Folded Note Could Be Unfolded Too Easily For Strong Anonymity

www.foldednote.com is another in the long list of web based services that offer some form of anonymous email messaging.  Theirs is somewhat different than most I’ve seen in that it involves a four step process and even allows the anonymous sender to recieve a reply.  All this while ostensibly remaining anonymous.  Of course, I decided to check it out.

Step one

You’re presented with a form where you enter the recipient’s email address and write your message (which is limited to 500 characters).  When you’re done, you click on “Review your note” which takes you to a page that allows you to preview the note and, if need be, continue editing.

I have to say that I also found it interesting that they actively prevent users from sending messages to themselves.  Fortunately I have plenty of secondary email addresses to use for testing the site.

Once you’re satisfied, you then need to enter your email address and solve a captcha.  This causes a confirmation to be sent to your email address.  The confirmation contains a link that you must use in order to sent the email.  I’ll give ’em one thing, their use of confirmation of the sender’s email combined with a captcha means that this system is like pantry moth traps for spammers so the site will definitely not be abused by spammers.

It also insures that they’ve got your email address because the system will not send your message unless it’s got yours confirmed by clicking the link in the confirmation email they send you.

Step two

The next thing that happens is that the recipient get an email from folded note saying that there’s a message waiting for them and gives them a link to click on to pick it up.  Once they click on the link they get the note presented on the folded note site.

Step three

At this point you have the option to rate the note, block the sender permanently or send a reply.  The reply can only be up to 200 characters long

Step four

Finally the sender gets to see the response if any.

The folded note site makes it clear in their terms of service that they’ll cooperate with law enforcement, court orders and the like.  Anyone using this system should make very certain not to trust it with anything important at all and certainly not anything illegal.  Remember, it makes a point of not only collecting, but confirming a real email address that can be used to reach you.

In addition to that there’s the usual reminder that because this is web based, they have your IP address in their server logs from the moment you connect.

In terms of the level of anonymity and security you get from this site, I would class it as little more than a toy that should never be used for anything serious or trusted with any real secrets.

Technorati Tags: hotmail, web mail, anonymity, anonymous email, weak anonymity, review, anonymous email site, not anonymous, website review, send anonymous email

New Version of MMS Released

It’s been a long time since I did anything with MMS (Mixminion Message Sender) but I’ve finally gotten back to it.

MMS Finally has word wrap, which means there shouldn’t be anymore of those really ugly long lines.

There are also now three distributions.  The original which only contains MMS itself, a second that includes Mixminion 0.0.7.1 and a third that includes Mixminion 0.0.8alpha3

The official download page is here: http://peculiarplace.com/mixminion-message-sender

Here’s the current changelog entry with all of the details:

02/10/09 -1.2.6
Removed Beta designation.  Over 3 years is more than long
enough for “beta” (yikes! has it been THAT long?!)

Added LineWrap code contributed by drsnoid.  Messages are now
word wrapped at 65 characters / line.

Added “Word wrap on send” checkbox. Checked by default

Created a third distribution using a copy of Mixminion
0.0.8alpha3 built and contributed by “Antonio from Italy” for
those who want to use a win32 version of the most recent
Mixminion release.  I have been using this build since
5/23/2008 without any problems.

Changed max newsgroups to 3 to prevent msgs from being lost
in m2n’s that only allow 3 since more and more are making
this change in efforts to reduce excessive cross posting by
trolls.

Changed processing of the references line to make certain
that message id’s are separated by only one space character
by removing all space and tab characters and replacing them
with single space characters.

Added Richtx32.ocx v6.0 to program directory so that MMS will
work on Vista Note: this is un-tested on vista because the
one vista machine I had access to refuses to boot anymore.

Changed Mixminion command line to force mixminionrc to stay
in the Mixminion program directory instead of it’s default.
This change makes MMS portable. I have tested it on Windows XP
running it from a flash drive.  I’ll appreciate any reports
from people who can try it out on vista.  No testing done on
Win 98, also because I don’t have a win 98 machine available,
however it should work fine.

Technorati Tags: anonymous email, software, freeware, privacy, anonymity, windows mixminion gui, anonymity software, mixminion message sender, mms, mixminion, open source

Blogging In Iran Can Get You The Death Penalty

There’s a bit of news on iafrica.com that should cause every freedom of speech loving blogger to take notice and be thankful that they live in countries where it’s safer to blog that it is in Iran.  Also, if you’re a blogger that’s even thinking about traveling to Iran and doing some blogging while you’re there, you’ll want to double or even triple your travel insurance, particularly your life insurance policies.

Just in case you thought China was the only country doing stuff like this, they’re not.  The Iranian government is working on a law that’s going to “toughen punishment for harming mental security in society” (translation: give the government more license to kill people that openly disagree with it.) They’re already blocking websites that either have sexual content, anything religious that does not agree with Islamic doctrines, and of course, anything that doesn’t agree with government approved politics.

Crimes like murder, rape, armed robbery have been on the death penalty list for a long time along with apostasy which means the act of leaving or turning away from a religion.  In Islam, deciding to quit the religion gets you the death penalty.

