Multiple Online Identities: Why You MUST Use Them

Discussion in 'Security, Privacy & Anonymity' started by Millard Baker, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    The most extraordinarily piece of bad advice that I regularly see on bodybuilding/steroid forums is the prohibition against the use of multiple online identities for members.

    The basic reason behind this terrible advice is the observation that bad people use multiple identities for nefarious and dishonest purposes. For example, scammers create multiple identities to continue to perpetuate the theft of money from members. The commonly proposed solution is to ban the use of multiple identities in an effort to thwart scammers.

    Let's look at another example outside of the steroid world. We all suspect that the majority of terrorists and pedophiles probably use anonymity and privacy tools such as TOR and PGP. But does that make the tools themselves evil? Should TOR and PGP be banned for the masses?

    No. TOR and PGP are neutral. Just because they can be used by bad people doesn't mean that the good guys shouldn't be allowed access to such tools.

    TOR and PGP are indispensable for anyone interested in privacy and anonymity in the steroid world. And so is the use of multiple online identities.

    This is why.

    (1) Your already use multiple online identities: Who actually uses their real name when posting on a steroid forum? The irony is that practically everyone here uses a pseudonym so that their real identity is not connected to their pseudonymous identity on steroid forums. Some members may have pseudonyms they use on other special interest forums such as AV or car forums that are different from their steroid forum pseudonym. Why? They want to keep the identities separate given the stigma of steroids and the illegal acquisition of steroids and PEDs. If one pseudonym is good, the use of additional pseudonyms (identities) simply provide additional layers of security.

    (2a) Your pseudonym isn't really anonymous: Most members are active in the forum "community". It's not just about sharing ideas; members who participate long enough in a forum community develop a sense of comraderie and even friendships with several members.

    It is inevitable that, during the course of such friendly online exchanges, little bits of identifying information will be posted. Any single piece of identifying info is probably insignificant. But taken as a whole, with dozens of self-disclosed facts and thousands of posts, an identity will emerge that resembles the real-life identity of the member to some degree.

    Let's say that sometime over the course of the past 2 years, you disclosed the following in unrelated posts: You live in Las Vegas, you grew up in a suburb of Denver, you went to the University of California San Diego, you're 38-years old, you work out at 24 Hour Fitness, your area code is 702, you are a personal trainer... You may not have revealed your name but you've made it a lot easier for motivated entities to identify who you are.

    Bottom line is that most people have no clue how much identifying information they voluntarily disclose.

    (2b) You are participating in an illegal activity: Too many people believe they are safe (and anonymous) since they are using a pseudonym when they admit to illegally buying anabolic steroids. Given the concerns listed in 2a, it wouldn't be too difficult to connect your illicit transactions to your real-life identity.

    If you admit to the illegal acquisition of steroids, the use of the SAME single pseudonym across multiple steroid forums spanning thousands of posts over several years is the absolute worst thing you can do if safety is your primary concern.

    If you care about "respect" and "status" in the community and all the shit that comes along with it (like free and discounted gear), then fine. Just don't delude yourself into thinking it's the safest approach.

    (3) You need protection against sources: Sources aren't your friends and buddies. They are criminals participating in the illegal drug black market. Most are scammers or will turn into scammers. For this reason, you should never, ever, ever trust them.

    If you have a bad experience with a source who steals money from you, most people will be afraid to publicly speak out against the source. Why? Because the source has a lot of identifying information about you that they could disclose if you say the wrong thing. Do the majority of people who buy steroids use their real names when sending WU/MG and having product shipped to them? (Or more importantly, do you?) Even if they use a fake name, they often give their home address or the address of a PMB, a relative, a friend that is easily linked to them.

    If you dare say anything bad about such a source, no matter how justified you are to complain about the scam, the source has you by the balls. They will blackmail you , threaten you, maybe not with violence (although this is not uncommon) but by disclosing your name and/or your physical address; they may send you a "hot" package containing narcotics, steroids, etc. that is packaged with the express purpose of attracting the attention of law enforcement/customs.

    TOR and PGP won't help you in these situations. You are SOL. Your best bet is just to be quiet and swallow the loss. Some people may call you a coward for failing to speak up and protect other members from being taken by the scamming source. That may be. In retrospect, you should have taken precautions to avoid being in that situation.

    So what can you do?

    Multiple identities, anyone?

    I can't advise participating in illegal activity. And I certainly would recommend against admitting to it in a public forum. But if you must illegal acquire AAS and discuss your criminal actions in public, the safest approach would be to use ONE identity for regular participation, discussion, comraderie on the forum, a completely SECOND separate identity to interact and engage in transactions with a source and a THIRD separate identity to publicly discuss the transactions with that source.

    Furthermore, you should use a separate identity for each and every source you contact.

    If anonymity is at all important, you will make regular use of multiple online identities. It will likely be one of the best bets going forward in a world where anonymity will soon disappear.

