Did you know that big companies like Microsoft, Google and Facebook are selling your data? While you think you are hiding behind a screen, think about all those ads you receive on the web pages you visit, and sometimes in your inbox.
The harsh reality is that the internet is far from being anonymous. You could as well disconnect all your devices from any internet connection and go to sleep! Just know that every time you visit a particular website, you leave a footprint.
Companies, government agents and any other parties can collect these digital footprints and use them to track you. But you can achieve complete anonymity as you browse by taking a few measures.
Find a country that values privacy
Well, you may not have the wherewithal to just move from one country to another in search of online privacy but you can be an agent of change. You could start by identifying organizations fighting for online privacy so you can help contribute to their financial kitty. But if you have the means, why not consider moving to countries within the EU?
They have set up the European Union General Data Protection Regulation which pushes the privacy bar a bit higher. You can expect many companies to adopt these laws; hence, spreading the phenomenon to other nations.
Find an anonymizing operating system
If you can’t find a safe country or help contribute to an organization that fights for your data privacy, you could consider obtaining an anonymizing operating system and installing it on your device.
For such a system to be functional and effective, you need a resettable virtual machine running on a secure portable media. To this end, you may try the IronKey Workspace which offers users good encryption while locking out any prying Tom, Dick, and Harry who enter many wrong passwords in the hope of stumbling on the right one.
Use a VPN
If you’re just starting to learn how to be completely anonymous on the internet, the best place to start is finding a VPN. Virtual Private Networks work by obscuring your IP address so any snoops won’t be able to trace you or see the websites you visit.
You will find thousands of VPNs online but you have to steer clear of the free versions as they are not too effective. VPN companies are profit-making businesses; hence, have to make money. Your privacy is much more important than a few dollars, so get a premium version and surf anonymously from anywhere.
How to avoid plugins to remain anonymous online
It shouldn’t scare you too much, but most of the plugins you are using accumulate traces of your location and identity. To preserve your anonymity, you will need to chuck them.
However, not all plugins belong to the black sheep category. Some are actually quite useful in enhancing your privacy. The most notable of such friendly plugins is the Privacy Badger offered by Electronic Freedom Foundation, EFF.
Give usual applications a wide berth
Popular application software, such as word processors, desktop publishers, and common antivirus programs may not give a hoot about your privacy. Many of them may call home every time you start them and reveal information about the operating system on your device, time, IP location and even your online activities. If you want to hide identity online, you will have to ditch common software and find alternatives.
Hide identity online by not using credit cards
A common way to achieve anonymity online is to stop using your normal credit cards to buy things online. It may never have occurred to you, but you can’t make transactions using your credit card and remain anonymous.
The credit card gives away your full name, credit card number, and the fact that you have money in your account. Opt for online money transfer services such as PayPal or the use of e-currencies like bitcoins. Bitcoins have gained widespread acceptance and many organizations are now recognizing them.
Give Google, Bing, and Yahoo a wide berth
Yes, you got it right! They may be popular but are compromising your privacy every time you engage them. It is the reason they have been targeting you with particular ads every time your device goes online. They keep track of the web pages you visit and use that information to direct ads your way.
To be completely anonymous on the internet, you may have to find search engines that won’t track your online activities. One such search engine is DuckDuckGo which offers plenty of features such as safe search.
Is your location off?
Websites can read location data such as IP address and use it to determine your location. To prevent websites from establishing your identity using your location, always ensure that the location settings on your PC are OFF. Turning it OFF may not be enough as websites may still read your location history and follow you like a shadow, so you will need to clear that history too. Scroll to the Location History and click “Clear”.
Delete your browsing history and cookies
A crunchy cookie may be too tempting but may be a bane to your efforts to hide identity online. The websites you visit store cookies on your system and can use them to track your online activities. Some may ask you to accept them but most install them silently on your device. In such a scenario, you realize that it is almost impossible to stay completely anonymous on the internet. Before logging out, just delete those cookies and your browsing history as well.
To stay safe in the online world, you need to know how to be completely anonymous on the internet. If you are not in a country with stringent privacy laws, then you have to take measures to hide your identity online. Avoid using credit cards to pay for your online products, delete or reject cookies and turn your location off on your device. Also get a premium VPN to help achieve anonymity online.