Anonymity using Remailers

Simply changing or clearing the "Real Name" field in your newsreader setup won't help you at all. It's still very easy to trace a message back to its originating source, and of course, at a place pof work, the system administrator there can easily look up the sender's real name.

A better solution is to use an anonymous remailer. These systems either give you an anonymous address, to which other people can send you mail, which is then forwarded to your real address (this is sometimes referred to as a pseudonymous server), or they post or mail your message without any trace of the sender's name or address.

What is a remailer and how does it work?

1).. The server receives the email message.
2).. All headers are stripped and replaced with bogus ones.
3).. The message is encrypted using PGP.
4).. A random re-mailer chain is selected (usually 3).
5).. Message goes through the re-mailer chain and arrives at the server.
6).. The server decrypts and sends your message to it's destination.

As you can see, it is unkown to the server, or the recipient of the message where the message originated from. It's not even traceable back to the server, much less the original poster.

There are three types of remailers:
Cypherpunk remailers, also called type I
Mixmaster remailers, also called type II
Pseudonymous remailers, also called type III

If users accept the loss of two-way interaction, identity anonymity will be made more secure.

1] A Cypherpunk remailer sends the message to the recipient stripping away the sender address on it.
You are not able to answer a message sent via Cyperpunk remailer.
You can encrypt the message sent to the remailer, and the remailer will decrypt it and send it to the recipient address hidden inside the encrypted message. In addition, you can chain 2 or 3 remailers, so each remailer can't know who is sending a message to who. Cypherpunk remailers do not keep logs of transactions.

2] A Mixmaster remailer allows receivers to answer messages.
To receive an answer to your message, you have to create encrypted reply blocks. A reply block contains instructions to reach your real address. In order to use a Mixmaster remailer, you must have a program to write your message. That programme must be downloaded and complied on your PC.

3] A Pseudonymous remailer, simply takes away the email address of the sender, gives a pseudonym to the sender and sends the message to the intended recipient (who is able to answer via that remailer)

Not all anonymous remailers are identical, even when all works as intended. Close attention to operational standards and intent, locations, and reliability records is needed before choosing one.
Among the criteria which should be considered are:

1] Class: Two way vs one way, encrypted message content vs cleartext only, mixmaster style or one hop forwarding
2] Location: Some jurisdictions allow easier seizure of equipment, data, or operating records than do others, Geographical Mapping
3] History: Some operators maintain/administer their hardware and software in better condition than others; in particular, attention to security configuration issues
4] Security: Some operating systems have much worse security histories than others, even when properly configured, maintained, and administered
5] Operator: At worst, a remailer run by some infamous Secret Police Department will be less than desirable; less ominously, an operator may simply be consistently inattentive
6] Privacy and operating policies: If stated, better than not; and if stated are they sensible and being observed; however, recourse (legal or otherwise) has been almost never available against operators, software developers, operating system suppliers, and in case of loss of anonymity and/or consequent damages regardless of operating policies, stated or observed
7] Software used: Some remailer software is widely used and live tested – some is not; record and reputation (consult remailer statistics sites, and check Google search, news group postings, blogs, etc.)

Anonymity : Advanced Direct Remailer
Advanced Direct Remailer (ADR) is a powerful remailer and mass mailer which sends your messages straight out to the recipient's mail server (without your ISP's SMTP server). ADR realizes multi-threaded direct delivery, and so works several times quicker than usual email client.

Anonymity : JonDonym
If you want to send emails, but do not want to reveal your identity to the addressee or a third party, the best thing is using an anon remailer. If you are using the same address more then once in order to send or receive your emails, you are creating an identity with it. There is also the simple reason that every purchase we make online is followed up with multiple "customer service" [read spam] emails. These are easily avoided using the services listed below.

JonDonym is my one stop shop. Services provided are

  • Remailer - Sending emails from disposable addresses
  • Temporary emails accounts
  • Receiving emails to disposable addresses
  • emails accounts in one minute
  • Keep your emails communication
  • Webmail providers: Security and Privacy

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