Internet privacy and security course
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Chapter 67

Sending anonymous SMS

By anonymous SMS we mean one that was sent from the site without the ability to establish the identity or exact location of the sender. In this chapter we will not consider the services of sending SMS from websites, since it is very simple, just enter in the search system “send SMS online” and choose a convenient site.

It is extremely difficult to give a recommendation about the site choice, as the collection and processing of data happen in the so-called “back-end” of the service, which is hidden from both users and specialists. We can only make general not very accurate assumption by analyzing the code of the website.

Some people recommend using the official sites of operators whenever it is possible, as they are better protected and pay more attention to data protection. Probably this is a fair statement, although we have already told you about the sent SMS leak through the website of the operator Megafon, when thousands of SMS were in free access along with information about the senders and recipients.

The main question is the anonymity of the sender, which is achieved only in the case of a comprehensive setting of anonymity when connecting to a web resource, including the presence of Tor or VPN and the correct setting of the browser. I just would like to clarify about Tor that many sites block sending anything from Tor users. I have even met sites that blocked IP-hiding system by restricting the ability to send SMS only from Russian IP addresses.

Sites with the ability to send free SMS collect as much information about the sender as possible so that they can always identify their data and respond to a request from law enforcement agencies. The main danger is the authentic IP address, which must be hidden. Also check for IPv4 and IPv6 leaks, as well as DNS leaks, WebRTC IPv4, WebRTC IPv6 leaks, we teach all of this in the current course. Any of these leaks will affect your anonymity in a negative way.

Remember that sites can secretly “take out” a lot of valuable information from a browser, for example, under which account you are registered in social networks and even which sites you have visited, that is why for anonymous surfing it is better to use a separate browser and to prevent JS attacks, at least install an add-on NoScript. We will teach you how to protect yourself against these attacks in our course on anonymity and security on the net.

Such sites always use cookies. Even if you sent an SMS to one number, then you left the site, changed the IP address, returned and sent an SMS to another number, the site will recognize you and your entire SMS history will be on the same list. Cookies need cleaning if you want to change the identity or you can use a private browser mode.

There is no doubt that fingerprints such as Canvas fingerprint, WebGL fingerprint and others also need changing. Actually, on their own they are not able to deanonymize the user, but they can identify user’s browser. Now there is an active development of cross-device prints, which will be the same on all user devices.

When do fingerprints become dangerous? When tracking of the user’s movements is based on them. This technology is actively used by marketing companies, fraud prevention systems as well as the special services, of course.

Let’s assume you have configured your anonymity perfectly, you have Quadro VPN, protection from all sorts of leaks, cleaning cookies, NoScript, all the latest browser updates, i.e. everything needed according to popular recommendations of IT-specialists. You send an SMS via the website, which contains a marketing system used, for example, by your bank. As a result, this system will recognize the bank customer easily in your fingerprints, so this is a fiasco. The only advantage is that you will probably never know about it.

Attention

If you don’t change your browser’s fingerprints, you aren’t anonymous anymore.

This is some kind of a basic set of an anonymous user; as a part of the course, we will teach you from A to Z how to set up anonymity on the Internet, where we will go further than these basic requirements.

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