Your internet privacy situation may be worse than you think.
Think about why you often encounter the ads regarding your favorite, recently searched or browsed items “by accident”, why there are so many data breaches and hacks every now and then from even big tech giants like Facebook, and how many pairs of eyes are spying on your social media behaviors, personal information, cloud-stored files, email, call and chatting messages…
The truth is cruel! From the mainstream PC/mobile systems to applications, search engines to email and other online services, as well as web service providers to ISPs and the governments, your every step is recorded by certain parties for their various benefits.
If you take your data nothing previous, you can just leave it alone to go on with everything as usual. But if you value your data and cyber-privacy a lot, especially when there is some essential and sensitive information or materials, you should take time and energy to learn the possible steps and take them into action.
Now 8 approaches are shared in the following part to enable you to be completely anonymous online.
1. Get a secure system for your devices
The prevailing operation systems from tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple usually log user data on phones, tablets, and PCs for further usage. So picking a privacy-friendly and secure system like Linux, Debian, Tails and Whonix is considerably crucial to keep your more anonymous fundamentally.
It’s understandable that the average users don’t want to quit the conventional OS options and the good news is they are continuously updating their encryption measures to enhance personal data protection and help stop unauthorized third-party apps’ access to your data.
2. Use encrypted apps/services for chatting, browsing, emailing etc.
Your general web actions are all logged by the apps or services you deploy, free of encryption. The Google searches, the web surfing histories, the account information, email, messages, nothing else you can imagine was excluded.
If you make a voice or video call online, most probably the whole process is recorded too. That said, to be really anonymous online, you are not suggested to work with common applications because they all lack data locking capability.
For better privacy, technicians work out more safer tools with end-to-end encryption, for example:
- Signal, a known centralized encrypted app for instant messaging that’s used by Edward Snowden on a daily basis.
- ProtonMail, a Switzerland-based secure but free email service which offers end-to-end encryption and all of its data servers are all fully protected.
- Tor browser, the most commonly used free and open-source private browser fighting against web tracking and surveillance with its unique multi-layered encryption. Numerous people access the hidden dark web with this browser, and combine Signal/ProtonMail or similar with Tor for being more reliable anonymous online.
Speaking of private browsing, incognito or private mode of general browsers is worth mentioning here. This embedded mode actually doesn’t grant anonymous browsing at all but merely deleting your browsing history, cookies, site data and form-entered information so that nobody else accessing with the same device sees what you’ve done before.
Except for these listed program examples, you can still search for many other alternatives instead.
3. Run VPN in the background to encrypt all of your traffic
Despite both a VPN and a proxy being capable of hiding your IP address and having you become anonymous online, a VPN provides better privacy protection than a proxy thanks to its internal encryption when routing traffic through VPN tunnel.
Yes, the proxy only features masking IP address but not encoding your web traffic, which makes it less secure than a VPN.
Everyone needs a VPN now more than before! But not all VPNs share the same level of encryption and security since they may come from different places (some do have strict regulation and control on VPN) and be created with the varying features, performances and prices (you didn’t hear it wrong, free VPN apps are not recommended to use for the possible personal data collection and selling).
To enjoy high-quality VPN service, please pick a cross-platform, server-rich, safe and fast VPN that’s still outside the Five-eyes alliance and so forth Anglosphere intelligence alliances, such as Seychelles-based PandaVPN.
Taking this VPN software for example, it is available for Android(TV)/iOS/Windows/macOS/Linux and allows multiple connections.
With over 3000+ accelerated servers in 170+ locations across the world, plus the support of the highest level of ECC encryption, you are free to change IP address on the web and secure all of your or certain traffic tightly.
Being totally anonymous online, bypassing geo-locked content, getting rid of tracking and censorship, removing ISP traffic throttling, there are many benefits you can gain from a piece of tiny yet solid VPN like PandaVPN.
4. Check and control app permissions
Auditing app permissions on machines, especially the portable gadgets, is important to disguise your personal details.
That’s because iOS/Android applications are usually permitted by you in just a few seconds to access your storage, camera, microphone, location and contact list during the installation process. You shouldn’t have things move on so easily but need to take time on their terms and conditions. If possible, do not allow any access permissions.
5. Utilize password manager
Theoretically the best way to remain anonymous online is not registering any account or filling in forms with your personal information. But obviously it’s hard for us to make it really happen. Therefore, the password manager should be another must-have to avoid password leak and further data exposure. With a password manager like LastPass and Bitwarden in hand, you don’t need to worry about creating long sophisticated and different passwords but feeling a headache to remember them correctly with the bad memory.
This type of software works by gathering all of your passwords into a single place. Every time you need to log into a site or app, you only need to log into the manager which will complete the site or app login automatically and safely. Note that the browser extension password managers are less protected as the dedicated software.
Most modern people get used to craving connection and interaction with others via social networking like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Parents share baby names and stories here, beauties post elegant/hot photos, influences create their daily series for a specific crowd of fans… A large number of users are so ignorant of the potential risks of leaving sensitive information like email address, locations, school information, workplace, or even the bank account.
Many social media platforms offer privacy settings, so you can adjust the privacy level from weak to strong if there are those options. However, the best way to prevent identity exposure from social media is of course keeping off it. If you become aware of it and plan to delete FaceBook/Instagram account, do remember to erase all personal data manually by following the official guide. This way, your online identity can be safeguarded on social media fully.
Similarly, you should take care on registering and posting on other online spots too.
7. Pay with cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency, typically BitCoin, has a reputation for pseudonymity but not 100% anonymity. Nevertheless, as long as your real name is concealed, a new layer of security is added for third-parties to get into your identity.
Compared to paying with bank or credit cards, leveraging a cryptocurrency wallet won’t reveal the payer, receiver and amount details. Besides, if you don’t own either cryptocurrency wallet, you’d better buy it anonymously, rather than face-to-face cash transaction, nor with verification/photo ID.
8. Pay attention to the smart home assistant
Don’t underestimate the possible danger of the digital AI products around us like Google Home and Amazon Echo because their “always-online” status may be your privacy and identity nightmare. Being working all the time gives the opportunity for the developers and hackers to track your movements, record your sounds, invading your privacy greatly. Even if you dump them, those assistants from your neighbors, stores, offices, cars, phones may harm your privacy unexpectedly.
Online anonymity is often requested by whistleblowers who for instance want to report a crime anonymously, by netizens who want to donate, watch others’ social stories and special content anonymously etc.
If you happen to be one of them, follow the listed methods on how to be anonymous online (e.g connect with people via special protected apps and equip your device with a solid VPN like PandaVPN) to acquire what you want while keeping your personal information secret, or dig into more tricks to be invisible online.