GhostSurf 2005 Platinum

  • Editors' rating
    7.9 Very good


  • Encrypts your Internet connection
  • prevents spyware and adware
  • makes IM applications anonymous


  • No built-in anti-virus or spam tools
  • no reporting tools or log generation

The Internet is no longer a safe place to be. Spam email and Internet-related crime is rife because unscrupulous people are making a living out of exploiting users' unprotected surfing habits, email addresses and data stored on hard disk drives. Tenebril's GhostSurf 2005 Platinum helps to keep your personal information safe while you browse the Internet and helps to reduce the risk of being hacked or targeted with unwanted email.

The software is fairly basic, but it's effective, and works by scrambling your IP address whenever you connect to the Internet. It comes with some useful utilities too, allowing you to remove your browser’s history, delete cookies, adware and spyware programs, as well as remove ad pop-ups (only available with Platinum version). Additionally, its 'Vault' locks away data in a password-protected folder to keep your files and folders away from prying eyes.

Similar to a good firewall package, GhostSurf 2005 Platinum lets you customise your privacy levels in real time to suit your surfing needs, enabling you to block personal information, mask your IP address and even encrypt your Internet connection. You can see and block every piece of data that your computer puts out over the Internet, determine if a site is trustworthy by reading relatively detailed data on the registrant, domain name, contact information and location, as well as prevent access to selected Web sites. The software works with all Web browsers and supports anonymous instant messaging, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and news feeds.

The software’s utilities are accessed from a central interface, allowing you to remove personally-identifying information from Web requests, opt to send your data through Tenebril’s anonymous hubs to hide your IP address and block Internet traces back to you, as well as encrypt all the Web data to and from your computer, preventing everyone (from your network administrator to your ISP) from seeing what you’re doing.

Like ZoneLabs' excellent ZoneAlarm firewall applications, privacy levels in GhostSurf 2005 are set by moving a slider. At its lowest level, Normal, data from your computer is set directly to the Internet without modifying, rerouting or encrypting it. When set at the highest privacy level, Secure, personal information is removed, rerouted and encrypted, helping to create a much more secure working environment.

Those wanting to tweak their configuration a little further will appreciate the way you can exclude certain Web sites from the privacy level, thereby granting a particular site that requires personal information, such as an online banking site or a Web-based email site. A number of sites are already listed in the 'special sites' list, although you can modify these if you want to completely restrict the transfer of personal information.

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GhostSurf 2005 also provides some basic feedback, such as the number of blocked cookies, sent invisible requests, sent secure requests, speed-cached requests, pop-up ads blocked, as well as in-page ads blocked. This is very informative if you like to know what the software is doing. There are no reporting tools and there's no way to create and analyse log files, although this is hardly surprising considering the relatively low cost of the software, as well as the fact that it’s designed for individuals rather than workgroups.