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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn how to use TOR
The content of the book can be best described with the following statement from the author: The subject of this book: how to connect to the Internet with the confidence that someone listening in to your connection won't be able to figure out what you are doing (or at least make it very difficult)"

This book is all about Tor. From why people use Tor, how to get...
Published 15 months ago by Andy

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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing That I Couldn't Get for Free
Unfortunately, this review will be very short. This is because I have nothing good to say about Peter Loshin's book, Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online, and the only bad thing I have to say about it is that all of the information can easily be found for free with a few simple Google searches.

When I was given the opportunity to review Practical...
Published 15 months ago by atlasArisen


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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing That I Couldn't Get for Free, September 15, 2013
This review is from: Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online (Paperback)
Unfortunately, this review will be very short. This is because I have nothing good to say about Peter Loshin's book, Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online, and the only bad thing I have to say about it is that all of the information can easily be found for free with a few simple Google searches.

When I was given the opportunity to review Practical Anonymity, I was very excited. I'm a big proponent of digital privacy and security, and I was looking forward to learning something new to help me keep sensitive information away from the prying eyes of hackers and the NSA. What I got, instead, was a massive waste of time that taught me absolutely nothing new about staying anonymous online.

Practical Anonymity covers how to use Tor and TAILS. To be fair, it covered more than just the basics, such as how to set up a Tor bridge relay and how to send and receive email through Tor. Still, all of the information in this book was already at my disposal. Open-source projects like Tor and TAILS tend to have very extensive documentation readily available on the Internet. Don't know what Tor is or how it works? No problem. They explain it on their website. Need to know what a bridge relay is and how to set one up? They explain that too. What is TAILS and how do you use it? That's right there on the TAILS website.

And if that isn't enough, the EFF has an excellent series of (also free) articles called The Surveillance Self-Defense Project which teaches people how to remain anonymous on the Internet and in the physical world, and covers far more material than Practical Anonymity, such as secure file deletion and encryption. The EFF also stays up-to-date with all the relevant legal developments.

Wow, Batman! That's a lot of really good (free) info! Isn't the Internet a great place?

Is Practical Anonymity well written? Does it provide detailed yet simple and easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions? Is it at least slightly entertaining to read? Do I think Internet anonymity is an important thing that people need to know about? The answer to all of these is yes. But can I really, in good conscience, recommend to my readers that they spend $30 on an ebook that offers $0 of value? No, I cannot.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the OReillynet.com [...]I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...]: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent book, but provides little added value to the free online documentation, September 30, 2013
This review is from: Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online (Paperback)
Of the many books that author Pete Loshin has written in the past decades, a number of them are completely comprised of public domain information that he gathered. Titles such as Big book of Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) RFCs, Big Book of IPsec RFCs, Big Book of Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) RFCs, and others, are simply bound copies of publicly and freely available information.

In two of his latest books Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online and Simple Steps to Data Encryption: A Practical Guide to Secure Computing, Loshin doesn't do the wholesale cut and paste like he did from the RFC books, but on the other side, these titles do not offer much added information than the reader can otherwise get online.

The software tools detailed in the books are open source tools; and the open source community has done a fantastic job of not only making the software free, but creating documentation that is also free and rivals commercial technical guides.

Practical Anonymity is basically an overview of the basics of Tor. The truth is that all it takes to use Tor is to download it and then click on Start Tor Browser. For those that want to read the manuals, the Tor documentation repository has detailed information that includes everything a user needs to know about using the product. The Tor site has numerous manuals, FAQ's and more. There is likely enough information there for the vast majority of Tor and potential Tor users.

At 130 pages, the book is useful for those that want a hard copy to read on a bus or plane and for whatever reason, don't want to print out the references from the Tor site. Loshin does a decent job of presenting the topic, including why Tor is important, and who it could most benefit.

Tor was first released in 2002. But since it became known that the NSA was viewing data, Tor usage has doubled, as detailed in a recent Washington Post article.

