This is really a handy how-to for those of you with snoopers around.
Hide that pr0n!
Hide that pr0n!
How to hide your hard disk porn stash
(idea) by DrT (4.3 mon) (print) ? 2 C!s Mon Mar 25 2002 at 17:10:13
This writeup is fairly long. So if you're just a casual pornography user pressed for time, you'll probably be OK just reading sections one to four.
Hiding the porn is easy to do if you're using it in the dead tree format. However, on a computer the situation is not so easy. You will need to take a good few steps if you want to even think about making it impossible to detect the downloading of porn (or anything else). It's not too difficult to hide it well with the right mindset, however.
1. World Wide Pornography
If you're looking at pr0n on the WWW, then you don't need to be quite as wary since the material (probably) won't be stored in an obvious form on the computer for more than a few weeks (unless your browser cache is set to be huge). First make sure you're not using a public or semipublic machine, because someone may have installed a keylogging program, and you don't want to get caught stickyhanded do you? Also make sure that when you go to a site, don't just type the address in the Address bar. That may add it to AutoComplete lists (admittedly, these can be flushed, but still) or it may be appended to the dropdown list. To circumvent this, get out a compiler and take advantage of the fact that your browser can load a website as a command line parameter. Bash out a program that lets you input a URL and then loads up that website. Here's a QuickBASIC example:
A$="iexplore.exe " + A$
SHELL "cd C:\progra~1intern~1"
Change it to suit your needs.
However, don't make the amateur mistake of typing "iexplore.exe www.XXX.com" into the Run line. The Run line also has a dropdown list of the most recently entered items! If you do make this mistake, blitz the History.
If you're really paranoid, don't subscribe to sites with a credit card, because somebody might go through your card statements and blackmail you. But I think that does err on the side of the ridiculous (unless you're the kind of person who might be blackmailed, of course).
2. Clear all caches
In addition to all this, make sure you clear your history (or just delete the specific history items, but make sure you don't miss any) and clear your temporary internet files, unless you want to go through it and pick out the choice bits. You can just use the Delete Files option in your Internet Options, or if you like being methodical, grab your Temporary Internet Folder and blitz it with something like Norton WipeInfo, which overwrites the files with random data and shoots it to hell, bypassing the Recycle Bin. It could take a while if you make your cache too big, so make sure you set it fairly small (I expect a hundred or so megabytes would be perfectly adequate!). If you download video files and then cancel halfway through remember that sometimes half-downloaded files are saved to the cache.
3. HDD Storage
However, you may also have this stuff stored on your hard disk. First, take the obvious precaution of giving your porn innocent seeming names. You can namespace it if you want, just try and conceal it. As well as giving the individual files innocent names, give the folder they're in an innocent name. Hide it a couple of subfolders down. Try adding spaces in the filenames (split them into digraphs, that works well) so that routine searches by other people won't turn them up.
4. Using PGP's Self Decrypting Archive feature
It's always fun to encrypt stuff with PGP, so go ahead and do it here. Go on, go and download it now! I'll wait.
The reason we're going to use PGP is because when anything is stored unencrypted on your hard disk, there's always a possibility it could be found if other people are given enough access to your machine; if it's encrypted then snooping or accidental discovery won't compromise your files.
Now you've got the latest version of PGP, you can use it to encrypt your hard disk porn. You've followed the instructions in step 3 of this guide, so that's all ready. At this point you'll need to be a tad careful. If you installed it correctly, you'll be able to right-click on your porn folder(s) and there should be a PGP submenu. DON'T click Encrypt, click Create SDA. It'll ask you what passphrase you want and what to call the SDA file (give it an innocent name, as above), then it'll make it. Delete the original folder because now you'll have the equivalent of an enciphered self-extracting WinZip archive. All your porn is now in one easy-to-use executable.
This convenience is one of the reasons we chose to SDA rather than just do a straight encryption of your folder. The other reason is that if you uninstall PGP or lose your private key, then your erotica (if it can be called that) is still accessible if you put it into an SDA, whereas if you just encrypt the original file then it'll all be lost if you delete PGP.
But how do we get our porn back? Simple.
Go to where your SDA executable is kept
Double click it to run it
Put in your passphrase. If you forgot it, you can say bye bye to your data
Wait until the dialogue boxes disappear
Go to the newly appeared folder
Don't forget, once you've had your fun, you need to clean up. Just remember to keep the SDA, and to empty the Recycle Bin if you use that.
5. Recent Documents
For some annoying reason, Windows insists upon putting the most recently opened picture files in the Start > Documents menu. And we all know that It's Bad to have 15 potentially explosive links in such an easy-to-reach place. This isn't too much of a problem if you delete your porn after you've used it, since it'll be an empty link pointing to nowhere. Even so... This problem isn't too hard to solve. Just right click on each of the entries and press Delete. Gone.
vuo has informed me that killing everything in your C:\Windows\Recent will help. Thanks for the heads-up!
