The internet is arguably one of the most important aspects of our lives in the 21 century with many professions depending on it. The rise of social networks in the past decade has also made the world a global village.
However, these innovations have led to a large amount of personal data available online which can be accessed by anybody. Inadvertently, the negative elements of the web have increased with cases of identity theft and cybercrime on the rise. Also, government censorship in certain countries means that the individual browsing habits of citizens are being monitored. All this has made staying anonymous online to be an important option.
Why surf anonymously?
Our approach in this article consists of giving the keys to preserving one’s anonymity on the Internet for legitimate reasons. Even if you have nothing to hide, at some point, you may need to seek and exchange information on the web discreetly without compromising your identity.
What traces do we leave on the Internet?
As soon as you connect to the internet, it is possible to know a good deal of information about your connection via your IP address. This is because it contains details like date of connection, geographical location, ISP, cookies accepted or not, screen resolution, operating system, etc.
By default settings, a web browser holds valuable information about its users such as the sites visited, page viewed and the browsing history. Search engines like Google also record, analyze and regurgitate information, thanks to the keywords entered, the links clicked, and the entire browsing history, etc.
To limit the risks, it is essential to remain vigilant regarding the data that is disclosed on the Internet. But this is not always enough and our connections can sometimes leave indelible marks. It is possible to act in different ways to minimize the traces that we leave on the Internet and navigate incognito.
Use a VPN
One way to protect your privacy on the Internet, especially when you connect to a free public Wi-Fi, in essence much less protected than a private connection, is to go through a VPN (do not hesitate to consult VPN comparison site to choose your VPN). VPNs are computer or mobile software that allows you to secure your connection by creating a secure “tunnel” between the server to which you are connected and your computer.
Another special feature of a VPN is that it can automatically encrypt your data thereby making it unreadable to hackers and other malware. Also, you will be assigned a new IP address which cannot be traced to your location.
If you wish to preserve your anonymity online, it is good to know that the sites whose addresses contain https are more secure than those with the HTTP protocol. It is advisable to only open pages on these sites as a means of ensuring security. You can also switch to a browser that is more focused on maintaining privacy online. There are tons of browsers like DuckDuckGo and Tor browser that ensure that none of your data is stored in your browser.
Furthermore, you can browse using incognito mode on popular browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox if you want to attain some level of privacy online.
Install an anti-virus
Another essential tool to protect your online activity is, of course, the anti-virus. Its main role is to prevent malicious software (such as ransomware, which blocks access to your private data) from being installed on your computer. But a good anti-virus (like Norton or Avira), will also protect you from spyware and from keyloggers who try to intercept your passwords to hack your private accounts.
The best anti-viruses will include an extension to your browser to automatically alert you when you are on suspicious pages. The most complete suites will also offer other interesting tools such as a spam filter and a good firewall.
Pay attention to the privacy settings
You can improve your privacy settings on your social networks and online devices to limit the amount of personal information that strangers can see. For example, on Facebook, it is possible to keep this data private by browsing the “Settings and Privacy tools” tab. This will ensure that only people in your circle of friends can access your photos and what you share on your wall.
Our last practical advice, which is also based on the principle of common sense, is that you should always separate public life from private life. Do not expose information about your private life in a place where such information can be retrieved, reinterpreted, and turned to your disadvantage.
Last Updated on May 16, 2020