Anonymity Online: Tips & Tricks
Find the best ways to stay anonymous online
The web privacy is as of today a very popular topic, especially after Edward Snowden leaked documents that revealed the NSA's surveillance programs and technology. When you connect a device to Internet via a private or public Internet connection you can be identified through an IP address, that is a string like 000.000.000.000, used to identify the location from where you are connected to Internet. Everytime you visit a website you leave traces about your IP address and about your activity, such as which web pages you have visited and the keywords you have searched.
Now that you know this, how can you be anonymous online ? The answer is simple: you need to hide, spoof or mask your IP address. But the problem is not only your IP address, you need also to be cautious when you insert your details on a web form, or when you purchase a product, or when you search something on a search engine, and also when you chat with a stranger in a public or private online chat or on a social network website. Below you can find some recommendations and useful tips that can help you stay anonymous online:
1) Use a good VPN service to anonymize every software
The VPN services are the most secure and reliable way to be anonymous online, they are not free but it is worth every penny when it comes to maintaining a good online anonymity. With a VPN you can spoof your country of origin (by using an IP address located in another country), hide your IP address, bypass network and firewall restrictions, visit blocked websites, unblock websites censured by your ISP or in your country, encrypt the Internet traffic, and anonymyze any software that use Internet (such as instant messengers, web browsers and P2P clients). A big advantage of using a VPN is that you have no limits in the download and upload speed.
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2) Use a free web proxy to quickly bypass website blocks
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3) Use Tor project to spoof your IP address online
Tor project is a very popular, reliable and free software that helps you to keep yourself anonymous and secure online, by spoofing your real location using an open network of web servers used by Tor, to masquerade your IP address. Tor is the free solution to defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic analysis, used by thousands of users, including but not limited to militaries, security companies, government agencies, families, businesses and media organizations. Tor is free and open source for Windows, Mac, Linux/Unix, and Android operating systems. Similar to using a VPN software, also Tor can be used to anonymyze software that use Internet, such as instant messengers, web browsers but it is not ideal for P2P clients, due to the slow bandwidth speed and bandwidth limitations.
4) Be cautious when inserting sensitive information
When you need to register to a website, and insert your sensitive details such as name, surname, street, country, etc. make sure the website is using a secure connection (HTTPS) so that the data sent to the remote website is securely encrypted and cannot be captured by other users located near you. You may also want to check the website on online reputation services such as URLVoid and MyWOT, to have a better idea about the safety of the website and to find more details about the website and its owners. You may also use online network tools to perform a traceroute or a whois query, or to view the DNS records of the remote website.
5) Use search engines that protect your privacy
As you may know, most search engines (such as Google) may keep track of your searched keywords and also of your IP address and other information that may identify the user. You may try to use other search engines that assure to not track the user's activity and to respect the user's privacy. You can't go wrong with DuckDuckGo, because it clearly states that it doesn't track the user's activity. DuckDuckGo has gained a lot of popularity with Internet users because of its policies that respect the user's privacy and for its other great features offered, most probably it will be a good competitor for the giant Google in the near future.
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