The Internet has a technique of calming you into a fake sense of secrecy. In any case, in a virtual world, how can anybody know your true identity? The reality is that just by linking to the web, you share data about your geographical location, your computer, and even about the websites you surf.
The aim of anonymous Internet surfing is to avoid the techs that track you online and might possibly expose your personal data to others. By surfing namelessly, no one recognizes who you are, what sites you are visiting, or where you are connecting from.
When individuals think of Internet surfing anonymously, they automatically relate it with illegal downloading, malicious hacking, extramarital affairs, and other sordid behaviors. That is not unavoidably the case. Actually, there are a number of legitimate factors why somebody might wish to stay anonymous online:
- You are a staunch-free speech advocate and do not wish anyone else or the government to ban your activities.
- Your school or employer has strict Internet surfing rules and filters your Internet access.
- You think that the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Bill of Rights give you the power to perform your private business without exterior interruption.
- You think that the web is the ideal forum in which to express your views freely without fear of being tracked down or harassed by people who do not agree with those views.
- You do not like the concept that search engines are gathering data about your searches.
- You live abroad and need to see streaming video material that is only accessible to users residing in your home nation.
- You need to take part namelessly in Internet forums, may be to speak to discuss or to different people about a private medical case
- You do not need online advertisers to know what products you purchase or where you live.
Surfing the Internet secretly is not as easy as deleting history in your browser. Learn more about IP addresses and computer networks and how they can expose your identity. Let us start.
Cookies And IP Addresses
Every device connected to the web has a unique IP (Internet Protocol) address, comprising your PC. You might have a static IP or it might alter every time you are online. Either way, you are connected with an exclusive identifier each time you surf the Internet.
An IP address is required for the web to operate. It is exactly the address of your PC on an enormous network of computer. This is similar to a sole house in a crowded city. The only method an Internet server can send Web page contents to your browser is if it has your PC’s IP on the network.
IP address does not have any personally identifiable data related to you. On the other hand, if you are enrolled with an ISP (Internet Service Provider)—which is the manner most of us receive our web service—then your ISP can simply connect your IP address with your home address, name, e-mail address, phone number, and even credit card data.
Do not get paranoid just yet: Generally, ISPs have quite strict privacy rules. They will not give out your personal data to any random individual who requests for it. On the other hand, via subpoenas from the cops and federal agencies or below laws such as the U.S. Patriot Act, an ISP might have no choice but to give personal data associated to an IP address.
Cookies are an additional method for an exterior source to trace your Internet surfing activity. Cookies are small text files that are collected in your Internet browser when you go to website. The file may have your user preferences, your login data, identifiers, and the contents of your online shopping cart. These cookies make your Internet browsing experience more customizable and personalized. They are developed to save you time when you go to your favorite websites. They are developed to assist advertisers customize their messages to your personal likings.
There are two types of cookies. First-party cookies are those that are left from websites you visited on your browser. Third-party cookies are files amassed on your PC from parties and advertisers that have data-sharing deals with the website you visited. Most of the people find 3rd-party cookies to be a predominantly egregious privacy breach, since you have no management over who gathers data about you.
Now that you are aware of IP address and cookies, let us take a quick glance at how bad actors can employ an online info trail to know your identity.
Joining The Pieces To Know Your Online Identity
IP addresses and cookies alone might not give away your personal data, but when these hints are merged with other Internet surfing info such as your browser search history you can unsuspectingly reveal your identity to scam artists, bad actors, or government investigators.
Search engines regularly amass search queries related with your IP address. MSN stores search queries for 18 months and Google amasses search queries for 9 months. By studying thousands of such queries from the similar IP address, it is possible to presume somebody’s identity, specifically if they have entered their Social Security number or done map searches on their home address.
One more threat to online privacy comprises Web e-mail accounts. If you employ the same website for both Internet searches and your e-mail service, you may be leaving an extremely obvious trail for cybercriminals and hackers to follow when you go online.
For instance, if you employ Google as your e-mail client, then you require signing in to Gmail.com for every session of e-mail. Any Google searches you perform while signed in to your e-mail account will be related with the similar IP address as your Gmail account. From here, it will be simple for third party or a hacker to relate your searches with your mail ID and to employ this data to send you e-mail scams and customized spam.
The most direct and simplest method for somebody to trace your Internet surfing is to see the web browser history. Your browser keeps a sequential catalog of each website you visit. Most web browsers will save your history by default for minimum one week. If somebody needed to observe your Internet surfing, all the person have to do is search your history by opening your browser.
If you are surfing the Internet from a work PC, your boss does not require physically switching on your PC and having a look at your browser history. Since you are working on a company network, your firm has the right to see what websites you are surfing.
Now let us see what anonymous proxy servers are. These are one of the most effectual methods to conceal your online identity.
