Right from the start I should have figured out that Tenebril GhostSurf (which promised an anonymous Internet connection to let you surf the Web) was bullshit. I mean I purchased a copy at Office Max so I paid cash to be totally anonymous only to find out that the cd was merely a connection to an Internet download site which loaded me up with two distinct 20 mg downloads. In order to get that far, I had to give them my email address and product key which immediately tied my ghost surfing habits to my machine.
Can this story get worse? Of course or it wouldn’t be worth a blog!
When the main menu pops up to offer spyware protection, anonymous surfing and 3 other items of lesser value, nothing would work until each line item was individually activated by putting in your product code and email address. Now when I first started surfing, I did a DNS check and traceroute on myself to find out how anonymous it was. That’s when I found out that anonymous surfing was neither anonymous or the set default. If you wanted to be anonymous, you were supposed to check invisible.
OK, I tested invisible.
Visual Traceroute (which is a very cool program) rejected my connection without comment. A traceroute from Pakistan (which is a high technology nation) tracked me to an ev1 server in Houston without comment. Now Dnsstuff.com which is another cool site tracked me to the same ev1 server identified as IP 18.104.22.168. They went onto say that this was a well known proxy server, that it was infected with malware and if I ever returned from that proxy and infected their machines, they would hunt me like a dog and ban my real IP for life. (or something equally threatening). So now I find that I’m still not anonymous. I’m on a fixed proxy with a know IP with a registered copy to my email and machine and any government agency or proficient hacker can break my veil of secrecy.
Can it be worse?
Of course, I got infected by a bot on my most highly protected and very anonymous machine which had a true alternate identity. The infection was so aggressive the machine was worthless.
Was it anonymous?
Not a chance, the index.dat files were loaded with crap including the URL history and pictures in cache memory and there were cookies I was so pissed removing this paid program from my machine that I bearly had time to document the technical details for the blog at Tigerstail.
I will say one thing about the Feds spying on you, your machine is fairly clean of most malware and you are free to quickly surf even if the answers to searches might be wrong or incomplete. This is the worst nastiest infection I have seen in 10 years of surfing the net and it simply can’t be removed without wiping the drive and reinstalling.