Four Letters Re: Firewalls, Anonymity, and SurvivalBlog

Monday, Dec 22, 2008

Two notes about Some Call Me Tim's excellent recommendation of JanusVM:
1) Use to verify that you've done everything right. It uses a whole host of very strong tests to attempt to locate your computer and will find out if you've slipped up somewhere. The place you've slipped up is almost always DNS but cookies and other things can give you away too.

2) Be aware that this encrypts the traffic you're sending and receiving, it doesn't make it go away. Someone listening in can tell when you're sending/receiving and how much, they just can't read it. Timing and bulk are circumstantial evidence, true, but they are there. So it is best to keep your subtle browsing small and not be noticed. - PH .

As a network administrator. I generally find pleasure in "testing" networks. JanusVM works great when getting past firewalls, but its large size (~22mb) could be an issue. I have found UltraSurf works extremely well. It is fast, 50 times smaller than JanusVM, and most importantly, defeats web filtering and tracking software. It was developed to be used in a certain communist country with a rather large firewall, but is now used worldwide. Its small size and no need for an install make it ideal for quickly dropping onto a system in a cafe/library/school or just simply running in the background on your personal system. I personally have used it in each of those situations.
One drawback is that some network virus scanners have been notified to look for it and declare it a trojan to prevent its use on networks. I've encountered this once in an Indian Internet cafe (of all places) and once on a university network. To combat this you can do two things. First, keep up with the latest version, as their signatures aren't tagged by the scanners. Two, rename the file to something like "stamp_collection.exe" to prevent simple name recognition.

All of this is great, but what if the user can't download it in the first place? Many times the web site will be blocked, but the download itself is available, especially the ".exe" download as it is not linked from the front page. You can also find it on popular download sites (like this one), which will not all be blocked. Emailing it to yourself using a web mail account is an option, but the user will have to rename it to something like "file.txt" as .exe file extensions are usually not allowed attached to emails; just change it back to an .exe extension to use. Once downloaded, the clever user can simply carry it around on a USB ["thumb"] drive or floppy disk to pull out when needed.
Keep up the good work, - Blaze


In regards to SurvivalBlog, I am still able to access it via NMCI as of this morning. They have been pretty strict lately due to a Navy/DOD wide virus getting passed around via thumb drives (which have since been banned from use). On the matter of privacy, anyone should know better than to think they will have privacy while using anything that belongs to the government! Before you are granted access to a DOD information technology (IT) asset you sign an "end user agreement" which prohibits the use of third party proxies to bypass firewalls, as well as downloading anything like privacy software. I can say from my own negative experience that the computer types keep track of anything and everything, including attempts to circumvent firewalls by various means. I think the email update idea does have much merit in this regard, especially for the shipboard folks. Keep up the great work Jim! - O.E.


Mr. Rawles,
Thank you for your tireless work in educating the masses about the importance of preparedness. I discovered your writings and your Survival Blog a few months ago and have enjoyed the treasure trove of valuable information that both you and your audience contribute. Fortunately, it has reinforced most of the preparations I have made to date, but it is nonetheless a wonderful resource to be sure. "Patriots" was a great read, by the way, and I have given five copies away to friends, both preppers and non-preppers. The "nons" have since seen the light and are getting started on their way to complete independence and self-sufficiency. While I have been casually encouraging them to do that very thing for a while, it was your work that finally opened their eyes, hearts, and minds. Thank you.

The reason for my correspondence is to make you and your readers aware of one of the most important tools available for the computer user who wants to maintain complete privacy on both his own computer and public computers that he may use while traveling or evading.

Iron Key is a USB flash drive, but it is unlike any other flash drive on the market today. It uses an onboard browser and proprietary hardware and software encryption so information stored on the device or sent or received while online, including web traffic, cannot be intercepted by any else. I will let the folks at Iron Key do the rest of the selling. I am nothing more than a customer of theirs, but I believe wholeheartedly in their product and recommend them without equivocation. Godspeed, - Jason in Central Texas

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