Mixmaster Type-II Remailer
An Anonymous Remailer is a computer which has been configured to run Remailer software. This software is a specialized kind of Email server software. Unlike the average Email server which goes to great lengths to log all incoming/outgoing traffic and add identifying and traceable info to its outgoing mail (in the form of headers) Remailer software ensures that outgoing mail has been stripped clean of any identifying information! Thus the name 'Anonymous' Remailer.
To further protect the user, the Anonymous Remailer software is written in such a manner that little or no trust has to be placed on the integrity of the Anonymous Remailer operator. The message is passed from Remailer to Remailer until the final one delivers it to the originators chosen destination. That final Remailer is the only place where the message content is visible in the human-readable format that the user typed, and by that time the true source of the message has long since been lost.
For further information, see the Remailer FAQ's.
The Bananasplit Remailer
The name Bananasplit relates to a 70's Hanna-Barbera TV show. I've always named my computers after the characters in this program; Bingo, Drooper, Fleegle and Snork. When I built my public remailer, I decided to continue this convention, although I had to abreviate its name to banana.
The remailer conforms to the Type-II Mixmaster description above. It is run by myself as a private project and is not connected with any company or agency. Like many remailer operators I do it partly for the challenge, partly for the learning experience and partly for the service it provides to the public.
In terms of functionality, this remailer doesn't support the older Type-I Cypherpunk protocol. This is probably controversial to many people within the annoymity community, but I stand by my decision not to host it as I have little faith in the anonymity that it provides in todays "Big Brother" world.
The following sections discuss the various remailer client applications and any associated installation issues or contraints.
Unix and Linux users
Mixmaster is most commonly run on Unix and Linux platforms and it can be easily compiled in these environments as either a remailer client or as a server. The installation is simple and detailed instructions are included within the package. The current production version can be downloaded here. For these platforms, there are really no constraints placed on the user. Mixmaster fulfils the role of a remailer client very well, although does lack the Graphical User Interface that Windows users generally demand.
It is possible to complile Mixmaster for Win32, but this is generally impractical for most Windows users. Fortunately you don't have to be a software engineer in order to use the Remailer network from Windows.
There are a number of Windows Remailer clients that have been developed over the years since Mixmaster was developed. Some are no longer in development and hence have become unsuitable for use on current Windows platforms such as XP or Windows2000. Users of older platforms have a broader choice of client, but may find these clients lack the functionality of newer options. There are primarily three choices for the Windows user that should be considered.
Jack B. Nymble (JBN) - A Visual Basic application, no longer actively developed but providing all the essential functionality for anonymous email and news posting. Due to lack of development, users may encounter compatibility issues between JBN and later applications / Operating Systems. It can be downloaded here.
Quicksilver (QS) - A C++ application, developed and supported by Richard Christman of Benchmark Software. QS is a modular application that runs on all current Windows 32bit Operating Systems. Unlike JBN, it is also compatible with the current Mixmaster-2.9 binaries. It can be downloaded via the Quicksilver Homepage.
Omnimix - Omnimix differs from the other two in that it functions as a proxy rather than a Mixmaster client. In other words, it enables people to use standard Email/News client applications to interface with Mixmaster. At first glance it can appear a dauntingly complex GUI, but stick with it, it's worth the effort. Omnimix is developed by Christian Danner and can be downloaded from its Homepage.
It is possible to send a message directly to a remailer's MTA (Mail Transfer Agent - Mail Server) rather than using your ISP's mail service. This in itself provides little value, unless the remailer MTA supports encrypted email. This section describes the benefits of such a service and how to best make use of it.