Digital, yet anonymous: Exit Glassy People - with Tips & Tools

Let's stay realistic. "The average user can not really protect himself. And even if he knew how, the comfort would prevail "- says the dude. And the dude should know it: He is a member of Anonymus, that motley group of IT freaks and hackers, who look out of the hidden even into so many supposedly protected corner of the computer world. But there are, the fine settings, tools and software solutions that promise even IT muffle largely anonymity and security.

But first back to the year 2013. Only by the US whistleblower Eduard Snowden became aware of a wide world public, what literature and cinema let us assume long ago. Thanks to Snowden we have the scary confirmation: We are the longest, the glass society.

The question of what can be monitored is unnecessary. Theoretically, nobody stays anonymous. In practice, even the National Security Service NSA has serious problems with the worldwide flood of data. As a rule, it may therefore be assumed that at least the secret services store only connection data. Exactly: Which number has which other number when called and where were these connections? But even this information could have its consequences. Do it yourself? How do you interpret phone calls, first at the Aidshilfe, then at the family doctor and finally at the girlfriend?

Against crime or for control?

But back to the dude. The anonymus spokesman sees a surveillance apparatus as in George Orwell's "1984": "With the argument of the fight against terrorism and crime is to be generated fear, which then legitimize these things. Cameras and the like are not just for monitoring, but are also intended to intimidate. This is a desirable side effect. "Without paranoia, it is a borderline dilemma: On the one hand crime should of course be stopped, on the other hand, our privacy is in jeopardy. The Internet censorship manslaughter par excellence: child pornography. No question: Here it is necessary to advance a bar. But how far may the public be controlled? Who guarantees that there will be no abuse? Who may be anonymous?

And it adds to the actually crucial debate: Otto normal consumer has nothing to hide. And finally, we live in a democracy. Our thinking and acting is free. But what about the many states of the world in which other states reign? And who says that the situation in European countries can not change suddenly? The term terrorism is already widely interpreted in the USA known measures. And even Austria is justified concerns arise with the sensational animal rights activist processes and the controversial mafia paragraphs.

Traces in the network

Every day we leave our financial impressions on the Internet. Even if these traces are recorded anonymously: Google, Facebook and Co know a lot about us. Anyone with their own website can check that out for themselves: Google Analytics delivers very accurate visitor data - location, age group, interests, pay grade, and more.
Anyone who allows the so-called cookies in his Internet browser, probably also knows that: A product that was recently reviewed by an online handler, lands repeatedly on screen. "Buy me. You're interested in me. I know it, "it exclaims geadewegs. Search Retargeting is the name of this form of advertising, which has become widespread on the Web and can sometimes become quite annoying.

Data octopuses on mobile phones and tablets

And even when installing the popular apps for mobile and tablet are very often opened the door - and betrayed a lot of personal data, which would give in the "real" life, no-one just like that. In fact, some of these entertaining programs have only one purpose: they collect data that is then somehow made into money. Totally legal, by the way. The data will eventually be transferred voluntarily with your consent. Or not?

Christian Funk is Senior Virus Analyst at Kaspersky, one of the largest providers of digital security solutions such as antivirus programs and firewalls. He has no good news on cybercrime: "The development of mobile malware - especially for Android - is progressing rapidly. Currently, mobile malware is mainly used for access to personal information on mobile devices or premium SMS. In the future, a first mass worm seems possible for Android users. "
His tip for the mobile devices is clear: "Less is more, since personal data is not only stored on the device, but also passed on to the developer companies through app authorizations. This means a good selection of the apps that you really need and also that apps that are no longer needed should be uninstalled again. "
And Funk also knows the current biggest threat on the Internet: so-called drive-by downloads. "Seven of the year's top 20 Internet Pests were threats used in drive-by download attacks. Users become infected by visiting a website alone. Virus protection programs and regular updating of all operating systems and programs used protect against drive-by downloads. "Surveillance, data theft, cybercrime - despite everything, everyone can protect themselves to a large extent. And that without great computer skills.

