Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Is Ultra Surf Providing Anonymous Surfing And Ensuring Cyber Security?

Privacy and anonymity are very important aspects of protecting civil liberties in cyberspace. They also strengthen cyber security to some extent. However, maintaining good level of privacy, anonymity and cyber security has become a daunting challenge these days.

Further, endemic e-surveillance and blatant privacy violations have become the norm theses days. Even the United Nations (UN) has not been able to control the growing desires and adopted designs of various national governments to curb privacy and anonymity rights of their citizens.

For instance, Indian Government launched projects like Aadhar, national intelligence grid (Natgrid), crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS), national counter terrorism centre (NCTC), central monitoring system (CMS), centre for communication security research and monitoring (CCSRM), etc. None of them are governed by any legal framework and none of them are under parliamentary scrutiny.

India needs strong privacy rights and anonymity protection in these circumstances. Self defence in cyberspace is a concept whose time has come at both national and international level. At the national level of India self defence is required not only against cyber criminals but also against our own over zealous and e-surveillance oriented Indian government. Proactive self defence in cyberspace against our own governments has become a necessity. Of course there is a limit where self defence in cyberspace ceases to exist.

When it comes to anonymity, the onion routing (Tor) is the universal standard. However, there are certain extra steps that Tor users must take to get maximum benefit our of Tor infrastructure. If used properly, ToR can provide good levels of privacy, anonymity and cyber security.

Another good tool for maintaining privacy is ultra surf. Ultrasurf is a product of Ultrareach Internet Corporation. Originally created to help internet users in China find security and freedom online, Ultrasurf has now become popular pro-privacy, anti-censorship software, with millions of people using it to bypass firewalls and protect their identity online.

However, for some strange reasons ultra surf is not working fine for us as it is leaking our internet protocol address even after we use it properly. While some sites show the IP address of ultra surf yet some other show the real IP address. If real IP address is visible, there is little use of any privacy/anonymity software.

We also sent an e-mail to ultra surf in this regard and till the time of writing this article we did not get any response. May be our analysis is wrong and we apologise in advance for any misunderstanding or wrong reporting. We would appreciate the inputs of public at large and encourage them to use any search engine with suitable query, including what is my IP. If the search engine shows the real IP address, ultra surf need to do some serious work in this regard.

Privacy and anonymity is also necessary to enhance cyber security as many cyber attacks are specifically linked to IP address. If a different IP address is publicly available that can reduce the risks of many cyber attacks.

We hope anonymity, privacy and security enthusiastic would enlighten us with their correct, accurate and technical analysis and inputs in this regard.

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