The Anonymous Remailer Page

A Down And Dirty Tutorial

Section V: Two-Way Anonymous Communication Using Remailers

Back To Main Index So, then. Having fun so far? OK, party's over. Time to get down to work and apply some of the stuff you've been learning here.

If you've been following along, you now know how to send anonymous email using remailers. This is OK for a lot of stuff, but is pretty limiting if you want a response from whoever you're sending it to. After all, how are they supposed to respond? You're anonymous, remember?

Well, actually, there are two ways to go about it.

Method #1 involves you sending instructions to your correspondent to include a "reply block" in his message to you. This, frankly, is a fairly major pain in the butt, but we're going to learn how to do it in this section, because it leads directly to:

Method #2: Putting your "reply block" on a server somewhere which will AUTOMATICALLY be put on reply messages. These so-called "nym servers" ("nym" is short for "anonymous") set up an account for you and adds your "reply block" to any messages sent to that account. We'll learn all about that in the next section. Don't go there till you understand THIS section or you WILL screw it up.

"OK, enough!" I can hear you whining, "just what the *#&^@#! is a reply block?"

Boy, you EAT with that mouth? Eh, never mind. Just hold onto your panties, and I'll get into how to make a reply block and how it works presently. First, however, I need to make sure you understand:

1. Remailer Instruction Codes

As should be apparent by now, remailers use certain formatted items as instructions. Some of them that we've been dealing with include: If any of those don't sound familiar, you've skipped something to get here. Go back and do it again, unless being completely lost is something you can deal with. OK, presuming you're up to speed on those, I'll introduce a couple of new ones: There are a lot more, but these will do for our purposes. Remember these, and lets (finally) move on to:

2. What's A Reply Block, And How Can I Make One?

A "reply block" is a block of instructions which tells a remailer (or chain of remailers) to forward a message to YOUR email box. As you no doubt recall, those instructions are contained in a PGP encrypted message which only the remailer can decrypt. That means that the reply block can ONLY be read by the remailer, and THAT means that you can include it in a message received by someone else without revealing yourself. They can use it to get a message back to you through a remailer or chain. To make a simple (one remailer) reply block, do this:
Step 1: Using Notepad, type the following:
::
Anon-To: your@address.com
You should recognize this. It is an instruction to a remailer to send mail to your address.
Step 2: If you want whatever he sends to you to be encrypted so your nosey ISP can't read it, you have to tell the remailer to encrypt it. To do that, use "Encrypt-Key:" and follow it with whatever password you want to use for conventional encryption. The remailer will encrypt the forwarded message using conventional PGP encryption and the key you furnish here. Your Notepad should now look like this:
::
Anon-To: your@address.com
Encrypt-Key: MyPassword

Step 3: Now you have to decide which remailer is going to send stuff to you. In this example we'll use "dizum" (email address remailer@dizum.com). This means that we have to encrypt the above to "dizum's" PGP key:
-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: PGPfreeware 6.5.8 for non-commercial use 

hQCMAx8q6DIxI0s3AQP/doYjvAlLd9YLBS15nOV1nCbrn78IhjTLplWa+5Xv0zen
2SBjsuVio/Sij7kuWP4f36kwXJFBfL0WS1tyhVbiVFtJw9CUcd/r7QU8GzPEggia
9RQR9o30Pq/aSYKsv3VinDFMpvcFKGBNXtOCpcDjkOMe3rbnJuiNGC/qsDZR6n6k
S9V7rVjxRsJKMLv71QK4wROZkKcv9lkTYFGw3NBxzr6dkgwnL3XZVvBTLDsViA9F
EZrQVTQlL8oRcK+tYcfTMYiVMiYA/c8qAt01gA==
=tudC
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----


Step 4: Now we have to tell "dizum" that it's an encrypted message for them. We do that by adding "::" and "Encrypted: PGP" to the PGP message:
::
Encrypted: PGP

-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: PGPfreeware 6.5.8 for non-commercial use 

hQCMAx8q6DIxI0s3AQP/doYjvAlLd9YLBS15nOV1nCbrn78IhjTLplWa+5Xv0zen
2SBjsuVio/Sij7kuWP4f36kwXJFBfL0WS1tyhVbiVFtJw9CUcd/r7QU8GzPEggia
9RQR9o30Pq/aSYKsv3VinDFMpvcFKGBNXtOCpcDjkOMe3rbnJuiNGC/qsDZR6n6k
S9V7rVjxRsJKMLv71QK4wROZkKcv9lkTYFGw3NBxzr6dkgwnL3XZVvBTLDsViA9F
EZrQVTQlL8oRcK+tYcfTMYiVMiYA/c8qAt01gA==
=tudC
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----


Step 5: Now we have to give our correspondent some place to write. To do that, we add "**" below the encrypted block. Our correspondent will have to write whatever he wants to send to us BELOW the "**". Note the single blank line between the block and the "**". This is REQUIRED.
::
Encrypted: PGP

