We post our IPv4 address (also referred to as a “dotted quad” or IP address) as a sort of insurance policy. Recent events have proven that a government agency or a malicious hacker can fairly easily seize or hijack a domain name. This has already happened to at least 75 U.S. web sites without due process of law. Their DNS records were changed, essentially erasing them from the “phone books of the Internet.”
Also see this article: U.S. Government Shuts Down 84,000 Web sites, ‘By Mistake’
To insure against this, we are distributing our IPv4 address. This can be pasted or typed into a web browser window in place of “www.SurvivalBlog.com”
What you need to do:
Take a pen and write down our dotted quad address (both the primary and the backup), and please carry that in your wallet. Also, please copy it to your browser’s “Favorites” or “Bookmarks” list.
If and when “SurvivalBlog.com” disappears, or if it is replaced by a graphic with a FBI warning message from a bureaucrat or hacker, then enter our dotted quad IP address into your web browser. That way you should still be able to to continue to access SurvivalBlog, as long as our server is still functional. If “SurvivalBlog.com” doesn’t work, but our dotted quad IP address does work, then please send an alert with the dotted quad IP address to all your friends via e-mails, IMs, forum posts, phone text messages, or social networking services. Be sure to include both the primary and the backup addresses
Do your best to spread the word about SurvivalBlog, far and wide!
Because of the apparent likelihood of the U.S. Congress passing the loosely-worded Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), we recently moved the primary web hosting of SurvivalBlog to a dedicated server in Sweden. (The legislation could have far-reaching effects that will go far beyond stopping pirate sites.) Our URL will remain www.SurvivalBlog.com, but our dotted quad address will be changing.
In addition to www.SurvivalBlog.se, we’d also like to establish a couple of other low-bandwidth offshore mirror sites. Any volunteers? (Eventually, we’d like all SurvivalBlog readers to have a list of of four or five dotted quad addresses bookmarked, so that you won’t be without the SurvivalBlog, as long as there is any sort of Internet intact.)
In the months to come, we plan to implement even more Continuity of Web Service (COWS) insurance measures, including offshore mirror sites and perhaps even a darknet. (Are there any Tor experts out there who could volunteer?) We will post details, as these features are developed.
If you suspect an attack on any of your favorite web sites, first check with http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/. Don’t raise the alarm unless or until you are certain that there has been a verifiable attack.
Addendum, March 2012:
Important Message From JWR: The FBI’s Cookie Caper and the VPN Imperative
It has just come to my attention that from August of 2011 to November of 2011, the FBI secretly redirected the web traffic of more than 10% of SurvivalBlog’s US visitors through CJIS, a sprawling data center situated on 900 acres, 10 miles from Clarksburg, West Virginia. There, the Feebees were surreptitiously collecting the IP addresses of my site visitors. In all, 4,906 of 35,494 connections ended up going to or through the FBI servers. (Note that this happened several months before we moved our primary server to Sweden.) Furthermore, we discovered that the FBI attached a long-lived cookie that allowed them to track the sites that readers subsequently visited. I suspect that the FBI has done the same to hundreds of other web sites. I find this situation totally abhorrent, and contrary to the letter of 4th Amendment as well as the intent of our Founding Fathers.
I recognize that I am making this announcement at the risk of losing some readers. So be it. But I felt compelled to tell my readers immediately, because it was the honorable and forthright course of action.
On my behalf, some volunteer web forensics experts did some dissection of cached versions. (Just about everything is available on the Internet, and the footprints and cookie crumb trails that you leave are essentially there for the rest of your life.) The volunteers found that the bulk of the FBI redirects were for “Intellectual Property” reasons. (Though they did not dig through all 4,906 redirected site visits.) We suspect that the redirects were created because a few of my readers also visited web sites like the now defunct Megaupload. But once redirected, you were assigned a cookie. Some of these though were direct connections to the SurvivalBlog site (around 4% of the total.) So if you visited us enough times then the FBI’s computers would have given you a cookie. This has been verified with sniffer software.
