In an age when hacking and identity theft seem to be making the world go round, it’s important to remember that protecting your identity might actually be the thing that saves you from a great amount of trouble. Thankfully, there are a few ways for you to protect your privacy – some of them actually simpler than you may believe.
Granted, some might be more efficient compared to others. For example, paid options will always bring you more protection in comparison to the free ones – but even the free methods of retaining your anonymity should not be disregarded. At this point, you should try to find protection wherever you can. And here are a few methods for you to do so.
1. Use Private Mode Whenever Possible
No matter if it’s called “Private Mode” or “Incognito,” each browser should have a private mode through which you can go. Keep in mind that this “private mode” is not completely private. For instance, the websites that you are accessing might still be able to see your IP – but they won’t be able to store information on your computer.
For example, when you are going Incognito, cookies and browsing history will no longer be stored in your device – nor will anything be added to the automatic forms. Your visiting information will not be made public to them either, which means they won’t be able to shoot ads in your direction.
Similarly, by using private mode, browsers will not be able to leak your personal data. This way, you may be sure that you remain anonymous on their website, and that no one else will have access to your personal information.
2. Avoid Bing, Google, and Yahoo
Bing, Google, and Yahoo might be the most popular search engines nowadays – but at the same time, they are the trio that collects the most personal data about you. The reason for that might seem innocent: to provide relevant ads and to personalize the services that might be of interest to you.
However, aside from collecting data such as your name and email address, they will also be able to collect more sensitive information such as your IP address, device information, location, and cookie data. It’s like you are willingly giving out your home address for Internet hackers to see.
To avoid having your device tracked when you are researching information, you might want to use other search engines that are more privacy-minded – for instance, DuckDuckGo. This independent search engine will not give you any personalized results, and your searches won’t be collected and stored. Anyone who searches for a particular set of words will get the same results – and the search engines will not be able to give your information to advertisers.
3. Invest in a Good Proxy or VPN
According to proxy-store.com, perhaps one of the best ways for you to remain anonymous is to invest in a reputable proxy. After all, when it comes down to the online world, every action that you do may be traced to the IP address of your computer.
The IP address is pretty much a physical address that a particular website uses to communicate with your network – just like an advertising company does to send you leaflets in your home mail. When your address is not known, they won’t be able to send you their advertising – so, if you want to go completely private, you might want to go for a good proxy or VPN.
To put it in simple terms, these servers won’t make you seem like you aren’t there – but they will give you the “mask” that you need to browse without everyone and their grandmother knowing where you are. With a proxy or a VPN, you will be able to browse as if you are somewhere else – as if you were someone else. It will act as a “dummy address” that the target website will see – one that will hide your real IP address from sight.
4. Don’t Share Your Email
One good way to ensure you remain anonymous is to keep your email a secret. Your email is actually a big part of your identity online – and it is also a great source of revenue for those whose business involves selling live addresses to spammers. If the websites you register to are not secure, then a hacker may be able to access your user credentials – selling your data all the way to spammers.
Granted, there might be popular services such as Gmail that contain SSL certificates and use HTTPS to encrypt and authenticate your messages – but this does not mean that you are 100% protected. Even Google admitted that they read through user emails to perfect their targeted ads.
If you really need to share your email, you may also avoid all of these problems by using a throwaway account – or an account that only exists for a short period of time. One example that is easy to use while being free is GuerrillaMail, which seems to be growing more and more in popularity.
5. Use Anonymous Browsers
Granted, you may go into privacy mode each time you enter Google Chrome or any other browser – but this might actually be slightly troublesome. This is why you might want to find out everything that Tor Browser has to give you as well.
Short for “The Onion Router,” Tor browser takes your data and wraps it around multiple encryption layers – pretty much as an onion does. And the only difference between the Tor browser and a regular browser is that Tor connects you to the web through its own network – making it no more difficult to you.
In other words, this free software allows you to stay anonymous online, directing your traffic through a network of servers before you reach the final destination. This way, your identity, and location are protected – pretty much in the same way that a VPN or a proxy does.
Privacy is nothing to be joked about – and you should do everything in your power to protect your data from being shared without your consent. Ultimately, staying anonymous is not entirely a matter of what tools you use – but what mindset you have as well. By valuing your identity and putting your privacy first, you should be able to ensure safe browsing every time you go on the Internet.