Practical Anonymity
Hiding in Plain Sight Online
By Peter Loshin
Publisher: Elsevier / Syngress
Final Release Date: July 2013
Pages: 128

For those with legitimate reason to use the Internet anonymously--diplomats, military and other government agencies, journalists, political activists, IT professionals, law enforcement personnel, political refugees and others--anonymous networking provides an invaluable tool, and many good reasons that anonymity can serve a very important purpose. Anonymous use of the Internet is made difficult by the many websites that know everything about us, by the cookies and ad networks, IP-logging ISPs, even nosy officials may get involved. It is no longer possible to turn off browser cookies to be left alone in your online life. Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online shows you how to use the most effective and widely-used anonymity tools--the ones that protect diplomats, military and other government agencies to become invisible online. This practical guide skips the theoretical and technical details and focuses on getting from zero to anonymous as fast as possible.

For many, using any of the open-source, peer-reviewed tools for connecting to the Internet via an anonymous network may be (or seem to be) too difficult because most of the information about these tools is burdened with discussions of how they work and how to maximize security. Even tech-savvy users may find the burden too great--but actually using the tools can be pretty simple.

The primary market for this book consists of IT professionals who need/want tools for anonymity to test/work around corporate firewalls and router filtering as well as provide anonymity tools to their customers.

  • Simple, step-by-step instructions for configuring and using anonymous networking software
  • Use of open source, time-proven and peer-reviewed tools for anonymity
  • Plain-language discussion of actual threats and concrete suggestions for appropriate responses
  • Easy-to-follow tips for safer computing
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oreillyPractical Anonymity
 
3.8

(based on 4 reviews)

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75%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (4)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Novice (3)

    Reviewed by 4 customers

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    4.0

    Practical Anonymity by Peter Loshin

    By Richard

    from Australia

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice

      Comments about oreilly Practical Anonymity:

      A great introduction to Anonymity using Tor. Peter Loshin does a great job explaining the purpose of Tor, how to use it and how to make a meaningful contribution to its infrastructure and expansion.

      It is not a long book, but then it really doesn't need to be. It is well organised, to the point and caters for each group of people that are likely to require Tor.

      Tor is a set of tools and infrastructure that enable a person to browse web sites anonymously without being traced directly by their IP address. Tor is used by many groups of people around the world including privacy advocates, those who may be subject to harsh penalties for holding particular political views, reporters behind enemy lines etc., and everyday people that do not wish to be tracked by governments and corporations.

      The book explains very clearly that anonymous browsing does not make you immune from identification unless you change your general browsing habits. For instance, logging onto web sites with an easily identified user ID, downloading certain file type etc.

      A multi-faceted approach should always be applied to security, and web browsing and e-mail are no exception. Peter recommends making use of the HTTPS everywhere browser extension (See https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere) and e-mail encryption.

      For those people who wish to contribute in some way to the Tor project, Peter goes into great detail about setting up your own Tor relays (if your ISP allows it) including the different types of relay and the potential risks to you if you do contribute this way. For everyone else, there is the option to donate money to help pay for bandwidth for existing Tor relays.

      All in all, this is a book that explains the concepts and justifications for Tor in an easy to read format. Highly recommended.

      Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book as part of the O'Reilly Blogger Program

      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Good book, too expensive

      By Fabio Alessandro Locati

      from Milan, Italy

      About Me Developer, Sys Admin

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Concise
      • Easy to understand

      Cons

      • Too Expensive

      Best Uses

      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Practical Anonymity:

      The anonymity on the web is probably one of the most debated topics on the web. Is possible to be completely anonymous? The short answer is no. This book tries to help the read to improve its anonymity, staying is the "real world", as the "Practical" world in the title suggests. In this book you will not find anything that is too complex for an average user.

      Whether this is good or bad, depends on you expectations. I've took this book the first time with really high expectations and I was really disappointed. When I took it for the second time, with different expectations, I did found the book pretty good.

      This book is able to explain in a really easy way what is anonymity, why is important and how to improve your anonymity. The book does cover mainly Tor. You will also find some other companion technologies like Tails, obfsproxy and anonymous emails.

      All the information written in this book are freely available online with some Google researches, but are not well organized and simplified as they are in this book.

      Is this book worth or not? This is a really difficult question.

      Why you should buy this book:

      It contains a lot of useful information about anonymity
      It's well written
      It's written in plain English (you don't have to be an engineer to understand what the author is saying)
      It's short (141 pages long) and full of contents
      Why you should NOT buy this book:

      It's very expensive considering the length (141 pages) and the price (30.00$ the eBook) making ~22 cents per page (considering in the calculation the appendices, covers, index, white pages, etc)
      All the information in this book are present online
      Given these ups and downs, I would not suggest this book unless you have to learn stuff about Internet Anonymity quickly and you don't have a strong IT knowledge.

      Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book as part of the O'Reilly Blogger Program

       
      3.0

      Title is misleading...good book on Tor

      By NamedePlume

      from SK, Canada

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate

        Comments about oreilly Practical Anonymity:

        Let me start with...This is not a bad book.

        It did confuse me in several ways. Firstly, despite the title, this is not a book on remaining anonymous on the Internet. This is predominantly a book on setting up and using Tor to permit you to be anonymous on the Internet. The last chapter briefly covers anonymous email, but the vast majority of the book covers Tor.

        Secondly, I was confused about what the target audience is. If aimed at the lay person who is worried about anonymity than it is too deep and will scare all but the most persistent off. If aimed at the technical user who wants to understand the detailed inner workings of Tor, then it is probably falls short. It does provide a fairly comprehensive discussion of the basics of Tor applicable to the novice user. This is a small portion of the book however. The majority of this book is a more detailed overview of the various features of Tor and how to set them up which is suitable to a more technical audience.

        Thirdly, this book suffers from inconsistent editing, periodically repeating concepts a couple of paragraphs or pages apart, often with almost identical phrasing.

        That said, the book is easy to read and reasonably well organized. The coverage of Tor is very complete and far easier to read than the Tor documentation.

        If you are moderately technical and are looking for a book on the capabilities of Tor, then this is a good book to start with. It is easy to read and far less complex than the Tor documentation. If you are a computer user looking to for a way to stay anonymous on the Internet, then the first few chapters are good, but probably not worth buying the whole book. You would probably be better off with the introductory Tor documentation.

        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Practical Anonymity by Peter Loshin

        By Andy

        from Germany

        About Me Developer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Easy to understand
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Novice

          Comments about oreilly Practical Anonymity:

          The content of the book can be best described with the following statement from the author:
          „The subject of this book: how to connect to the Internet with the confidence that someone listening in to your connection won't be able to figure out what you are doing (or at least make it very difficult)"

          This book is all about Tor. From why people use Tor, how to get Tor or Tails, how too use Tor, how it works and what you shouldn't do when you use Tor.

          Peter doesn't go too much into details. I thinks it's just enough information to get an understanding how the reader can archive anonymity and what tools (and how) to use. The target audience are novice users who don't have much experience with Tor. He presents Links to websites with detailed information for the interested reader.

          He explains how Tor works and how Tor can protect your anonymity. He describes the Tor Browser Bundle and Tails. Further he explains what Tor Relays and Tor hidden services are and how to step them up and configure them.

          At the end of the book he shows how to use E-Mail anonymously (with Tor).

          When you finished this book you know a lot about Tor. Certainly not all the details, but you have heard about it and the reader knows where he can get further information.

          In my opinion this book is really good and is easy to read. I hope that many people will read the book and start using Tor.

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