Chapter 1. Anonymizing Your Activities

In our daily lives we like to have a certain level of privacy. We have curtains on our windows, doors for our offices, and even special screen protectors for computers to keep out prying eyes. This idea of wanting privacy also extends to the use of the Internet. We do not want people knowing what we typed in Google, what we said in our Instant Message conversations, or what websites we visited. Unfortunately, your private information is largely available if someone is watching. When doing any number of things on the Internet, there are plenty of reasons you might want to go incognito. However, that does not mean you're doing anything wrong or illegal.

The justification for anonymity when researching malware and bad guys is pretty straightforward. You do not want information to show up in logs and other records that might tie back to you or your organization. For example, let's say you work at a financial firm and you recently detected that a banking trojan infected several of your systems. You collected malicious domain names, IP addresses, and other data related to the malware. The next steps you take in your research may lead you to websites owned by the criminals. As a result, if you are not taking precautions to stay anonymous, your IP address will show up in various logs and be visible to miscreants.

If the criminals can identify you or the organization from which you conduct your research, they may change tactics or go into hiding, thus ...

Get Malware Analyst's Cookbook and DVD: Tools and Techniques for Fighting Malicious Code now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.