Concerned about your online privacy? Are you doing everything possible to maintain your online anonymity or are you simply relying on pure luck? Tweaking a few of your browsing behaviors and adjusting the default setting will prevent marketers, social networks, search engines, hackers and governments from collecting information about your online activity.
A virtual private network (VPN) is a physical server that is controlled by the VPN service provider. This server acts as the “middleman” between your computer and the global network.
The VPN server encrypts all of the data transferred between your computer and the global network. This encryption prevents third parties from getting access to information about your web traffic.
VPN encryption becomes essential when you use open wi-fi networks. Such networks are inherently unsafe and you need to be extra-careful about using your laptop in a café, at the airport or a hotel. These services eliminates such worries and enables you to use all kinds of networks safely and anonymously.
Many web proxies are free and completely anonymous. Anonymouse is just one example of such an online privacy possibility.
The web proxy acts as an intermediary between your computer and the global network, much like the VPN does. Its main aim is to keep your IP address hidden. The web proxy service provider, however, is aware of your IP address information, which may decrease the attractiveness of the service.
Reading reviews and choosing the right web proxies is the key to maintaining anonymity. Some web proxy services are set up by hackers and designed specifically for the collection of personal data. Do your research before opting for one possibility or another.
Encrypted Chat Services
Encrypted chat services encrypt your communication with others, as well as all file transfers. Cryptocat is one example of such a service.
Many chat encryption services are offered as browser extension and they encrypt all chat communication on the client’s side. Most often, encrypted chat software will use off-the-record (OTR) messaging protocol. The protocol enables two users to communicate with each other while the communication is being encrypted.
Advanced encrypted chat services guarantee the privacy of group chats, voice and video conversations. Some of these possibilities can be used alongside popular chat options like Facebook chat. They will encrypt the social media communication, guaranteeing a level of anonymity that is originally unavailable.
Tor is a free open network that was initially designed to guarantee the privacy and classification of governmental communication. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a privacy advocacy organization, recommends the use of Tor to make online activities anonymous and more secure.
The traffic is routed through a series of servers before the data reaches its final destination. These servers are operated and maintained by Tor volunteers across the world. The technology used delivers wonderful results in terms of keeping your IP address hidden.
There’s one main disadvantage connected to using Tor – since the data passes through numerous servers, browsing could become quite slow.
Private Social Networks
Private social networks have established themselves as a wonderful alternative to traditional social media like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
Websites like Ello don’t feature advertising, which means that the member information is not shared with third parties. Facebook became notorious for its attempts to deliver targeted advertising by sharing personal data of its members with companies. Private social networks enable individuals to enjoy the “community” experience without threatening their online privacy.
Closed social networks can be used for personal communication or business interactions (much like Linkedin). It’s also possible to establish your own closed social network and add members on a per-invitation basis.
One of the simplest possibilities for boosting your online anonymity involves adjusting the default settings of the browser that you use.
Many browsers, including popular options like Google Chrome and Firefox, have an incognito browsing possibility. Using your browser in incognito mode doesn’t store information about your activities and the websites that you visited.
Finally, get in the habit of deleting your browsing history on a regular basis. If you want to, you can prevent the browser from storing any history whatsoever.
Changing your online behavior is one of the most important factors for keeping your personal data safe. Many privacy solutions are free or quite inexpensive, as long as you’re willing to make the transition and substitute convenience for a higher level of security.