Is it Safe to Use Facebook on Tor?


Awhile ago, I was reading an article about Tor, and it had said that one of the most popular “Tor hidden services” was Facebook (go figure).

I’ve known for awhile that you could use Facebook with Tor, but my question about it is that because most people use their real names on Facebook, would using it with Tor defeat the purpose?

As put it in their 2014 article What Is Facebook’s Tor ‘Hidden Service?’ Why Does It Matter?, “The world’s least anonymous social network has joined Tor, a network that enables online anonymity.” Is that ironic, or what?

The same article made this point about the service:

…according to Wired, former Tor developer Runa Sandvik explains, ‘No, you’re not anonymous to Facebook when you log in, but this provides a huge benefit for users who want security and privacy.’ She notes, ‘You get around the censorship and local adversarial surveillance, and it adds another layer of security on top of your connection.’

So, I suppose that’s the advantage of using Facebook over Tor. Plus, if Facebook is censored in your country, you would still be able to access it via a Tor connection.

One exception might be that if you don’t use your real name on Facebook, you would be slightly more anonymous than the majority of Facebook users. If you do that in combination with a Tor connection, that makes a little more sense.


For those of you who haven’t used Facebook via Tor yet, its onion URL is facebookcorewwwi.onion. I’ve noticed that there are a plethora of phishing sites claiming to be Facebook as well, but that’s the only official one.


The question is, do you trust Facebook at all? I confess that yes, I’m on it, and it’s about the least anonymous social network out there. I joined it way before I had even heard of Tor or the dark web. Maybe I’m just addicted to Bejeweled Blitz.


Early on into my Tor journey, I was using The Hidden Wiki, and they had a link to Facebook’s onion site. The description read, “Facebook(?) Claims not to keep logs. Trust them at your peril.” In fact, whoever wrote it expressed doubt that the URL was even legit. I found this a bit ironic as well, considering how many untrustworthy sites exist on Tor!

To answer the question, I suppose using Facebook via Tor is about as safe as using it on the clearnet, but if you’re trying to hide your identity, then I don’t recommend it.

You may want to stick with the other social networks on Tor in that case.



OpenNIC Project: DNS Neutrality!

Lately, the subject of internet censorship has been on my mind a lot, and that shouldn’t be surprising, given this whole net neutrality debate.

So, I was intrigued when a friend introduced me to OpenNIC, which aims to be an alternative, decentralized DNS root.


OpenNIC is a user-owned and controlled top-level network information center (NIC). Its intention is to offer an alternative to established top-level domain (TLD) registries, like ICANN. The list of servers can be found here: OpenNIC Public Servers

The idea behind it, in a nutshell, is like a decentralized internet, somewhat like ZeroNet or Freenet, although OpenNIC hasn’t quite been developed to that point yet. I’m sure if you get into the technical details, they’re quite different – it’s the “decentralized” concept that they have in common.

Actually, this may interest some of you – I know how people like to access unusual TLD names that aren’t part of the usual registry. Well, you can do that with OpenNIC! Among the top-level domains available through OpenNIC are: .bbs, .chan, .cyb, .dyn, .geek, and .pirate. Just those domain names alone make me want to explore this further!

Here’s a list of the current TLDs available on OpenNIC (see OpenNIC – Wikipedia for more info):

Top Level Domain Names on OpenNIC

Name Intended Use
.bbs Bulletin Board System Servers.
.chan Imageboards and related communities (like 4chan).
.cyb Cyberpunk-related content.
.free Organizations that support non-commercial use of free internet.
.geek Geeky and nerdy stuff.
.gopher Content delivery using the gopher protocol.
.indy Indy media and arts-related sites.
.libre Similar to .free.
.neo General purpose (might include Keanu Reeves – whoa).
.pirate Internet freedom and sharing.

…and a few others, which are listed on the Wikipedia article. If you’re interested in discovering some of these sites, check out their search engine grep.geek; at the moment, you could say it’s the “OpenNIC Google.”


Now, like Tor, it may be hard to navigate at first, but that’s part of the fun I’m having with it, personally – just exploring. I have noticed that, as on Tor, a lot of the sites go down frequently, but that doesn’t really bother me anymore. So, let me guess – you’re wondering if there are any “disturbing” links on it?

