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Cocoon ~ secure browsing now FREE!!
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Jim Hillier
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July 15, 2011 - 10:19 pm
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The Cocoon security/privacy add-on for Firefox has been around since the beginning of 2011 but I must admit, along with many others, I had never heard of it before. And that my friends is why the developers have recently decided to make it available to everyone for free.

Until now Cocoon has been available only as payware. Apparently, the developers have been disappointed with the level of acceptance and are hoping that making it freeware will help broaden distribution and enhance recognition.

[url=https://getcocoon.com/:33otcyb8]Cocoon[/url:33otcyb8] keeps your browsing information private, your internet connection secure, and your email spam-free. The idea behind Cocoon is very sound; it is basically a web proxy service which, when initiated, directs all your browsing activities through Cocoon's servers via protected SSL connections. So, your IP address plus all browsing history are hidden from prying eyes, and even unsecure sites are accessed using a secure connection.

Cocoon also provides an on-the-fly disposable email address creator, to help keep spam out of your email inbox.

I would imagine there would be a trade of where speed in concerned, the actual extent would be difficult to assess.

Anyway, it's certainly won me over, I'm about to install it right now so I'll soon discover if speed (or lack of it) is a real issue. I'll get back to you on that one.

P.S. Internet Explorer users do not despair; Cocoon for IE is due to be released "soon".

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Jim Hillier
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July 15, 2011 - 11:32 pm
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UPDATE:

Installed Cocoon, no problems.

There is no direct download from the site. When you click on the [b:2qyu49m9]Download[/b:2qyu49m9] button you will be taken to a page where you must enter your email address and then hit a [b:2qyu49m9]Get it Free[/b:2qyu49m9] button.

You will then soon receive an email (at the address you input) which includes a download link. Hitting that download link takes you to a "Setup Account" page where you will need to type in a password. Once you have created you account, the installation then proceeds via easy to follow onscreen instructions.

You will finally be asked to restart Firefox and voila...up pops the Cocoon search page. Now all you need do is log-on to Cocoon (again, onscreen instructions help here) and away you go.

This is a very early assessment after only limited use but speed does not appear to be an issue at all. If anything, it seems actually faster.

A couple of very minor annoyances to date:

* Each time you log-on to Cocoon, the bookmarks sidebar vanishes. If you don't normally leave the sidebar enabled then it won't be a issue, but I always like to see the sidebar displaying my bookmarks. Bringing it back is just a simple matter of clicking [b:2qyu49m9]View>Sidebar>Bookmarks[/b:2qyu49m9] via the main menu. A bit of a pain having to do that each time but no biggee.

* Cocoon uses the Google search engine, which is good but there doesn't appear to be any method for localising search results.....I like my "Results from Australia" option. Again no biggee but I would rather have it than not.

Of course, there is also the inconvenience of needing to repeatedly log back in to any member sites, but that is only to be expected. The way to overcome that is to browse outside the Cocoon environment when visiting sites where you are a member, or other known safe sites, just log-on to Cocoon when you are browsing around unfamiliar territory.

Will report any further observations after more time using Cocoon.

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Flying Dutchman
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August 2, 2011 - 9:01 pm
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This thread got back to my attention via the one about cookies, so I had another look at Coccon.

I found a number of discussions, like [url=http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-20051064-12.html?tag=rb_content;main:8u129i8v]this[/url:8u129i8v] and [url=http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-20078611-12/web-proxy-add-on-cocoon-goes-free/:8u129i8v]this[/url:8u129i8v] at CNET Downloads, [url=http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/01/13/cocoon-hands-on-the-one-shot-solution-to-private-and-secure-fir/1#comments:8u129i8v]this one[/url:8u129i8v] at Downloadsquad and a few threads at the [url=http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r26079085-Web-proxy-add-on-Cocoon-goes-free:8u129i8v]dslreports[/url:8u129i8v], [url=http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=296644:8u129i8v]wilders security[/url:8u129i8v] and [url=http://malwaretips.com/Thread-Wrap-Firefox-in-a-Cocoon-of-privacy:8u129i8v]malwaretips[/url:8u129i8v] forums.

Reading the comments, their TOS and Privacy Policy, here are a few points:
- According to the comments at Downloadsquad, there used to be a number of clauses that would turn off a lot of people. They're not included now, but the terms "applicable law" and "authority" are mentioned a number of times for a number of cases, so it feels like there was a change of wording to ease people's minds.
- In the Privacy Policy it says:
[quote:8u129i8v]We do not share your data with anyone unless required by law. Your data belongs to you. Only you have the key to decrypt your data.
Inside Cocoon we do not track where you go or what you do online.[/quote:8u129i8v]
If only I hold the key to decrypt my data and if you don't keep track of me, what exactly do you share when required by law? I suppose real IP, time of log-in and log-off? Combine this with the coresponding clause in the previous revision of their TOS:
[quote:8u129i8v]We will not decrypt your information unless we reasonably believe we must do so to troubleshoot problems with the Service, or we reasonably believe we must do so in order to comply with a law, subpoena, warrant, order, or regulation, ...
[/quote:8u129i8v]
and it seems that I'm not the only one with that key.
- Their claim
[quote:8u129i8v]to provide an actual solution that prevents viruses[/quote:8u129i8v]
can't be taken literally, as the solution consists of preventing you to download any .exe file and using ClamAV.

As I've said on another thread, I don't feel particularly comfortable with storing anything on the cloud. I need to look more into it, before making my final decision.

Jim, what's your experience? Do you use it often? Do you get ads served (mentioned in the TOS)?
I read something in the lines that there's an option to not store anything on their servers (but can't find where anymore, grrrr!). Is it so?

An alternative seems to be Proxomitron (mentioned on the dslreports forum), though a bit more technical.

I am human

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Jim Hillier
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August 2, 2011 - 10:04 pm
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Hey FD - I believe you tend to read a little too much into some of the EULA conditions mate. In most cases they are merely quoting the letter of the law. Most countries have Federal authorities who are empowered to investigate and search through peoples' internet activities. It is unavoidable, no-one is exempt and I believe Cocoon are just making users aware of the possibilities.....perfectly harmless IMO.

[quote:22cjaubt]Do you use it often?[/quote:22cjaubt]
No, I am not using it often FD. But that's largely because I spend around 99% of internet time connected to trusted member sites so don't really have the need.

[quote:22cjaubt]Do you get ads served[/quote:22cjaubt]
No, there is a setting to "Block Online Ad Servers". There is another to "Block Facebook Tracking".

[quote:22cjaubt]I read something in the lines that there's an option to not store anything on their servers [/quote:22cjaubt]
Yep, it's a simple option on the front page, just place a tick in the box and nothing is saved. I double checked and it works as advertised.

As for some of the discussions on forums; people are funny; their internet activities/history is generally freely available for all and sundry to peruse, that's mostly why they are looking at using something like Cocoon in the first place. Then they complain and carry on about the remotest (and highly unlikely) possibility that just one service may still be able to view some of their private goings on. Makes you wonder what some of them are doing on the net that makes them so paranoid!!

Cheers....Jim

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