Wednesday, December 20, 2006

How To Stay Anonymous On The Net

With more and more sites out there that you are just itching to test, they keep asking for register information. And the easiest way to stay safe on the net is to just flat out lie on that registration form. But these days those sites are getting smarter and smarter and while asking for more information, they also want a confirmation email as well to validate at least one of the bits if your online identity you gave them. Now there are several ways to lie on the registration, still get that confirmation email and stay as safe as possible.

The first on the list is A service that creates an email address, if one does not already exist, of any name with "" at the end of it. Just put in in the registration of the site of your choice and check your email at once you are done and reply to the confirmation email. And thats it. Seems easy enough, but the dodgeit service is free or it can be pay based. When it is free, anyone can check any email address they want to. They just have to type in the name just like you do. Whats so bad about that? You think it's just a harmless spam email address? When, you might want to double check some of the things you get in one of them confirmation emails. Some times it will contain the login information that you think might be available only to you. When, in reality, is accessible to anyone that visits the dodgeit website.


Some nice side features of dodgeit:
- Can add a dodgeit email address to a feed reader to watch as the spam comes rolling in.
- Can check this email at work since it is not pop.
- Emails get erased after 7 days.

Whats a safer alternative you ask? You can throw some money at dodgeit, or you can use the Firefox extension Tempomail. Once installed, go back into the add-ons menu and click on the tempomail extension and select settings. Put in the real email address you want to get things forwarded to and you're ready to go. Next time you hit another registration form for a site, just right-click and select tempomail. Make up some fake email address and pick how long you want to to last for and put that email address into the registration form. Then, after the time you selected, the email you originally registered with will be no good and you still got that confirmation email.

Some other things that may be asked of you with asterisks next to them would be your home phone number. There are now very easy ways to get around this now as well. The first would be Craigsnumber, no relation to Craigs List. Craigsnumber is basically the same as Tempomail, in which you input your real phone number and are then given a false number. Any calls made to this false number will then be forwarded to your real phone number. And, similar to Tempomail, you also select a time period for which this false number is in existence. So, if you just want the fake number for an hour or a week, just make it so. With Tempomail and Craigslist, you might be a bit worried about giving your real information to someone, like your real phone number in Craigsnumber and your real email address in Tempomail. While there is only a small tidbit of info on this subject on the Tempomail firefox add-on page (not Tempomail's main website), Craigsnumber has a FAQ on the subject letting us know that they will not sell any information and that the employees are legally obligated to safeguard that information.

Another was to protect your real phone number is the new Grand Central site. No, not New York's Grand Central station. This site deals with phone numbers. You pick what area code you want your virtual number to be and then pick from a list of phone numbers that are available with that area code. Then add up to 5 numbers that will be associated with your new virtual number. You can have it set up so that if anyone calls your virtual number you other phones will ring. Say you have your work phone, home phone and cell phone set up to ring when your virtual number is called. There is just a simple check box for each number. If you don't want your phones to ring just un-check the boxes. If you wish to seriously start using your new virtual number you are able to upload your outlook contacts into your Grand Central account and begin to add tags to each contact (tags available: friends, work, family and other). Then, instead of having it set so that all phones ring (which is the default setting), you can have it so that just you cell phone rings when your friends are calling, or just your work phone when your business people are calling.

All of these services are free and some, if not most, are questionable. But I encourage you to try it out to form your own opinion before you accept anyone else's. Enjoy and have a safe internet experience.

No comments: