Usability of Anonymous Web Browsing: An Evaluation of the Uses of Anonymous Web Browsing and its Legitimacy
According to Irene Ramsay (Digital Media 26/06/14) anonymous web browsing is becoming increasingly discussed in the technology sector. With more and more people becoming interested in anonymity on the web, given all the security benefits, it is no wonder that the world is becoming obsessed with anonymous browsing. However, anonymous web browsing has proven to be dangerous, given the track record of The Silk Road and other similar cases. The Silk Road is an online community and market place where cyber criminals can purchase drugs, weapons, stolen goods and illegal service primarily. Many criminals prefer to use anonymous web browsing technologies in order to stay under the police radar which is useful when purchasing or supplying illegal services or product. This ideology may be short-lived; policing authorities are becoming increasingly involved in cybercrime, especially in relations to anonymous web browsing. Despite this, anonymous web browsing remains a ‘hot’ topic in the technology sector. This paper will discuss the foundations of anonymous web browsing and how it can be used both legitimately and illegitimately.
The onion router (Tor) is a vital security tool that gives unknown web-browsing capabilities by sending clients’ activity through a system of specific substitute servers to unlock the sender’s character from their movement. By analysing the convenience of these instruments and offering recommendations for their change, the inspiration of this paper is to present the legitimate and illegitimate uses for Tor and how these changes could help prevent cybercriminals from utilizing the administration for illegitimate purposes.
Tor can beneficial for law enforcement agents who require anonymity when investigating a criminal or for users who are at high risk of threat from criminals and location based terrorist attacks such as military personnel or high profile politicians. However, anonymity on the web can also be used as a tool for criminals to supply and purchase illegal services and product as discussed previously in the paper.
In a tor system, namelessness is achieved by blending the sender’s web movement with activity from different clients such that the genuine sender of a specific message is vague from the situated of all clients. As it were, the sender is just unacknowledged inside a swarm. As being what is indicated, the sender’s secrecy is contingent on other clients being untraceable. In the event that alternate clients confer blunders that permit them to be followed, the quantity of clients covering for the sender abatements, having a direct impact all alone obscurity.
As critical as the usability and anonymity features of Tor are, there is little literature on the usability and security features of Tor to date. The lack of documentation on Tor makes it increasingly harder for law enforcement to be able to find ways of breaking the mechanisms used by Tor.
This paper will examine the preliminaries of anonymous correspondence and onion routing, and look at the relevant risk models. All through the greater part of this, the report will discuss the legitimate and illegitimate uses utilizing different sources.
ANONYMIZED WEB BROWSING
Anonymity implies diverse things in distinctive settings. As has been brought up by numerous researchers, the conventional meaning of anonymity is the ‘state of namelessness. This infers traveling through society without an identity, which can be used to link activity to a user or character. In the online world, character is commonly characterized by one or more advanced pseudonyms (Syverson P and others 2007).
The general methodology to controlling the spread of IP addresses online is through proxy/substitute servers. Conceptually, “a proxy is someone who acts on another entity’s behalf”. Web movement may be sent to a person in-the-centre’ who then advances source and objective activity between the clients and the proxy server(s). A proxy server sections the association between the client and the server into the client proxy connection and the proxy server join (Owen M 2007)
A mix proxy, proposed by Chaum, utilizes encryption on the client side connection to keep an eavesdropper from perusing the messages before they enter the proxy. At that point, with a specific end goal to forestall straightforward timing assaults – where encoded bundles entering the substitute are corresponded to the unscrambled parcels which are instantly yielded by the proxy – a mix proxy does not process and discharge activity in its received request. Rather, these proxy server take a fix-sized set of approaching packets from a gathering of distinctive clients and arbitrarily reorder the packets before they are conveyed. On account of services are not time delicate, for example, email, the servers may present irregular defers or utilize more convoluted discharging guidelines (Burnett, S, Feamster, N and Vempala S 2010).
The sender encrypts the message three times – a layer for each one mix proxy in the way. Since the encryption is layered, the bundled message is metaphorically alluded to as an onion. Every proxy removes the external layer of the ‘onion’ as it travels through the system, and the middle of the ‘onion’ is the plaintext packet for the receiver. This system is known as onion routing, and Tor is an execution of this strategy (Clark J and others 2007).
PURPOSES OF ANONYMIZED WEB BROWSING
A few anonymous proxy servers offer real security benefits that help clients secure themselves from pop-up promotions, cookies, web control or oppressive governments. Numerous sites employ methods to peruse a guest’s program data or to place cookies on the guest’s machine with a specific end goal to track that individual’s browsing activity or serve them with undesirable promotions (Gritzald S 2004).
Redirecting browsing activity through an anonymous proxy server keeps a site from viably utilizing this distinguishing proof, following and focusing on procedures and helps safeguard client protection.
In a few cases oppressive governments have placed innovation set up to keep web clients from getting to specific sites or to track people on the web. An example of this can be seen in Egypt and China, where the governments have blocked access to certain websites such as Facebook and other social networking platforms. The utilization of anonymous proxies can bypass these redirections and secure a client’s character (Taylor A 2014, Zittrain,J and Edelman B 2003).
However, the benefits are limited. Due to the nature of proxies, they can be used to cover the identity of criminals on the internet who wish to use the internet for illegal purposes, for example to sell drugs or illegal equipment. Proxy servers, for these individuals or groups, are very useful as they can sell these without being detected. Tor makes this especially easy due to its layered encryption technique (Anon 2014).
Criminal proxies have been set up covertly for the particular reason for empowering and concealing malicious online activity. They are regularly hard to discover on the grounds that they are publicized just inside programmer and online criminal groups. A few fraudsters use proxies when leading illicit action on the web. When they visit a site thusly, it is just as they are ‘strolling through the front entryway of a brick and mortar wall wearing a ski cover’ (Anon 2013). Then again, some individuals use anonymizing proxies to bypass limitations that breaking point online access to substance or information to specific topographies. Individuals who live outside of these areas may utilize a substitute as a part of request to get access to substance that is denied by contract or by law.
The selling of drugs online has become a serious concern in America where people are illegitimately purchasing drugs which are not meant for their purposes or which have horrific side effects, leading to fatal consequences. In a study regarding the purchase of illegal drugs online, it was found that many people could not make out signs of danger displayed on rogue Internet pharmacies, because they would choose to go for a professional looking illegitimate site (Ivanitskaya L and others 2010).
Some believe that it is fundamental for individuals who utilize the web to be educated considerably more completely than they at present are about the levels of privacy and security gave in different employments. The same is valid for nationals who are not currently Internet users, however who ought to have something to do with the further specialized and lawful organizing of an internet to which they will probably have admittance later on. However, the issue of cyber-criminals in the cyberspace will still remain. Although local policing authorities are now becoming more proactive in their involvement within cybercrime and how online crime is treated, the lack in technological advancements do somewhat hinder their ability to more easily find cybercriminals. Furthermore, because of the current economic state law enforcement agencies do not receive enough funding to police the Internet as efficiently as they could. Crime committed in the flesh often takes a higher priority to crime committed on the web; this is due to the fact that the seriousness and power of criminal activity online is often overlooked.
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