How can I send and share information anonymously?
Level of Technical Knowledge: Low; Reading Time: 7 min.; Hashtags: #anonymous #s3cures3cret
In this article, we will review and explain in detail various ways to send and share information anonymously, whether through emails, instant messaging, or sharing files through our own or third-party services that ensure our anonymity and peace of mind.
At the end of this article, we offer you our solution with the aim of providing you with the utmost privacy and anonymity.
Disclaimer: The instructions contained in this article are presented with the intent of providing anonymity to the reader. Jaymon Security is not responsible for how this information may be used.
2. How can I hide my IP address?
Let’s start from the beginning. In a very, very, very summarized way, we’ll tell you that the IP address is a set of numbers that help locate a device on the Internet. If you still don’t get it, think of it as something similar to your physical home address, but for the Internet.
Why is this address so important? It’s vital because, typically, as you conduct your online activities, your IP address is logged across numerous log files throughout the web. Your IP makes it possible to locate you in the real world if someone deems it necessary.
So, what’s our primary goal? To try and hide our IP address as best as possible.
Next, we’ll go over various methods to conceal our IP.
2.1 Using a VPN
VPNs (Virtual Private Network) hide your IP address and encrypt your online traffic, making it hard to track your online activities. Here are some popular VPN services along with their features:
- NordVPN: This service has a no-logs policy, meaning it doesn’t store user activity information. NordVPN also accepts cryptocurrency payments for those seeking an added layer of anonymity.
- ExpressVPN: Though based in the British Virgin Islands, this VPN also has a no-logs policy. It has been independently audited to validate its privacy practices.
- Private Internet Access (PIA): Known for its strong commitment to privacy, PIA has a no-logs policy and accepts various cryptocurrencies for payment.
- Mullvad: Unique in that it generates a random account number for each user instead of using emails or usernames, providing an added layer of anonymity. Mullvad also accepts Bitcoin payments.
- ProtonVPN: Developed by the same individuals behind ProtonMail, ProtonVPN is security and privacy-focused. It has a no-logs policy and is based in Switzerland, which boasts strong privacy laws.
- TorGuard: While not directly related to the Tor browser, TorGuard is highly regarded in the privacy community and also has a no-logs policy.
- CyberGhost: Based in Romania, a country not part of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes surveillance alliances, CyberGhost is another VPN with a no-logs policy.
It’s essential to note that, while VPNs enhance privacy and anonymity, they don’t guarantee 100% complete anonymity. It’s always possible for the VPN service provider to be compelled by national or international entities to hand over information, or they could be compromised in some other manner.
Also, consider factors like the country the VPN provider is based in, its logging policies, payment options, and additional security features.
Now we give you a little tip for maintaining anonymity. If you need anonymity for short periods of time, it is advisable to use free VPNs or those that offer a trial period, in order not to enter our personal data when signing up. If we combine this with the use of a WiFi network that is not linked to our identity, we further ensure the protection of our anonymity. When using public networks, it is advised to be cautious of potential surveillance cameras that might record our activity.
Remember: In the end, the information you send or receive when you’re connected to a VPN goes through the infrastructure of the VPN provider, and that’s a potential risk point. To protect our anonymity, it’s advised to conduct operations from a WiFi network that isn’t linked to us.
2.2 Anonymous Browsers
These are web browsers that, through their construction, configuration, and the networks they use, aim to achieve anonymity. Next, we include a brief review of our favorite:
- The Tor browser is a popular choice for anonymous browsing. You can access email services, online messaging, or whatever you require through the Tor network to add an additional layer of anonymity.
3. How can I send and receive email anonymously?
Sending an email anonymously can be useful for many reasons. In most cases, the goal is to avoid retaliation, which, depending on various sociopolitical factors, can be fatal.
Now that we can hide our IP address, let’s review methods for sending and receiving emails anonymously.
- Use of anonymous email services: There are online services specifically designed for sending anonymous emails. They don’t ask you to register or provide identifying information. Some of these include:
- Use of disposable email services: These services provide temporary email addresses that you can use to receive emails for a short period of time. In addition to receiving emails at an unlinked address, they are commonly used for service sign-ups or sending emails without revealing your identity.
- 10MinuteMail: As its name suggests, it provides email addresses that last 10 minutes. It’s useful for quick sign-ups on websites.
- Mailinator: Allows you to create an email address instantly. Any @mailinator.com email address is accessible by anyone, meaning you shouldn’t use it for sensitive information.
- Guerrilla Mail: Offers temporary emails that last an hour. You can choose your email address or let the service generate one for you.
- TempMail: Provides temporary email addresses to avoid spam in your real inbox.
