How to Ensure Your Anonymity Online
For the average Joe, there’s really no such thing as complete anonymity online. Most people prefer to enjoy the convenience of the internet, rather than focus on protecting their privacy. This allows companies to track our online behavior. It means we get personalized content while the businesses take advantage of the information that we give them.
However after all the huge data breaches last year, more and more people are trying to improve their cybersecurity and ensure their anonymity.
Luckily there are ways to increase users’ online privacy. From the Tor browser to VPN servers, and more, let’s check out some of the best methods for ensuring your anonymity online.
Most internet browsers collect bits and pieces of information about their users. It enables them to easily identify each person, which is why people should turn to anonymizing browsers if they’re concerned about their privacy.
This isn’t the same as using the private browsing feature available on most popular browsers. Private browsing, such as Chrome’s Incognito Mode, or Safari’s Private Browsing Mode, isn’t as private as their names might suggest. They do delete cookies and history from the user’s device. But firewalls, DNS cache, proxy servers etc. could still have a record of the user’s browsing history.
Anonymizing browsers, such as Tor, do help to conceal the user’s identity online. They bounce the web traffic through the network, making it next to impossible to track what the user’s actually doing online.
Use Proxy Servers
Proxy servers are, in short, gateways between the users and the internet. They work by directing the internet traffic through the proxy server and to the requested address.
Proxy servers act as intermediaries between the user’s computer and the webpages they’re visiting. Therefore, the webpages can only see the information about the proxy server and not about the user. This is how they ensure anonymity online.
Proxies can hide or change a device’s IP address. It means that the user’s activity cannot be tracked and that the device cannot be pinpointed to its specific physical location.
Another benefit of proxies is that they can be used for controlling the internet usage. Any malicious sites can be blocked, helping users avoid potential threats.
Rely on VPN
Most users get confused when comparing proxy servers and VPN servers. Both of these serve to conceal the identity of the user but they operate in different ways.
A VPN doesn’t only route all internet traffic through remote servers. It also hides and encrypts the connection to the public network.
With a reliable VPN, the user’s online behavior is not only concealed from the internet provider, but it’s hidden from the VPN provider itself.
There are countless free VPN apps out there. However, it’s better to opt for a reliable paid service (example). Free VPN might be putting the users at an even bigger risk than not using a VPN at all. Only 28% of free VPN providers don’t have third-party trackers. And most of them can compromise not only the user’s privacy but security as well.
Ensure Safe Surfing
One of the first things that you should do to ensure safer surfing is preventing your browser from storing too much information.
Browsers store the user’s search history, downloaded files, cookie files and can remember passwords among other things. If users want to prevent sites from figuring out their browsing habits, they should remember to delete all that information.
Browsers that remember passwords can be a cybersecurity threat, as anyone who gets access to the device can use these passwords. It’s usually best to never allow a browser to save any passwords and to always use unique passwords that are impossible to guess.
Privacy and anonymity online are a growing concern and there’s no single solution that can help ensure both. For anyone to stay anonymous online, they have to follow a variety of different practices and make a conscious effort to eliminate their digital footprint every single time they go online.
VPN servers, Tor browser, proxy servers and general safe surfing habits are the best ways to improve both privacy and security, and it’s advisable for everyone to use them.