Tor, Privoxy, Glype, Anonymizer, the Cloak... what is the real difference?

Posted on 2008-11-01
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi experts,

while doing some research on anonymous surfing I came across different ways to achieve the same result, i.e. hide the IP address. Tor, Privoxy, Glype, Anonymizer, the Cloak, and many others seem to reach the goal in different ways. Although I can understand how the different solutions work in principle I would like to have a better understanding of the pros and cons of each approach, assuming that my objective is to browse Google and Yahoo in total anonymity (of course without using any account).

Can you please help me?
Question by:jiiins2
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 22870794

Author Comment

ID: 22874684
Thanks, but I'm looking for something more specific like the pros and cons of each approach.

LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 22874962
In General: Tor can be problematic since hosting the exit points are very interesting for secret services (word wide)
They still don't know who sent what but they can create profiles, there are techniques to identify computers to profile them (tcp timing mechanism and such) can be countered with tools like privoxy but I would not rely on it 100%

A service provider like anonymizer can be forced to reveal the true identify of a user.

See disclaimer from cloak: In accordance with our abuse policy described below, we reserve the right to turn over the IP addresses of people who abuse our system either to the appropriate legal authorities, or to those against whom abuse has been perpetrated. Use of this service constitutes acceptance of the terms of our abuse policy.


So you could go best with tor but still there is a small chance to get identified.


Author Comment

ID: 22875063
I see... but what about using a web proxy like Glype or CGIProxy as opposed to the rest? Do they truly hide the IP address? It would seem as by far the easiest solution as they are free and very easy to install and control.

LVL 27

Accepted Solution

Tolomir earned 500 total points
ID: 22875391
I think a service like knows how to handle privacy properly

Remove all cookies
Remove all scripts
Remove ads
Hide referrer information
Text only       Show URL entry form
Remove page titles
Minimize caching
Hide useragent
Hex encode URL's

Still with a tool you have to install it on some site and take full responsibility for it.
So even if the proxy is perfect the owner of the website is liable to the full extend.

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LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 22875412
Especially nasty is the useragent:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10_5_4; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.2 Safari/525.20.1

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; de; rv: Gecko/2008092417 Firefox/3.0.3

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR  2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.648)

helps a lot to profile a computer....
LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 22875426
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/525.13

Author Comment

ID: 23000049
So let's say I want to browse google and yahoo in complete privacy. I want to be 100% sure that nobody at google or anywhere else can see my real IP. I don't do anything criminal and I can exclude that authorities will come to my home to confiscate my pc. What would be the best approach?


Expert Comment

ID: 23048505
use privoxied tor. you can easily use one preconfigured if you install Vidalia:

Expert Comment

ID: 23048522
btw: Tolomir pointed out the simultaneous use of tor and privoxy in #22874962 so please award all the points to him for I'm not trying to snatch points but only close up open issues.

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