    BTW, here is a very useful website for that purpose : Generate a Random Name - Fake Name Generator
     
    Eman, vivame, heel hook and 7 others like this.
  2. Bucky

    Bucky Member

    The only flaw I see with this is the fact that anyone can start up a new acct and bash any source. No one really has any way of telling whether the random handle complaining is legitimate, a competing source, a trolling loser, or something else. At the end of the day it is better to have someone question your burner handle than a source having you by the balls. Thanks for the post Millard. I didn't see it from that perspective.
     
    Millard Baker likes this.
  3. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    I know. This is an argument against the use of multiple identities.

    But keep in mind, I wrote this from the perspective of protecting the safety, privacy and anonymity of members/consumers first and foremost.

    The concern here is for helping members. If it makes marketing more difficult for sources, so be it. That is their problem.
     
    Raider72, beezil and Bucky like this.
  4. dbolman

    dbolman Member

    I couldn't agree more! This is from the man himself. You don't think Millard has multiple handles? Of course he does. I know you guys don't get it but I know what I'm doing. Stay away from Bio and stop befriending sources. Everyone is being very unsafe. Just because the underground section is uncensored doesn't mean we should post our entire transaction history an tell everyone the source is good. It's crazy. The underground section is here to gather facts, question things, and formulate your own thought. It is not the craigslist of steroids. Be safe everyone.
     
  5. asdf123

    asdf123 Member

    I'd be surprise if LEOs go after small time buyers instead of the public sellers here.
     
  6. Kubrick

    Kubrick Member

    I guess that depends on where you live, who you purchase from, and the scenario. Cops don't typically bust people for weed where I live but it does happen from time to time.
     
  7. asdf123

    asdf123 Member

    But that's a MUCH more visible act to get caught by.
     
  8. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    Unless you live in a country like Sweden where muscle profiling is big. Then, simply looking like a (steroid-using) bodybuilder can get you busted!
     
  9. Raider72

    Raider72 Member

    This was a sensible & well written post that makes sense to me. I am still leery of the multiple handles but in a way that is a good thing as it keeps me thinking about what & to who I say things to.
     
    Millard Baker likes this.
  10. MANWHORE

    MANWHORE Member

    Use your Vet name to order
    And a friends name and addy, to send to.

    If someone wanted to find me, I am
    Sure they would have no problem..

    Just give me heads up your coming, so I
    Can clean up some and make you something to eat ::cool:
     
  11. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    While many people concerned with anonymity turn off geotagging on their phones when taking pics and/or strip the EXIF data, another option is to spoof your GPS location. E.g.:

    Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lexa.fakegps

    IOS: Fake iPhone Location -- Support iOS 6

    This can also be used to trick other mobile apps like Facebook and Twitter that ask for location.
     
    beezil and Bucky like this.
  12. GodChild1

    GodChild1 Member

    Good stuff Millard.

    I think most all of us know we should be more careful.

    It's laziness for me. And that thought in my head that "it will never happen to me"
     
  13. boosydoosy

    boosydoosy Member

    Great post and great information.

    Spoofing your location is a great idea on your iPhone.

    If multiple names makes marketing harder for a source while providing the upmost security for the users....well the source should always choose to honor its current customers before trying to attract new ones. Marketing over Customer Support is a business design flaw.

    Safety is paramount.
     
  14. Bucky

    Bucky Member

  15. Demondosage

    Demondosage Member

    I don't keep up with the technology anymore, it's gotten ridiculous. I may even give up the smart phone and go back to a flip or a track phone
     
  16. boosydoosy

    boosydoosy Member

    ^^^^ X 2.

    Millard is solid providing us information and more imporantly providing us the opportunity to colloborate and stay safe.

    I hate technology and all the bullshit. I still had to learn PGP, Tor and some other nifty things along the way just to stay as safe as I felt comfortable......sad but indeed true.

    The internet is a danger filled place. Be careful out there
     
  17. beezil

    beezil Member

    in todays world of NSAs and rogue governments tracking their citizens....

    you are better off...

    i carry 2.

    smart phone for work... then shut it off after hours and forward calls to an old flipper pay by month trac fone. (amazing the looks i get. :rolleyes:)

    I have friends at 3 letter agencies... that do the same...

    the amount of information that is not only accessed by 3 letter folks... but marketing agencies and information gathering firms is staggering. its not enough to turn off the GPS.... you need to disconnect from WIFI as well.

    Databases are being built not only with where your at... but also the times you are at places, too establish your routines and habits.

    if you can... use cash and drop the plastic!

    scary times.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  18. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    Those three things: Credit cards, GPS-embedded mobiles, and the Internet is winning triad for Big Brother surveillance.

    Giving up the plastic should be easy enough, but for many will be extremely difficult. But the conveniences/benefits of mobiles and Internet are another matter that will require much more sacrifice; who really wants to give those up. Hopefully, there will be greater technological innovations supporting privacy, anonymity that can take back the Internet from the surveillance state.
     
    beezil likes this.
  19. zombie21

    zombie21 Member

    Quantum encryption!