Tracking activities, surveillance practices by most governments and ever-growing powerful cyber attacks such as WannaCry, NotPetya Ransomware, Equifax breach, and others, have created a need for tools that could evade such risks and provide you private and anonymous browsing.
There are many tools out there for anonymous browsing; however, the most significant concern is; do they all work? Are all of these safe and worth considering?
Various vulnerable factors present online are unknown by many internet users. Therefore, before considering a security tool that keeps you secure from online tracking, you must know the ways through which your data is at risk.
Techniques Used To Track Users While Browsing
There are various methods used by ISPs, governments, data snoopers and even websites to track your browsing details. But, the most common ones to which almost every individual is prone are discussed below.
IP address of a device is always exposed until it’s not secured by any tool such as VPN or other. Through this, anybody could extract information from your location, web pages that you visit and other such browsing data.
IP is the identity of internet users given to them by their internet provider. These set of numbers are different for every individual. Therefore, the person visiting a particular site could easily be tracked by the ISP.
Website Online Accounts
When you logged into the sites like Google or Facebook than the companies on that sites could track you. Also, the like button or features such as Google analytics could be a tracking source for those companies and are the hurdle for anonymous browsing.
User’s Online Fingerprints
Online fingerprints are the information about the user while requesting a site which is sent to the web server. It reports about the website you visit, the browser from which you are accessing the site, your operating system, and even your resolution. Although your information does not necessarily differ from the others, however, it could be used to track you.
Every website you visit has cookies which store your website activity including the information about your preferences. This often is helpful while browsing but it is also used to track you for targeted advertising and takes up all your data which is a dominant technique to vanish anonymous browsing.
Some of the websites to inform users about their tracking cookies, however, many keep it a secret.
4 Efficient Tools For Anonymous Browsing
As told before, every tool has a different target solution which in other aspects lacks efficiency. Nevertheless, an internet user could select these anonymous browsing tools according to their need and for that; they need to have a precise knowledge about it. Here are some techniques that anonymity seekers use for private browsing.
Private browsing is when a user opens a new separate window from his connected browser. Every browser has a different name for private browsing such as Incognito mode on Chrome or In private for Internet Explorer. These all work in the same way that is, they stop tracking the websites you visit and do not add them to the browser history.
When you are on anonymous browsing, your accounts that are logged in from the other browser windows will not be connected on that. Therefore, a private browser doesn’t track you on the sites you visit, and your cookies are not visible while browsing.
However, some of the most secure browsers could be a better solution for private browsing as they are equipped with many added features as compared to a private mode of your regular browser.
Stop Website Tracking
Most of the users turn on the option of ‘do not track’ from the browser’s setting. However, enabling this feature doesn’t ensure that the site will not track your online activities. A chance is given to the users willing to stay anonymous through such optional control, to select their privacy.
Unfortunately, the sites who do care about user’s choice are very few. Also, this feature doesn’t help much in providing browsing privacy.
Whereas, some privacy extensions such as Ghostery and privacy badger could block tracking. Through these, a user could block such trackers on their own will.
VPN Solution – A Great Tool
VPN is the most effective privacy solution that not just provides you with anonymous browsing but also encrypts your data, unblock sites and restricted content, allows torrenting and P2P file sharing along with many more perks.
Data encryption shields you against the cyber attacks and data snoopers. User Internet traffic passes through the VPN server, thus changes his IP and encrypts the internet traffic. Therefore, many of the VPN users with the same IP address are untraceable through their IP.
IP address of an internet user is a tool through which all his online activities could be monitored by an ISP or any other data snooper. However, IP address is necessary otherwise an individual could not browse or operate the internet. Therefore, a VPN provides you anonymity through masking your real IP address from a fake one.
Yet, it does not hinders tracking completely. If you are logged into an online account such as on Google or Facebook, then these companies could follow your activities through that account. Also, the website cookies could work in the presence of a VPN.
Many of the VPN services are now available for internet users with more or less same features. However, some of them differ regarding strict no log policy and efficient security features. Such VPN services include NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and PureVPN that are popular among the customers. However, every individual should be careful and vigilant while selecting a VPN service.
Like VPN, TOR browser also provides you anonymous browsing though hiding your IP address. A TOR browser passes your internet traffic through different nodes and encrypts it at every point. This makes your data almost untraceable for the trackers.
When you need privacy through obscuring your IP address, then you must download the TOR browser which is a Firefox modified version. However, due to certain activities, governmental organizations and prying eyes can track TOR users. The activities which could entangle you while using TOR browser are;
- Downloading Torrents could reveal your IP address to the trackers. So, avoid downloading torrents when connected to TOR browser.
- Browsing Encrypted Websites Versions could keep your traffic encrypted, as the TOR browser comes with the HTTPS everywhere. Thus, it could maintain data security on sites that are encrypted.
- Browser Plugins such as Adobe Flash players are known to reveal IP address, therefore, while using TOR avoid enabling such plugins.
- Document Downloaded Via TOR should not be opened at least when you are online. It may risk your privacy as doing so could access the internet outside TOR.
If you are following all these privacy measures while using TOR that it is a great tool and it will provide you anonymity. However, the TOR does not provide you anonymity outside it.
Thinking of these techniques alone could also provide anonymous browsing, but as we have told before, they could be combined according to your need to create the best privacy barrier. Some of these combinations which could prove to be the best to browse privately are;
- Using TOR with VPN would ensure excellent security and anonymity while web browsing. It would almost become impossible for a prying eye to track your Moreover, a private browser would add on a security protection layer.
- A VPN with Browser Extension could encrypt your data as well as it would stop tracking through IP obscuring and targeted data storage.
- TOR with Private Browser would provide you added privacy while web browsing.
- VPN with Private Browser will help you to browse privately through masking IP address, disabling cookie tracking and sign-ins.
With all these combinations you could make anonymous browsing far much better than before. However, some of the user error should also be eliminated in order to vanish tracking risk completely. Therefore, you must ensure using encrypted WiFi connection that prevents traffic sniff out.
So, these tools will help you out but if you want them to remain efficient and to work for a long time then be sure to maintain your software and devices through updated versions.