How to Surf the Internet Anonymously

The Internet has its means of luring us believe in a fake sense of anonymity. How can somebody reveal your actual identity in a virtualized world? The fact is that just simply hooking up to the Internet, you unknowingly spread information about your pc,geographical location and all the sites regularly you visit.

The aim of anonymous Web browsing is to bypass the technologies that trace your activities online and may reveal your private details to others. By browsing anonymously, nobody can identify you, where you're connected from or the web sites you visited. When people talk about browsing the Web anonymously, they actually relate it with extramarital affairs, malicious hacking, illegal downloading and other negative behaviors. That's not always the case. In essence, there are numerous legitimate reasons for someone to be anonymous online,which may be one of the following:

  • Your employer or school has strict Web surfing rules and screens your access to the internet.
  • You're a die hard free speech activist and don't want anyone to moderate your activities online.
  • You think the internet is the ideal platform in to air your views and opinions without being harassed or trailed by people who don't agree with your opinions.
  • You believe in the Bill of Rights and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights has empowered you to go about your private business without invasive scrutiny.
  • You stay abroad and willing to access streaming video content,only available to people in your home country.
  • You don't like the idea that search engines are collecting information about your queries.
  • You don't want online advertisers to know where you live or what products you buy.
  • You want to engage anonymously in Internet forums,may be to discuss about a private medical condition or something personal.

Browsing on the Web anonymously is not the same as deleting your browser history.We will know more about computer networks and IP addresses and how they are able to reveal your identity.

IP Addresses and Cookies

All devices hooked up to the Internet possesses a peculiar Internet Protocol (IP) address,even your pc. Your pc may have a non changing(static) IP address or it may change each time you go online(dynamic).All the same,you are linked to a peculiar marker any time you browse the Web.

An IP address is highly required for the Internet to work. It is the address assigned to your pc on a huge computer network like the internet.The only means a Web server is able to push the contents of a Web page to your browser is if it possesses your computer's ip address on the network.

IP addresses only,do not hold any personal information that can be linked to you.If you sign up with an Internet Service Provider (ISP),the means everybody uses to obtain Internet service,then your ISP may simply pair your IP address with your name, home address,phone number, e-mail address and even credit card data.

Don't get suspicious yet,in essence,ISPs have enough strict privacy rules.They don't dish out your personal data to any person who requests for it.Under legislation such as the U.S. Patriot Act and from subpoenas obtained by the police and federal agencies, an ISP may have no choice but to give personal data connected to an IP address.

Cookies is a means for a third party to track your Web browsing habits.Cookies are small text files,saved in your Web browser when you view a Web site.The file may have your login data,your user preferences, contents of your online shopping cart and other markers.These cookies allow your Web browsing experience better customized to suit your taste.They are employed to save time when you view your favorite sites.They are also used to assist advertisers fashion their messages to your taste.

First-party cookies are kept on your browser from Web sites you viewed.Third-party cookies kept on your computer originate from advertisers and other parties having data sharing deals with sites you viewed.Several people see third-party cookies as an erroneous violation of privacy because you cannot control who gathers data about you. We will have a peep on how con artists are able to use internet data trace to reveal your identity. 

Piecing Together Your Online Identity

Cookies and IP addresses only cannot reveal your personal data,but when these hints are pulled together with other Web browsing information like your search history, can uncannily reveal your identity to hackers,con artists or government regulators.

Search engines constantly keep search queries linked to IP addresses.Google keeps search data for at most nine months and MSN keeps them for at most 18 months.

By scrutinizing numerous search data from the a particular IP address,it is enough to decipher anybody's identity,especially if they have run map searches on their house address or typed in their Social Security number or national identity number.

Another inherent risk to online privacy related to Web e-mail accounts.If you use the same Web site for your e-mail messages and Internet searches, you may have left behind a clear trail for hackers and cyber scammers to track when you are online.

For example, if you use Google for your e-mail services, then you need to log in to for e-mail sessions.All Google Web searches you carried out while logged in to your e-mail account will be link to the same IP address as your e-mail account. From there on,it would be highly easy for a hacker or other individual to link your searches with your e-mail address and employ this data to push to you customized spam or other internet scams.

The easiest and less cumbersome means for anybody to track your Web browsing is to have a look at the history on your Web browser.Your Web browser stores a list of every Web site you visited.Nearly all Web browsers save your browsing history for at least a week by default.If anybody wants to track your Web surfing habits,the only thing the person needs to do is to open your browser and view your history.

If you are assessing the Web from a computer at work place,your boss does not need to physically assess your computer and view your browser history.Since you are using on an office network, your employer is able to keep trail of what sites you are visiting.

What Are Anonymous Proxy Servers

Anytime you enter a web address in your Web browser and pres Enter,your pc sends a request to a Web server, which delivers the Web page.To carry out this,the Web server requires your IP address.