- ThrowAwayMail: Another service that generates temporary email addresses. Especially useful for confirming sign-ups on other websites.
- Fake Mail Generator: Offers temporary emails with different domains. Useful if a website blocks certain temporary email domains.
- YOPmail: Provides disposable and anonymous email addresses. No registration required, and emails are stored for 8 days.
Note: It’s important not to use disposable email addresses for sensitive or important information since many of these services allow access to received emails without a password, or because emails are deleted after a short period.
- Creating a new account: Quite obviously, you can always create an email address on standard services like Gmail, Hotmail, Protonmail without using our personal information. And if you have an anonymous phone number not tied to our identity, you can receive confirmation SMSs.
It should be noted that some email services might filter or block emails coming from anonymous services, so it’s crucial to ensure that the recipient has received the message.
3.1 Anonymous Email Verification via SMS
In some cases, specifically the previous case of creating a new email account, the service provider might request email account verification via SMS. This can be a hurdle if you’re aiming to maintain anonymity. However, there are ways to navigate this anonymously:
- Disposable Number Services: There are services that provide temporary phone numbers you can use to receive text messages. Examples of these services include: ReceiveSMSOnline, FreePhoneNum, SMSReceiveFree. It’s important to note that these services are popular, and sometimes the numbers provided may have been previously used on popular platforms, making them non-functional for certain services.
- Disposable Phone Apps: There are apps available for smartphones that offer temporary or disposable numbers. Examples of these apps include: Burner, Hushed.
- Purchase a prepaid SIM card: If you’re willing to spend some money for anonymity, consider buying a prepaid SIM card from a local store. These SIM cards often don’t require personal information and can be used to receive SMS. Once your account is verified, you can either dispose of the SIM card or keep it for future use. Such cards can be easily found online or even in supermarkets in Baltic countries (Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia).
4. How can I communicate through instant messaging anonymously?
Communicating anonymously through instant messaging means hiding your identity and ensuring that your conversations cannot be traced back to you. For this, there are some steps you can follow and tools you can consider:
- Using VPN and private browsers: As mentioned in point 2 of this article. In this case, it’s essential to avoid entering personal information that can identify us when registering for the messaging service.
- Anonymous messaging apps:
- Signal: An end-to-end encrypted messaging app that doesn’t keep logs of your conversations. While you need a phone number to register, that number doesn’t have to be associated with your identity, as we’ve seen in point 3 of this article.
- Ricochet: Uses the Tor network to reach your contacts without sharing your location or metadata.
- Wickr Me: Encrypted messaging that allows users to send anonymous messages.
- Telegram: Although a phone number is required for registration, Telegram offers end-to-end encrypted secret chats and the ability to set messages to self-destruct after a set period.
- Temporary chats: Tools like “ChatStep” or “Cryptpad” allow you to create chat rooms that are temporary and encrypted.
- Use of aliases and disposable email addresses: If you need to register for some service, don’t use your real personal information. Opt for aliases and temporary/disposable email addresses, as mentioned in point 3 of this article.
Sharing files anonymously implies both concealing our identity when sending a file, and ensuring that the content of the file doesn’t reveal unwanted information about us. Below, we provide some steps and considerations for anonymously sharing files:
- IP address masking with Tor Network and VPN: As we have seen in point 2 of this article, this is an essential step before undertaking subsequent actions.
- Anonymous file sharing services:
- OnionShare: It is an open-source tool that allows you to share files securely and anonymously using the Tor network. I recommend doing it as indicated in the following article: https://jaymonsecurity.com/sitio-deep-web-raspberry-anonima/
- SendGB or WeTransfer: These are services for sharing large files that don’t require registration, but it’s better to use them through a VPN or Tor for greater anonymity.
- Remove metadata: Files, especially images and documents, often contain metadata: information about the file or the device with which it was created. This information might include details about the camera that took a photo, the location where it was taken, the software used to edit the file, and much more.
- Additional considerations:
- Do not use identifiable file names. Rename files before sharing them.
- If you are sharing images, consider taking screenshots of the original images and sharing those screenshots instead of the original images to avoid unwanted metadata.
6. Conclusions and S3cureS3cret.
In this article, we have looked at how to send emails and share information anonymously. However, it’s important to understand that no tool or method guarantees complete anonymity, so it’s always essential to be informed and cautious when relying on any service or tool to share or send information anonymously.
As a general rule, never share personal information (under any circumstances), and be mindful of meta-information, as many services store metadata, such as the time of a message or the location from which it was sent. Therefore, ensure that the platform you choose does not store compromising metadata.
If you liked it, or found this article useful, you can treat us to a warm crypto-coffee 😉