June 22, 2009, 12:17 PM — Whether it is for an investigation, a whistle-blower statement, a prank or just extreme paranoia, you may have a need for anonymously sending messages. The following five tools provide an easy to use way to communicate incognito with Internet surfing, emails, phone calls and text messages. While these tools have their limitations, they do provide an Investigator a great way to hide his identity, gather intelligence, and communicate secretly when needed.
Fake Name Generator
If you have ever tried to use your social engineering skills to gather information and were confronted for a name or other information, causing you to pause in deep thought only to blurt out "John Smith!", you are not alone. Before creating any covert online profile or making any surreptitious phone calls, you need a realistic-yet-random pseudonym. Visit www.fakenamegenerator.com, pick your nationality and gender then instantly receive a new name, address, phone number, usable email address, mother's maiden name, birthday, credit card number, expiration date (not valid of course), social security number, job occupation and UPS tracking number. Never be caught off guard or use the name Cliff Huxtable again.
XB Browser (aka Easy-to-Use TOR)
Before doing any Internet browsing on your suspect's website or when using some of the tools below, make sure you are hiding your IP address from prying eyes. The last thing you want your suspect to see on their counter log is your company's IP address hitting their site hundreds of times while you collect evidence. TOR (The Onion Router) is a complex set of networks that bounce your browsing request across the globe to its final destination, making your IP appear to be from the last TOR volunteer network host. XB Browser (xerobank.com/download/xb-browser), formally known as Tor Park, is a free and easy-to-use browser with TOR ready to run -- no tricky setup or installation steps.
Before I begin I always check my IP address on whatismyipaddress.com with my personal browser and then again with XB Browser. Even if you have your own fake third party email account, use XB Browser to send and receive email. Some suspects know how to check your IP address in the email header and can see you are sending fake emails from your company.
Two further notes: Internet surfing on TOR is very slow and not secure. By design you are jumping across the globe, sometimes going across personal networks can slow down your speed when viewing data. If the information must be secure, encrypt and send it.
Although fakenamegenerator.com offers a free anonymous email and XB browser prevents your third party email from being tracked back to you, sometimes you want to anonymously send someone an email with a spoofed email address to get their attention. A lot of people refuse to open emails they don't recognize, opting to delete or send to the spam folder. With Send-Email.org you can easily use any email address as the sender and anonymously send your email to someone. Combine with XB Browser and truly hide your identity.
Caller ID Spoofing
Caller ID spoofing has gotten a lot of attention in the press over the last couple of years. (See Truth, Lies and Caller ID.) From hacking into Paris Hilton's voicemail to pre-texting scandals, the media has scared Congress into trying to create laws to block companies like spoofcall.com and 123spoof.com that provide caller ID changing, call recording and voice changing services. Although not free, both offer five free minutes to try their caller ID services online and are great tactics to make your suspect pick up his phone when his "mom" calls.
Anonymous Text MessagesLast on the list is GizmoSMS.com, a website that offers free anonymous text messaging. Unfortunately these text messages cannot be spoofed or returned to sender, but provide a great way to anonymously get your message across. (If you are looking to spoof a text message, try my-cool-sms.com for anonymous and spoofed messages at $.08 apiece.)
Brandon Gregg is a Corporate Investigations Manager.