes under request or warrant. I highly recommend VYPR VPN.
A Useful guide may be: http://torrentfreak.com/how-to-make-vpns-even-more-secure-120419/
You can run yown VPN for $10/$15 a year using a cheap 128MB VPS from either Prometeus [the best] or Ramnode. You can also use it for other such as running a very small seedbox or web seed, or a tiny bittorrent tracker. The problem with this is that if you use legitimate details, the VPN could be traced back to you, but that’s the same with VPNs that use a dedicated IP address who will cut you off, but using a shared IP address could mean a couple of software conflicts. If you are unwilling, I recommend vpn.sh, if you’re a light torrenter.
Do not use HideMyAss, Expat Shield, Hotspot Shield because they datamine/keep logs.
Do not use ProXPN, at 300kbp for free, you are going to limit your speeds to around 31KBs/s. Not only that but they do not use a open source client and the level of security is not confirmed to be completely secure.
VPNReactor is confirmed to have logs, but you are welcome to use it. They have a 30 minute time limit, then you have to wait another 30 minutes.
Do not use TOR or Ultrasurf, Although some software take advantage of it, these tools are meant for threatened bloggers, anonymous free speech and whistleblowing, not so you can download the latest Justin Bieber album.
My condolences to Topiary, a international hacker part of Lulzsec, who was caught due to HideMyAss.
PPTP or OpenVPN?
Generally PPTP is slightly faster [up to 1.2mbp faster, generally, but not worth it due to the security constraints and often aren’t enough to significantly affect any connection], easier to setup and more compatible with mobile devices such as Android [Android v2 has a bug that disables PPTP without notice though] and iPhone, but OpenVPN has much better encryption, can bypass censorship and is better suited for computers and laptops on the go. There are other protocols but they are less used. L2TPs Use is dwindling, IPSEC is too hard and SSTP is generally only used in networks and countries where PPTP is blocked, as well, it is rarely provided with the exception of StrongVPN, which keeps logs.
EDIT: PPTP IS NOT SECURE. AVOID PPTP. In truth, it is dead. Consider switching to SSTP [or better OpenVPN, or L2TP) though. -ayetoopie
You will likely be caught if you choose a VPN provider that keeps logs and are under constant pressure from Anti-P2P firms.
Another common suggestion are Seedboxes. Seedboxes are basically machines on high speed connections that can download at speeds of 10mbp, 50mbp, 100mbp, 1Gbit, and up to 10Gbits. These are expensive if you buy dedicated servers, although it is worth knowing that most of these boxes are Kimsufi.ie dedicated servers that are already set up. They don’t take much effort to setup though and come with lots of space at a cheap price, also allowing you to setup a OpenVPN if you want at the same price. I recommend going with Kimsufi.ie and setting up your own seedbox if you are up for it, but otherwise, you can cough up the extra 10 dollars and buy from a reputable seedbox provider such as Baconseed.
As a bonus, Seedboxes have the extra space, speed and isolation that you might need. Seedboxes make ratio-keeping much easier on Private Bittorrent sites and allow you to download at lightning fast speeds.
Guide to setting up your own Seedbox: http://filesharefreak.com/2010/02/13/how-to-install-rtorrent-rutorrent-using-socket-ssl-authentication-on-ubuntu-or-debian
Using a Seedbox provider could, at it’s discretion and jurisdiction, could release your details if you are traced back them.
3) Private Bittorrent Sites
Exclusive websites such as TorrentLeech (I’m so lucky to have a account.) often are faster, better and allow you to find torrents that aren’t publicly available like Delta class security clearance items, little-known video games, classified documents or police investigation tools.
You do however, have to keep a good ratio, and if you only leech… Good luck. In order to keep a good ratio, a seedbox or a internet connection that is 10mbp or higher is generally required.
Some Private Bittorrent sites sell your information, so use a fake persona whenever possible.
Demonoid (down), BakaBT and other semi-private websites are NOT Private trackers and websites.
However, There is always the chance that a website is fake, or Agents have already infiltrated the website. Still take caution.
