Feeds

Windows hack for Web-surfing privacy

Leave no traces on your PC

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Those who read our article "Internet anonymity for Windows power users" know that I've been in quest of a way to assign the IE browser cache, cookies, typed URLs and history to RAM so they're never written to disk. Of course you can set your browser to delete the cache on exit, but there will be traces on the HDD; and you can block cookies or use a cookie management program, but blocking them makes surfing inconvenient, and cookie managers also leave traces on the HDD. And then there's the history, which catalogues your comings and goings for posterity.

So the challenge for me has been to set the IE cache, cookies, URL history and typed URLs to a RAM drive so they're never written to disk. This would enable you to accept cookies for more convenient surfing without leaving traces of your comings and goings on your machine. Not even the most sophisticated forensics tool can re-construct your surfing history if it's never written to disk in the first place, after all.

I've since come up with two rough hacks which accomplish this, one for Windows 95 and 98, and one for 2K and XP. The latter may work with NT after some tweaking, though I haven't tested it; and I quite simply failed with that neither-fish-nor-fowl evolutionary missing-link otherwise known as Win-ME. This is very rough, beta material so far, but I hope our readers will help me polish it. I will likely re-post more refined versions in a few weeks' time, after going over the bug reports.

I'm grateful to Walt Moorhouse, Steven T., Lutz Albers and Eric the Troll for their encouragement and suggestions. ®

Courage, beta testers

RamSurf for Win-9x
RamSurf for Win-2K/XP

Note
There are two background articles referenced in the readme files which go into a number of other points of security failure, such as the swap (paging) file, proxies and browser settings, etc. This little hack is meant to address a single issue. Clearly, a more holistic approach is needed, so I recommend consulting these two articles as well:
Do-it-yourself Internet anonymity
Internet anonymity for Windows power users --tcg

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.