I’ve come across very few so far, but if I find others, I’ll let you know. There was an interesting site called url.oz, which featured the art of Alex Milea:


Would you consider that disturbing? There was also a site for an organization called Nationalist Front, which is a white supremacy (or is it “alt-right”?) group.


That didn’t surprise me all that much, because there are similar sites on Tor, Freenet, etc., that I’ve come across. Complain all you want, but I’m not linking to that one – it’s easy to find if you join the network.

One other site that I found interesting was called Anarplex, which is at shadowlife.bit. It’s a site involving “crypto-tribes, phyles, crypto-anarchy, [and] agorism.” I had been on their onion site (y5fmhyqdr6r7ddws.onion) before as well, and it had always intrigued me.


Anyway, as I’m fond of saying, disturbing sites aren’t really the point, and they never were. As with Tor and the other networks, the idea behind OpenNIC is to have an independent “internet” that isn’t controlled by ISPs and large corporations.

Oddly, all the people who are obsessed with things like “Marianas Web” might want to check this out – it’s kind of the same idea, being that it’s not part of “the internet” and is run independently.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to ask.

P.S. Here are a few more OpenNIC links for you to explore:






The Great Ad Block Battle!

So, recently a reader of mine asked, on my earlier post Privacy Tools: Ghostery vs. Adblock Plus, which was the best of these two. Plus, she wanted to know what the differences between each one were.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to do a comparison of not only those two extensions, but several others as well. While, in theory, all ad-blockers would do the same thing, this is definitely not true.

For example, Adblock Plus works by using “filter lists,” which are essentially a set of rules that tell it what to filter and what not to filter. Here’s one filter list that comes to mind: FilterLists.


If you visit the site, you’ll see specific examples of domains and types of ads that are blocked, such as banner ads, adult site ads, tracking by ad agencies, and malware domains. The downside to this is that it may end up slowing down your browser (which can happen with any ad blocker that you use).

Several of the other popular blockers also use filter lists to determine what domains to block as well.



Just to clarify, Ghostery is a company that has designed several different types of privacy software. The one in question, in this case, is the Ghostery Browser Extension. Ghostery, as opposed to AdBlock Plus, monitors the various webservers (in this case, trackers) that are being called by a given webpage, and gives you the option to block or allow any one of them.

It also gives you the option to “trust” or “restrict” any site that you use (or are directed to) on the web. The idea behind this, as you may have guessed, is to try to filter out malicious sites, and only allow ones that you accept.


In addition, if you wish, you have the option of mapping the trackers through Evidon, which I assume is an affiliate of theirs. This, however, is a paid service.

Other Privacy Extensions


AdBlock Plus and Ghostery are far from the only ad-blocking browser extensions available. Several other popular alternatives are uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, and AdBlock Fast.

A few of these are a bit more complex than AdBlock Plus and Ghostery, but it all depends on what functions you need.

In the screenshot above, uBlock Origin is active, and its “element picker” function is being used, meaning that you can highlight specific parts of a webpage (for example, an ad) and analyze the actual code to see if there’s anything malicious to be concerned about.


When you select a certain element, if you believe it to be malevolent, you can permanently “remove” that element so that it won’t attack you in any way. This gives you far more control over which elements to block and which to leave alone, which probably appeals more to the tech-savvy crowd than an extension that does all of this automatically.

Privacy Badger, on the other hand, also blocks trackers, but does so in a more automated way. The extension tries to detect all the different trackers (or domains that are being linked to) on a page, and then determines whether or not they are tracking you in some way, as below:


If the sliders next to the domain names are colored green, this means that they appear not to be tracking you. However, if you think that they are, you can move the slider to yellow (which blocks cookies from that domain), or red (which blocks the domain altogether).

In addition, Privacy Badger gives you the option to “whitelist”different domain names that you trust, so that it knows not to block elements on that particular site:


One aspect of Privacy Badger that some may see as a disadvantage is its automated features, which may seem too “hands-off” for users who like to know what’s going on within the extension. It’s possible that P.B. may not catch all of the trackers on a page, or may miss other malicious elements.

On the other hand, it is a user-friendly way to block trackers on any webpage, and isn’t overly complicated.

