In the age of phishing, identity theft and piracy, protecting your identity is more important than ever and fortunately there are several ways to protect yourself. We explain how to maintain anonymity online.
This guide will help you know ways to obtain anonymity for most communications and web-based activities. But before you start, the first and most obvious thing is never to use your real name when creating an online account. This is the first step to follow when creating social media accounts.
Once this is done, we show you the four levels of anonymity that we recommend below, whether you are entering anonymity for the first time or if you want to add another level of security to your current protocol.
Level 1: browse in private mode whenever possible
Browsing in private mode is the simplest thing you can do to make your online session a bit more intimate.
It works as follows: every time you visit a website you leave a trail of cookies; These are stored on your computer and contain a basic amount of data depending on the websites you have visited, which allows other websites to offer you a personalized experience. Thus, Facebook can show you an announcement of the new MacBook you searched on Google, or YouTube when you see that you have been looking for videos on the new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 phone. These cookies can be used to create a unique fingerprint based on the data collected .
To avoid this, simply navigate in private mode, and all modern browsers have a private browsing feature, even on mobile devices.
Level 2: avoid Google (or Bing or Yahoo)
Google, Bing and Yahoo are the three most popular search engines but this troop is also the one that collects the most data about you in order to show relevant ads and customize services. This is especially relevant when you start the session with your account so that these search engines can collect your name, email address, date of birth, gender and phone number. In addition to this, Google and Bing can also collect important data such as device location, device information, IP address and cookie data.
To avoid being tracked when you search the web, we recommend that you use a service like DuckDuckGo. It is an independent search engine that does not offer customized search results and everyone who searches sees the same results and does not collect or store any of the searches made. The search engine also states that it has nothing to sell to advertisers, which means that you will never be subject to targeted ads that are seen when using Google and other websites.
Level 3: hide your IP address
The next thing you can do to remain anonymous is to hide your IP address, which is the easiest way to track online activity. If someone knows you, you can easily determine the geographic location of the server that hosts that address and get an approximate idea of where you are. In general terms, there are three ways to hide it.
First, you can use a proxy server. If you want all your online activity to be animate, the best way to do it is to pretend to be someone else. This is basically what a proxy server does: direct the connection through a different server, so your IP address is not so easy to track. You can also use a virtual private network (VPN), which hides your IP address as well as a proxy does and, in some cases, even better. A VPN is a private network that uses a public network (usually internet) to connect remote sites or users.
Finally, you can use TOR. Abbreviation for The Onion Router, is a network of virtual tunnels that allows users to improve their privacy and security on the internet. Browsing with TOR is very similar to simultaneously using hundreds of different proxy servers that are randomly assigned periodically.
Level 4: use email and communication
The use of proxy, VPN and TOR servers hide your IP address from prying eyes, but sending emails presents a different anonymity challenge. Suppose you want to send someone an email, but you don't want them to know your address: there are two ways to do it.
The first is to use an alias. An alias is essentially a forwarding address. When you pack an email through an alias, the recipient only sees the forwarding address and not your actual email. Since all mail is forwarded to your usual inbox, this method will keep your real email address secret, but not prevent you from being free from spam.
Second, you can use a disposable email account. This can be done in two ways: you can create a new email account with a false name and use it for as long as you need or you can use a disposable email service. These services work by creating a temporary forwarding address that is deleted after a certain time, so they are excellent for registering on sites where you are not fascinated and preventing your inbox from flooding with spam.
Although the use of a VPN and communication through an anonymous email address will keep your identity hidden, there is still the possibility that your emails will be intercepted by a broker. To avoid this, you can encrypt emails before sending them using HTTPS in your web-based email client, which adds SSL / TLS encryption to all communications. For web chats, you can also consider using the TOR or Crytopchat chat, which are encrypted chat services that are difficult to hack.
If you dare, here is a simple four-level guide to stay online. Some of these methods may be more extreme than others, but they all give you back control of privacy and greater peace of mind when surfing the web.