Using the internet in private has grown more difficult. The recent Facebook privacy crisis made that evident, with users surprised by the amount of data collected on them by Facebook. There are ways to mask your online actions—some more successful than others—when using the internet.
1. Get a VPN
VPNs are no longer solely for businesses and downloaders. The VPN provider creates an encrypted connection between your machine and theirs. One computer may be in another city or country. A website can only see the VPN machine and not yours. You basically roam the internet as another machine in another area. Because your connection is encrypted, even your ISP can't see what you're doing online.
Negatives: If you access the internet from another computer, you may notice slower browsing and download speeds. Not all VPNs provide the same level of anonymity (the better ones tend to be more expensive). Some websites may even restrict VPN users, so you may need to turn it on and off as needed.
2. Go incognito
Most browsers feature a private browsing mode with a distinct name. Google Chrome calls it "incognito", Microsoft "InPrivate". Before you accept the name at face value, ask how they define "private." Unlike a VPN, which allows you to surf the internet anonymously, private browsing just hides your browsing history and form entries. This feature is free, so you may use it whenever you want, and it's actually quite useful. Price shopping is often used to reset deal durations, get local prices, and bypass usage limitations on certain sites. Some sites utilize cookies to restrict free trials, although private browsing can help. You may only read five free articles per month on some news sites. Private browsing can simply prolong the trial!
Negatives: Even if you've visited the site previously, it won't assist you in entering in your stored passwords.
3. Consider the audience
While you may be cautious when using a public computer, have you considered who may be observing your work computer? Some organizations use employee surveillance software that takes screenshots of your desktop. It helps them set computer usage regulations, but it may also help them prove you've broken them. Going to an internet cafe is much riskier, as keyloggers may capture every keystroke, including credit card details and logins. Even if you utilize private browsing, your activity will be logged.
Negatives: None. Knowing the hazards and the chance of being monitored increases online safety.
Using private browsing isn't foolproof. When private surfing, many people believe they are both invisible and safe. To stay secure online, use antivirus software, choose strong passwords, and avoid risky websites. Keep in mind that the preceding methods are not panaceas.
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