How to Make a Truly Anonymous Facebook Account Part I

There are plenty of articles about how to use social media without making your information public, or leaking it to various ad services and info-grabbing bots. That’s not what we’re doing. We’ll be setting up a Facebook account that is not linked to us in any way—even for those who know how to look. Keep in mind that this is NOT your standard alias account. This account not only hides your name and identity from others on Facebook, but it also hides your identity from people or agencies that might be tracking your activity–not by hiding your name, but by making you into someone else.

 

 

Why This Needs to Be Split Into Multiple Articles

Because people have short attention spans, and because the actual process of setting up the framework and getting this put together requires very careful adherence to the process. Before you even create the account, you need certain things set up—including your own head and mindset. This is a building block exercise. Today we are simply exploring the concept. Next we will start making the building blocks necessary to create and run that alternate identity on Facebook—and ultimately online in general.

Why Have a Fake/Anonymous Facebook Account?

  1. Because you want to join groups and communities without it being displayed on your personal page.
  2. Because you don’t want people in the groups you’re joining to know who you really are.
  3. Because you don’t want people who add you or interact with you to know who you are.
  4. Because you don’t want your information tracked or cataloged.
  5. Because you plan to use Facebook as a means to disseminate and/or collect information and propaganda that you don’t want linked to you.
  6. Because you plan to use this account to infiltrate a group.
  7. Because you plan to derail discussions or do some social engineering/rapport building/elicitation.
  8. Because you can, and you shouldn’t have to explain why to anyone.

Any one of these reasons is reason enough, and you may have other reasons not listed here. Whatever your thought process, let’s assume that you want/need an anonymous Facebook account that is not in any way traceable back to you. The nice thing is, this process is repeatable as many times as you need.

The Mindset You Need

In order for this to work, it needs to be used a certain way. Before undertaking this, think through your purpose in creating this account and what you want to do with it. Keep in mind that if you just want an alias account there are ways to do that. This isn’t a how-to for making an account where your name is listed as Bamf Fo Real, or Sheepdog Extraordinaire, or *Your Name* followed by a III.  That will not help you.

If you want an account where you have a new name and story, and you become someone else, that’s what this article is for.

DON’T try to make an anonymous account if:

  • You plan to immediately add all the same friends you already have.
  • You plan to use it to go right back to all of the same groups you’re already in.
  • You plan to talk to your friends and family or even known contacts with it.
  • You plan to list your location, hobbies, employer, or any other personal information.
  • You plan to use it in any way that mimics how you personally, currently use Facebook.
  • You cannot control your temper, need for attention, or need to be in charge of something.
  • You plan to use it to engage in any kind of drama involving people already in your life (such as spying on your significant other or sending jackass messages to your arch-nemesis).
  • You are too lazy to use it correctly (“I’m just gonna check this one thing quick while I’m here at home…”)

DO make an account if:

  • You are joining your local leftist/anti-gun/communist/liberal group and you need a new ‘identity’ to get into it.
  • You are planning to use the account for controlling discussion in various groups through tactics discussed elsewhere, such as these.
  • You plan to use it for disruption in certain groups, or releasing information that exposes people.
  • You don’t plan to really post anything but the kind of stuff your targets and/or groups are looking for and aren’t going to foster discussion on your page; you just want to be able to lurk.
  • You need to have a Facebook account to ‘back up’ the name or identity you’re giving people for your liberty activities.
  • You want to keep Uncle Sugar out of your liberty activities (if you plan to perform support functions and/or ‘gray’ activities, you need to keep Uncle Sugar out of your stuff).

Facebook is horrible. We all know that. However, there are times you may need to use it. This is for those times.

**Note: We are not advocating that you use this for illegal activity. We are not responsible if you decide to watch/buy/sell/interact illegal, immoral, or just plain disgusting stuff. Use your powers for good.

The Tools You Need

In order to pull this off, you need to have a few things in place. Setting up the account itself is rather simple, but you need to have a framework in place to make it as airtight as possible (keeping in mind that nothing is 100% perfect…this will definitely make them work for it, if they can get it at all). Here’s a basic list of things you need already set up. (We’ll go over these in more detail).

  1. Access to a VPN, ideally two. (check PrivacyTools.io for a list of solid VPNs that do not operate in the US.)
  2. An updated and current Tails OS running on a flash drive, or a virtual machine.
  3. The Tor Browser (found on Tails as well as a standalone for other uses)
  4. At least $20 in Bitcoin, already mixed, split, and sitting in an anonymous wallet (or five). Bonus points if you also have at least two other wallets in other cryptocurrencies and did some swapping back and forth there as well.
  5. A new name and basic cover (try this site if you get stuck thinking of a random name/identity).
  6. Patience.

What can we do with all of that? A lot.