One of the main drawbacks of Tor, as the book notes in chapter 2 (and also detailed in the Tor FAQ here) is that Tor is slow; really slow. The FAQ notes that here are many reasons why the Tor network is currently slow. It is first off important to know that Tor is never going to be extremely fast. All Tor traffic is bouncing through volunteers' computers in various parts of the world, and bottlenecks and network latency will always be present. The current Tor network is small compared to the number of people trying to use it, and Tor can't always handle file-sharing traffic load.

The book also spends a large amount of space detailing Tails, which is a Linux distro that can booted as a CD or on a USB. The benefit of Tails is that no trace of it will be left on the host it was run off of.

Like Tor, the Tails documentation repository has a large set of documents and FAQs covering all areas of the product. For those on a budget, this site has everything that they need to know about using Tails.

Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online is a decent start for those who want to be more anonymous. It is far from a comprehensive guide, as using Tor is just the beginning to start being anonymous, but far from the only resource or method. Anyone trying to gain complete anonymity based on this title alone will be surely disappointed, and certainly not anonymous.

At $30-, the book provides little added value to the free online documentation.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn how to use TOR, September 11, 2013
This review is from: Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online (Paperback)
The content of the book can be best described with the following statement from the author: The subject of this book: how to connect to the Internet with the confidence that someone listening in to your connection won't be able to figure out what you are doing (or at least make it very difficult)"

This book is all about Tor. From why people use Tor, how to get Tor or Tails, how too use Tor, how it works and what you shouldn't do when you use Tor.

Peter doesn't go too much into details. I thinks it's just enough information to get an understanding how the reader can archive anonymity and what tools (and how) to use. The target audience are novice users who don't have much experience with Tor. He presents Links to websites with detailed information for the interested reader.

He explains how Tor works and how Tor can protect your anonymity. He describes the Tor Browser Bundle and Tails. Further he explains what Tor Relays and Tor hidden services are and how to step them up and configure them.

At the end of the book he shows how to use E-Mail anonymously (with Tor).

When you finished this book you know a lot about Tor. Certainly not all the details, but you have heard about it and the reader knows where he can get further information.

In my opinion this book is really good and is easy to read. I hope that many people will read the book and start using Tor.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tor. Yes, we get it. You like Tor., September 11, 2013
This review is from: Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online (Paperback)
The title is completely inappropriate -- this book should just be called "A Summarized and Simplified Documentation for Tor". There is nothing here that really can't be found by reviewing the existing (free) documentation available on the Tor project's public web page. As a matter of fact, there is a great deal more advanced and specific information available there (in addition to entry-level stuff) than is available in this book. Syngress is hit or miss -- some of the imprint's stuff is great. This is not. Avoid this and read the free stuff available online. This is not worth the price of admission.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn how to surf the web anonymously, September 14, 2013
This review is from: Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online (Paperback)
I realize there are many times when we, as a country, need to know what is going on within our borders. However, I also believe in our right to privacy, which is growing smaller and smaller every day. If police, politicians, political activists, etc. are allowed to use the internet anonymously, why shouldn't the regular person be able to do so?
There are tools which will allow us to retain some sense of anonymity, and without these tools, anonymity is a sham. Tools such as Tor and Tails help us to retain some of our privacy. What the heck are those you ask? Simply put, they are web tools to help us surf anonymously. Tor circumvents censorship, while Tails is a stripped down Linux distro which also includes Tor.
This book not only explains what these programs can and cannot do; it also tells us how to use them. Tails is an acronym for "The Amnesic Incognito Live System". On the Tor website, one of the documents explains the Tor protocol and is entitled "Tor: The Second-Generation Onion Router".
If you are concerned about your privacy and or surfing anonymously, then I strongly urge you to buy this book.
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Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online
Practical Anonymity: Hiding in Plain Sight Online by Peter Loshin (Paperback - August 9, 2013)
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