Finally, there’s Adblock Fast, who describe themselves as “the world’s fastest ad blocker.”


One of the reasons for this is that AF uses far fewer filtering rules than most other ad blockers, and thus it is quicker to launch. Also, compared to the other ad blockers we’ve discussed, it’s extremely simple.

You merely have to click the extension to turn ad blocking on or off on a particular page. There’s no element selecting, domain whitelisting, or tracker lists. For those of you who like your technology simple and to the point, I would recommend Adblock Fast as your ad blocker.

On the downside, it gives you very little control over what and how it blocks, so as I said before, if you’re more hands-on, something like uBlock Origin might be your cup of tea.

Any of these can be helpful; it’s really just a matter of preference and comfort…sort of like coffee flavors.

Speaking of which…I could really use a cup right now.


How to Use I2P on Android Devices

by Ciphas


I’m well aware that not all “dark web” users prefer the Tor network (which I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts).

As I wrote about in How to Access the Dark Web with I2P!, I2P is one of the three most popular anonymity networks at the moment, next to Tor and Freenet. Out of those three, however, it’s arguably the most complicated to use.

That aside, if you already use it, and are interested in the Android app, it’s simple to download. Go to I2P – Android Apps on Google Play, and install it.

If you’re already familiar with using Tor on Android, then you may know the browser Orfox; download that first, from Google Play – Orfox.


As with the standard version of I2P, you need to configure your proxy settings to be able to connect to it on your mobile device.

Depending on which device you have, these may be in a different area, but this tutorial explains it quite well. (With the exception that the Orweb browser is outdated.)

To sum up – you’ll need to configure your proxy settings to (localhost), port 4444 (HTTP). After this is finished, open the I2P app again and hold down the button that says “Long press to start I2P.”


Once you’ve started I2P, the app has to find peers on the network. This should only take a few minutes at most (depending on your connection, of course).

Finally, go to the “addresses” tab. There should be some default I2P sites (eepsites) listed there. You can add others if you wish. Actually, on my device, there was only one eepsite listed by default.

If you tap on the name of one of the eepsites, it may ask you which app you want to use to open it. Obviously, the tried and true Firefox is good. You can also use Orfox, as I mentioned.

Also, if you tap the “tunnels” tab, you’ll see which client tunnels and/or server tunnels are running. By default, some of the ones that run are the I2P HTTP/HTTPS Proxy, Irc2p, and smtp.postman.i2p (simple mail transfer protocol):


You can, of course, customize it by adding your own client tunnels or server tunnels using the red “plus” button in the lower righthand corner (maybe that could be a subject for a future blog post…yesssss….).

Interestingly, the tutorial I referenced above recommends Lightning Web Browser, because it’s open-source and built for privacy, speed, and efficiency. It can also send traffic through Tor or I2P, and can be set to use DuckDuckGo or StartPage as its standard search engines. So give that one a try. If you’re curious about the source code, it’s here: GitHub: Lightning Browser.

Now, as for some other eepsites you can try out, here are some suggestions (but I haven’t vetted all of these, so some may not work):







I hope that’s enough to get you started. Anyhow, have fun. I2P may not seem as “creepy” as Tor, but I would like to get a few more people to try it out, and maybe build more of a community on the network.

Enjoy your visit, friends!

Adblocking Adventures: Adblock Fast vs. Everyone?


Good day, readers!  I have to admit that I’m going through some stressful times at the moment, but what better way to deal with them than by writing?

That being said, in a couple of earlier posts, I reviewed such privacy tools as Adblock Plus, Ghostery, Redmorph Browser Controller, and uBlock Origin.

Recently on Twitter, Adblock Fast (@adblockfast), created by Rocketship, began following me, and I thought “Why not try this one out?”

Ad-archy in the U.K.


In case you’re unfamiliar with it, that’s  Adblock Fast’s logo.  Is it just me, or is that the anarchy symbol?  Yeah, it is (according to my sources).

Anyhow, though many of these ad-blocking extensions (Adblock, Adblock Plus, uBlock) and apps have similar names, they function in rather different ways.  Some use heuristic blocking (like Privacy Badger), while many others use filter lists, like EasyList, to forbid trackers.

