Anonymity on the Internet: where did it come from and how is it implemented in practice?
Today, more and more users are thinking about ensuring their own anonymity and security of working on the Internet. To achieve these goals, many tools are used: special browsers with a built-in data encryption function, antidetect browsers, virtual private networks, proxy servers etc. But today's review will be devoted not so much to getting to know them as to how anonymity appeared on the Internet in principle. The information provided will allow you to understand how much effort and time it took for specialists to provide modern users with truly reliable and functional tools for stable and secure networking.
First steps in becoming anonymous
On the anonymity of the work on the Internet as such was first announced in 1985. It was then that a community appeared, called The WELL (The Whole Earth ’Lectronic Link, which in translation sounds like “All-planetary electronic communication”). But in practice it began to be called "well". Depending on the topic, this community was divided into separate “conferences”, within which a breakdown into “conversation branches” was additionally provided. Connection to this platform was carried out through a telephone dial-up line. Inside the site, people communicated on various topics. Many people call WELL the progenitor of modern forums. At that time, this site could not be called anonymous, but it was she who laid the foundation for the formation of anonymity as such. By the way, it still exists today, although the number of registered participants on it is already in the hundreds. But among them there are those who can be called authorities in the field of the Internet industry. The public really listens to their opinion.
After WELL, other communities began to appear, similar in principle to it. A breakthrough can be called the emergence in 1988 of the first truly anonymous community. The truth here was not thinking about protecting the safety of people. The fact is that this community was dedicated to discussing topics that were taboo at that time, in particular fetishism, BDSM and the like. And the key difference between such communities and ordinary ones, the same WELL — use of pseudonyms by participants.
Gradually, the number of such sites increased. Since the beginning of the 90s, more and more of them began to appear. It was this period that became a technical race in the fight to hide the personal data of network users. Yes, the tools that were used in practice at that time can hardly be called technological and advanced, but nevertheless, they laid the foundation for further developments, which continued actively in the next decade.
How did proxies appear?
In 1965, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created the then-unique messaging application Mail. But the problem was that they were sent to only one computer, which was selected as the main one. 4 years after that, the Arpanet computer network appeared in America. To work with it, it was necessary to enter not only the name of the addressee, but also your network address. And since that time, Internet users began to suffer from constant spam, phishing. That is, Internet scammers began to develop vigorous activity back in those days. By the way, in 1991, the World Wide Web protocol (the well-known www) was created, thereby laying the foundation for the Internet in its modern form.
At about the same time, the first anonymizers — services that allow you to hide the unique technical data of users' devices. They were simply spoofing their own IP-address. One of the first such services was anon.penet.fi. from Finnish developers. But this remailer never managed to achieve mass distribution for one simple reason — it stored the real IP addresses of users on its own hardware. Following him, a service entered the market that offered paid services. It received messages from users, identifying their addresses, but when sending, the sender's address was already hidden. But still, the effectiveness of remailers was quite low. Any little hacker could identify the sender's time zone, language and type of operating system location.
Proxy servers were able to solve this problem. They have become an intermediate link between the user and the network, providing:
- replacing the IP-address and geolocation with your own parameters;
- encryption of traffic, which was provided by using a protocol such as HTTPS.
These principles are also used in modern proxies. In practice, such a solution was first used by specialists from the European Center for High Energy Physics back in 1994. They began to pass all both incoming and outgoing traffic through a HTTP server. At the same time, data was filtered, as well as hiding information about users. Thanks to this, scientists were able to maintain their privacy when visiting certain sites.
But, 2 years before that, the specialists of the American company MIPS created another data transfer protocol — Socket Secure (well known to us as SOCKS). A distinctive feature of this protocol is that the data is passed through an intermediary server without making any changes to their original form. Today, in practice, version 5 of this protocol is widely used, which has received quite significant improvements. It is used where classic proxy servers cannot provide the desired result.
Mobile proxies that work simultaneously on both a HTTP/HTTPS protocol as well as SOCKS5. It provides the highest level of protection of personal data and the user device as a whole from any unauthorized access, as well as impeccable indicators of confidentiality of actions on the Internet.
What do we know about the first antidetect browsers?
Anti-detect browser is designed to replace the real digital fingerprints of the user device with others that have nothing to do with a particular person. In combination with mobile proxies, they provide the highest level of anonymity and security of the network, allow you to bypass all kinds of regional restrictions, work with multiple accounts at the same time, and more.
But it is impossible to say exactly when such solutions appeared. The first mention of this in the annals of the arbitration community appeared in 2015. It was invented by a certain outstanding programmer under the pseudonym Vector. He created it specifically for karting and sold it to relevant customers at fabulous prices. And how effective browser antidetect is in traffic arbitration became known a little later. In continuation of the development in 2017, another such product appeared on the market, called “Sphere”.
Today, the choice of antidetect browsers is able to satisfy the needs of any person. And those whose professional activities are connected with the Internet, and ordinary users who would like to ensure the highest possible efficiency, reliability and security when working on the Internet.
A little about how Telegram was born
What does Telegram have to do with it if we are talking about the anonymity of working on the network? The fact is that today it is recognized as the most reliable and secure messenger. But during the period of its existence on the market, it has repeatedly fallen into quite serious scandals.
