Staying Anonymous Online: Screw You CMS, PRISM

With the Indian government planning to monitor internet activities, staying private on the Internet is tough. But its not impossible. Here are a few things I’d recommend if you are looking to stay private online.

Guy FauxWith the Indian government planning to monitor internet activities, and the American government mining for your data, staying private on the Internet is tough. But its not impossible. Here are a few things I’d recommend if you are looking to stay private online.

The basic funda to understand is that most online activity is tracked using your computer’s internet protocol address. The number is unique to each device connecting to the Internet. Every computer, will also have uniquely identifiable traces.

For example, a combination of the browser, location, version of operating system and other details can be used to isolate a machine connected to the internet.

Now, lets take a look at some practical ways to deal with the spies that rule us.

  1. Masking your identity: Use a proxy server. The proxy server routes your connection through a different server thereby making it difficult to track your IP address. Most browsers also have proxy extension like ProxMate for Chrome, you can search the respective app stores and find them. You can google and find a lot of different sites that provide this service.

  1. Browsing without a trace: Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a private network that uses a public network (usually the Internet) to connect remote sites or users together. By using a VPN your IP address remains untraceable, as you will be accessing the internet through the VPN. Tunnelbear is a nice VPN service which comes for free.

  1. Private Browsing. Using the private browsing modes like ‘Incognito browser’ in Chrome or ‘Private mode’ in Firefox. This method will help protect your private information and block websites from tracking your online behavior. The pages you visit in this mode are not usually recorded in your search history or cache, thereby preventing other users using the system to scan through your browsing history.

  • Chrome and Opera: Ctrl+Shift+N
  • Firefox, Internet Explorer: Ctrl+Shift+P
  • For Safari, go to Safari > Private Browsing.
  1. Communicate Anonymously. When you access your web-based email client use HTTPS, by adding an ‘S’ after the ‘http’ in the web address. Using HTTPS (HTTP-Secure) will add cryptographic protocols SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) encryption to all of your communications. You could also use email clients that help you encrypt your e-mail.

  1. Keeping emails anon: Use disposable e-mails. These services work by creating a temporary forwarding address that can be deleted later. All mails to this address will be forwarded to your real email address for a specified limit. When the limit is reached, the email address will be automatically deleted. All following mails rejected by the service. Mailinator is one such service you can try.

  1. Searching in Private: To search for information privately, use search private search engines that keep your searches private unlike Google and other popular search engines. Try search engines like ixquick, Startpage, DuckDuckGo or goodsearch that don’t store your private data like IP address or cookies to begin with, thereby keeping your search private.

  1. Keeping secure passwords: Try using passwords that are strong and not your name or date of birth. Passwords are the key to your online access. The more secure they are the more safe you are. Here are 3 password tips.

  • Keep them Alphanumeric.

  • Avoid dictionary words.

  • Use special characters.

Using any great tools for privacy? Leave a comment.

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