Can You Hide Your Web Browser While Surfing at Work or School?
By on February 20th, 2010

If you have to sneak around, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. You could get fired or expelled. However, there is one way to hide your surfing from other people as they walk past your computer. GhostZilla was designed to help with this exact problem.

ghost-from-clif What is GhostZilla? It’s a web browser that behaves like a scared chameleon. It blends into your desktop windows so well that anyone who’s more than 2 feet away won’t even see it at first. If someone is looking, a single mouse movement causes GhostZilla to disappear completely.

GhostZilla is a modified version of the Mozilla web browser, which is no longer supported. The Mozilla and Netscape browsers are the parents of the modern Firefox browser. You could say GhostZilla is an aging uncle to Firefox. The main feature of GhostZilla is that it appears inside the window frame of any application window that’s on top at the time.

Here’s what it looks like before you launch -

ghostzilla-word-0-large

- and after you launch GhostZilla, you see this.

ghostzilla-word-1-large

While you are surfing, you’ll notice that the text is displayed in a low contrast mode, and gray images will only appear as you hover your mouse over them.

monochrome-image-google

When you want GhostZilla to disappear, just move the mouse out of the window and it disappears, leaving behind the original window.

ghost-zilla-mouse-moves

To get GhostZilla back, you need to move your mouse all the way to the left edge of the display screen, then back to the right edge, and finally back to the left edge once again. Suddenly, GhostZilla should re-appear in the current active window.

There are a few problems with GhostZilla as it currently stands.
• It’s an abandoned project
• The original website is no longer there
• It doesn’t work as well in Vista/Win7 (XP is fine)
• It’s pretty big – 26mb

GhostZilla is a free and open source (FOSS) portable app. You can download it, unzip it and run it from a folder, flash memory stick, USB thumb drive or CD. To start GhostZilla, double click the Start-Ghostzilla-CD.exe file.

There is a current add-on project, named GhostFox, which is trying to duplicate the features of GhostZilla in the Firefox browser. However, I have not been able to get it to work because of add-on compatibilities. Once this add-on is working, it should be the ideal way to go.

If anyone out there has the time, I’d like to see a portable version of Firefox with the GhostFox add-on enabled and running by default. Be sure to let us know if you succeed.

Download GhostZilla:

http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=681

Techie Buzz Verdict:

GhostZilla is a great idea that isn’t great for everyone at this time. It’s old, it’s big and it’s no longer supported. However, some of you may find it useful. Remember that I warned you not to secretly do your web surfing at work or school.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2.5/5 (Average)

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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at clif@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://crackerboy.us Bill Webb

    Got Ghostfox to run using Nightly Tester Tools with no problem, but after fiddling with it for a while it doesn't look like it's worth the trouble to me.

    • http://clif-notes.blogspot.com Clif Sipe

      After writing the article, I also did the same and I came to the almost the same conclusion. GhostFox does not work as well as GhostZilla, at least on XP. It needs a lot of work yet.

  • GadgetGuy

    Atlantis is a similar application, not free but much more sophisticated. Just google Atlantis “Online Privacy”.

 
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