Eight ways to conceal your identity online

Whenever you go online, you unwittingly reveal information about yourself. Here are a few ways you can conceal your identity when you are online.

1. Use your browser’s privacy mode

Ever since Apple incorporated private browsing into Safari in 2005, other web browsers  have taken note and developed their own systems of letting you surf the net incognito.  By choosing to go online privately, you tell your browser to refrain from keeping a log of  the pages you view, the terms you search for, the programs you download and the  information you enter into forms. Your temporary internet files and cookies won’t be  retained either, which makes private browsing useful for accessing the web in internet  cafe or on someone else’s computer, without compromising security. Here is how you  can activate privacy mode in the popular browsers.

Firefox – Tools/Start Private Browsing
Internet Explorer – Tools/InPrivate Browsing
Chrome – Menu/New Incognito Window
Safari – Edit/Private Browsing

Opera hasn’t introduced the feature yet. Internet Explorer also offers InPrivate Filtering  (Tools/InPrivate Filtering), which you can use to stop information about the sites you visit  being sent to certain content providers.

2. Go through a proxy server

proxifyIf you want absolute privacy, you can’t rely on your browser settings alone because  privacy modes can’t prevent your internet service provider or your boss from tacking your  online activities. One way you can shielf this information is to use a proxy server, such  as Proxify or Anonymouse. The former  allows a wealth of options to conceal your identity at varying degrees. For example, you  can opt to allow cookies so that you’ll be able to log into sites that require them, such as  your online banking service.

Proxy servers work by changing your IP (Internet Protocol) address from the one  assigned to your computer to a randomly generated number. This layer of protection can  confuse a website so that it thinks you’re sitting in Belgium when you’re actually tapping  away in Mumbai. The upshot is that, because sites (and advertisers) aren’t keeping a  track of your real PC’s web activities, your identity is concealed and you remain  anonymous.

3. Disguise your browser

Perhaps you fancy indulging in some sneaky browsing without attracting attention from  people around you. Say you’re at work and supposed to be preparing spreadsheets when  you really want to catch up with last night’s TV via BBC iPlayer.

By using a program called Double Vision,  you can sit the  web within the spreadsheet program (or whatever you’re meant to be working on) and  then set a transparency level so you can browse sites and watch videos almost invisibly.

double_vision

What’s more, you can continue working while surfing and use a simple keyboard  shortcut to hide the browser window if you see your boss heading towards your desk.

4. Hide your browser

Even when you minimise your browser, it remains in the Taskbar, which means people  can easily call it back up to find out which site you’re looking at. To shrink your browser  to the System Tray on your PC rather than the Taskbar, try Stealth Browser. Cleverly, this uses the standard icon for Local Area Connection  to represent your browser, and gives no hint of what it really is. You can simply double-  click the icon to restore the browser.

A similar tool is Hide My Browser Free, which lets you  easily hide or show browser windows by pressing hotkeys on your keyboard or with a  mouse-click.

5. Log into sites automatically

Whether you’re not keen on sharing your personal information or don’t want your Inbox  filling up with spam, there are times when you won’t want to use your real name when  signing up with a website. BugMeNot is a free service that lets  you surf anonymously by giving you a username and password for sites that require  registration.

bugmenot

You just enter the address of the website you want to access into the box  on BugMeNot’s homepage and, in most cases, login details will be provided that you can  copy and paste into the relevant registration fields.

6. Create a false identity

fakenamegenerator If BugMeNot can’t produce an automatic login and password for you (Amazon and eBay,  for example, have barred the system), you can still avoid registering with your real  details. The problem is that some clever websites know if you are entering false details.  In such cases, try the Fake Name Generator which  randomly generates names, towns and cities, counties and postcodes together with fake  mobile numbers and even occupation. Use this information to register and your privacy  remains intact.

7. Stay anonymous anywhere

If you want to protect your identity when surfing the web on computers other than your  own, try XeroBank’s xB browser, which is  designed to run from a portable media device. It used to be called Torpark and is effective  in leaving no tracks behind in your browser or PC. When run from a USB stick, it offers  you full protection.

8. Keep web bugs at bay

Lots of companies, particularly advertisers, are interested in what you do online, but you  can keep this information private. The new version of Firefox add-on Ghostery not only shows you which services are tracking you online, but also  lets you block specific ‘web bugs’ (hidden scripts that track who is viewing the page).

ghostery-browser-screenshot-500x238

Once installed, click the Ghostery icon at the bottom of the browser window and choose  Options. Click the Blocking tab and select ‘Enable web blocking’; then choose the bugs  you want to block from the list.

Comments

  1. Jaya Prakash says

    great work.. really worth trying especially when you know that there qre so much eyes following you invisibly… keep the good work going… nice worthy tips…

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