At one time, the Durov brothers launched an experimental development, with the help of which they wanted to make life easier for themselves. The very history and technology of Telegram is closely intertwined with the social network VKontakte, which was also founded by one of the brothers, Pavel. In 2011, at the state level, incomprehensible “assaults” on the creator of the network, his apartment was even stormed by special forces. And this moment was a turning point for Pavel Durov. He realized that he would not have a future in Russia. He also realized that he could not communicate completely safely and securely with his brother Nikolai in case of emergencies.
The consequences of such reflections was the development of MTProto data encryption technology by Nikolai Durov, which worked on the principle of end-to-end information transfer. That is, the transmitted data could be read only by the sender and the recipient. Even if someone managed to intercept this data stream, he still would not be able to decrypt it. After a short conversation in this format, the brothers decided to test how their technology works at higher loads. This led to the appearance of the Telegram messenger on the market in 2012, which was formalized as a full-fledged legal entity. Most of the employees moved from the social network VKontakte. A little more than 2 months later, a mobile version of the messenger for the operating network Android.
But the misadventures of the brothers did not end there. At a certain moment, when the shares of the social network VKontakte went down, one of its shareholders, in particular the UCP fund, decided that Durov pulled out some of the resources from VKontakte in order to move them to Telegram. Durov denied such claims, but all these lawsuits gave him a lot of trouble.
Initially, Pavel Durov's idea involved the simultaneous promotion of three separate projects on the market:
- Telegram. It would be his responsibility to enable people to use encrypted voice communications.
- Telegraph. This block was supposed to combine communication by correspondence and geochats.
- Pictograph. As conceived by the developer, this was supposed to be a new Instagram, that is, a platform for sending video and photo content.
But such an idea could not be realized. The fact is that in mid-2013, Edward Snowden, a former CIA and NSA officer, published part of the secret data related to the importance of ensuring the freedom of networking. It was for this idea that Pavel Durov caught on. Now his Telegram worked on the market under the slogan “Return our right to privacy.” And his idea worked 100%. Telegram has become an extremely popular messenger all over the world. Bloggers initially began to use it, then ordinary users joined in, followed by businesses. Around the same time, it was possible to identify serious lags in the security system of the nearest competitor – WhatsApp.
So what was in Edward Snowden's report? It contained information that the US government was monitoring users in all countries of the world. For this, he was put on the international wanted list, but that's a completely different story. But it was his report that led Telegram to become the fastest growing startup in Europe. Around the same time, Pavel Durov sold all his shares in the social network VKontakte and traveled outside of Russia.
Today, the number of Telegram users has already exceeded 700 million people worldwide. At the same time, experts agree that no one has been able to crack the encryption protocols that this messenger uses. But not everyone liked the provision of such high anonymity and security of work. Countries such as China, Pakistan, Oman, Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia have banned Telegram from being used. But what about the situation with this messenger in Russia? Everything here is very, very ambiguous.
The whole saga with attempts to block Telegram began back in May 2017, when for the first time information was leaked to the media that Roskomnadzor was planning to block this messenger. About a month later, this department sent an official request to Durov for the provision of complete information about the company in order to enter it into the register of organizations specializing in the dissemination of information on the network. Pavel Durov did not comply with the requirements of this request, saying that the messenger is politically neutral. After that, information surfaced that, with the help of the Telegram, the terrorists had once prepared a terrorist attack in St. Petersburg. Following this, Durov was required to provide the encryption keys of the messenger so that it would be possible to control all correspondence within the system and identify illegal actions in it. You probably already know that Roskomnadzor did not receive any keys, as this jeopardized the anonymity of a huge number of users. Moreover, it was not possible from a technical point of view, since a unique protocol generates each new cipher for a single user.
The result of such proceedings was a fine issued by the court to Durov's company in the amount of 800,000 rubles. What happened next? A series of lawsuits from the management of the telegram to the FSB, as well as a decision to block the telegram on the territory of Russia. Pavel Durov's response to this was a message that users would not have to do anything in order to bypass such restrictions. He created a digital resistance and began to pay grants to services offering rental of proxy servers and virtual private networks. The most interesting thing is that the telegram blocking only increased the number of users of this messenger in Russia. And in the summer of 2020, the State Duma adopted a bill to unblock the messenger. Following this, Roskomnadzor removed its restrictions. Today, no one can give an intelligible answer why this happened.
All the ups and downs that happened with Telegram were displayed in a huge number of memes. Today, this messenger continues to work actively in many countries of the world, has its own representative office in several states under different legal entities. Telegram's hardware is built on 5 huge data centers.
The topic of ensuring the anonymity and security of working on the network has been relevant literally from the first days of the emergence of the World Wide Web. And to this day, there are those who are in favor of guaranteeing users a confidential network experience, as well as those who are against it. But this only stirs up interest in the topic more and helps to actively develop those technologies whose actions are aimed at guaranteeing the privacy of people when working on the network.
If we talk about tools that can provide a high level of anonymity and security, then mobile proxies deserve special attention. We have already talked about their advantages and features above. Now let's just say that one of the best solutions for today in this market segment is offered by the MobileProxy.Space https://mobileproxy.space/user service. html?buyproxy. In this case, you get a personal dedicated channel with unlimited traffic, simultaneous operation on HTTP(S) and Socks5 protocols and access to more than a million pool of IP-addresses. With which mobile proxies you can work on the network without any restrictions, providing yourself with complete anonymity and security of actions, guaranteed bypass of regional blocking, the ability to work in multithreaded mode. Before buying a product, you can verify its functionality by taking advantage of a free two-hour test.