Internet privacy concerns aren’t any longer just realm of terrorists, hackers, and cybercriminals. Internet identity if compromised will make users prime target for various kinds of illegal activities and identity thefts. There are several individuals who are worried about safety when online and hence look for ways to surf anonymously so as to protect their identity. In this digitalised age if you want to keep your online activities safe and secure then you need to follow some basic precautionary steps that also serve towards disguising and hiding your identity. Prior to talking about ways of being anonymous online, let us see what anonymity is. Sites are nowadays tracking visitors for serving advertisements and linking to social media. Each time when users visit a site their IP address (internet protocol), browser used by them, their OS, what links they clicked, what website they are coming from, and how much time they are investing on one website is recorded. Moreover, all primary search engines will store search history of users so as to compile and analyse them for targeting much accurate advertisements and offering relevant search results.
Social networking sites are also tracking you wherever you are going. In case users are logged on to any social networking website, those networks will be tracking their browser history especially if the website one has visited has social networking plugins such as Retweet, Like, and so on. Internet Service Provider is capable of analysing network traffic and seeing what all one is doing on internet. Surfing anonymously completely isn’t possible even if you are using best tools and techniques for doing so. Given below are few ways of being anonymous online.
- IP hider software – Installing these software is pretty simple as these get installed within seconds with minimum clicks required. These software allow users to access blocked sites as well as bypass filters. There are few IP hider tools that offer online privacy just by cleaning online tracks. Maximum IP hider tools allow adding manually proxy so that users can add proxy of their own. One can update their proxy list periodically as well as check for the new proxies that are available. Generally IP Hider tool providers offer yearly subscription packages for hiding proxy. There are options that will help you change connections as well as randomize connections on a regular basis. The aim of these software solely is to prevent identity of users from unethical or illegal activities.
- Password Manager – Users should make use of password manager for keeping strong passwords. In case users have used internet for more than a week, there are chances that their password is being scanned or tracked. In case one is planning using slight variations password or same password for more than one website, they are at massive security risk. Suppose their one site is hacked, other account can also be hacked easily. Here you can use password manager that will not only remember passwords for every website that users visit but would also allow users to create random and strong passwords. Moreover, if you are using password manager tools, you don’t require worrying about remembering passwords.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN) – VPN offers high level of security as it makes use of advanced authentication and encryption protocols. Using VPN, you can access all kinds of applications anonymously such as emails, chats, browsers, etc. Basically Virtual Private Network is encrypted connection that is between the server and user. Traditionally VPN service was used by corporate environments for remote workers to securely and remotely make use of company resources. You can consider VPN as tunnel through internet connecting users with a server directly.
- Secure Shell (SSH) – Secure Shell tunnel often is referred to as poor man’s VPN as it can offer few features as VPN without much complicated server setting-up activity, though there are some limitations with SSH. This system is solely designed for network traffic forwarding. In general, SSH is employed for securely acquiring as well as using remote terminal sessions. It makes use of strong encryption where users can set their SSH client for acting as SOCKS proxy. Post SSH is operational, one can configure their applications on system- like their browser for using SOCKS proxy. Traffic will enter SOCKS proxy that is running on local system and SSH client will forward it via SSH connection. This process is called SSH tunnelling as well and it works similar to VPN. Traffic between SSH server and computer would be encrypted hence the browser can encrypt connections just as it could if using VPN.
- TOR – This software is free and is used to enable anonymous communications. The name TOR is derived from actual project that is The Onion Router. This software will direct internet traffic via worldwide, free, volunteer network that includes 6000 plus relays for concealing location and usage of user from conducting traffic analysis or network surveillance. When using TOR, it becomes tough for internet activities to get tracked: it includes different forms of communications, instant messages, visit to sites, and online posts. Use of Tor is for protecting user’s personal privacy and their ability as well as freedom of conducting confidential communication thereby keeping internet activities of theirs away from being monitored. Users can make use of Tor browser. This would act as multiple proxies wherein it would bounce traffic between several relays prior to reaching its destination. Traffic that is going through Tor Browser would be anonymized and TorBrowser browsing would be comparatively slower than other regular internet browsers.
- Throwaway Email – Make use of throwaway email for registering to websites. Ensure that email address isn’t containing any kind of personal information as well as it shouldn’t be linked to the account that is storing personal information of the user.
- Privacy-oriented Search Engines – Making use of primary search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Google, etc. that will allow them to track all that users are searching as well as link them to IP address of the system. Instead users can use alternative search engines that don’t track searches and some of these are StartPage and DuckDuckGo.