Each day, the concern for online privacy grows. People from all walks of life are realizing the importance of securing their data and information, leading to a surge of usage in anonymous browsing.
But is it really possible to stay truly anonymous online? Ultimately, the only way to avoid being spied on is to never go online at all. And given that’s not possible for a lot of us, here’s a rundown of what you can do to at least reduce the amount of spying, chances of ID theft, and targeted ads as you browse the innards of the internet.
1. Choose the Right Browser
It’s a good idea to go back to basics and make sure you choose a browser that helps you protect your anonymity. But which browser is the best one to use in this case? Different common browsers have very different ways to deal with the privacy of users. They have different levels of safety, too. In this segment, we’ll be covering a variety of well-known browser alternatives.
a. Apple’s Safari
Apple’s Safari browser has been doing very well lately in terms of anonymity. The browser has seen the launch of new features to resist automated fingerprinting, making it much harder for other parties to track you online. It also requires Intelligent Monitoring Prevention. This will automatically remove the first-party monitoring cookies that the websites put in the Safari browser after seven days. Because of this system, websites are able to track users for a much shorter amount of time.
b. Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox is the best ‘regular’ browser for users who value their privacy. Firefox has many security options, such as phishing and malware detection. Apart from that, Firefox users will immediately get an alert if a website wants to load add-ons. When it comes to privacy, Firefox is a very safe option, also because it provides helpful plugins that defend users from all forms of surveillance and privacy violations. These add-ons are, more often than not, specific to Firefox.
Unlike most other browsers, Firefox is open source. This means that everyone can find out the code that makes up the Firefox app. Because of this straightforward way of operating, Mozilla couldn’t just create tracking functionality, even if it wanted to. Everyone would note and make a show of it, which would be terrible to Mozilla’s credibility.
If you really want to search anonymously, the Tor browser could be an interesting choice. Tor (The Onion Router) is an online network for encrypted and private communication. Tor operates in much the same way as other browsers like Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. However, unlike most browsers, Tor allows you to search completely anonymously. The Tor network is made up of thousands of servers worldwide. All data traffic that goes through it is broken down into small bits, which are then encrypted and transmitted through multiple servers until it arrives at its destination. This method is time-consuming and thus the Tor browser can be relatively sluggish. But no matter how sluggish it is, it makes sure no one will see what you’re doing online.
2. Use an Anonymous Search Engine
You can also use an anonymous search engine. DuckDuckGo is perhaps the most well-known anonymous search engine. Anonymous search engines such as DuckDuckGo are alternatives to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines that like to gather and use your data. When you use DuckDuckGo, the search terms and the links you tapped on are not traced. The websites you visit would not be able to see which search words you used. They’re still going to know that you’ve viewed their website. This registration takes place through your IP address. You can browse the Internet with more anonymity than a regular search engine through DuckDuckGo, but it can’t grant you full anonymity or privacy.
Startpage is another anonymous search engine. This is a privacy-friendly search system that derives its search results from Google but does not use monitoring. We also recommend that you try this one.
3. Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an effective way to access the internet anonymously. When you are connected to a VPN server, your connection is secure. The app guarantees that all your internet traffic is encrypted using special protocols so that the data can no longer be read by anyone.
In addition, your IP address remains secret so you automatically enter the IP address of the VPN account you are using. The IP address is the identification number of your internet connection and may disclose your location and, eventually, your identity. A VPN masks the own IP address for others; they just see the IP address of the VPN server. This way, the pages you access will not be able to see your own IP address and will not be able to recognize you.
Would you want to surf privately at school or at work? A VPN is going to help here, too. You’ll be able to remain anonymous with a VPN, whether you’re at school, at work, or only on your home network.
A lot of VPN services don’t record your activity while you’re using their services. This is the commodity you are promised: anonymous surfing. These services give their customers guaranteed anonymity for their safe and secure VPN connections.
4. Use a Proxy Server
The use of a proxy server also offers any online anonymity. When using a proxy, you send a request for information to the proxy server, which then delivers it to the appropriate website. The website would only be able to access the IP address of the proxy server and not your own.
A proxy does not have the same standard of encryption as a VPN does. Even if the pages you access would not be able to explicitly see who you are, your IP address and online traffic are also much easier to unravel than will be the case by using a VPN. The only thing that stops them from learning your name is the IP of the proxy. This is because proxies do not protect or encrypt your connection.
Proxy servers are also used as smaller, open VPN alternatives. They might suit your needs but bear in mind that they don’t have the same security requirements as a VPN. Even so, a proxy server may be sufficient if your only goal is to circumvent certain geographical restrictions on the Internet.
5. Beware of Big Tech Companies and Big Data
Facebook is known to share personal information about its users with advertisers. That’s why women tend to get menstrual care advertisements on their Facebook feed while men don’t. But Facebook takes this activity a lot further: they also watch what you do when you’re not on their platform. If you’ve been browsing for auto insurance online, you’re likely to see a related ad on your Facebook feed.
Facebook allows you to adjust this slightly in your account’s privacy settings. In addition, they will continue to collect information about you. It’s not easy to turn off their monitoring from their own providers. You can only slightly tweak what’s going on in your news feed.
Google also allows you to turn off ad customization. This doesn’t mean that all ads will vanish, nor will Google stop monitoring the data flow. As a rule, you can assume that these big corporations built on advertising sales will not stop monitoring us until, for example, we make it difficult with a VPN.
There are some precautions you can take to help protect your privacy and security online. Do you want to search the internet anonymously? These are the tips that we would like to give you:
- Use Mozilla Firefox or Tor
- Use an anonymous search engine, such as DuckDuckGo.
- Install a VPN
- Use a proxy server as a substitute to a VPN server.
- Modify your privacy settings on social media sites.
If you combine these tips, your online privacy is much better protected now. You’ll be free to search the internet far more anonymously.