If you are willing to pay for a file sharings service on high speed connections that will max out your connection, Usenet is a good choice. I recommend Giganews, which also includes a OpenVPN subscription 🙂 These servers are anonymous and are rarely attacked by Anti-P2P organization, but this is my opinion and people usually don’t like Giganews because it’s overpriced. Try astraweb or frugalnews if you are more concerned about price.
There are a couple of Free Usenet providers that are very limited, but you should really just purchase a service. Zombie_rapist recommends http://just4today.net/ if you would just like to try it out. Others include http://xsusenet.com/ and http://usenetstorm.com/
I cannot vouch for any of them.
In short: I2P is a free, open-source, decentralized, anonymous darknet.
VPNs, seedboxes, private Bittorrent sites and the like have one thing in common: they security they provide is mostly based on trust and obscurity. There are anonymization networks that do not rely on trust but rather on their technical architecture to provide anonymity to their users. Tor is one such network, but as has been mentioned already, you should not use Tor for filesharing. However, there is another anonymization network that does allow for filesharing. This is I2P. Your data is sent through multiple other computers running I2P (called I2P routers) before it reaches its final destination. Because the information is encrypted from end to end, no one will be able to see what you are sending, nor will they be able to tell what the source of the data or the destination is (a technical explanation of this is beyond to scope of a quick introduction. visit i2p2.de for more information).
I2P already has a small but active torrent scene. At the moment, you will not find the same amount of content as on the clearnet, but that of course will increase when the I2P torrent scene grows.
It should be noted that I2P is considerably slower than clearnet torrents. If you’re all about speed, I2P probably isn’t for you. But if you agree that trading off some amount of speed for a highly secure and anonymous way of filesharing is worth doing, then you should definitely give I2P a try!
/r/i2p is a good resource to begin exploring I2P. Feel free to post any questions or thoughts you might have about I2P there.
Note: You cannot use I2P to download torrents from the clearnet, yet.
Credits: This entire section was written by ayetoopie. He was nice enough, due to me giving only a passing mention of I2P, to write this out.
6) Guerrilla tactics
Downloading using Open Wifi connections, hacked WEP connections and Coffee shops are somewhat, less orthodox ways of downloading without being caught. Though it’s somewhat unethical.
Its possible to be caught if it is a honeypot dropper point, but it’s extremely unlikely.
7) Move to another country.
A list of countries without copyright laws: Eritrea, Turkmenistan, San Marino, US territories [have extradition with the US] Seychelles, Iran, Iraq, Palau, Afghanistan [for a few more months] Somalia, Kiribati, Laos, Sao Tome, Principe, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Nauru. If you decide to leave for Laos or Somalia, bring me back an AK-47.
Some countries where piracy is on a wide scale don’t care either. Generally countries such as China, India and United Arab Emirates.
8) Using a anonymous bittorrent service
Services such as OneSwarm, Ares and Anonomos [Didn’t spell that right], but I can’t provide much details as I’ve never used them. A reader mentioned I2P, which is a anonymous network, but I have no experience so I cannot vouch.
9) Software such as Peerblock and PeerGuardian
These software privacy oriented firewalls are useless for keeping your IP address from evil people, but they can block further probing such as IP scanning. Anti-P2P organizations can still track you down if you use Peerblock as your only protection, however. The probing can allow tracing of a computer system on a shared connection, e.g. You share a apartment with 3 different people, each with their own computer. Crucial Information such as Operating System, Time of Access, Ping, e.g. can allow this, but usually the owner of the connection or home is sued.
*Note: They don’t offer protection, and you are a idiot if you do think it’s protection. It does more harm than good, some would say (especially if using private trackers). The most Peerblock is going to do is stop some government and corporate IP scanning.
10) Stop pirating -_-
Piracy is bad, for you and everyone else. Download legal stuff instead, even though Piracy is nothing more than a excuse.
If you live in a country that allows you to express your opinion/democracy, please contact your representative and ask them to create Net Neutrality, Privacy and Filesharing laws that are more lax or none at all. If your country has one, vote for the Pirate Party, or run as a politician for the Pirate Party