Everything you do on a laptop or desktop—from the moment you begin to use it—is contributing to your online persona. You are continually leaking digital exhaust about who you are, where you are, your activities, preferences, and interests. Each activity and interaction further develops a unique persona footprint that can be attributed to you.
This becomes a challenge when your employees need to quietly research cyber threats or malicious organizations. When they need to do competitive research without being noticed. Or when they have sensitive work that requires a tightly managed online presence.
Managing Your Online Attribution
You have two ways to manage this challenge—known as managed attribution, or obfuscation:
- Hide your source and location, or
- Broadcast a false source and location
There are easily available ways to do this with Tor and other one-hop proxies. However, one-hop proxies are easily tracked and traced—typically running only in a browser or for specific applications—and suffering from predictable performance challenges. They are therefore inadequate solutions for truly sensitive and high-risk endeavors.
To properly manage all aspects of your online attribution, you must obfuscate all aspects of each device completely—not merely the browser or specific applications—and without suspicious performance delays. In order to do this successfully, you must address two distinct issues:
- TECHNICAL ATTRIBUTION: you must control all technical details associated with the physical device, including IP addresses, type of machine being used, information about browsers and applications, etc. Each of these can leave a trace (so called “digital exhaust”), leaking information about your true location and identity. Inconsistencies in this data indicates to anybody watching your movements that you are not who or where you say you are.
- PERSONAL ATTRIBUTION: to establish a convincing online persona, all of your activities must be consistent with this persona. Every interaction with an online resource—email accounts, social media, websites visited, etc.—has to back up and support your chosen location and identity, which is especially challenging for employees who use their desktop or laptop for other activities or personas. Multi-persona devices can create muddled and suspicious footprints, tipping off those watching that you have something to hide.
Once a machine is used for anything other than the persona with which it was set up, the original persona becomes polluted with new data and any attempts at obfuscation will fail. However, having a unique laptop or desktop for each persona used by each analyst or investigator can be logistically and fiscally challenging.
Introducing the Virtual Desktop Interface
Armored Cloud’s Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) has solved this challenge. With Armored Cloud’s VDI, you can set up a series of Virtual Machines (VMs), each of which can be used to establish a distinct persona in a given location. These non-persistent VMs give you the power to control both the technical and personal pieces of the equation, successfully managing attribution for your entire device. All information you leak from the VM will support and enhance the authenticity of the persona you seek to establish.
Benefits of the Armored Cloud VDI over Tor and other one-hop proxy solutions:
- Confidently use one machine for multiple personas, knowing that all technical and personal information is remaining distinct for each established persona.
- Easily switch between personas by accessing a new VM, reducing time and workflow complications for your employees.
- Do everything you need to establish your persona—check email, social media accounts, browse the web, log into Google properties—all while leaking the right information.
- By masking traffic at the network level and using all ports and all protocols, unlike one-hop proxy solutions using targeted ports and protocols, your actual identity and location are virtually impossible to track down.
No discernable latency, enabling users to operate normally without distinction while online
Reduce risk. Strengthen security. Simplify workflow. Increase productivity. All with Armored Cloud’s new Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI).
Free trials and demos of our products are available for qualified businesses by calling (877) 978-1688 or by filling out the form on this page.