In the next article we will walk through some of the steps necessary to set up your completely new identity on Facebook. In future articles we’ll go over how to flesh out that identity, give it some depth, and start using it for various activities even outside Facebook. In the meantime, get familiar with the tools and articles above, and start thinking about how to leverage them in your favor.

How to Build a Linux Router From Scratch

If you’ve always wanted to build your own Linux router, Ars Technica has the definitive how-to guide. From hardware to software and configuration, it’s all here–How to build a Linux router.

After finally reaching the tipping point with off-the-shelf solutions that can’t match increasing speeds available, we recently took the plunge. Building a homebrew router turned out to be a better proposition than we could’ve ever imagined. With nearly any speed metric we analyzed, our little DIY kit outpaced routers whether they were of the $90- or $250-variety.

Naturally, many readers asked the obvious follow-up—”How exactly can we put that together?” Today it’s time to finally pull back the curtain and offer that walkthrough. By taking a closer look at the actual build itself (hardware and software), the testing processes we used, and why we used them, hopefully any Ars readers of average technical abilities will be able to put together their own DIY speed machine. And the good news? Everything is as open source as it gets—the equipment, the processes, and the setup. If you want the DIY router we used, you can absolutely have it. This will be the guide to lead you, step-by-step.

If you don’t understand things like NAT, IP addresses and all of that, it’s okay–it’s all explained. Read the whole thing and get to building!

The Paranoid PC – Part 4 – Hardware and Firmware Updates

Greetings patriots and privacy nuts:

I was going to have this be the final article, but I’m having a little trouble with the tail end, so we’re going to break it into two.

Before we begin today’s piece, just a word about common sense and OPSEC/PERSEC.  We all have our own tolerance for personal risk.  Those of us writing for TOWR accept the risk of writing with our real names and speaking out for our guiding principles and against tyrrany.  We run classes that almost certainly have been infiltrated and work hard to protect the identities of our students.

That said, please have respect for those around you.  If you’re a member of your group and stick your head up, all of those affiliated with you are at risk when the metaphorical (or literal) bombs start to drop.  There is a place for bold, principled stands, and there is a time to break out the rifles and say, “no more”.  However, Facebook is not the place to telegraph your punches or reveal your capabilities.  Answering a survey of, “How does your patriot group keep in contact outside of Facebook?” is the height of foolishness.  Our adversaries, whoever you see them as, now have an area to focus on.  An article from Kit goes into this in more detail, but for now, “Know your role and shut your hole!”

On to the PC article after the jump.

Continue reading “The Paranoid PC – Part 4 – Hardware and Firmware Updates”

6 More of the Best Tools for OSINT Research

BLMThere are a ridiculous amount of tools out there for intelligence. Some are better than others, and if you’re just getting into OSINT research, the last thing you want to do is have to dig through all of them to find the best ones, or the ones that are easy enough for you to start using out of the box. That’s where we come in.

Here’s the TOWR Guide for 6 OSINT Research tools – a list and handy infographic you can come back and refer to over and over. Take a look at the tools below and see what you think!

SocialMention

SocialMention is a tool that does exactly what you’d think. It searches across all manner of social media for mentions of a specific search term. What makes it interesting is that it gives far more than just a list of results. Here’s a small snippet of a search for “blacklivesmatter.” Keep in mind these are partial results.

As you can see, SocialMention keeps track of everything from how often the term is mentioned to the context and feeling it’s mentioned in. This helps take a temperature, so to speak, of the social media culture on that particular topic. It also offers everything from who, specifically, is talking about it to where they’re talking. It’s a great way to get a quick pulse on a keyword or phrase.

AddictOMaticAddict

Along the same lines of SocialMention is AddictOMatic. This tool pulls information from a host of search engines and different sites on a topic and aggregates them all for you. Keeping our search on “blacklivesmatter” we see the following sources are available for search all at once.  It’s not foolproof, and it’ll miss some results, but in terms of a quick and dirty search it’ll get you started.

SocialSearcher

hashtagsAnother great social media tool is SocialSearcher. It’s more complete than AddictOMatic and offers results from a different set of sites. SocialSearcher’s real power, however, is in the time and keyword analysis features. It shows not only where people are talking about your search term, but when. In addition, it offers related search terms. We see here that when we search for “blacklivesmatter” we also get related terms listed such as “blackchristmas” and even “#Black lives matter,” so you can even catch the results from people who don’t understand hashtags. 😉 You’ll notice that some of the terms showing have nothing to do with our search term; this is also normal. It shows what the people who talk about “blacklivesmatter” also talk about.

CheckUserNames

checkCheckUserNames is a very powerful search engine. You plug in a username, and then watch as it searches across 250 different websites to see where that username has an account. If you’re ‘hunting’ someone, and they use the same username across several websites (many people do), then you can find all the places where they frequent.

