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I have been working on an my digital footprint lately, trying to reduce it as much as possible, taking steps like fully encrypting my device with Veracrypt, installing 3 AVs, or spending hours trying to find a trustworthy VPN. However, I've realized almost every method is flawed in one way or another. So I thought, what if I combined them all?

I've found similar concepts but never an identical configuration to my own theoretical design. It should be noted this is all theoretical, and I have not actually set it up yet. My design would begin with a connection to a bullet-proof VPN, preferably hosted in Iceland, paid for with either Dash or Ethereum. From there, it would connect to a randomly selected SOCKS5 proxy, then to a commercial VPN, and finally go through TOR before connecting to the final website.

Computer > VPS > SOCKS5 > VPN > TOR

Any criticism or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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    What threats are you trying to protect yourself from? – Michael Hampton Jun 17 at 18:00
  • nation state entities analyzing my traffic nothing illegal but i want to be at a point where even if an account of mine was to be singled out they would still be incapable of tracing my original IP. – user210328 Jun 18 at 1:59
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    Seems to me like this will result in your internet speed going back to the 90's, and probably will get you lots of unwanted attention from "nation state entities" for essentially no reason, assuming your claim of not doing anything illegal is genuine. – MechMK1 Jun 18 at 5:02
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    If you are protecting from government agencies than that's just the beginning of the story. You'll also have to watch your OPSEC and protect from zero-day exploits. – reed Jun 18 at 17:16
  • @MechMK1, attracting that attention might be inconvenient, but one should throw their junk mail into the same shredder as their bank statements. OP will gain little benefit from hiding from people who aren't looking for them, but people who do have reason to hide will gain a slight benefit from the increase in traffic that looks just like theirs. – Ghedipunk Jun 18 at 17:19
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Using 3 AV programs at the same time is not advised. Using 2 is one too much. They will step on each other toes all the time, and maybe they won't work at all. Choose one good AV and stick to it.

Using Tor is enough. If you live on a country where using Tor is not a crime, you don't need a VPS, a VPN and a SOCKS proxy on top of that. Just Tor is enough, as your connection is not the weak link on your setup.

As others already said, you must mind your OpSec. That is the weakest link on your security, and that's the component that brings down most setups, not only on personal security, but enterprise security too. Logging into anything that could be linked to you while connected on Tor creates bits of information that can be put together and get to you. Logging on any restricted site while not on Tor can do it too.

  • thank you any suggestions for free AV's – user210328 Jun 25 at 3:14
  • If you want to really protect yourself, it is going to cost you money... – ThoriumBR Jun 25 at 11:16
  • actually deleted third but malwarebytes and avast don't seem to bother one another – user210328 Jul 14 at 5:02
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"... like fully encrypting my device with Veracrypt ..."

That's a good security measure to take but it has no bearing on your online digital footprint.

"... installing 3 AVs ..."

This suggests that you are running MS Windows. Windows telemetry reports a huge selection of uniquely identifiable information about your computer back to MS on a regular basis. Also many AVs send unknown executables back to corporate for analysis, this may also include machine identifiers.

"... a randomly selected SOCKS5 proxy, then to a commercial VPN, and finally go through TOR ..."

This slows down traffic, creates needless attack surfaces, is difficult to manage, and stands out as very unusual. A random Socks proxy is just asking for problems. Tor was designed for anonymity and performs that function very well all by itself. Using an initial VPN before Tor is useful if there's a reason you cannot use Tor directly, but Tor is your footprint reduction.

Note that MS Windows telemetry will still happily identify you through Tor or any other TCP capable channel. Some of the virus scanners may as well. Anonymity tools like VPNs and Tor will not stop you or your software from self identifying.

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