Adblock Fast (“ABF”) is in the latter category, like some of its contemporaries.  According to their FAQ, ABF’s ruleset is derived from EasyList and that of Bluhell Firewall.  They also say that they’re in the process of testing a new alternative ruleset to improve the app’s blocking capabilities.

I have to give credit to ABF, though – it really is one of the simplest ad blockers I’ve ever used.  (Plus it’s free and open source; you can’t really fault them for that.)

According to their official site, many of the more popular ad-blocking plugins use an excessive number of filtering rules to prevent trackers, whereas ABF only uses seven.  What??  Seven???

Well, yes, if this chart isn’t one of those deceptive graphs:


I can’t resist; may I just take a moment and insert an original George Carlin image macro in here?


If you install ABF on Chrome or Opera, you should see a little button on the toolbar with the company logo on it.  If the “A” on the button has a circle around it, like in the picture above, ads are being blocked on the site.  If not, ads are allowed.  All you need to do to block or unblock ads is to click on the A button again.

I will say that for the techie crowd, ABF may seem a bit too simple (especially compared to more advanced blockers such as µMatrix). It’s not nearly as customizable (at least to my knowledge).

On the other hand, Adblock Plus, as I mentioned in a previous post, allows you to add custom filters and whitelisted domains, as well as to add filter subscriptions from the lists I mentioned before.  And blockers like uBlock Origin allow you to select specific elements within a page and disallow them.

Thus far, on alternativeTo – Crowdsourced software recommendations, Adblock Fast has only received three “likes,” but this may be because Google had temporarily banned ad blockers from the Play Store, and recently reversed the ban. Plus, it’s relatively new to the ad-blocking competition.  So they may need a little time to get their bearings.

The Androids are Coming


I had hoped to include the Android version of Adblock Fast in this review, but apparently that requires that I download Samsung Internet for Android, and I’m almost at my data limit for the month.

Currently, ABF is also available for Opera, iOS 9 (on 64-bit devices, iPhone 5s and up, and iPad Mini 2 and up).

Perhaps this post will need sequel…hmm?  In any case, my final word is – Adblock Fast is a good blocker overall.  It does its job quickly and efficiently, and is easy to learn.  On the other hand, I don’t necessarily recommend it for people who like “manual transmission”-style privacy tools.  For those folks, I think apps like uMatrix and uBlock Origin are more appropriate!

P.S. For those of you who might ask why I haven’t reviewed any iPhone apps yet, I don’t own one…but my wife does.  Maybe she’ll let me borrow hers for one of these posts, if I bake her breakfast or something.





Privacy Tools Part 2: uBlock Origin, RedMorph Browser Controller

Believe it or not, what prompted this post was a comment on one of my older posts,  If We Built This Large Wooden Privacy Badger.  The commenter said that “…there are several other new extensions that are better than Privacy Badger. With tracker domains constantly changing and also first party websites directly loading tracker technology, Privacy Badger heuristic approach will not work.”

I have to admit that I considered this as well; how does Privacy Badger “know” which domains are safe and which aren’t?

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who developed it:

…Privacy Badger keeps note of the ‘third party’ domains that embed images, scripts, and advertising in the pages you visit.  If a third party server appears to be tracking you without permission, by using uniquely identifying cookies…to collect a record of the pages you visit across multiple sites, Privacy Badger will automatically disallow content from that third party tracker.  In some cases a third-party domain provides some important aspect of a page’s functionality…[i]n those cases Privacy Badger will allow connections to the third party but will screen out its tracking cookies and referrers. [Full description available at site]

While this is all true, an algorithm can only be so smart.  I suppose you could ask that of any ad-blocking software, but there must be better options out there.

Therefore,  I realized it was time to begin exploring again.  The more I delve into this topic, the more I become aware of how many privacy tools are in existence (almost too many to count).  This does not, of course, mean that they are all effective, or even useful.

Just Because You’re Paranoid…


Previously, in Privacy Tools: Ghostery vs. Adblock Plus, I compared these two apps and their various pros and cons.  Also, in said post, I examined the app Privacy Badger, which performs similar functions (though you can use all three together).