Obviously this requires some work. In the example (which is a tiny snip from the results), I used the username “patriot1”. The chances of the same person being patriot1 across the internet are next to zero. If you have someone whose username is their first and last name, or something specific to them, your chances of doing a successful search go up significantly. Once you have the list, you can go to each site and glean whatever bits about themselves they’ve left in their various profiles. It’s tedious and time-consuming, but then again, a lot of OSINT research is. Good thing the results can be so worth it.

Carrot2

carrotCarrot2 is a visualization search engine. It offers search results collated into lists, foam trees, or circles (shown here).  The nice thing is that it includes links from places like PubMed, Put, and even image engines. If you’re doing an image search and want to be able to grab related topics without having to perform 50 different searches, this engine is very good. There’s also a desktop version.

One Million Tweet Map

tweetThe last tool we’ll look at today is the One Million Tweet Map. Twitter, being real-time, is a great place to find out what’s going on RIGHT NOW. This site lets you pop in a search term or hashtag, and then shows you where the tweets are coming from on that topic. Since it’s also real-time (you can change that to pull from a timeframe up to 6 hours) it lets you stay up to date on a specific event or trend. In our example, this shows the clusters of tweets using the #blacklivesmatter hashtag from only the last 2 minutes. This can give you an idea when things start trending, or if an event is starting to ramp up.

 

These are only six of the many tools available. We’ll add more in later guides. For now, try them out and perform your own searches. Use them to pull information about your own AO, or about your nearest metro area, or even about people you need to find out about.

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Download our infographic here!

6 Tools for OSINT Research - TOWR Guide

 

EchoSec: Easy Geofencing for OSINT

Geofencing, as a function within OSINT research, is the creation of a virtual “fenced” geographical area that allows for the collection of information within that area.

One of the most important skills a partisan needs to have is the ability to collect and analyze open source intelligence, or OSINT. In fact, the importance of knowing the who, what, where, when, and why of everything going on in your area of operations cannot be overstated. When it comes to the where part of the equation, geofencing is an invaluable tool.

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing, as a function within OSINT research, is the creation of a virtual “fenced” geographical area that allows for the collection of information within that area. Basically, you draw a shape around an area on a map, and then pull information from within that “fenced” area. OSIRA explains it thusly:

This fence line, now effectively a form of box, can now be used to search for specific objects inside the enclosed area, or identify when specific objects move into or out of the enclosed area. Other capabilities include being able to be set up the box as passive (observing something at a later date), monitored (seeing something has it happened), or automated (receiving a notice that something has happened). As examples, it can be used by security personnel to identify when an electronic device carried by a person enters a specific area; it can be used by marketeers to send a potential customer advertising when that customer is in close proximity to a specific retail outlet; or, it can be used during sports events to track the positions of tagged athletes in the competition area.

You can easily see the use for our purposes—especially if you’re involved in Intelligence Preparation of the Community like you should be (read Sam Culper’s book NOW, if you haven’t). There are tools for creating geofences and collecting information within them. For this article, we’ll focus on one specific free service available.

How Can I Get Started Geofencing?

With Echosec, you simply put a location into the map, draw the area you'd like to pull from, and boom...social media data starts rolling in.

 

Echosec is a geofencing service that allows you to choose an area around a point on a map, and search social media posts, images, and other data within that area. You simply put a location into the map, draw the area you’d like to pull from, and boom…social media data starts rolling in. Granted, you’ll get a lot of inane information that has nothing to do with what you’re searching. That’s part of the process—filtering out what you don’t need, and finding the nuggets that you do. Some of the things you can find in a search like this:

  • Posts from law enforcement and first responders about events in the area, upgrades to equipment, notable arrests and raids
  • Reports of gang activity, often posted by gang members themselves
  • Image intelligence
  • Changes to city ordinances, notices of meetings and political events
  • Information regarding infrastructure changes, additions, or problems
  • Information on illnesses spreading in the area (from people posting about being sick, oddly enough!)
  • You can even get a sense of spreading civil unrest, or general attitudes of various demographics within the area. If you live in an area where there’s recently been a police shooting, for instance, social media posts can give you an idea of how the populace is reacting.

There are a hundred other uses for tools like Echosec; just use your imagination. It’s easy to use, free, and a valuable tool in your arsenal of intelligence collection. (Note: The free version is, understandably, limited. If you choose to upgrade to the Pro version, you’ll have a far bigger field to research within but it’ll cost you $89 per month.) By the way…when you see how many photos of people’s kids, homes, and personal details are easily obtainable by anyone, you might rethink that next Facebook post about your little cherubs.

We’ll be going over this and other tools in an upcoming class. Stay tuned for details!

Have you used Echosec? Do you prefer another geofencing tool? Let us know in the comments!