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10 Proven Tips to Stay Anonymous Online

TIPS TO STAY ANONYMOUS ONLINE
Written by Nsikan Okposin

The web is a great place to be; and a scary place too! Well, scary because hackers and some government prying eyes are probably watching over your back to intercept your private information or monitor your online habits for other unscrupulous reasons. To keep your online identity a secret, the surest way would be to delete all you online accounts, dump the internet and destroy all your internet gadgets including your smartphones, and just live the life. Did I hear you say that would be a boring life?

Well, I am going to share here, 10 tips to stay anonymous online, if living the boring life is not an option for you.

1- Use a VPN

Using a VPN is a potent way to stay anonymous online. A virtual private network provides you with an alternative IP address when you surf the net, so your traffic cannot be traced to your device. Moreover, you have your traffic encrypted through their servers. And in case you wish to have access to some websites restricted from users in your area, a VPN can help you bypass any geo-blocking restrictions. I’ll recommend ExpressVPN as your reliable VPN service providers.

2- Use Secure Email

You probably own an email account with Yahoo, Google or other webmail service providers. Truth is, these mail services are not entirely secure. You may want to increase the security of your webmail by using a security extension. For Google Chrome and Firefox users, Mailvelope is an impressive extension that can help you encrypt your webmail. If you enjoy Google mail services, SecureGmail helps keep the privacy of your emails. Other encrypted email services like Hushmail and MyKolab are also handy to hide your identity online.

3- Browse the Web in Private Mode

If you are using one of the popular browsers like IE, Chrome or Firefox, you can avoid storing up cookies each time you visit a site by simply browsing in private mode.  This may not offer encryption for your data, but can still help you get some snoopy eyes trying to track your online habits off your tail.

4- Delete your Social Media Account

It’s cool to go with the flow; everyone is on a social media. You can easily share some information with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Well, that is why hackers are also attracted to social media – they can extract a staggering amount of information from users, and use it for malicious activities. Do you want to stay off social media? Then delete your account completely and do not stop at deactivating it. Reason is, deactivating your account only makes the account inactive, but your data stays with the media app.

5- Use Websites with the Secure Protocol

The https:// protocol offers you a secure connection. In other words, your connection is encrypted with https. While some websites have adopted the secure protocol, some others are not as safe yet. You can get the HTTPS Everywhere extension, which insists on websites with https:// protocol, and helps you keep away from unsecure connections. The HTTPS Everywhere extension is free and compatible with Opera, Chrome and Firefox.

6- Use The Onion Router (TOR)

The TOR is a network which provides anonymous tunnels for improved online security. Initially designed for the US military, the TOR browser makes it difficult for others to track your activities on the web. The browser is free, but can be slow some of the time. Another snag is, starters may take a while to be familiar with its usage.

7- Clear the Cookies

It’s almost common knowledge that websites use cookies to trail users’ traffic.  But most people still do not bother about clearing up downloaded cookies from their devices. You can go to the settings on your browser and manually wipe stored cookies, or use free apps like CCleaner to help you get rid of them. Whatever you do, you don’t want to leave too many traces behind.

8- Use a Strong Password

Passwords are commonly used as a form of authentication. You can keep your private information and accounts secure and avoid password vulnerabilities with the use of a strong password. However, the stronger the password, the less likely it is to remember. Here is where you need a password manager. LastPass or DashlLane can help you store all your passwords and you will only have to recall a particular master password for access.

9- Go for a Secured Operating System

Ensuring your online anonymity probably goes as far down as your choice of OS. There are some operating systems such as Whonix, which are committed to keeping your privacy. Whonix is designed based on the TOR network and is inclined to make certain your security. The icing is, it’s free!

10- Make Use of Alternative Search Engines

The popular search engines are more convenient to use because of their speed. To do this, they extract as much information about you and your browsing preferences as possible. So they are in effect, far from secure. If you intend to keep your privacy, then it’s time to consider alternative search engines. DuckDuckGo is one of those search engines available to users who are conscious of their privacy online.

Bonus Tip

DropBox? Drop It!

Many online users find DropBox fitting for sharing and storing files. But DropBox is hardly a place to get security and privacy. Edward Snowden thinks it is in fact hostile to privacy. So why not get better secure services like Onionshare and Spideroak?

Stay Anonymous, Stay Safe

We have provided a few tips to stay anonymous online. No one tip is in itself an absolute solution to online insecurity. You may probably have to observe all of them to increase your chances of staying anonymous online. Last word: Stay safe.

Feature Image By Lorraine Murphy via Flickr

About the author

Nsikan Okposin

Nsikan Okposin holds a Bachelors Degree in Applied Geophysics, University of Calabar, Nigeria and was awarded the Best Graduating Student, Phyics Department, in 2010. He is also certified in OS Networking and Web Development. He is a freelance writer for several organizations and enjoys reading fiction novels and playing the bass guitar.

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