Anonymous Proxy Servers
Every time you enter a URL into your browser and hit Enter, your PC sends a request to the Internet server, which then gives the web page to you back. To perform this, the Internet server requires knowing your IP address.
One method to evade disclosing your IP address to each server you visit is to employ a proxy server, which is a machine that resides between the Internet and you. Each page request you make travels first via the proxy server.
An anonymous proxy server is an unusual type of proxy having software that substitutes your IP address with its own from any page requests. When the page is given back by the Internet server, the proxy server then sends it along to you free of any extra software codes that may reveal your identity.
The most well-liked type of anonymous proxy servers are Web-supported proxies. All you have to do is visit to the proxy service’s website, enter the required URL in a particular address box and the service will pass on the request to the Internet server secretly.
There are some drawbacks to unidentified proxy servers. Since every outgoing and incoming page requires being evaluated by the proxy server, this can frequently lead to sluggish page loading times. And because the proxy server tries to bypass or delete any suspicious components on the destination Web page, a lot of pages will be delivered with flaws.
You must also evade supposed “open proxies.” These proxy servers claim to have been banned and unintentionally left “open” for different reasons. Most of these proxies are traps arranged by bad actors who wish to pinch personally identifiable data. Most of the open proxies are in fact living on the PCs of unwitting consumers who have been affected by a PC virus.
Privacy Settings in Your Browser
Anonymous proxy servers are a great method to hide your online IP address, but there is still a huge amount of data about your Internet surfing activity amassed on your PC. Fortunately, it is simple to manage your privacy settings squarely in your browser.
One of the easiest methods to cover your online traces is to manually erase history in your browser. All web browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Safari let you to erase your Internet surfing history.
Follow these steps to erase history in your browser:
- If you are using Google Chrome, head to Tools menu, tap “History,” chose a latest website, and tap “Delete history for this day.”
- If you are using Firefox, go to Firefox menu and tap on Preferences box. Select the Privacy option. Head down to the category named Private Data and tap “Clear Now.”
- If you are using Safari, head to the History menu and click “Clear History” by scrolling all the way down to the bottom
- If you are using Internet Explorer 8 and 7, this procedure is a bit more complex. Head to support.microsoft.com and follow the steps.
Note, though, that any network admin—at your ISP or even at the office—can access your Internet surfing history on the network stage, even if you delete it on your PC.
You can also manage how your browser manages cookies. The default setting on many browsers is to approve cookies from all websites. You can either ban cookies fully—which may stop you from employing particular shopping sites and online banking—or you can select only to ban cookies from 3rd-party sites.
Since unidentified Internet surfing is turning out to be more and more trendy, the newest editions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Safari comprise special settings for surfing Internet without leaving any track. By turning on these settings, your browser will not save your search queries, surfing history, download history, cookies, or passwords.
Here are some tips on how you can turn on anonymous surfing in some of the popular browsers:
- If you are using Safari, below the main Safari menu, you can turn on a setting dubbed “Private Browsing.”
- If you are using Internet Explorer 8, open a new tab and chose “Browse with In Private.”
- If you are using Google Chrome, tap on the page logo beside the URL window and tap “Open New Incognito Window.”
Many subscription and free websites need you to enroll before employing their services. This normally needs 3 basic things: a username, an active e-mail address, and a password.
Besides the security dangers of providing your personally identifiable data and e-mail address to a random website, a number of users simply do not need each website they visit to know their identity and definitely do not want them to contact.
For security reasons, experts suggest that you do not use the same password and username to access all of your services and websites. The risk, certainly, is that one of these websites will—either accidentally or maliciously—hand your data over to bad actors who will employ your universal password and username to access your highly sensitive web services or online bank account.
One more irritation is that many websites have no issue with selling your data to 3rd parties who will then crowd your inbox with spam. Some websites permit you to step out of getting e-mails from associates, but it is not always obvious which boxes to uncheck or check.
If you do not need to offer your actual e-mail ID to each website that needs enrollment, you can always make various e-mail accounts employing free services such as Google Mail and Yahoo! Mail. For most websites, the only real reason of the e-mail ID is to verify registration, so it is okay if you never see again the e-mail account.
On the other hand, if you enroll with multiple websites and need to keep track of all of your various passwords, usernames, and e-mail addresses, do not make a Word or Excel file and save it on your device. If somebody is able to authorize that file, they would have sufficiently more data to pinch your identity.
A better method is to employ a safe, Web-supported service such as Anonymizer or ShopShield. These services generate temporary e-mail IDs automatically with unique passwords and usernames for any website you want. Whenever a new e-mail text is sent at one of these temporary IDs, it is checked for spam and viruses and then sent to your actual e-mail ID. You can also remove redundant accounts with a single click.
One more smart solution is a website dubbed as BugMeNot.com using which consumers post free passwords and usernames for shared access to well-liked websites such as video sharing and newspapers sites. If a password and username stops operating, it is removed from the list.