Wednesday, 17 October 2012

How to be anonymous on the internet (99-100%)

Updated: 06/2016

Summary: Tor Browser is not enough. This short tutorial will help you to significantly improve your security in only 15 minutes. 

Your online privacy is under attack. Government agencies (NSA, FBI etc.) and private companies (e.g. Google) are snooping on you. You will find a lot of tips on the web to achieve online anonymity, but most of it is useless.

The information below will give you a rock-solid setup in a reasonable amount of time. If you run into any problems post a comment and I will help you out.

It is possible to avoid being tracked, but to stay anonymous online you need a) a good setup and b) use your common sense.

My setup | User -> VPN -> Tor -> Internet

Using Tor alone is often not enough as a Harvard student had to learn when he emailed a bomb threat to campus officials to avoid having to write a final exam.  He was deanonymized by the fact that he was the only person using Tor on the campus network at the time the email was sent.

A VPN will hide the fact that you are using Tor from your Internet service provider or the network you are connected to. Choosing a VPN which can be trusted is extremely important. Companies such as Hide My Ass will reveal your identity as soon as someone knocks on their door. Money spent on these kind of operators is completely wasted money.

Step 1: VPN

Find a good VPN provider. I am using NordVPN. Their servers are operated under the jurisdiction of Panama, they have a no logs policy and it is possible to pay in Bitcoins for their services.

After you have signed up, install OpenVPN or use NordVPNs software and connect to the NordVPN network or the network of your VPN provider of choice.

A VPN will add a layer of protection regardless of whether you decide to proceed with Step 2 or not.

Step 2: Virtual Environment and Tor

Next, download VirtualBox and Whonix-Workstation/Gateway, which is a security-focused Linux distribution that tunnels ALL traffic through Tor. Install VirtualBox.

How to be anonymous online

Open VirtualBox and import the two (!) .ova files (Whonix) into VirtualBox. To do this go to File --> Import Appliance .

How to be anonymous online

First start Whonix-Gateway.

How to be anonymous online

As soon as you see the Desktop of Whonix-Gateway go back to VirtualBox and start Whonix-Workstation. 

Everything you do (i.e. surfing the deep web) is done on Whonix-Workstation.

How to be anonymous online

Important: USE your brain.

The best possible setup won't help you if you are careless and login to your normal Facebook/Gmail account while hiding behind VPNs and Tor. Do not use your everyday email address and do not use your everyday username for any anonymous activity online.

Unfortunately people make mistakes, but by using a virtual environment (Whonix) you can greatly mitigate that risk. It will help you separate your two identities and thus stay truly anonymous online.

If you have any questions or problems, please write a comment below.

EXTRA (You don't need this)
Please be aware that the following is of theoretical nature only. Breaking into networks without consent is illegal.

In theory the following setup would make it impossible to track somebody down: User --> hacked Wireless Access Point Router --> VPN --> Tor (Whonix) --> Internet

Don't use Windows, but a clean install of Debian instead. Make sure you enable full disk encryption (password should be a minimum of 30 characters).

Securely erase your HDD: Boot from an Ubuntu live CD. Install wipe (sudo apt-get install wipe) and wipe the hard disk drive.

·         WEP poses a significant security risk

Adversary most likely will change his mac address. This can be done via macchanger.  e.g. macchanger -r wlan0


  1. Why is needed step 5 ? - crack one of your sourrounding aps...

  2. lets say i have access to your router. if someone tries to trace me he will end up at your ISP. I am just a MAC address in your router's log details. btw you must not hack any ap, because that's illegal.

  3. Hello Mike,

    What about accessing through android mobile phone?
    You need orbot+orfox, still anything else?
    But isn't tor a vpn itself? Why you need another one?

    Thanks for the tutorial.


    1. it's better to use a pc with whonix. connection on phone could drop and expose you to accidental leaks.

  4. Another Mike, on openvpn for android i have to create an account by entering an email. I have several email's from different providers and with different names, can i use any one of them? Or what do you suggest?

    P.S. Same guy from the post above.


  5. Only 15 minutes my ass the whonix things take several hours just to download

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