Thursday, 16 January 2014

How to see the FaceBook profile pictures of those who have set privacy as "only me" ?

Here I would like to show how unsafe FaceBook is. i.e. we can view the full profile picture of anyone who has set the visibility of their picture as "only me".

Step 1:
Right click the picture and select open image in a new tab.

Step 2:
In the new tab opened, you would find something in the URL like "c33.34.413.413/s160x160".

Step 3:
Just remove it i.e. remove c33.34.413.413/s160x160

Step 4:
Here you go. You can now see the complete profile picture even when it is set as "only me"

Saturday, 10 August 2013


Many blogs, news sites, sports and other websites whose content changes are quite regularly will  make something known as an RSS feed available to its users. An RSS feed is a subscription to a website through which users can automatically access any updated or new content that may be available. RSS feeds can be read using RSS readers or aggregators like Feedspot (

There have been many occasions in the past where a government or organization has blocked access to a blog or a newspaper or a media house that is deemed to be controversial. In such a case, if you try using your browser to connect to the controversial website, then you will be denied access. However, if you want to continue to access the content on the blocked site, then it may be possible for you to subscribe to the RSS feed of that website using any popular RSS aggregator. Usually a government, company, college or an ISP would only block direct access to a website, but it may not be possible for them to block access to the RSS feed of a website without blocking the complete RSS aggregator. For example, let us assume that your government has blocked access to because it published some controversial story and it is  no longer possible to access using your browser. But you really want to find a way to access the articles on the CNN websites which have been blocked. In such a scenario, you can do is the following:

Step 1:
Open your browser and connect to

Step 2:
You can search for any RSS feeds that you want to subscribe to by typing in the relevant keywords. In this example, I want to access content from the blocked CNN website, so I search for the keyword CNN and subscribe/follow to their RSS feed:

Step 3:
Now Feedspot allows me to read the latest news stories from the CNN website, even though officially, the CNN website has been blocked by the local government or company or ISP.

Note*: This method will work only for those websites that haven an RSS feed option available.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Tails Operating System

The Tails Operating System is for those who are concerned about privacy and anonymity on the Internet,

If you often use a computer belonging to someone else, maybe to secretly browse the Internet using the office/college computer, then you might be spending a huge amount of time to clear up the browsing data. We know it's a kinda irritating and a lazy to do work. For people of this kind comes a relief, The Tails OS.
Tails is a coolest OS that can booted live from a USB or a DVD.

The Tails Operating System ( is available as a free download on the Internet and has been specifically designed to keep security in mind. It is an OS that can run from a boot-able live DVD or a USB stick and gives the users absolute anonymity on the Internet. Not only does it protect your privacy on the Internet, it can also be used to bypass restrictions that may have been implemented by your system administrator. Tails uses TOR to provide its users with secure encrypted anonymous access to the Internet. It has various inbuilt encryption capabilities which allow users to encrypt their files and browse the internet without any restrictions. It is possible to install Tails OS on a boot-able DVD or a Pen Drive, and now let us see the procedure of creating a Live boot-able Tails OS Pen Drive:

Step 1:
The obvious first step is to download The Tails Operating System from its website which is a 865 MB file and so it may take a few minutes to download. We also need to download a tool to make the USB Pen drive a boot-able one, and one such tool is the Universal USB Installer ( available on ). And finally you need to have a pen drive with atleast 2 GB free usable space.

Step 2:
Plug in your pen drive to your computer and then start the Universal USB Installer software and follow the on-screen instructions. It will ask the linux distribution we wish to install, and we select Tails, then choose the path where we downloaded the Tails ISO image and select the pen drive on which we wish to install the Tails Operating System. The Installation process would be completed in a few minutes.
(Note: Performing this step will erase all the data existing data on the pen drive, backup the data if needed)

Step 3:
Once the installation is over, keep the USB Pen Drive plugged into your computer and restart the computer. Before booting press the key F12 or F10 depending on various systems to open the BIOS settings page, in the BIOS select boot and then set the 1st Boot Priority  to the connected USB Pen drive. Save the settings and restart the computer.

Step 4:
The Tails OS should start automatically on the computer. And now the application restriction that existed on windows will no longer be there. You are free to use whatever application we want.

This OS is very popular because it comes with various Pre-installed applications (TOR, etc) which give you anonymity over the internet, also  you'll be able to unblock applications and can access the blocked stuff over the internet, i.e., all the website restrictions are also removed.

Unblock Facebook chat even if is blocked!

Most Organizations, colleges, companies etc. nowadays are blocking access to as they consider it to deviate their employees. This means you cant even chat with your friends over facebook. This is where a cool software called Chit Chat (available for free at It is a free standalone Facebook chat software that allows you to chat with your facebook friends without the need of a browser and even if is blocked!

