8 Bit Message in a Digital Bottle

As seasoned data-travelers, we’re used to wielding the internet to send messages and communicate to others without any limitations. No one has to be stranded on a figurative island blowing smoke signals… unless of course they wanted to be. What [Harm Alexander Aldick] has done with his project “Lorem Ipsum”, is create a situation where others can only communicate to him through a sort of message in a bottle. The bottle in this case is an electronic widget.

In this social experiment, [Harm] has stationed a small Ikea picture frame at his desk, which shows images and text sent to him in real-time from others in the world. With an Arduino as the brain, a small 8×8 LED matrix mounted at the bottom right of the frame displays the data received by means of an ethernet module. Anyone can use his web interface to modify the pixels of the matrix on a virtual version of the installation. Once sent, the message is transmitted through an IPv6 internet connection and is translated to UDP which the unit is controlled by.

[Harm]’s project investigates how people react when given the chance to send a message in complete anonymity to someone they don’t know… in of all things, the form of something as limited as 64 pixels. The project name “Lorem Ipsum” refers to the filler text used in graphic design to hold the place of what would otherwise be more meaningful information, so that it doesn’t detract from the experience of viewing the layout. Curious about what sort of ‘graphical experience’ I would come up with myself, I took a shot at punching away at [Harm’s] GUI. I got momentarily lost in turning the little red dots on and off and eventually turned out this little ditty:


It was supposed to be something of a triangle, yet turned into a crop circle… or pronged nipple. After it was sent, I wondered whether or not [Harm] actually saw it. In the case that he did, I can only imagine what I communicated to our fellow hacker abroad with my squall of dots. All of these thoughts though are the whole point of the project. Awesome work!

Now you see me, now you don’t, face detection scripts

Straight out of Ghost in the Shell, the Laughing Man makes his appearance in these security camera shots. [William Riggins] wrote us to let us know about his teams Famicam scripts. After taking a screen shot, faces are detected and counted, ‘anonymized’, and the final image is uploaded to Twitter.

The process is rather simple, and sure beats wearing a bunch of white reflective camouflage. All that’s left is detecting specific faces to make anonymous, and of course uploading the script to every camera in the world. Easy, right?

Tor hardware privacy adapter


The Janus team have published a preview of their new Privacy Adapter. It’s a small two port router. You just plug it in-line between your computer/switch and your internet connection. It will then anonymize all of you traffic via the Tor network. You can also use it with OpenVPN. The hardware appears to be a Gumstix computer mounted to a daughtercard with two ethernet ports. It will have a web configuration just like a standard router. This looks like a great plug-n-play privacy device. The only improvement we would suggest is adding auto-detect so a crossover cable isn’t required.

Janus is responsible for JanusVM, a virtual machine designed to protect your privacy with technologies like Tor and OpenVPN.

[via @hdmoore]

Packet trace anonymization with PktAnon

If you’re a network researcher or systems administrator, you know that network traces are often necessary, but not easy to share with colleagues and other researchers. To help with both ease of use and handling of sensitive information, the Institute of Telematics has developed PktAnon, a framework that anonymizes network traffic.

It works by using a profile-based scheme that supports various anonymization primitives, making it easy to switch between different network protocols and anonymization methods. New primitives can easily be added, and several pre-defined profiles are bundled into the distro. The profiles are all XML-based.

Essentially, there are two major uses for network traces: anonymizing user traffic in order to research it, and anonymizing in-house usage, thus preventing the leakage of sensitive information. It’s a rather rigid scheme, but using profiles for this was a stroke of genius that made it a lot easier, more flexible, and as a result, more useful and powerful.

[via TaoSecurity]
[photo: mlpoulter]

Anonymizing clothing

Though much of [citizenFinerran]’s intent in designing a suit that camouflages the wearer from security camera footage was philosophical, it is designed with a very tangible purpose in mind. The suit does not provide true camouflage (to say nothing of true invisibility), but it does create enough moving visual obstructions to make the wearer completely anonymous on film. More details on this and other invisibility cloaks after the break.

Continue reading “Anonymizing clothing”

xB Browser for anonymous browsing

Download Squad highlighted the xB Browser today. It’s a product offered by XeroBank and is the successor to the TorPark project. The browser anonymizes your browsing using the Tor network and doesn’t remember passwords, sites visited, or any other personal information. Scripts and plugins are disallowed by default, since they could be used to identify you. Remember that Tor just anonymizes; you’re still at the mercy of the exit nodes when it comes to security.

That’s just the free version though. Subscribers to XeroBank have access to an anonymous mail server and VPN service. If you’re a subscriber your bowser session is tunneled through XeroBank’s pool of servers and not the Tor network. We think they should have maintained a separate product name since this distinction isn’t clear outside of the FAQ.