In contemporary society, everything we do finds strong roots on the internet. Online banking, social media, online work, communication, and research are some of the fields where we apply the net on a daily basis. We used to occasionally ‘go online’ in the past, but today we ‘live online’, because it is almost impossible for us to run our daily chores without using the internet.

Some people don’t want anyone to track their online activities for various reasons. These reasons usually narrow down to the protection of someone, or something. Many personal details are available from your browsing history, and you might be surprised how easy it is for someone who really wants your personal details to retrieve them.

You probably share your computer at home or work with other people, and don’t want the things you recently browsed looked at during your partner’s browsing session. You can download plug-ins that delete your tracks or turn the browser incognito, but this will still not cover you adequately.

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Your computer has a signature address on the internet, and that is the IP address. There are two major reasons why someone may hide their IP address:

  • The IP address is an entry point for hackers who want to attack you.

  • Your IP address makes it easy for someone to track and find you.

A proxy server will retrieve web pages on your behalf so what the remote server sees is the proxy server's address, not yours. In this way, your browsing information such as the IP address is not accessible. The downside is that the proxy server probably makes a record of your data. Worse still, a malicious server might decide to mine the data in your computer. To be safe, make sure the proxy server you choose has a comprehensive privacy policy and high user ratings.

Someone using hacker tools (sniffers) could get your cookies, determine your computer's specifics, IP address and browser cache contents. They could use this to access your files on the hard drive, retrieving sensitive data such as bank details and passwords. Unless you have an anonymous and secure email provider, sniffers can retrieve your personal details from them.

You may also want to hide your identity from the websites you land on while searching for products. This will help you avoid annoying telemarketing calls when you are in the middle of important business. The site might also sell your contacts to other online marketers, who begin sending you spam emails.

The internet brings with it a myriad of disadvantages, ranging from moral decadence, youth radicalization, fraud, bullying, identity theft and hacking. Blocking sites is like a hobby to various organizations, especially governments. This is censorship, and most of us go through it every day, but in different forms.

For instance, most offices block social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and video sharing sites such as YouTube. Other sites are only accessible from specific countries, including Pandora, Netflix, Hulu, and Kodi. In other countries, especially those with military or dictatorial rule, leaders block certain sites just because they don't like them.

You don’t want your boss to find out that you are searching for jobs online, or the government to track you for browsing banned sites. At home, you may want to avoid unnecessary emails spamming your inbox when you surf to compare the kind of electronics you want to purchase. Hiding your identity (read email) in this case helps you protect your privacy.

It is possible to visit such sites using certain tools and workarounds, but your company, school or ISP might still record such activities against your identity. Web proxies might help you skip censorship, but you don’t know where most of them come from, or if you can trust them to guarantee your privacy.

This brings us to the big question. Is it possible to conceal your Internet Protocol (IP) address so that hackers and authorities can’t recognize you, and still surf safely? The answer is yes, and a VPN is your solution, helping you to surf past internet censorship securely.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) makes it possible to cover your address from the government, cyber criminals, and hackers. You overcome blocks and censorship to websites such as KickassTorrents, NSFW sites, ExtraTorrents and The Pirate Bay. If you choose the right service, a VPN will be your best partner in browsing anonymously.

For instance, LiquidVPN provides you with absolute surfing privacy. This service possesses a number of special features, including:

  • Liquid Lock: This helps hide your identity, even if the VPN connection collapses

  • Data Leak Protection/Automatic DNS: This helps stop unwanted apps in their tracks if they attempt exposing your personal details

  • IPv6 Control: You need to disable IPv6 once you establish a LiquidVPN connection

  • Session Traffic Statistics: Via real-time HUD, this establishes P2P VPN link transfer speed

  • Custom Connections: This feature requires a few clicks from you to establish a connection with all LiquidVPN topologies

  • Built-In Firewall: VPN firewall blocks certain things, including WebRTC vulnerability.

A good application of a VPN would be for those living outside the U.S, but still want to browse Kodi. The same applies in cases where one is in a limited or censored network. The features offered by LiquidVPN are incomparable, allowing you to swing across various IP addresses continuously, without disconnecting and reconnecting. The TOS provided under LiquidVPN ensures maintained connection security without initial logging.

You should deny browsers your location data, in instances where it is not very important or mandatory. Most of them have inbuilt location data collection features, meant to improve your surfing experiences by providing you with nearby search results. Sites or advertisers may use that information to market the products in your area.

The browser you use will usually ask for your approval when a site tries to access your location, but it is possible to completely disable location access, even within that browser. Here’s how to achieve this with different browsers:

  • Chrome: Go to Preferences - Settings - Advanced - Content Settings. Select your preference between the browser asking permission anytime a site requires physical location access, or block all sites from accessing this.

  • Safari: Go to Preferences - Privacy. You may choose to allow each website request for location information, or disable all location services.

  • Firefox: Go to the URL bar and key in “about:config”, followed by “geo.enabled”. Firefox will always seek approval before allowing any site to see your location, but to change this you need to double-click in order to completely disable location services.

  • Microsoft Edge: You will not achieve anything using the browser itself. You have to turn location tracking off in the privacy settings of your computer. The settings allow you to select applications you want to allow access to your accurate location, where you can switch Microsoft Edge off.

Anonymous surfing simply establishes a barrier between you and websites, making it possible for you to gather information while making it impossible for anyone to track you down. This is achievable in two ways; browsing using a VPN or a proxy server.

Did you find information in this post useful? Do you have any questions? Please give us your feedback in the comments section below.

Postado 18 novembro, 2017

LucyKarinsky

Software Developer

Lucy is the Development & Programming Correspondent for Freelancer.com. She is currently based in Sydney.

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