Anonymous and secure

Option has collected the most essential solutions and tips. Unfortunately it does not play completely anonymous and safe. The ideal solution for anonymous surfing offer so-called VPNs, virtual private networks - for a monthly fee. Standard security with antivirus and firewall also cost a few euros a year.
But even without payment, there are some tools at hand that do their job very well. Option recommends as the first and simplest means to increase the security of your operating system and disable the use of cookies and Java in the browser settings. Consider Se: So many desirable functions are left behind. Then it only temporarily helps to undo the settings made. But even without so many functions, it is easy to survive.

Anonymous on the Internet
Anonymous on the Internet

Decisive: user behavior

Bottom line, digital life requires the same precautions as the real world: clear-mindedness. The dude states, "You have to be aware of what happens at every click, every time you visit a website. The users have to understand what they are doing. "And that does not just mean technical understanding, it's about a corresponding user behavior that needs to be learned.
One suggestion: Use your computer, mobile phone or tablet as usual, but look over your shoulder. Be aware of what steps you take each day and what you may want to do without in the future. Even a small child learns not to pick up and lick everything that lies on the ground. However, the technical achievements of our time are still far too young for proper handling to have become a matter of course.
Regardless, we tell the whole world what we are experiencing, where and how. We put our opinion on Facebook, like pages, post photos. Let's face it ourselves: no intelligence service is needed to make us a transparent person.

Kaspersky's security expert Funk sees it this way: "First of all, the question should be: how much and what kind of data do I want to entrust to which service and what can be done with criminal energy? As soon as one carries data out, one for the most part loses control over it and relies on a third-party authority. "The only really meaningful solution is therefore - a conscious handling of the media and tools of our time.

The Basics

The user behavior: The behavior in the digital world is probably the crucial aspect in terms of security. Think about exactly what data you reveal where and on which websites you are traveling. Especially for mobile phones and tablets, pay attention to the shares that you grant to apps.

Social networks: Use the security settings. Above all, make sure that your account on Facebook & Co is not visible to everyone - in other words: not public. Otherwise, every holiday photo posted is an invitation for burglars. But also some job applications failed because of the wet and cheerful party photos.

Basic Protection: On Anti-virus software against pests and one Firewall To secure your internet connection, there are a minimum of security precautions on every computer. Also important are the appropriate settings on the wireless LAN modem to keep uninvited guests in the wifi.

The password: Select passwords consisting of lowercase and uppercase letters and numbers. Always using the same password is a particularly big risk if data gets into the wrong hands. But how do you master the vast amounts of passwords? The solution are so-called password safes such as Lastpass, which usually give access to the other keys via a main password. The most important passwords, such as access to online banking, you should continue to remember and nowhere to write down. Tip:

Online BankingAlmost every bank now offers security over cell phone TANs. At each transaction, a code is sent to the mobile phone, which must be entered online as a security check. Never open or respond to so-called phishing emails, alleged messages from your bank.

Secured pages https: Every web address in the browser is preceded by the protocol http. Halfway safe, you can only feel the security protocol https. There is the tool https everywhere.

browser settings: If you want to be more secure and anonymous in the network, increase the security level in the system settings. Of course, this can mean that not all functions on the Internet can be used. It may also be useful to disable cookie acceptance and Javascript.

Anonymity Test: At you can test what information your current online connection reveals. or where security risks exist.

The anonymization tools: this is how you are anonymous

Please refer to recommended instructions for correct behavior in conjunction with these tools. If you sign up anonymously on Facebook, conclusions about your person can be made. Similarly, file sharing at Tor is prohibited.

Gate: Tor is easy to use, a network for the anonymization of connection data. Here you can download and activate your own TorBrowser and they are already largely anonymous. Unfortunately, the connection by Tor slows the surfing speed. Our location was suspected in Switzerland.

JonDo: JonDo is a web anonymizer that works according to a special system, the cascade mix, and is particularly effective in terms of anonymity. For a monthly fee, this system is very fast - and above all anonymous.

