Every time we access an Internet resource (web, mail, IRC, etc…) our ADSL modem or router is connected “directly”: all packets transmitted by our computer are addressed via routers and switches across the net to their final destination.
Every time our packets pass through a network device, someone could read, analyze, intercept and hijack our communications.
In order to avoid this and protect our information, our identity and our connections we can use the widely downloaded software FreeNet.
Using Freenet we can access anonymous resources across the internet, using a decentralized encrypted network or we can create our private network between friends to chat, share information and messages.
As reported on Freenet official web site (https://freenetproject.org/index.html) Freenet is free software which lets you anonymously share files, browse and publish “freesites” (web sites accessible only through Freenet) and chat on forums, without fear of censorship. Freenet is decentralised to make it less vulnerable to attack, and if used in “darknet” mode, where users only connect to their friends, is very difficult to detect.
Communications by Freenet nodes are encrypted and are routed through other nodes to make it extremely difficult to determine who is requesting the information and what its content is.”
In this tutorial I will explain how to create an encrypted Virtual Machine that you can use to access FreeNet resources.
For this guide I’m using VmWare Workstation 8.0.6 but you can choose your best Virtual manager such as kvm, qemu or VirtualBox. I will not explain how to create a Virtual Machine using VmWare or Virtualbox because there are already millions guides available across the web. I will start the tutorial from Operating system setup. I choose Ubuntu 12.10 x64 to do this because it supports full disk encryption out of the box.
*** DISCLAIMER ***
This tutorial explains how to access FreeNet network, a place where you could find many information. Some of them can be dangerous, offensive or illegal if you use it for wrong Purposes. The information you will get from this blog is for Educational Purposes only. The owner(s) of this website will not be held liable for anything you choose to do with the information contained on this article.
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Step 1a : Install operating system, configure disks and choose encryption key.
During the setup process please be sure to select the options to download and install updates and third-party software:
Step 1b: Choose “Use entire disk” and select encryption.
Using the Virtual Machine you can use the entire disk for Ubuntu so you can switch on the full disk encryption.
If you are installing Ubuntu 12.10 in a dual boot environment (side by side with another operating system) this feature will be not available.
Step 1c: Choose a strong password (or a pass-phrase) to protect your setup. I suggest to have a password whit more than 15 chars including lowercase, uppercase, numbers and special chars. If you want to be sure that your hard drive will not contain any previous data please select “Overwrite empty disk space” but this will take more time during the setup. For more security in the next steps choose to encrypt your home directory, choose a generic username (i.e.: user, john, acme or something else…) and setup a user password.
Now you can proceed with your installation choosing your personal preferences about time, keyboard, etc… At the end of the setup reboot your Virtual Machine and boot the system with your encryption key and user password as needed.
Step 2: update and configure your Ubuntu 12.10
The first step after set up is to remove Amazon Software and update your distro. To do this open a Terminal and run the following commands:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get -y remove unity-lens-shopping sudo apt-get -y upgrade
Probably this will take some times depending by your Internet connection speed….be patient! If needed install VmWare Tools of VirtualBox guest additions.
Step 3: install Java Runtime 7: Freenet is based on Java!
Open Ubuntu Software Center, search for OpenJDK Java Runtime 7 and install it. At the end of the installation reboot your VM.
Step 4: install and configure FreeNet software.
Now you are ready to download, install and configure Freenet software into your VM. Open a terminal and run:
wget https://freenet.googlecode.com/files/new_installer_offline_1440.jar -O new_installer_offline.jar java -jar new_installer_offline.jar
The command above will start Freenet setup and you have to configure some options in order to access FreeNet resources:
- Select your language
- Click next
- Select your installation path. The default one could be used.
- Setup shortcuts. The default settings are good.
- Choose custom security
- Select “Keep Freenet up to date automatically and enable UPNP (for router integration).
- Select if your node can be connected with strangers or not. Choose yes if you are joining to public Freenet or no if you want to join private friends network
- Choose normal security and setup an encryption password for your downloads
- Select Datastore size: default could be great but it depends on you virtual disk size
- Choose your Internet Connection monthly limit. If you are connected using flat plan choose No, otherwise (i.e. you are connected using UMTS/HSDPA internet key or mobile phone) choose yes.
- Select your Internet speed.
You are done setting up your node. At this point you may want to wait a short time before continuing to the next step in order to let your node become fully connected to the network. Make sure your computer doesn’t go into sleep or hibernation while Freenet is trying to connect to the network.
Open your browser and open 127.0.0.1:8888 to start browsing Freenet.
Note: every time you reboot your Virtual Machine Freenet will not start automatically. If you want to start it manually open a Terminal and run:
sh /home/freeuser/Freenet/run.sh start and check the status using sh /home/freeuser/Freenet/run.sh status
If you want to start Freenet on boot add the following line to /etc/rc.local
/home/freeuser/Freenet/run.sh start &