So, when I started hunting for alternatives, I visited the site Privacy Badger Alternatives.  Some of the software listed provide quite different functions than the aforementioned apps.

uBlock Origin definitely has a small and easy to use interface (do you like my poorly edited screenshot?):


uBlock Origin blocks ads using filter lists such as EasyList, EasyPrivacy, Peter Lowe’s Ad Server List, and Malware Domain List. You can add additional domains to the list under the “My Filters” list in Settings.

As with all ad blockers, using uBlock Origin will occasionally interfere with the functionality of a site, and will also piss off certain site owners, who may “respond” with messages like this:


And yes, I get that; I know that ads are how most sites make money.  I’m willing to turn off ad blockers on sites that I trust.  But there are others that just constantly bombard you with pop-ups (and I’m not just talking about porno sites here), to the point where you can barely use the site itself. Those are the sites that apps like uBlock Origin and Adblock Plus were designed for!

Of note – uBlock Origin also features an “element picker” mode (click on the little eyedropper icon), in which you can view the code of specific elements on a page, such as buttons or intrusive ads.  If that particular element is something you want to block, hit the “Pick” button.  This would likely be considered one of the “advanced” features, but it’s quite useful once you get the hang of it.

What I’ve also noticed is that UO appears to block more ads than some of its competitors (like, uhh…Adblock Plus.).  It also has an “advanced” mode, which you can toggle by checking the box below:


The “advanced user” settings pertain to things like behind-the-scene network requests that the average user would likely be unfamiliar with.  With the advanced settings enabled, you can custom block requests from specific hostnames (e.g. “”) or specific object types (e.g. 1st-party scripts).  If this sort of thing is something that you understand, and would likely benefit from, then I would suggest checking it off.  If not, don’t!


RedMorph Browser Controller 

Is it just me, or does the name “RedMorph” sound like a supervillain?  Well, thankfully it’s not, although the websites that rely on ads might disagree.

RedMorph Browser Controller, unlike some of its contemporaries (uBlock Origin, AdBlock, etc.) combines several different security aspects: privacy tool, ad-blocker, parental control device, and encrypted proxy all into one app.

For example, under its “Block Trackers and Content” feature, you have the option to block cookies, trackers, images, third party trackers, and social trackers.  (You can, of course, customize the level of security which you want to use.)

You also have the option of using “Website and Word Filters,” which are generally intended for parents and schools to use for their children (although I suppose you could censor the web for yourself, too):


I confess I’m rather new with this app, but it seems to work very well so far.  RedMorph also includes a feature called SpyderWeb, which can give you a comprehensive overview of what domains (and third parties) are tracking you, and how.  It’s a little intimidating when you look at the graph:


Now do you see why I’m paranoid?  (I joke.)  RedMorph does give you a fair amount of options as to which trackers and domain names you can block, which is comforting.  It also offers a proxy feature called “Make Me Invisible,” through which you can select proxies in various locations.  On the downside, you have to be a paid member to use this feature.

All in all, I do like RedMorph as well; in fact, you might say it’s better than some of the other apps.  Instead of installing a separate proxy, ad-blocker, and content filter, you can just have all them together.

I have yet to try the full version of the program, but I trust that it does its job efficiently.  Heck, even Bane approves!


Of course, there are tons of other privacy tools out there, and I have yet to try them all.  But at least I can cross two off of my list.

Let the adventures continue!!



If It Weren’t for Those Snake People…


I thought it would be fun to just change gears for a moment and talk about one of the funniest apps I’ve come across in awhile.

It’s called “Millennials to Snake People,” (created by developer Eric W. Bailey) and it does exactly what it says. In any instance where the word “millennials” appears on a webpage, the app changes it to say “snake people.”  Or, in the instance of “millennial,” it says “snake person.”

The other funny translation it makes is that in any instance where “Generation Y” appears, that will change to “Serpent Society.”  But don’t take my word for it; look at some of these screenshots:






I don’t know about you folks, but I find this somewhat encouraging!!  I wasn’t sure if I was considered a millennial, but I guess it depends upon whom you ask.

The only disadvantage to the app that I’m aware of is that on certain sites, or in some minor instances, it doesn’t work.  That being said, this is really the exception rather than the rule.  Overall, I love it, and it brings a smile to my face.

Are Snake People going to be running the world?  Oh God, that’s a scary thought!!

In any case, for a good laugh, visit Millennials to Snake People – Chrome Web Store; you’ll thank me later.