Even as the world becomes more aware of the imminent threat to our online privacy, few people understand the need to hide crucial information, such as IP addresses and private data streams, from entities such as our Internet Service Providers (ISPs), various online advertising companies, and our governments. Thankfully, fortifying your online privacy is not rocket science.
With the array of online encryption tools such as IP Changer software, Virtual Private Networks, and the popular Tor Browser, internet users are not short of options. Herein are some of the best ways to browse the internet securely and anonymously.
The Onion Router, abbreviated and more commonly known as Tor, is one of the most sought after online anonymity tools. Tor focuses on making your location untraceable by masking your IP address under layers and layers of smokescreen and encryption to cover up the origins of your connection.
Already, a sizeable percentage of the internet is already using the Tor Browser – a modified version of the Mozilla Firefox Browser – to keep their identities hidden while on the internet. Not only does it act as an IP changer, it also keeps trackers at bay. Tor can be described as the most user-friendly option in this list, and also the most all-encompassing encryption tool since it integrates more than one encryption technique in the form of browser extensions to give users comprehensive online security. Being an open-source project, it is also completely free.
However, using the Tor browser will still require you to change your online behavior in order to retain maximum anonymity. It comes with a number of warnings, tips, and tricks that every privacy-conscious individual should follow when browsing the internet. Tor is not without its limitations but has so far proved to be the most viable option for people of all calibers.Tor is not without its limitations but has so far proved to be the most viable option for people of all calibers.
VPNs are considered heavy-duty online anonymity tools for a reason. These services focus on helping users to disguise their traffic in addition to keeping their IP addresses hidden whenever they connect to the internet. They are also considered powerful IP changer software. VPNs are only able to encrypt internet traffic, though, meaning that users’ ISPs will still be able to see how much traffic you generate from website to website, but will not be able to see the actual content. The same applies to snooping governments and any malicious parties who may wish to steal your vital information such as login credentials.
The only catch is that a good VPN service will cost you. However, the expense can often be overlooked because this technique does not have a lot of weaknesses. If you’re living in a country where the government has sanctioned the blocking of all VPN connections, there are stealth VPNs that will allow you to browse the internet undetected. As such, VPNs are the preferred option for people living in countries with extreme internet censorship and heavy government surveillance.
For much lighter, but just as effective online privacy, users can always choose to install a privacy-centric browser extension. At the top of the list of extensions users can get is Ghostery, which is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, and EFF’s Privacy Badger. Unlike VPNs and Tor, browser extensions will not function as IP changer software since they do not hide your IP address.
The only notable difference between the two extensions is that Ghostery is more hands-on than Privacy Badger is. With Ghostery, you are allowed to tweak your privacy settings, such as which trackers to block. It also allows you to see all the trackers that are being used on you for every website that you visit, allowing you to choose which websites to show your information to and which to block out completely. It is quite handy when it comes to keeping advertisers from logging your information.
Privacy Badger, on the other hand, is a bit more intuitive than the former option. This extension monitors websites that are tracking your browsing habits and either block out the websites in total or keeps their tracking methods from working on you. Despite being based on an ad-blocking codebase, it does a lot more than just keep you safe from annoying ads. Its intuitive design allows it to learn from your browsing habits, meaning that you don’t have to constantly adjust the settings.
IP bans are the primary reason why people change their IP addresses. Whether a certain online service is not yet available in your country or you have been explicitly banned from a specific website, changing your IP address can be a viable way of gaining access to the website.
Methods range from the fairly complicated manual method, which involves resetting your modem or using different devices, to downloading IP changer software.
The latter option is often preferred over the former. IP changer software can be used to change your IP address multiple times even if you’re using the same device. Unlike other encryption services, however, IP changer software only alters your real IP address. The IP changer software will not mask your traffic or help you block any trackers; it simply displays a different IP address than the one that is actually assigned to you.
You might opt for IP changer software if your privacy needs are basic. It simply throws off your ISP and government on your real location, sometimes helping you circumvent government-imposed censorship and other bans put in place by your ISP. IP changer software is by no means a comprehensive option like Tor or VPNs, but it does work. You can choose from a wide range of IP changer software on the internet, or alternatively, you can go for a VPN service that provides the IP changer option to keep your real location well under wraps.
Even as the whole internet is in the process of fully adopting SSL, there is still a notable percentage that does not support the security protocol. It is essential in keeping web traffic free from malicious interceptors. Web sites that still display unencrypted connections by default are significantly less safe.
The HTTPS browser extension allows users to force an HTTPS connection on countless websites. However, since it depends on the website users are connecting to, it is still a viable solution despite not being the best option in this list.
Many of these privacy-centric tools and software rely on IP changing tactics, masking your traffic, or securing your connections via a number of channels. You might not think you’re a target for hackers, but based on the indiscriminate hacking that is going on nowadays, it pays to take precautions.
Ali Qamar is a tech and security enthusiast who enjoys “deep” research to dig out modern discoveries in the security industry. Currently, he is the chief editor at Cyberogism.com, an ultimate source for tech, security and innovation. To be frank and honest, Ali started working online as a freelancer and still shares the knowledge for a living. He is passionate about sharing the knowledge with people, and always try to give only the best. Follow Ali on Twitter @AliQammar57
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(Security Affairs – Australian police, Love Zone)