by Rob Williams on August 8, 2005 in Security, Windows
Last week, we took a look at what Internet Anonymity is, and how it works. Today, we will be taking a hard look at two of the most popular Anonymity tools out there.
Anonymizer is an extremely well known Anonymization program, that’s been trusted by many people for years. They recently released their Total Privacy Suite with support for Mozilla Firefox, which instantly excited me.
Anonymizer, Inc. is a leading provider of Internet privacy and security solutions for consumers, corporations, organizations and government agencies. The company is the market leader for Web privacy, providing a safe and secure Web experience for over one million Internet users around the globe. The company’s Web site is home to the world’s most popular Internet privacy service, Anonymizer Private Surfing, which defends users from the most prevalent Internet privacy and security threats, from online tracking using â€œCookiesâ€ to malicious code, identity theft and e-mail spammers. Anonymizer Private Surfing has been used to privacy-protect over four billion Web pages for millions of users since the company’s inception in 1996. The company is privately held and headquartered in San Diego, California.
Anonymizer right off, does not have some sophisticated features as Steganos had, but we will get into these other features in a moment. One thing that needs to be made clear, is that this version of Anonymizer is meant for use with Firefox, and that’s it. It will not protect your IM conversations, or even protect you if you use another browser. It’s interesting to note, because with Anonymizer activated, IP Chicken in Firefox displayed my ‘fake’ IP address, while through IE it displayed my real one. So don’t consider this exact version if you wish to use another browser. Anonymizer has many different versions though, that work quite well.
Installation of the program was very quick and easy, with a few simple questions along the way, such as user name and serial key. Once installed, you will see a “Install Anonymizer Extension for Firefox”, which is technically all the product revolves around. It’s nice to see that one company is fully taking advantage of Firefox by creating such an Extension, and this one seamlessly integrates into the browser as you can see.
They could not have made the program any easier to use. Upon opening Firefox, you will see a few new icons for your use. You will see the Anonymizer icon, followed by the Spyware application, and then the digital shredder. Let’s first check out the first icon, which enables the protection.
Once enabled, it will connect to the Anonymizer server, and will notify you that you are currently protected. I believe that most, if not all of their servers are based in the US. At least, of the 6 IP addresses Anonymizer assigned me, they were all US IP’s. Unlike Steganos, Anonymizer will grab you an IP address and keep it for the duration of your computer use. If you need a different IP, I found that the only way is to reboot, and then let it reconnect. If you turn off the protection after already being connected once, it will use the last IP that it used.
That part is extremely easy.. just enable the option and you are good to go. That’s the bulk of the security though, and you don’t have the option to block certain information as Steganos would allow you to do. Hitting up IP Chicken displayed my Browser information without a problem. This is not a big problem really, but it would have been nice.
The next icon is the Anonymizer Spyware remover. It allows you to scan for spyware and remove it very, very quickly. I would not expect this to replace your Ad-Aware or the like, because it doesn’t seem very complete. It took about 5 seconds for it to do a complete scan, so I’m not exactly sure what they are looking for, but I can see primarily it will scan the registry and select files on the computer.