Bad Cop, No Cookies
Immediately after hearing about the FBI’s cookies skullduggery, I dropped the cookies feature entirely from my site. I concluded that this was the best way to handle this because at some point in the future it would be easy for the FBI to once again “tag” SurvivalBlog for surreptitious redirects and IP address logging. But I concluded that more had to be done to protect the privacy of my readers. We need to be proactive.
Install and Use VPN
I am now imploring all SurvivalBlog readers to immediately install and use Virtual Private Network (VPN) on their computers. This will allow you to surf the Internet with anonymity. Anyone that tries to track web site visitors e-mails will see your visit as originating from one of dozens of anonymous URLs in Europe, or elsewhere in the United States. (With most VPN services, you may pick the city of your choice.) With VPN active, your connection to the Web is “tunneled”, emerging at a far-distant IP address, and it it would be very difficult to track back to your home IP address. Setting up VPN takes just a few minute to accomplish. Once installed, you can set VPN to turn on automatically by default when you start your PC, Mac, or Linux computer. Most VPN providers charge $5 to $20 per month. You can toggle off VPN with the click of your mouse. (You will find this necessary if you are visiting any of the few few web site that disallows overseas IP addresses, such as Netflix. But i recommend that you leave VPN turned on, as much as possible. Set it up to turn on each time that you start up your computer.) It is crucial that you use VPN whenever you visit web sites, blogs, and forums that are deemed politically incorrect, or whenever you purchase storage food or firearms accessories on the Web. For those of you that are not tech savvy, ask a friend or relative under age 25 to set up VPN for you. It is not difficult.
Some recommended VPN service providers include:
- StrongVPN ($55 to $240 per year. One of the most flexible in reassigning the far end of your tunnel on the fly. Superior speed.)
- 12VPN ($79 per year.)
- AceVPN ($55 per year. A bare bones service, but one of the least expensive.)
- HideMyAss (Just under $79 per year.)
- PureVPN ($75 per year for their basic service.)
(You can see some reviews of the various services. )
Note that some of the lower cost services might see your connection speed suffer. Your Internet connect will seem noticeably slower than using your original ISP, alone.
It is my hope that in the next few years SurvivalBlog’s site visit map will shift substantially, giving the appearance that most of my readership has moved to Switzerland. Say “Ein Glück, dass wir den los sind” to the FBI’s snooping! It would warm my heart to soon see SurvivalBlog ranked as one of the most popular web sites of Swiss residents.
The Next Step: SSL
In the next few months, I will be fully implementing SurvivalBlog’s Secure Sockets Layer (SSL.) This a fairly robust 256-bit encryption system. Because we don’t handle credit card numbers or other sensitive data in SurvivalBlog, the SSL feature is more for our protection, than for yours. (It allows us to have encrypted access to our server in Sweden without fear of getting our passwords stolen.) You can already visit https://survivalblog.com (note the extra “s” in the URL, for the SSL encryption.) But for now, because we independently established our SSL site certificate, you will get a typical “the certificate for this site is invalid” warning, flagging our SSL as “Untrusted.” But I can assure you that for SurvivalBlog and SurvivalBlog only, you can click safely check the “Trust” and “Always Trust” boxes on the exception notice. Once SSL is activated, you will see the encryption padlock symbol in the top or bottom bar of your browser window. In the next few months I plan to sign up for a “verified” SSL certificate, to avoid the warning messages. I will post updates on our SSL certification, once it is established.
Our Liberty is at Stake
I want apologize for the cost and inconvenience that the foregoing security measures will require. But you can sleep a little better, knowing that you’ve added a layer of anonymity to your Internet presence. We need to recognize that the early 21st Century is a delicate time for individual liberty. Technology is leapfrogging and meanwhile databases are filling at an alarming rate. These databases could provide dossiers on demand, for nefarious purposes. How you vote and how you “vote with your feet” (physically or virtually) are both of tremendous importance. Pray hard. Choose wisely. Act accordingly.