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How to Browse the Web Completely Anonymously

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Data is gathered on you every time you visit a website. This extends to your physical location, information about the device you’re using and more. What’s more, advertising cookies can track your browsing habits. These are just some of the reasons you may wish to browse the web anonymously…

Under the 5-Eyes, 9-Eyes and 14-Eyes Agreements, certain governments are allowed to monitor your online behavior and share this information with their allies. Which is frightening when you think about it. 

Moreover, anybody on the same network as you can spy on your online activities. For instance, when you’re skipping your work responsibilities and scrolling through social media posts instead, your boss may be monitoring you. Similarly, if you access a public wi-fi hotspot, malicious individuals could be watching. That’s no good if you decide to check your online banking app or private emails.

So, here’s how you can avoid these situations and maximize your online privacy:

1. Only Access Secure Websites

Sites you visit, particularly those with which you share sensitive information need be secured via an encrypted HTTPS connection. Google Chrome now labels any sites without this, i.e. HTTP sites, as “Not secure” – look out for the label.

Never input any information you wouldn’t want to get into the hands of strangers into an unsecured website. This means private information such as your login details, financial information, such as credit card numbers and so on.

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2. Use Multiple Pseudonyms

Every time you register with a site, app or service, you provide information others could use to identify you. Let’s say for instance, that you have the same username on a dating app as your Instagram profile. Anybody on the dating app could gain even more personal information about you by tracing you through your Insta. This is how identity thieves and other criminals start building up a profile about you.

You might not want to share your email address with any random website. At the very least, they could start spamming your inbox with junk. In worse cases, you may receive phishing emails or links that can infect your devices with malware. So, it’s a good idea to generate several different pseudonym email accounts and usernames for sites that you do not trust.

3. Edit Your Browser Settings

Each of the top browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, and Chrome, has privacy settings that you can tinker with to achieve greater levels of anonymity. Here are a few examples of what you should do within Chrome:

  • Turn off syncing between your devices.
  • Do not allow websites to check if you have saved payment methods.
  • Make sure sites ask for permission before accessing your location, camera, etc.

It seems crazy, but there are settings which reduce the amount of privacy that you have automatically switched on or off. So, you definitely need to go into these settings and check that they are working in your favor.

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4. Use a Web Proxy Server

If you aren’t tech-savvy, then you may be wondering what the simplest option for anonymous browsing is. A web proxy server, such as Hide My Ass! may be the answer.

All you need to do is go to the proxy site and enter the URL you wish to visit. It gives you the option to connect through a random server and thereby hide your IP address.

Though proxies may be one of the simplest ways to gain anonymity, they may not be the best. For instance, data speeds are notoriously bad and some proxies show you their own advertising content.5. Get a VPN

Companies aggregate search results to create an advertising profile. If your IP address changes each time you search the web, then it’s impossible for them to collect data on your search habits.

The way a VPN works is that it encrypts and routes your traffic through different servers in different countries, thus hiding your IP address. However, some VPNs collect data on their users. So, to ensure complete anonymity, you need a decent no-log VPN provider.

This will have the added bonus of preventing hackers and government entities surveilling your online behavior.

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6. Install Tor

You might associate a browser like Tor with dark activities. But this isn’t necessarily the case. All manner of people needs the privacy that it offers. Journalists, for example, might use it to keep their sources anonymous.

Tor is a powerful tool, similar to other web browsers such as Chrome or Microsoft Edge. The difference is that it connects you to the Internet via a random network of servers, thus keeping your identity and location private.

Tor is a free, open-source piece of software which you can download at the Tor Project.

All in all, the method you use to browse the web privately depends on your preferences and purposes. It makes sense to try one or o of these methods to see which works best for you. In fact, many of the above tools work well together to ensure the utmost levels of privacy.tw

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