A way to conceal your IP address to every Web server is to use a proxy server.A proxy server is a device that is between you and the rest of the Internet. Every page request you send passes through the proxy server first.

An anonymous proxy server is a type of proxy equipped with softw

are that removes your IP address from all your web page requests and substitutes its own.When the page is sent back by the Web server, the proxy server then forwards it to you without of any additional software scripts that may reveal your identity.

The most commonly used anonymous proxy servers are Web-based ones.All you need to do is to visit the Web site offering the proxy service,enter the needed web address in a special address box and the service will forward the request to the Web server anonymously.

There are certain negative aspects to anonymous proxy servers.All incoming and outgoing pages are processed by the proxy server,this usually causes in slower loading times for pages.Since the proxy server tries to delete or bypass any ambiguous elements on the returned Web page and several web pages will load with errors.

Always use a known Web proxy with a vivid privacy policy.There are several instances of unscrupulous hackers,who set up fake anonymous Web proxies to get data from unsuspecting individuals.When using a proxy server, the information usually moves unprotected,giving hackers chance to view data such as usernames, passwords and other highly sensitive data.

You should avoid using popularly called -open proxies.These are proxy servers that are acclaimed to have been abandoned and unknowingly left open for certain reasons.A lot of these proxies are hidden traps run by unscrupulous hackers who want to snip personally identifiable data.Certain open proxies are actually set up on the computers of unscrupulous individuals whose machine are already infected by computer viruses.

Now you are able to conceal your IP address online,it's high time your run through your Web browser settings.

Adjusting the Privacy Settings in Your Browser

Anonymous proxy servers are great tools to conceal your IP address online, but there is still a lot of data relating to your Web browsing habits kept on your computer.It is much easier to change your privacy settings yourself in the Web browser.

One of the easiest means to conceal your online trail is to manually clear your browser history. All Web browsers such as Internet Explorer,Firefox,Safari and Google Chrome,give you assess to clear your Web browsing history.

Follow these steps to clear your browser history: Safari, go to the History menu, scroll all the way down to the bottom and click "Clear History."

For Firefox,click on the Preferences box from the Firefox menu. Go the Privacy tab.Scroll down to the part on Private Data and click Clear Now.
For Google Chrome, Go to Tools menu, click History,pick a recent Web site and click on Delete history for this day.

For Internet Explorer 7 and 8,on Tools bar,click on Safety and click Delete Browsing History.
Have it at the back of your mind,that all network administrators,in the office or at your ISP, can view your browsing history on the network level, even after if deleting it from your computer.

You may also adjust,the manner your browser handles cookies.Most browsers are set to accept cookies from all sites by default.You may screen out cookyies totally,which may stop you from assessing services on some online banking and shopping sites or you block third-party cookies only.

Since anonymous Web surfing is more common place,recent versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome comes with certain settings for browsing with leaving a trail.By allowing these settings,your browser will not keep your browsing history, search queries, cookies, download history or even passwords.

Here is how to set up anonymous browsing in some well known Web browsers:
For Internet Explorer 8, open a new tab and select Browse with In Private.
For Safari, below the main menu, you click on Private Browsing.
For Google Chrome, click the page icon close to the URL window and click Open New Incognito Window.

Anonymous Registration

Several free and subscription based Web sites want you to register before using their services.This normally need three things: an active e-mail address, a username and a password.

Apart from the security flaws of revealing your e-mail address and other personally relevant data to an untrusted Web site,several people just don't want any Web site they view to access their data  and even contact them.

For protection purposes, experts prescribes that you don't use the similar username and password for access on all Web sites and web services.The danger lies in the fact that any of these sites may deliberately or unintentionally give out your personal data to impersonators and identity thieves who may use your username and password to gain entry into your online accounts or other essentially sensitive Web services.

Another drawback is that a lot of Web sites simply sell your data to third parties who will then flood your inbox with spam mails. Certain sites allow you to choose to receiving or not e-mails from partners, but it is not easy to know the boxes to mark or unmark.

If you do not want to handout your e-mail address to just any Web site that requires registration, you can easily create several e-mail accounts using free services like Yahoo Mail or Google Mail or Hotmail.For all Web sites, the only use of  e-mail address is to confirm registration.

However, if you register with numerous Web sites and need to keep track of all of your numerous usernames, passwords and e-mail addresses. Please don't create an Excel or Word file and save it on your computer,If anybody is able to handle the file, they enough data to steal your identity.

A good solution is to employ a secure, Web-based service such as ShopShield or Anonymizer. These services generates temporary e-mail addresses with peculiar usernames and passwords for any site you want.Whenever a new e-mail message is received at one of these temporary accounts, it is screened for viruses and spam and then relayed to your e-mail address.So you can delete unwanted or unused accounts with a just click of a button.

Another ingenious option is a Web site known as, where users post free usernames and passwords for shared access to well known Web sites like  online newspapers and video sharing sites. 

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How to Surf the Internet Anonymously
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