Articles about anonymity

yak. pHOTO BY shUTTERSTOCK

GPS spoofing can put Yik Yak in a flap

A little machine learning can de-anonymise Yik Yak users, according to researchers from American and Chinese universities. Yik Yak is an anonymous messaging app that raised US$70 million, acts like a location-aware Twitter and has become a preferred tool of trolls on US College campuses. The researchers didn't attack the Yik …
Pic: Shutterstock

Domain name resolution is a Tor attack vector, but don't worry

This one needs the words “Don't Panic” in large friendly letters on the cover: privacy researchers have worked out that Tor's use of the domain name system (DNS) can be exploited to identify users. However, they say, right now an attacker with resources to drop Tor sniffers at “Internet scale” can already de-anonymise users. …
Costa WiFi 2

EU ends anonymity and rules open Wi-Fi hotspots need passwords

Result, guys. Result. A campaign by Digital Rights activists to preserve open Wi-Fi hotspots has resulted in Europe’s highest court deciding the exact opposite. The ECJ has advised that open Wi-Fi hotspots should probably be operated password-protected – and hotspot owners should require users to reveal their identities. The …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Sep 2016
Onions

Tor takes aim against malicious nodes on the network

The Tor Project is working with Princeton University boffins to try and identify possibly malicious nodes, and prevent them from harvesting traffic by gaming its node reputation system. Tor's reputation services collect flags from relays, from which they assess and publish (hourly) the reputation of relays, but the researchers …
Tor

Tor users are actively discriminated against by website operators

Computer scientists have documented how a large and growing number of websites discriminate against people who browse them using Tor. Tor is an anonymity service that is maintained with assistance from the US State Department and designed in part to allows victims of censorship in countries like China and Iran to surf the web …
John Leyden, 25 Feb 2016

Ban internet anonymity – says US Homeland Security official

Internet anonymity should be banned and everyone required to carry the equivalent of a license plate when driving around online. That's according to Erik Barnett, the US Department of Homeland Security's attaché to the European Union. Writing in French policy magazine FIC Observatoire, Barnett somewhat predictably relies on …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Jan 2016

Silicon Valley's Congresswoman comes to the defense of Tor

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who represents a big slice of Silicon Valley, has gone to bat for the anonymizing Tor service. In a letter [PDF] sent this week to the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Lofgren has asked some pointed questions about the role that the DHS played in a recent high-profile case where a …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Dec 2015
Snowden

End mass snooping and protect whistleblowers, MEPs yell at EU

The European Parliament on Tuesday voted to adopt the conclusions of a report – as a non-legally binding resolution – that defends encryption, anonymity and digital freedom. The report (PDF), which was narrowly approved by 371 votes in favour to 293 against, said “the active complicity of certain EU member states in the NSA’s …
Anonymous

Anonymous UK 'leader' fined for revealing ID of rape complainant

The leader of notorious 'hacktivist' group Anonymous UK has been fined £400 for identifying the woman who accused him of rape. Malcolm Blackman, 48, was accused of twice attacking the woman at the Occupy London protest camp outside St Paul's Cathedral in January 2013. He stood trial at the Old Bailey later that year but was …
Team Register, 3 Sep 2015
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Unmasking hidden Tor service users is too easy, say infosec bods

Updated Security researchers speaking at the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam this week have demonstrated that users of hidden services on Tor are putting themselves at risk of being identified – if an attacker is willing to put in the time and resources. The discovery is significant, because browsing hidden services had been …
Iain Thomson, 30 May 2015

Yelp can protect critics in rough reviews row: Virginia yanks rug from under furious carpet biz

Top judges in Virginia have ruled that Yelp can keep the identities of its anonymous reviewers a secret from Hadeed Carpet Cleaning Inc – a cleaning business that wanted to sue the armchair critics for defamation. In a majority opinion [PDF] handed down today, the state's supreme court overturned a 2014 appeals court verdict …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Apr 2015
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UK Gov SciTech advice bureau suggests keeping Tor alive to reduce street crime

The UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has issued a POSTnote titled “The darknet and online anonymity” in which it assesses the threats posed by anonymity technologies like Tor and concludes there's not much governments or law enforcement agencies can do about them. The bulk of the four-page document …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Mar 2015

Whisper chief: 'We're not infallible but strive to do right by our anonymous users'

Whisper's CEO Michael Heyward responded late on Saturday to claims that his company's anonymous messaging app was quietly tracking the location of its users. He admitted in a post published on Medium that Whisper wasn't perfect, but Heyward was quick to defend its business tactics, after revelations emerged that the startup …
Kelly Fiveash, 19 Oct 2014
Two teenage girls - one whispering in other's ear

Careless Whisper? Anonymous messaging app accused of stalking users, blabbing to Feds

The makers of Whisper have denied claims that the anonymous messaging app is secretly tracking the whereabouts of its privacy-conscious users. The startup hit back following reports that detailed location logs are shared with the US government. Whisper is a two-year-old phone app that allows people to publish text overlaid on …
Iain Thomson, 17 Oct 2014
Trajectory-cutting to preserve anonymity

Your location info is too revealing: data boffins

A group of researchers partly supported by SAP has taken a look at one of the big problems with so-called “anonymised” data: the way spatial correlations in mobile data can be used to re-identify individuals in large data sets. Location data is the big problem, the Singapore-led group says: even if the resolution of a phone's …

Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names

Drag queens are protesting against Facebook's real name policy, after the free content ad network forced them to use their legal names on the service. A number of performers have complained about Facebook's actions after drag queen Sister Roma, who lives in San Francisco and is a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Sep 2014
TOR Logo

Boffins follow TOR breadcrumbs to identify users

It's easier to identify TOR users than they believe, according to research published by a group of researchers from Georgetown University and the US Naval Research Laboratory (USNRL). Their paper, Users Get Routed: Traffic Correlation on Tor by Realistic Adversaries, is to be presented in November at November's Conference on …
The Register breaking news

Devs cook up 'leakproof' all-Tor untrackable platform

Developers are brewing an anonymous general purpose computing platform, dubbed Whonix. Whonix is designed to ensure that applications (such as Flash and Java etc) can only connect through Tor. The design goal, at least, is that direct connections (leaks) ought to be impossible. "This is the only way we know of that can …
John Leyden, 13 Nov 2012

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