Spork Avenger says that "re: how to hide your hard disk porn stash: #5 on your list can be taken care of by going start, settings, taskbar+startmenu, clicking the second tab, and the clear button. though it takes longer to describe, it is probably quicker."
6. Mind your backups
When backing up your disks, you can take a few more precautions to make your incriminating material harder to detect. Simply "scatter" the porn on the disks. To put it in a better way, put your SDA in different places on each new backup CD you make. If you put it in D:\Home\Accounts and gave the folder the name "1999-2000" before, then this time put it in D:\Program Files\Games and call it "MajorX". This variation makes it harder to find the data since on each backup disk it'll be somewhere different! File searches won't help either since you've also changed the name. You may also want to remove the "sda" or "exe" from the file extension, or someone who is specifically looking for your porn may find it if they do a *.sda and/or an *.exe search. Oh, and avoid double extensions too, those look mighty suspicious.
Try adding innocent files to your SDA. Make sure they have the same file extensions as your porn. This puts in a few distracting bits to your collection, and also means that if you are made to open your SDA and demonstrate some of the files, you have some clean stuff to show your persecutors. Unfortunately, this won't help if somebody is to methodically go through your files (assuming you left them lying around, you fool!), so what you also want to do is encrypt other stuff on your hard disk. Find old crap you don't want any more and put it in SDAs. Make sure that a lot of these dummies have a similar file size to your porn SDA. If your porn archive is too big to be matched in file size, try splitting it into individual SDAs with a smaller file size. If you're really ballsy, encrypt just about everything on your hard disk and use stuff only on an as-needed basis. Add in some huge SDAs and tiny SDAs. If a lot of your files are encrypted, a lot of people will probably assume that you just like your privacy and haven't got anything incriminating. Of course, those in the know could become a whole lot more suspicious and become certain that you're up to something.
8. Watch what program you use
Mind out what program you use to view your picture files. Just about all picture viewing programs have a recently used file list under the File menu. Some programs won't register a picture under it if you load the picture from Windows Explorer. If in doubt, use Internet Explorer, Netscape, Phoenix or another browser to view your picture, and if you do accidently make a mistake on this, just load up some innocent pictures to knock it out of the list. And if you do use your browser, you may want to knock the "My Computer" subfolder out of your History. At this point it probably won't matter much, since it'll link to a deleted, benign-seeming file, but you may want to triple check in case one of your safeguards failed.
9. If you don't like your current operating system
If your current operating system leaves too many footprints for you liking, then you could try switching to a steganographic file system. In this kind of file system, you can only locate a file if you know it exists and roughly where it should be. If you use one of these, the chances of your porn being uncovered are virtually nil. Even if someone does look for your pornography, it can be made a lot harder.
10. Wessabessa's suggestion
Wessabessa says re How to hide your hard disk porn stash : Yo, this writups getting old now, but what the hell... I have a method quite similar to yours, involving Winzip. 1) You archive the files using a password 2) You change the file extension of the Archive to a .sys file (aha!). As systems files are self hidden, this covers basic detection. Also to some casual browsers, it actually looks like a system file, therefore they wont try to open it. Even if they do, I doubt they'll make the association to Winzip! But yeah, that's how I was hiding my stash until I admitted I was addicted, and deleted it all :0)
11. kuraijo's suggestions
kuraijo says on "hiding your hard disk porn stash": if your'e running XP the safest thing to name your SDA file would be "desktop.ini" as far as i know almost every folder has it, and it is the last place i'd look if i were seeking out a porn stash. otherwise you could hide it in your win98 backup folder, or keep it in C: as logo.sys (XP doesn't seem to have much use for this anymore). Most obvious place is safest place. happy hiding!
12. And finally...
Remember to delete your stuff properly when you're done. Always clean up. Erase it permanently from the Recycle Bin, or use a commercial program to completely destroy the data. And don't forget to keep your swap file as small as possible to avoid the OS making shadow copies of your opened files. Remember the golden rule: a PC makes four copies of every file at some time or another. You want to minimise this.
The main way of keeping you and your stimulation material safe is to make like a ninja - always be on the look out for traps, and you should do fine, at least now you know what to look for. For more advice, check out the writeups under Keeping your data from the FBI, though this is probably only good for people who have stuff more dangerous than mere porn hidden.
lordaych says that "Win98 users can get TweakUI which can be set to automatically clear histories like the documents folder." He also adds that by right clicking on the taskbar and pressing Properties, and then 'Advanced' one can completely empty the Recent Documents.
I hope you enjoy using the advice in this writeup as much as I enjoyed writing it!