How to become anonymous online
With the rise of social media, it has become much harder to remain anonymous when browsing the web. The internet used to be one of the easiest ways to hide your identity and be someone else. Nowadays, every app and website you visit wants to know as much about you as possible. Not only is it a bit creepy to have strangers know everything about you, but it can also pose huge security risks. Here are some of the best ways to remain anonymous when going online.
Bolster Your Browser’s Privacy Settings
By default, your web browser records tons of information about you. Many browsers closely monitor factors such as your screen resolution, IP address, and ISP to name a few. Plenty of websites install tracking software as soon as you load their page. It is very common to see a notice about cookies when you first arrive at a new site. These cookies take all of your browser’s data and send it to the site owner. While many web developers are simply trying to make a better webpage, nefarious individuals also set up sites just to collect data. By going into your browser’s settings, you can reduce the amount of data your browser is tracking. This limits how much sensitive information website cookies can siphon from you. At the very least, never allow a browser to automatically save your passwords and login credentials.
Download An Anonymous Browser
Even if you reduce the amount of data collection, traditional browsers still collect information about your web activity. You need to utilize a special anonymous browser to get rid of data tracking completely. Firefox has a special browser that records far less information than the standard version you are most likely using. Ghostery has also launched a browser that eliminates tracking automatically. Finally, you can use a search engine such as DuckDuckGo to keep your search history private from large companies.
Browsing Under the 14 Eyes
It’s not just private web developers that want your information. Governments around the world also try to learn as much as possible about each citizen. While these spy programs are often kept secret, whistleblowers sometimes leak info to the public. Many of these leaks can also be fake. This makes it hard to determine what countries are safe to browse in. Recently, there have been rumors of a 14 eyes spy network formed by multiple countries. So, what is a 14 eyes country? These countries are under the jurisdiction of an intelligence network known as 14 eyes. This network monitors web activity in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, The UK, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands. If you are in one of these countries, the government is actively recording every last morsel of information you give to them.
The Benefits of a VPN
A Virtual Private Network is a great way to hide your true IP address. Your true IP address ties your computer to a geographic location. This makes it easy for governments and other onlookers to find you with ease. A VPN assigns a virtual IP address to your computer or mobile device. The virtual IP address is different than your current location. This allows you to browse safely without giving away your physical location. In order to avoid government spying, you can set the virtual IP to a country outside of the 14 eyes network.
Getting a Reliable VPN
Not all Virtual Private Network software is created equal. Many apps that offer this service have glaring holes in their security. This allows hackers and governments to find your real IP anyway. Most of the free VPN software doesn’t do much for you in the long run. Investing in a reputable VPN is a great way to secure your data more reliably. A good VPN is only a few bucks per month, and they do a much better job of keeping you anonymous. Just be sure to thoroughly research a VPN before paying for a subscription.
Stop Giving Your Email Away
A staggering amount of internet users freely give their private email address away without thinking about it. Signing up for websites or company newsletters without a robust security framework leaves you wide open. There are also tons of businesses that sell lists of live email addresses to spammers. That’s why your spam inbox often fills up so quickly. Using a spare email address for places that will likely spam you down the line is a good place to start. You can also use a disposable email address to take your privacy to the next level. Services like Guerilla Mail let you create an address that expires after a short period of time. This allows you to log in to various websites or apps without a trace.
Staying Clear of Spam
Most people already have a ton of spam emails flowing into their inbox. It should go without saying but never click on any shady messages you receive. Just clicking on these can start the download of malicious software. To reduce the amount of spam you get, try using an encrypted email service like Protonmail. This allows you to keep your emails private and blocks out obvious spam communications. Large email providers like Google admit to reading messages of Gmail users around the globe.
Dabbling In The Deep Web
If your privacy is absolutely mandatory, you can take your internet browsing to the deep web. You will need to download the Tor browser in order to access it. This special browser connects you to the fully anonymous side of the internet. Every time you do something with Tor, the traffic is bounced around erratically. This makes it nearly impossible for any prying eyes to keep watch over you. Of course, this also means that each page loads incredibly slow since your search inquiry makes several detours before arriving at its final destination.