VPN: A virtual private network ("virtual private network") is usually a paid access to an anonymizing network. The user becomes a subscriber of another network - with direct access, as if his computer were directly connected to the other network. The speeds are usually unchanged fast. Another advantage: because they fake a (interchangeable) location, for example in the US, you also get access to offers that may be blocked for their country. If you also want to use local offers, it is advisable to choose a provider with a server in Austria in order to be anonymous. For a comparison of VPN providers, see

Steganos Online Shield 365: It also hides your IP address while surfing and thus remains anonymous. The program protects not only your identity but also your passwords. The free version of Steganos Online Shield 365 is limited to a maximum data volume of 500 MB per month.

The browser tools

Ghostery: This plugin for the most important browsers searches for third-party page elements (so-called "trackers") on websites you visit and blocks them on request. Tracker are, for example, widgets in social networks, ads, invisible tracking or analysis pixels, etc. If you block trackers, but this can also prevent desired functions.

noscript: This plugin for Firefox allows you to run JavaScript, Java (and other plugins) only on trusted domains of your choice.

https everywhere: A plugin designed to automatically encrypt and securely request links to web pages.

HTTP switchboard: This rather complicated tool controls all requests from the browser with a simple point & click and thus blocks scripts, IFrames, advertisements, Facebook etc. A little more complicated.

Adblocker: A browser plugin that simply hides ads. Adblock Plus blocks even annoying video advertising on youtube.

DuckDuckGo: An alternative search engine that, unlike Google & Co., does not store any data.

Mobile phone & tablet: the basics

Apps. Each app must be granted certain shares so that it can fulfill different functions. These shares do not necessarily pose security risks, but can of course be exploited by vendors. In particular, free apps like to view various data of their phones or tablets. Pay attention to which apps give you which rights.

Root. This is the change of the entire operating system to understand to get control of all functions and their control. This allows you to specifically remove certain shares from certain apps. There are several hooks: The Rooten is not easy and reserved for the skilful. Rooting may violate warranty guidelines of the manufacturer. In addition, you may have to do without some functions of your device.

SIM Lock: Each phone has a SIM lock. You can change the code as you like, so that no third party gets access to the device.

screen lock: You should also enable this feature to protect your data from theft and the like. High security only promise a PIN of numbers or a password (numbers and letters).

encode: Sensitive data or even the whole device content can be encrypted. Many devices already support this in the security settings. But there are also own apps for it.

localization services: Pay attention to the basic settings on your device. Do you really want to announce your position? For the use of navigation or the like, you have no choice.

Mobile phone & tablet: tools

aSpotCat: You want to know which shares use which apps? This app tells you and classifies the same security risk. You will notice: Only a mobile phone without an app is a secure mobile phone.

Orbot, The mobile browser of the Tor program to surf the net as anonymously as possible.

RedPhone: Talking on the phone allegedly tap-proof, you can use this app. It provides end-to-end encryption, which requires both sides to use the app.

K-9: This versatile mail app encodes natively.

TextSecure: The TextSecure app encrypts text messages during transmission and on the device. It is almost identical to the normal SMS application - and just as easy to use.


Unfortunately, this area is reserved for savvy computer users, as the technical implementation of it is complicated.

Enigmail: This extension for mail systems Thunderbird and Seamonkey is used for encryption and signing of mails.

Gpg4win: Here is a whole package for mail and data system offered. GnuPG or GPG (GNU Privacy Guard) is a free cryptographic system, that is, it is used to encrypt and decrypt data as well as to generate and verify electronic signatures. Components are also extensions for Outlook and Explorer.

Pretty Good Privacy is a program for encrypting and signing data. There is also PGPdisk for encrypting entire hard drives and PGPfone to make secure calls via modem.


Alternatives to Outlook: There are them, the alternatives. Most notable are claws mail and Thunderbird.

Trash-mail: The disposable email address for the registration in between, in order not to have to announce the own mail address. Received mails can be viewed here for six hours, after which they will be deleted. It is also possible to receive data up to one MB. A mail delivery is not possible here. However, some websites do not accept these addresses.

Photo / Video: nun.

Written by Helmut Melzer

As a long-time journalist, I asked myself what would actually make sense from a journalistic point of view. You can see my answer here: Option. Showing alternatives in an idealistic way - for positive developments in our society.


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