-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: PGPfreeware 6.5.8 for non-commercial use 

hQCMAx8q6DIxI0s3AQP/doYjvAlLd9YLBS15nOV1nCbrn78IhjTLplWa+5Xv0zen
2SBjsuVio/Sij7kuWP4f36kwXJFBfL0WS1tyhVbiVFtJw9CUcd/r7QU8GzPEggia
9RQR9o30Pq/aSYKsv3VinDFMpvcFKGBNXtOCpcDjkOMe3rbnJuiNGC/qsDZR6n6k
S9V7rVjxRsJKMLv71QK4wROZkKcv9lkTYFGw3NBxzr6dkgwnL3XZVvBTLDsViA9F
EZrQVTQlL8oRcK+tYcfTMYiVMiYA/c8qAt01gA==
=tudC
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----

**
Congratulations. That's a "reply block". You should save it as a text file somewhere so you can paste it into messages, since it's good for as long as the remailer is running. Your correspondent has to simply cut and paste the above into a new mail message and follow it up with whatever he wants to say to you:
::
Encrypted: PGP

-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: PGPfreeware 6.5.8 for non-commercial use 

hQCMAx8q6DIxI0s3AQP/doYjvAlLd9YLBS15nOV1nCbrn78IhjTLplWa+5Xv0zen
2SBjsuVio/Sij7kuWP4f36kwXJFBfL0WS1tyhVbiVFtJw9CUcd/r7QU8GzPEggia
9RQR9o30Pq/aSYKsv3VinDFMpvcFKGBNXtOCpcDjkOMe3rbnJuiNGC/qsDZR6n6k
S9V7rVjxRsJKMLv71QK4wROZkKcv9lkTYFGw3NBxzr6dkgwnL3XZVvBTLDsViA9F
EZrQVTQlL8oRcK+tYcfTMYiVMiYA/c8qAt01gA==
=tudC
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----

**
This is a reply to your message.  Your correspondent 
types it here,  below the "**" and it will be forwarded to you.
Now all he has to do is email it to "remailer@dizum.com" (dizum) and, following your instructions, they will decrypt the PGP block, encrypt the message below the "**" with "MyPassword" and send the whole thing to the address you specified, i.e., YOU, all of which is completely untraceable by your correspondent.

Remembering what we've learned about "chaining" remailers, it should be fairly apparent that you can also chain the remailers in the reply block. I'll leave that to your experimentation, with one caveat: Remember that at each step of the chain, the PGP block has to end with a blank line and "**" so that the text of the message is forwarded. If you don't put the "**" in somewhere, the text will probably be discarded, and you'll never see it.

3. Using A Reply Block, And Yet Again Dealing With Your Moron Friends

Here's the part where a "reply block" can get to be a serious (and perhaps fatal) pain in the left cheek. You must get your correspondent to use it properly. Since most people (especially many of your friends) are roughly as computer literate as a somewhat retarded artichoke, you're going to have to find a way to make it clear to them what to do.

Frankly, there isn't a good way to go about this. The most successful method is to give them detailed instructions. This might be the email they get from you:
This is the message you've sent to them.  Then you paste in the 
reply block that you saved after following the above instructions 
plus some information:

NOTICE:  If you wish to reply to this message, you MUST copy and 
paste the following, from the "::" thru and including the "**" into the 
top of your email (first line, first space).  Do NOT alter anything.  
Type your reply BELOW the "**" and address your reply to 
"remailer@dizum.com". Thank you.
*******COPY BEGINNING AT THE FOLLOWING LINE****************
::
Encrypted: PGP

-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: PGPfreeware 6.5.8 for non-commercial use 

hQCMAx8q6DIxI0s3AQP/doYjvAlLd9YLBS15nOV1nCbrn78IhjTLplWa+5Xv0zen
2SBjsuVio/Sij7kuWP4f36kwXJFBfL0WS1tyhVbiVFtJw9CUcd/r7QU8GzPEggia
9RQR9o30Pq/aSYKsv3VinDFMpvcFKGBNXtOCpcDjkOMe3rbnJuiNGC/qsDZR6n6k
S9V7rVjxRsJKMLv71QK4wROZkKcv9lkTYFGw3NBxzr6dkgwnL3XZVvBTLDsViA9F
EZrQVTQlL8oRcK+tYcfTMYiVMiYA/c8qAt01gA==
=tudC
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----

**
*******END COPY - YOUR MESSAGE GOES HERE*********
Can they do it? Hard telling. I've had a 12 year old pull it off without undue difficulty, but I sure wouldn't want to try to explain it to an adult. Your call. If you've got a better set of instructions you can write and/or enclose in place of what I've suggested here, feel free. The bottom line is that you have to find some way to get them to follow the instructions EXACTLY, or you're not going to get anything back.

At any rate, YOU should fool around with it long enough to convince yourself that it actually works. Run a few messages through using your reply block to make sure YOU'VE got it down before you try to explain it to anyone else.

"What a hassle," you're thinking, "There's got to be a simpler way to do this. My correspondents are WAY too stupid to follow this many directions."

Fortunately, the world is just chock full of stupid and/or lazy and/or non-tech oriented people. As a result, in order for the rest of us to communicate with them, a way HAS been invented for them to reply to you without them having to cut, paste, and otherwise find new ways to screw up your perfectly good reply block. You still have to create the reply block (that's why we went through all this,) but THEY don't have to mess with it.

"Oh, pray tell us, Master, what is this mystic solution?" you may ask. Patience, Grasshopper. I'll tell you. But just because we're buddies, you understand. Time to move on to Section VI: Nyms, Nym Servers, And Other Magic.

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