Surfing the web can be a dangerous proposition if your personal information is compromised. Hackers and identity thieves are constantly looking for new ways to steal your data, so it’s important to take steps to protect yourself. Here are seven ways to stay anonymous while surfing the web.
Use a VPN
Using a virtual private network (VPN) is one of the best ways to keep your data secure and anonymous. All data sent through a VPN server is encrypted, so even if you were monitored by a third party, they would simply see gibberish. Websites can’t identify or track you either because all your connection information is concealed. Not only that, but the VPN server acts as a middleman, so your IP address is hidden. One VPN provider also offers a next-generation firewall Fortinet for your other digital security needs.
Surf online with Tor
If you don’t have access to a VPN but still want encrypted web browsing, then consider using Tor. This free browser is open source and allows users to browse anonymously through onion routing, which reroutes signals through multiple nodes to conceal users’ locations and usage. The downside is that it can be very slow, and you never know who’s running the exit node – so always use HTTPS when available to encrypt your data.
Use Firefox with add-ons
You can also secure your browsing by making a few tweaks to your browser of choice. The add-on HTTPS Everywhere ensures you always use a secure connection when available by rewriting requests to go through SSL encryption. For example, if you were going to http://www.some-bank.com/, then it would be rewritten as https://www.some-bank.com/.
Another great add-on that will encrypt your data is NoScript, which blocks all scripts on the webpage unless you select to trust that site. This will keep your browser from leaking information like your IP address and location.
The add-on Disconnect also helps prevent data leaks while surfing the web by blocking invisible trackers that are trying to harvest data about you.
Avoid unsecured WiFi networks
Never visit secure websites or enter any sensitive information on an unsecured network, as these are prime targets for hackers. Look for the green text or key symbol in your browser to ensure you’re surfing over a secure connection that is encrypted with HTTPS.
Don’t use search engines
Search engines track your searches and then advertise them to other companies. To avoid this, try using alternate search engines like StartPage or DuckDuckGo that don’t track you.
Don’t sign in to any accounts
Never access an account from a public computer as it can be compromised and used to spy on your activities. If you need to sign in to an account at a public terminal, then immediately sign out. The same goes for public WiFi networks, as you can be vulnerable to eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks through unsecured connections.
Turn off geolocation features on your phone and laptop
There are many geolocation apps that pinpoint your location even when you’re not using the device. These should be turned off or disabled if you want to keep your location private.
Be careful what you post online
Know that anything you post online can be used against you. For example, if you’re on Facebook and think no one cares about what you’re doing, then think again. That post or photo that seemed harmless at the time might come back to haunt you down the line. Information that is supposed to be private could find its way into the wrong hands.
You should also consider that the government is watching too – so don’t think they’re not interested in your posts, either. While joining a social media site to chat with friends, the government views these sites as viable sources for surveillance.
Protect your online data
Use strong passwords that are difficult for others to guess. To help remember them, consider using short phrases with punctuation marks or numbers.
The other option is to use password management software like LastPass. LastPass creates and remembers strong passwords, allowing you to remember one master password.
Additionally, set up two-factor authentication on your accounts, as this will require a code from your phone to log into the account. This is an excellent option for keeping your accounts safe, but it can be time-consuming especially if you have multiple accounts that use 2FA.
Lastly, consider using full-disk encryption software like TrueCrypt to encrypt all your data so that no one without the password can access it.
Remember, your data is only secure as long as you are protecting yourself from hackers and other threats on the web. By implementing one of these strategies, you will be well on your way to protecting yourself.
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