Saturday, 6 July 2013


Ultrasurf is one of my favorite anti-censorship and anti-blocking software on the Internet. It is free, fast and very effective. Ultrasurf was originally created by the Ultrareach Internet Corporation to help Internet users in China to bypass filtering and censorship by the government. However, Ultrasurf is now amongst the most popular unblocking tools available on the Internet. It is available as a free download at or . Unlike the traditional proxy servers, Ultrasurf supports cookies, scripts and even SSL!

The best part about Ultrasurf is that it does not require any installation or configuration. It is just a 2MB file which can easily be carried around in a pen drive, mp3 player or even in a Micro SD card of your camera to your college or office. It is possible to simply double click on the .EXE file downloaded  to get immediate access to blocked and restricted URL's. No installation, No registration, No other hassles! Sometimes clever System Administrators will try to prevent users from using the Ultrasurf by blocking its process name from being allowed to be loaded into the memory or being executed. In such cases, it is still possible to use Ultrasurf by just changing the name of the downloaded .EXE file to any other name. This will also change the process name in the task manager.

Ultrasurf can be used to:

  • Hide your ip-address and surf anonymous.
  • For accessing blocked website on you school college or work.
  • Encrypt your communication, and personal information while online banking on public Wi-Fi.

Now comes the most awaited part, lets see how we can start using Ultrasurf by following the simple steps below:

Step 1:  
Before we start Ultrasurf , let us check the current IP address of the system by opening . Within few seconds it tells my Current IP address as, my current ISP is Airtel Broadband and location is Chennai, TamilNadu, India. We'll test the IP address again after running Ultrasurf.

Step 2:
In this step double click on the downloaded .EXE file and it should automatically open the console window shown below. Ultrasurf will first automatically establish a connection to its central server what has a huge database of available proxy servers and find the best available proxy server and then establish a secure connection with it. Once the secure anonymous connection with the proxy has been established, Ultrasurf will automatically open an Internet explorer window. By default, there will be a golden colored padlock on the right bottom corner of the browser window signifying a secure connection has been established.

Step 3:
To test whether the connection is truly anonymous, connect once again to the website . Based on the screenshot below, the IP address has quickly changed to with the ISP as Hurricane Electric and my location is shown as California, United States.

The best feature of Ultrasurf is that when you close it, it will automatically delete all entries from the browsing history and cookies on your system, leaving absolutely no traces behind! Enjoy Ultrasurf-ing!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Magic of HTML 5's Offline Storage Specification: A Website That Runs Without an Internet Connection!

Have you ever browsed a website offline(i.e. without an Internet connection) without downloading the page beforehand ? Here is such a website which runs only without the Internet Connection.
And that website is .

Let us see how this works...

Step 1: Open when the internet is connected and you'll get the following :



Okay lets try it out in Step 2.

Step 2: Now let us Disconnect our internet connection. A HOW TO is also shown in the website.

After disconnecting ..

Step 3: After disconnecting the internet connection we get the page

As we see, immediately after disconnecting from the internet we get a new page

In the new page we get a link to enter the page. Let's see what happens on clicking it!

Surprised! Actually the webpages are loading dynamically from the server even without an Internet Connection! 
And this page is in the TAMIZH language(Spoken throughout Southern India) and it says 
"Hey Dude! Welcome .. Now that you have no internet welcome welcome! Pick one, Read on, dude "

Macha is a Tamizh words which means "Dude" in english.

Let's click on THE LEGEND and see what happens, we get

Okay, we get some information about Rajni Kanth

Good going, so what happens when we turn on our internet connection while browsing the page ?
lets move this to step 4.

Step 4: Noe let us connect our internet while still browsing the internet and see what happens,

This page says, "Damn, this was unexpected. To keep browsing switch off your Internet."


Let us now understand the working behind this,

The website is based on a complex algorithm running in the back-end that keeps an eye on the propagation of data packets between two terminals. Magic kicks in soon as the Internet speed is down to zero, which is the basic premise on which the site and the concept has been constructed.

Its all through the HTML 5's Offline Storage specification. 

All the files required for displaying the webpage are downloaded and stored locally on the user's computer through means of a cache manifest file. When the  internet connection is lost, the user is still able to view the webpage as he has a local copy of the files. More information regardingthe offline storage specification can be found at

Information about RajniKanth (famously called as Super Star) for those who are not aware of him:

Mr. Rajni Kanth is the Super Star of Southern India. He started his career as a Bus Conductor and then shined the Tamizh cinema industry. He has a huge number of fans all over the world. He does extraordinary things!

To show the gratitude (by his fans) to the Super Star the fans have made an attempt to create an
Extra-ordinary website like for the Super Star to show his power to the website!

