[Update 3/25/12: Actually, one person–commenter–right?]
I have a couple of people who were looking to comment on my blog, including a phony e-mail address, and using the Tor anonymizer software.
I am weighing what to do with these comments. As you might know from reputation, my blog is basically me. From time to time, there is extensive commenting—but that is infrequent. I try to run a policy of letting people have their say; and, I have my say, too.
If you are a regular, and you remember back around New Years’, I had the internet-active Left Behind Parents (of both factions) on here, and two-thirds of it seemed to be reading the accusations of the estranged spouses of the other guy’s camp into the offerings here. So I had to tighten up a bit, because I began to feel like a vehicle for other people to say these not-so-nice things, and it’s like I’m the one delivering them.
It looks like I also need a rule about using anonymizing software to come and leave messages–even if the message is, on the whole, substantial (if a bit snarky in attitude).
Sorry, I don’t really care to dialogue with people who are using Tor. When the IP turns out to be that outfit in the Netherlands (or any other well-known Tor exit point), I take that to mean that you are just playing some game, and don’t want to say that you are in Japan. Or, that you are some of the stateside group that have been in Japan.
Last week, WordPress surprised some of us by including what I call “WordPress World Stats”. (Before, you had to rely on Sitemeter flags.) What was striking for me was the amount of readership I have in Japan (I know I said this the other day). In the past few days, I’ve enjoyed looking at how the Japan number goes up in the evening to be the highest out of the gate. Then, the United States readership (which is predominantly search-engine driven from what I can tell), shoots up.
What you also notice is that there’s no Netherlands there.
Do you know what that means? It means whoever sent a Tor-anonymized comment at 8:39 let WordPress know that they really weren’t in the Netherlands. (The Philippines and India visits were legit.) The Tor commenter is either in the U.S., or, more likely with the probability ratio, Japan.
I am by no means an internet expert. I just read about it and use it. You may or may not know about “Sabu“, who has been in the news as a hacktivist who turned state’s evidence for the FBI, and started diming out his co-conspirators. (A hacker known as “Virus” had actually fingered Sabu as someone “owned” by the feds last summer, which is its own interesting aside.)
In the Chicago bust last week, the agents waited until the suspect went to log on through Tor before they took him in—but they really didn’t have to. They had the trail before. What that bust told the the hacker world is that these IRCs that Tor is so dependent on, aren’t as anonymizing as people thought.
I sense that hacker culture is its own thing, and I really just am referring to it to contrast it with small-time, goofy guys picking fights on the internet, and thinking their little Tor shield is really doing very much for them. I said a few days ago about a case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where the John Doe, according to Blogger Kei, seemed to be using an anonymity service out of the Netherlands and Norway.
How solid do you think anonymity services are, really?
[Update 2:20 am EDT: Japan and America, tied!