Internet anonymity is hard to come by, but not impossible. Much of what you read, buy, bookmark or share online is tracked. Hackers are always looking for ways of accessing your personal information, while big data firms want to sell your online data. Also, many people believe that the government may be eavesdropping on their online activities. Therefore, it is important to take steps to ensure that your online activities remain completely anonymous.
1. VPN Connection
Your standard Internet connection may expose your identity, location, and browsing behavior. Hackers and data mining companies may use tracking cookies to collect your personal information. A VPN connection does not store data in tracking cookies and helps to keep users’ online activities private or anonymous. The connection is like a tunnel that links your Internet connection directly with a VPN provider. The provider then encrypts all the information stored or transmitted through the network. VPN connections also enable Internet users to access content that may otherwise not be accessible in their locations.
VPN connections help users to hide their IP addresses. There are many VPN service providers available on the market. However, it is important to consider various factors before choosing a VPN service. First, find out the actual location of the VPN service provider. Secondly, check if the software used by the VPN service provider is compatible with your computer or network software. Avoid using VPN services that retain activity logs, which are vulnerable to privacy infringements. Consider signing up for VPN services that you can also use on your portable devices including laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
2. Operating System
Your computer operating system may be the first loophole that may compromise your privacy. The settings of your operating systems can allow it to automatically send your usage data and statistics to developers making it prone to viruses and malware. Consider using operating systems that do not have such features and are not easy to compromise. However, it is important to know that such operating systems may not be user-friendly and may require knowledge of using program commands.
3. Tor Connection
Tor connections are considered some of the best ways to remain completely anonymous online. The data that travels through a Tor connection goes through various servers making it difficult to track. Although Tor comes with its own configured browser, you can use it with a VPN to make your connection completely anonymous. The more people volunteer to act as servers for the Tor connection, the more efficient and faster the Tor will be because of the bigger bandwidth. Despite being one of the most effective ways to protect your anonymity, it is advisable to use a Tor connection with caution because of the risk of incriminating yourself in case sensitive data passes through your computer acting as a server.
Tor connections are often slow because many people are not comfortable letting their computers be used as servers for the network. Tor connections can also act as gateways to the deep web, which is a hub of criminal activities. Also, people from countries that lack laws on Internet privacy and data sharing may use Tor connections to infringe on users’ privacy.
4. Switching Your Browser
Your browser may be exposing your data to theft or misuse. Therefore, consider switching to a browser that offers advanced privacy features. Avoid using browsers that are owned by major companies and search engines because they often collect users’ information and data. Consider using browsers that allow you to control the number of cookies accessing your site and the information that can be collected by software developers. Many websites load content from a wide range of servers, which is almost like going to the store, buying food in unlabeled containers, and hoping for the best. The browser you use and the data it collects creates a digital thumbprint that identifies you.
5. Use Anonymous Connections
It is important to use anonymous connections even when you are on VPN connections. This will help to further enhance your online privacy. Consider using Internet-enabled devices designed to enhance online anonymity. Such devices enable you to access the internet from any part of the world without exposing your IP address or location. They work by fracturing your online traffic through a reverse GSM bridge that ends up dropping back onto the internet and leaving through a different wireless network.