You Are Being Watched: How to Stay Anonymous Online
Internet tracking has been quite wild without serious regulatory restrictions. While regulations like GDPR are forcing internet companies to disclose – mostly – when they are tracking you, they still collect a vast amount of information from your browsing activities. In fact, technologies like cookies and pixel tracking are becoming more common and intrusive.
In order to regain control over your privacy, you have to be more proactive in protecting your identity online. This means taking active steps to stay anonymous every time you access your favorite web services. In this article, we are going to go over the 5 things you can do to stay anonymous online.
1. Mask Your IP Address
The first thing you want to do is protect your real IP address. This is the IP address that gets tied to your Wi-Fi access point and the devices you use. An IP address may seem harmless at first, but internet companies are using it to identify you in more ways than before.
For starters, the IP address itself contains information about where you are. IP addresses are pooled based on location. Web services can also identify the internet service provider that you use from your public IP address.
On top of that, an IP address is not the only thing you voluntarily share when browsing websites. Your browser also shares information about your device, your operating system, and versions of the browser and add-ons that you use.
A simple way to get around this is by turning to use rotating proxies. A proxy service immediately hides your personal IP address and replaces it with a pool of IP addresses used by the server. Just make sure you use the best rotating proxy service rather than a free one if you want to remain anonymous online.
2. Stay Anonymous Together
Another way to stop intrusive tracking from affecting your privacy is by getting other internet users to also pay close attention to their internet privacy. You can now tap into P2P IP sharing services and businesses that offer platforms for this purpose.
By using P2P IP sharing, it is a lot more difficult to track you – and other users in the IP pool – based on location and browsing history. This is because a pool of IP addresses is exchanged and used by the group, making it impossible to pinpoint the addresses to individual users.
Some platforms even let you share your IP address for monetary rewards. However, relying on platforms like this is not always the best way to go. You are still exposing your private IP address and you may be looking at a honeypot; your browsing activities can still be logged by the platform.
To avoid added risks, get more of your peers to use a reliable proxy service. Proxy services have millions of IP addresses; more than enough to protect everyone. On top of that, there are service packages that use only residential IP addresses for even better anonymity.
3. Watch the Services You Use
There are two things you need to understand about these warnings. First of all, you don’t have to accept the cookie, but the default parameter set by most websites is Yes. If you don’t react to the warning, a cookie is added for tracking anyway.
You also have the option to check what websites are tracking before agreeing. You can remove tracking for ads and other purposes that are unrelated to your use of the web service. Websites are obliged to uphold these policies.
Avoid using services provided by companies without a proven track record in maintaining user privacy. You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your privacy online. You can check site reputation and cookies using tools like Cookie Metrix.
4. Use a Secure Browser
Last but certainly not least, switch to a browser that does not reveal your personal information by default. Common browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox still reveal a lot of details about you, and they may not be suitable if you are aiming for maximum anonymity.
What you should be using is the Tor browser. The browser automatically blocks plugins that are often manipulated to reveal your IP address. Safari from Apple has also started warning users about tracking and blocking sites’ attempts to unmask your IP address.
The Tor browser has other advantages too. For example, you don’t have to worry about packet sniffing and exit traffic tracking when browsing sites that don’t use SSL encryption. It also stops multi-site tracking with extra measures.
Better regulations that prevent intrusive tracking are still needed to curb privacy issues online, but the steps we discussed in this article will help you play a more active role in ensuring your online anonymity. Be sure to implement the right security measures and stay protected at all times.
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