A great Attempt! 

Hats-off to the developer!  

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Onion Router


      TOR stand for The Onion Router and is a freeware software that is one of the best anonymity, privacy and unblocking tools available on the internet. Tor has thousands of volunteer relay servers in different parts of the world through which a user's data is routed and tunnelled in encrypted format with the intention of keeping it completely anonymous. Not only does it protect your freedom on the Internet, it keeps all your communications on the Internet completely secure. It can be downloaded free of cost from

       A number of organizations and governments like to monitor the Internet by performing something known as traffic analysis. For example, imagine your company could be running a data sniffer on the company network to look at the traffic on the network to figure out what websites and servers employees are accessing. At a bigger level, the government could be running a data sniffer on all major ISP's networks with the intention to record, monitor and analyse traffic of all users in a country. This information could then be used to block access to certain websites as well.

   Typically, all data i being transmitted  on the internet in the form of data packets. Each data packet has two parts:

  • Data: This is the actual data that is being transmitted in the data packet. It could be a part of an email, file or webpage.
  • Header: This contains important information about thee source and destination computers that is used to route the data through the Internet.
   There are a lot of ways in which the data being transmitted on the Internet can be encrypted. For example, it is possible to encrypt an email using PGP encryption and then send it out on the Internet. However, encrypting the actual data does not hide the header of a data packet. This means that somebody who is using a data sniffer at your ISP or company or college network could still easily read the header part of the data transfer and figure out valuable information about the source and destination of the data packets. For every data communication on the Internet, there are multiple such intermediaries that could be monitoring and spying on your data communication like your college, company, ISP or even the government. In other words, imagine that you want to communicate with your bank, then typically something like the following communication route is established:

      YOUR COMPUTER->COMPANY or COLLEGE Network->ISP Network->ISP Backbone->Bank's ISP->BANK

  Obviously, in a communication like the above, your computer and your bank will know everything about both the data and the data header. But based on how Internet routing works, all intermediaries along the way(like your company/college)

    One of the powerful data sniffers is a free software called Wireshark ( that allows criminal or system administrators to monitor all data packets being sent and received across the entire network. Even if a user has encrypted the actual data being sent on internet, Wireshark can be used to analyse the header informatiom to figure out valuable details about the source and destination involved in the data transfer.


     This is where Onion Routing comes into the picture. It is an anonymous communication mechanism that ensures that the intermediaries can read neither the data nor the data header that they are transmitting, hence giving complete anonymity to both the sender and destination sustems.

     Typically in Onion Routing, the entire data is repeatedly encrypted with multiple layers of encryption(just the way an onion has multiple layers of skin) and these encryption layers are slowly peeled until data reaches the destination computer. Once the data is encrypted at the source computer it is then routed through multiple intermediate nodes called onion routers. Whenever data reaches an onion router it will peel a layer of encryption to reveal information about the next onion router node to which the data has to be forwarded. The next onion router will follow and repeat the same procedure and peel the next layer of encryption, forward the data again and so on.. This process is repeated until all the encryption layers are peeled and the data reaches the destination computer. Such a multilayer-ed encryption and routing machanism ensures that none of the intermediaries know anything about the contents of the data, the source or the destination. the best part is that no intermediary onion router knows the complete path. Each intermediary onion router will only know where it got the data from and the next system it is supposed to send the data to. The destination system(recipient system) will think that all the data originated at the lat onion router and not the source system.

  TOR is a fantastic free utility that uses onion routing to provide users with a secure, anonymous and encrypted communication channel for all their data transfer needs. Once installed, all applications on your computer can be configured to communicate on the internet through the TOR relay servers(onion routers) in different parts of the world. According ti the TOR project's website(, TOR works in the following steps:

STEP 1: 
Let us assume that you want to connect to through an encrypted communication channel that is completely secure and anonymous at the same time. You need to install TOR on your computer and make sure you have configured your browser to connect to the internet through TOR. Once TOR receives your request to connect to the, it will first connect to the TOR directory server and download a list of all available TOR relay nodes(onion routers) that it can potentially connect to.

TOR will now create a secure encrypted connection between you and the by routing the connection through any three randomly selected TOR relay nodes one after the other. This path that the TOR creates is known as a TOR circuit. TOR will make use of Onion Routing principals while establishing this encrypted secure TOR circuit. TOR always connects to a minimum of three randomly selected TOR relay routers in any part of the world before connecting the user to the destination system, hence ensuring adequately randomized anonymity. The advantage of TOR over a proxy server is that TOR ensures that you are always routed via a minimum of three different TOR relay servers. On the other hand, in case of a proxy server, you are normally routed only through one system.

