You don’t have to be part of an elite hacking group to be anonymous online. Being anonymous means protecting your personal information and hiding your identity.
With the right tips and tricks, it’s surprisingly easy to stay anonymous online. Whether you’re committing illegal acts or just don’t want people peeking in on your browsing habits, we can show you exactly how to remain anonymous online at all times.
Check how much info websites know about you with this simple test
Visit this website to see how much data websites know about you without ever telling them a thing: http://www.stayinvisible.com/
Scary, right? In just seconds, websites can determine where you’re from, which language you speak, and which difficult-to-remove cookies to install on your browser. They can also tell your IP address, your Internet Service Provider, and the city in which you live. Other information includes the programs and plugins you have installed on your PC.
If that creeps you out, then keep reading. We’ll show you how to hide this information online.
Get a good firewall
Your wireless router should come with a firewall. This firewall is generally the first layer of defense between you and the dangers of the internet. It’s always a good idea to have a wireless router instead of connecting directly to your modem: hackers are constantly sending out queries to random IP addresses in the hopes of finding one unprotected PC user connected to a modem out there.
If you’ve already got a good router (it doesn’t matter if it’s wireless or wired, as long as it has a firewall), then the next step is to get good firewall software. If you have Windows 7 or Windows 8, then you already have a decent firewall called Windows Firewall. To make sure the Firewall is activated, type Firewall into the Windows Start menu search bar and change the settings accordingly.
Windows Firewall isn’t the best or most secure firewall, but it provides ample protection for the average PC user. If you don’t trust it, you can always buy other software firewalls from PC security software companies like Norton or Kaspersky, both of which also make antivirus software.
Browse in incognito mode
If you’re a Chrome user and you don’t know about Incognito Mode, then you’re missing out!
Incognito Mode means cookies, cache, downloaded files, passwords, and other personal information is not saved during a browsing session. It’s just one Shift+Ctrl+N away!
Firefox also has its own Incognito Mode. It’s called Private Browsing and can be accessed using Ctrl+Shift+P. Internet Explorer has the same shortcut and calls it InPrivateBrowsing.
Incognito Mode doesn’t completely protect your computer from spying or viruses, but it’s one small step that can lead to better overall system security.
Use DuckDuckGo to search
Google is the largest advertising company in the world. They sell your private information to advertisers and deliver hyper-targeted advertisements to you. You probably already knew that, and if not, then you’re probably pretty freaked out right now.
If you’re freaked out about Google using your information to deliver advertisements it thinks you would like, then you can switch to alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo. Founded in 2008, DuckDuckgo has the same clean white interface as Google but doesn’t save your information or use it to deliver better advertisements.
Check out Duck Duck Go here: https://duckduckgo.com/
Clear your data regularly
CCleaner is one of the best software programs for wiping your computer clean of personal information. With CCleaner, you can remove sensitive data, including browser history, cookies, cache info, and more. It’s free and easy to use. I recommend scanning your system on a monthly basis. Even if you don’t care about the privacy benefits, CCleaner frees up a lot of valuable space on your hard drive.
It doesn’t technically permanently delete info from your system, but it does make it very hard to access. Remember: the only way to make your info completely inaccessible is to physically destroy the hard drive on which that information is stored.
Use proxies, VPNs, and Tor
All of the above methods are easy for average PC users to access. They won’t 100% safeguard the information on your computer or even come close to 100%, but they do provide some level of protection.
If you really want to hide your browsing activities from the NSA and other nefarious forces, then you’ll need to venture into the world of proxies, VPNs, and the Tor browsers.
Connecting to a proxy is easy and there is plenty of proxy software out there. Proxies let you connect to the internet through another source, which effectively masks your location and browsing information – but only if it’s an anonymous proxy.
Finding a good, clean, fast proxy is virtually impossible unless you’re willing to pay for it.
That’s why I recommend Tor, which is an anonymous browser plugin which protects your information online and prevents sites from learning personal information about you unless you specifically input it yourself.
You can download the Tor browser and learn more about it here: https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
It’s easy to download and configure Tor and, best of all, it works in conjunction with your existing browser. Nice!
Obviously, there are more expensive and complicated ways to protect your browser information online, but the methods listed above are a good way for average and intermediate PC users (no offense!) to protect themselves online.