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Safer Mobile Surfing

I'm sure you read lots of different security-related blogs and Web sites. There are a bunch of them out there, and the number seems to keep right on growing. I've got dozens of them in my RSS reader, and I often find new ones that I want to read now and then.

One interesting blog that I found some time ago is called Secureme. Not only is it informative, but the writing style is subtly humorous at times too. When I look at the "avatars" of the blog writers at the site, I'm not quite sure what's missing: a flashy mirrored disco ball and colored lights, or Santa's workshop. When you go to the blog, you'll see what I mean.

An interesting recent post at the blog ("No SSH server, no problem!" January 13) covered two tools, The Onion Router (TOR) and Privoxy, both of which can be used in a variety of situations, such as using them together to better protect your Internet communications when you're on the road. For example, if you're using a hotel's in-house network or a public wireless network, you could use TOR and Privoxy to help protect your network traffic.

TOR is a routing technology that encrypts and routes your Internet traffic through a number of TOR servers before the traffic reaches its destination. Privoxy is a proxy server that helps protect your Internet privacy by removing or obscuring various content, such as your DNS queries, browser type, OS type, and more. You can configure Privoxy to communicate with TOR so that all your Web traffic is routed through the TOR network.

I tried the two tools, and they seem to work all right. Setting up a TOR client is incredibly simple. Just install it, run it, and make sure there are open ports on your firewall to pass traffic. That's it! Privoxy is equally simple, except that to make it work with TOR, you'll need to add one line to the Privoxy configuration, which is explained in the TOR documentation. You can learn more about TOR and Privoxy and download copies at their respective Web sites.

Until next time, have a great week.

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