I just was reading up on Stealth Surfer (via Engadget) and it looks like a pretty cool device, but it still has a ways to go. It’s a USB device that aims to protect your privacy by not leaving browser trails on your computer.
stealthsurfer.gifAs you can see from the picture to the left, it is only for Windows and includes a copy of Netscape 7.0. Why Netscape 7.0? Because they wanted to use a dead browser instead of Mozilla. The browser has been configured to store cookies, cache, etc. on the USB drive to prevent people from finding out what you’ve been looking at. It’s also configured with home.stealthsurfer.biz as its homepage, which in the documentation has a lot of porn links that are absent from the live site.
stealthsurfer.jpgThe problem is that it appears to be of no help against network monitors, which is a far greater threat to privacy than cookies and cache files. What they should do is team up with someone like Anonymizer to provide anonymous surfing. This would protect their users from both hardware and network forensics.
Another concern I would have with one of these devices is the number of writes that a flash memory device can take. For casual file transfer it shouldn’t be a problem, but a browser using this as a temp directory involves a lot more writes. I forget how many hundred thousand writes flash memory is rated for, but I can imagine this hitting that limit.
Then again, if you’re using something like this to cover your trail, you shouldn’t get too attached anyway. After all, you may have to rectally conceal it to keep people from knowing that you’ve been searching for world domination.
Also, would it kill them to include Enigmail on there? Make it easy for people to secure their email as well as their web surfing. Still, this is a neat idea and I hope to see more “theme” USB drives like it.

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