Once a TOR circuit has been created, it will continue to be used for all connections for 10 minutes or so, after which all new connections will be given completely new TOR circuits. It is also possible to force TOR to change its circuit sooner than 10 minutes if required. Whenever TOR changes its circuit, your identity on the internet also changes.

   Now that we have understood how TOR circuits are established and how TOR works, let us put this knowledge now to use and actually use it to anonymously and safely unblock a blocked website on the internet:

Download the TOR browser bundle, which is available as a free download on
The TOR  browser bundle is a self-contained executable file that can be run directly from a USB pendrive or even a camera SD Card without the need for any installation or configuration. It comes with a copy of the Firefox Portable Browser preconfigured and allows users to establish a secure encrypted connection esily and quickly without any hassles of configuration.


 STEP 2:
After downloading the TOR browser bundle, you need to extract it to a folder of your choice. It could be anywhere on your hard drive or even on an external USB peb drive. To launch TOR, you just need to go to the respective folder and double click on the Start Tor Browser icon.

As soon as you double click on the Start Tor Browser icon, the Vidalia Control Panel will open. At this stage, TOR will connect to its directory server and download a list of available TOR relay servers(onion routers) and then try to establish a secure encrypted TOR circuit through any three different randomly selected TOR relay servers. This entire process of establishing a TOR circuit should not take more than a few seconds. As soon as a secure TOR circuit has been established, a new Mozilla Firefox browser window will automatically open.

      Once Mozilla Firefox launches, it means that the secure TOR circuit has been established and you can start browsing on the internet securely and anonymously. The Firefox Mozilla window that opens will also say Congratulations. Your browser is configured to use Tor, letting you know that TOR is now ready to be used. 

Let us quickly test the TOR circuit by opening the website to check if our connection is anonymous or not. In this case if you look at the screenshot below, you will notice that TOR has routed our connection through a United States -based relay server whose IP address is ;)

     It is important to note that the TOR Browser bundle only works with the portable Firefox browser that it automatically opens once the TOR circuit gets established. All other applications, including other browsers installed on your system, will not automatically start connecting to the TOR circuit. For example, if you simultaneously open both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox portable browser to, then you will get two different IP addresses and two different locations in two different browsers at the same time!

  Let us assume that after sometime you get bored of being in United States and want to reroute your secure TOR circuit through some other country. All you need to do is in the Vidalia control panel you need to click on the Use a New Identity option and within a few seconds TOR will create a brand new TOR circuit for you, giving you a completely new location and IP Address.

  Now if you were to open in the Mozilla Firefox browser, then you will notice that your IP address has changed to and your new location to Sweden!

  Typically at any given point of time, TOR will have a few thousand different volunteer TOR servers/Onion routers(while typing this 928 relay servers were online) in different parts of the world. It is possible for a user to view all the TOR relay servers online at any given point of time by opening the Vidalia Control Panel and clicking on the View the Network link to display the TOR network Map:

   Within this TOR Network Map window, in the right bottom pane, information about all the three TOR relay servers throughwhich your computer has currently established a circuit is available.
currently my computer's TOR circuit is as follows:

Computer --> TOR Relay Server 1 in the United States --> TOR Relay Server 2 in Bulgaria --> TOR Relay Server 3 in Russia --> Internet

Celestra (Online)
Location: United States
IP Address:
Platform: Tor (git-c55c166e73d500af) on Linux x86_64
Bandwidth: 20.34 MB/s
Uptime: 108 days 7 hours 53 mins 30 secs
Last Updated: 2012-02-25 14:09:58 GMT

abgtor (Online)
Location: Bulgaria
IP Address:
Platform: Tor (git-4f42b0a93422f70e) on Linux x86_64
Bandwidth: 807.35 KB/s
Uptime: 1 days 22 hours 3 mins 21 secs
Last Updated: 2012-02-25 20:24:31 GMT

RedLantern (Online)
Location: Russia
IP Address:
Platform: Tor (git-1fbce83f8c56d9c6) on Linux x86_64
Bandwidth: 4.02 MB/s
Uptime: 33 days 14 hours 32 mins 6 secs
Last Updated: 2012-02-25 13:10:51 GMT

     Sometimes, your company, college or government will block access to the Tor Project website trying to prevent users from being able to download and use TOR. The good news is that it is possible to download TOR through email as well! Just sent an email to from any mail account that can accept large attachments (like Gmail or Ymail). Make sure you type help in the body of the email and they will get back to you with instructions on how to download a relevant TOR package via email:


      As described in their instructions email, if you want to receive the TOR browser bundle for windows, you need to send an email to them at with the keyword windows in the body of the email. Within a few seconds they will send you a detailed email with the TOR Browser Bundle for Windows attached. As simple as that!