The bill they’re working on now is adding more to the list of death penalty crimes.  One of them is “establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy”.  This means that if an Iranian puts up a blog or a website and the government decides that it does any of those things, that person can be sentenced to death.

The language leaves them a pretty wide latitude since even if a website doesn’t touch prostitution or apostasy, they can decide to claim that absolutely anything they don’t like or that is critical or in opposition to the government constitutes corruption and again the person responsible gets the death sentence.  Thankfully, there’s ways for people in Iran to continue blogging and speaking out against the government there or even just plain speaking freely without fear of reprisals like the death penalty.

One very effective answer is Anonymous Blogging, writing a blog using anonymity tools so that the blog’s content cannot be traced back to the person writing it.  One very effective tool is to use TorBrowser.  It’s a copy of Firefox that has had it’s settings fine tuned to maximize privacy and anonymity.  It also includes a copy of TOR and all of TorBrowser’s connections are routed through TOR.

One can create an anonymous email address and use TorBrowser to create a blog on free sites such as blogger or WordPress.com.  As long as the blogger only connects to the blogging site with TorBrowser and is careful about what they write, insuring that they don’t give away any information that could be used to identify them, they can safely blog away without fear of reprisals.

Another option, and in my opinion the best option, is to use Freenet.  By publishing within Freenet anyone can be completely anonymous given care about identifying clues in the content.  They can then ask other Freenet users to copy their material and publish it on the regular web where it’s available to the whole world and not traceable back to the one who wrote it.

Either of these methods of anonymous publishing are slower and generally have a higher learning curve but the benefit is a greater degree of anonymity and untraceability.  I admit that The Freenet option is the more involved of the two however it also yields the best overall security for the anonymous publisher.  The TorBrowser option on the other hand does have the advantage that it can be installed on flash drive which can be easily hidden and used on any computer with a USB 2.0 port.

Technorati Tags: censorship, iran, freenet, anonymous email, anonymous blogging, torbrowser, death penalty, anonymity, blogging

Can Blogging Threaten Your Job?

It shouldn’t, but there’s an increasing number of cases where people have been fired because of blogging.  There’s a post on Wired Blogs that talks about a survey that claims “Nearly Ten Percent of Companies Have Fired Bloggers“.

Why does this happen?  Sometimes an employee will be fired because they’re blogging while AT work when they should be on the job.  The solution there is simple, don’t blog while at work unless you and your boss are clear that it’s ok for you to be doing so.  If you’re hired to do a job then the employer has every reason to expect you to do that job and not be doing your own thing on company time.

In other cases people have been fired because of what they’ve written in their blogs (or on messag boards, chat rooms, etc) that either violates company policy or just makes somebody angry.  In any event, it happens.  Fortunately there are some things that can be done.

The first thing is easy: Don’t do your blogging on company time and preferably, don’t do it on company equipment or connections at all.  This one step would save a lot of people a lot of grief.

If you write about your employer, be aware that more and more employers are taking time to Google their employees and among other things, check out what they’re writing in their blogs.  don’t use names of co-workers or supervisors, don’t mention trade secret type stuff or anything that the company wants to be kept classified.

There are, of course, times when people feel that they need to blog about their employers as a form of whistleblowing.  In cases like this, or if you just want to be sure that your boss can’t connect anything you’ve said online to you, the answer is to blog anonymously.

Anonymity can be had, though it does take a little bit of work and a bit of effort to learn some things needed.  Over the next week or two I’m going to be doing a series of entries that will cover how to surf the web anonymously, how to send anonymous email and how use those to create a blog and post on it anonymously.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

FCon Build 5110 Is Now Available

[Edit June 8, 2012: The Freenet 0.5 network is effectively dead (see this post for details).  While you are welcome to try to make this software work and revitalize it, I know of no currently operating nodes.  If you DO get a useable network up and running, DO let me know.]

A long overdue new build of FCon (Freenet Classic Opennet a.k.a. Freenet 0.5) is now finally available. 

This is largely a maintenance build that should have been done a couple of years ago.  The default bookmarks have been updated and certain links & email addresses have been replaced with new ones.  The old ones pointed to the 0.7.5 fork of freenet which has almost nothing to do with this 0.5 version.

**Note** In order to use this build You will need Java JRE 7, which you can get at this URL:
http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp

If you are new to Freenet (Welcome!) This is the main distribution archive:
freenet-0.5-build-5110.zip

If you are simply upgrading an existing node you will need these two files:

freenet-stable-latest.jar and freenet-ext.jar

The source code for this build is here:

FCon-src-build-5110.zip

Other downloads:

Frost: Bulletin board and filesharing software that serves as the main public text messaging system within freenet.

frost-wot-10-17-2011.zip

It is also included in freenet-0.5-build-5110.zip.  Source code for Frost is located in the “source” sub directory of the frost Directory

If you’re starting up a new node you will need one of these

seednodes.ref

seednodes.ref.zip

seednodes.ref.bz2

They all contain the same data, the .Zip and .bz2 files are compressed to make the download quicker.  Use whichever flavor best suits your setup.

Technorati Tags: update, freenet classic opennet, freedom of speech, censorship proof, privacy, freedom of speech online, fcon, freenet, freenet 0.5, encryption, censorship, anonymity, anti-censorship, internet, anonymous publishing

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