10 Tips That Help You to Stay Anonymous Online: You don’t have to be a James Bond secret-agent type of thing or a black hat hacker; we’ve all definitely done things online where the advantage of online anonymity would have been an exceptional value to us. We have lots of good reasons to care about our online privacy and security; considering how much personal data we’re giving away at a mere click of a mouse.
Of course, it’s next to impossible to remain absolutely anonymous on the Internet. However, there are easy ways any regular Internet user could easily include into his/her surfing practices to reduce our exposure online.
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Here are some easy tips that helps you stay anonymous online:
1) PGP (PRETTY GOOD PRIVACY)
PGP, or Pretty Good Privacy, is a leading encryption software employed for data encryption by encrypting personal files. OpenPGP is utilized for authentication of data communication and transferring encrypted communication by way of generating digital signatures.
The encryption technology itself can get much in-depth, something we would not get into at this time. However, how PGP works is primarily with two keys; one public and one private key to respectively encrypt and decrypt a secure message using the system.
2) ENCRYPTED EMAIL
While PGP keys can be employed to scramble and unscramble encrypted messages sent via webmail, there are easier options for those looking for more privacy-centric webmail services.
Because standard webmail services such as Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, and Yahoo aren’t the most privacy-conscious, your emails and sensitive data are still susceptible to snooping. More uncomplicated ways of sending encrypted emails would be to subscribe to an encrypted email service.
One of the famous ones would be ProtonMail, which encrypts your emails automatically with end-to-end encryption. No personal data is required to create an anonymous account, and the service does not keep IP logs that can be traced to you.
A couple of other cases would be Hushmail, which also uses OpenPGP with on-demand encryption; and Tutanota, which also gives free end-to-end encryption. Alternatively, you could also use a disposable email service such as Guerrilla Mail; which enables you to set up random email addresses for temporary use without registration. This way, your original email can remain private.
3) EMAIL EXTENSIONS
If you are not very interested in parting with your time-honored email addresses, there is also a choice to install extensions. Popular email extension tools employed to secure your regular Gmail or Outlook include SecureGmail, which encrypts and decrypts emails you send via Gmail. Another related extension is Mailvelope, a browser extension for Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox that gives OpenPGP encryption for your webmail service.
4) BROWSER EXTENSIONS
There are few extensions for the web, which will help with your level of anonymity on the Internet.
One prevalent extension is HTTPS Everywhere. A free and open-source browser extension for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera; it was developed collaboratively by The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. What it does is that it automatically forces websites you visit to use HTTPS over HTTP (which are unencrypted and less secure).
It’s also a good idea to install a browser extension which can block and manage site trackers. Little invisible trackers on websites are how businesses are tracking your every move on the Internet and collecting your browsing practices. Some popular ones would be Privacy Badger and Ghostery. Both are free to install and benefits in keeping those annoying website cookie trackers at bay!
5) ALTERNATIVE SEARCH ENGINES
Opposite to a popular belief, there really are other search engines out there other than Google. But famous search engines like Google are in fact, tracking your past search history to link your search practices to your IP. By doing so, they can understand your patterns more. Your searches can expose shocking amounts of personal data such as your interests, family circumstances, medical conditions, and more.
If you’re looking for move privacy-oriented search engines to stay anonymous online; why not give alternative search engines which don’t track your searches ago? DuckDuckGo and StartPage both claim to be private search engines which keep your search history private.
6) PASSWORD MANAGER
Are you guilty of using the same password across all your accounts? What is more, is that password something easily linked to your pet’s name or birth date? Once your password is cracked; you can surely say goodbye to your anonymity. As long as one website with your email and password is hacked, it can be linked to every other site with that same combination.
A good alternative to stay anonymous online would be to employ a password manager like LastPass. Instead of remembering a lot of different passwords, use a password manager with one master password. It helps you create a strong password such as “niubOb*klyWym3” which is next to impossible to crack.
7) DROP DROPBOX
In Edward Snowden’s words, Dropbox is “very hostile to privacy.” Storage devices such as Google Drive and Dropbox don’t promise much in privacy. And they’re especially risky since you are sharing large amounts of files through this system.
The Onion Router aka TOR is an anonymizing network of various proxies to bounce your data traffic between many encrypted relays before reaching the destination.
Once developed with the U.S. Navy in mind to preserve government communications; it is basically a “network of virtual tunnels. It enables people and groups to enhance their privacy and security on the Internet.”
The relays are a distributed network of volunteers all around the world. They prevent someone from watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it inhibits the websites you visit from learning your physical location.
Naturally, our ideal and one of the most useful ways of staying anonymous online would be to employ a Virtual Private Network (VPN) such as NordVPN. A VPN network will channel your regular Internet traffic through a secure tunnel to encrypt all your online data.
This way, all your data will be routed via different server; giving you a spoofed IP; which will keep your actual IP to mask your original location in the world.
10) LIVE IN A CAVE
Wish to be 100% sure you aren’t leaving behind any digital footprints? Throw away all your technological devices and live in a cave!
Jokes apart; in the digital age, your data is worth so much more than you think. On the Internet, all your shopping behaviors, browsing habits, and data that you are giving away mindlessly are a gold mine for businesses who make a living off this data of yours.
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Wrapping Up – 10 Tips That Help You to Stay Anonymous Online
When anonymity on the Internet is starting to feel like some extravagant companies are withholding from you, it’s time you made it into your given right. Let’s know your thoughts in the comments below.