The internet is a scary place, one we visit daily and without any protection. Nobody’s data is safe. Everything you upload and share is open for all to see and this can leave you quite vulnerable. Given that the World Wide Web is an important communication tool that one just cannot part with, going off the grid is not an option, nor is it possible when you think of it. So, what can you do?
While removing all traces of your existence from the net is not possible, you can still add a few layers of security to throw them off your scent. How? By surfing the web anonymously. Before we tell you how you can do that, we must first understand what it means and what it entails.
How does it work?
The anonymizing proxies that you use work as middlemen between you and the internet. When you use these tools correctly, then the only information the website will see is the information the proxy is showing. Usually this means a different IP address among other personal information. So, while the websites you surf won’t know it’s you, it is important to remember that the proxy does. They also keep logs of users’ activities which can even be subpoenaed. So, do your research before you settle on one. Also remember, websites can access the data that is stored by browser plug-ins and track your IP making all your efforts worthless. To ensure they can’t track you, opt for a plug-in free browsing experience.
We’d also recommend that you set up a second browser on your PC that you use solely for anonymous activities. However, keep in mind that the anonymizing services by default allow cookies to be placed on your computer and if you use the same browser for daily tasks as well as anonymous activities, websites could identify you. Using two separate browsers solves this problem. Additionally, make sure you wipe cookies each time you close the browser.
So, now that you’re caught up with the ins and outs let’s get to meat of the matter.
Use a Private Browsing for Window
The easiest thing you can do is open a private browsing window or an incognito window. If you know you will forget to delete your search history and don’t want anyone to find out, this is an option. It also won’t appear in Googles auto-complete so that’s good.
In addition to this, the private window logs you out of any accounts you’re signed in on so if you’re someone who forgets to sign out of devices, this is it. However, this is not a fool proof method. It won’t protect your browsing details from your ISP and ultimately the government. So if that’s who you’re trying to fool, you’d do better with the other options on this list.
The most basic way you can browse anonymously is by using web-based proxies. All you have to do is head to their website, type in the URL you want to visit and that’s it. They’ll do the rest for you! Some of the popular sites that people use include Proxify, Anonymouse and HideMyAss. Some of these are quite advanced and encrypt your connection, and block cookies and ads.
They are also free which makes surfing ten times easier. The only downside you get are low speeds. You might also face difficulty downloading certain types of content like video material and might also not be to access certain sites altogether. Additionally, some proxies also show you their own ads.
Connect to a VPN
If you’re looking for a way to protect all your searches from the likes of ISPs, hackers and government surveillance, you must get a virtual private network. What this does is, it encrypts and routes your web traffic via servers which belong to the VPN provider and masks your IP address. When you call your Charter customer service, rest assured they will have no inkling of what you do online. In addition to this, each time you use the VPN, your IP address will change ensuring that your profile can’t be constructed nor targeted for advertising.
Bear in mind though that the VPN provider can view your browsing activities. To ensure you’re safe, choose a VPN that does not store or access your surfing activities. We’d suggest that in this case you use a paid-for service as they have less incentive to monetize the users.
Use TOR browser
For even higher level of anonymity, you should try using TOR browser. It encrypts and routes your traffic and searches through a network of all the other TOR users ensuring that your queries seems to be originating from a variety of IP addresses. While it does not make it impossible to connect your identifying information to your searches, it does make the process extremely difficult. It will help you glide under the radar of the government and the ISPs, however, if you’re being targeted and you search for specific locations and words, etc., an identifying profile of you could be built.
Stay safe and protect yourself while surfing the web. These options are sure to help you increase your security, but bear in mind that this is still not foolproof.