FW: Ways to stay anonymous and protect your online privacy

Now more than ever, your online privacy is under attack. ISPs, advertisers, and governments around the world are increasingly interested in knowing exactly what you’re up to when you browse the web. Whether you’re a political activist or simply someone who hates the idea of third-parties scrutinizing your surfing habits, there are plenty of tools available to keep prying eyes off of your traffic.

 

In this post, I’m going to highlight 19 ways to increase your online privacy. Some methods are more complicated than others, but if you’re serious about remaining private, these tips will help shield your traffic from snoops. Of course, internet security is a topic in and of itself, so you’re going to need to do some reading to remain thoroughly protected on all fronts. And remember, even the most careful among us are still vulnerable to imperfect technology.

 

The Onion Router (Tor)

If anonymity is what you’re after, The Onion Router (Tor) is what you need. It uses a vast network of computers to route your Web traffic through a number of encrypted layers to obscure its origin. Tor is a vital tool for political dissidents and whistleblowers to anonymously share information, and you can just as easily use it to help protect your privacy. Get started by downloading the Tor Browser. This customized fork of Firefox automatically connects to the Tor network, and includes some of the privacy-enhancing browser extensions discussed later in this post. This package has everything you need to use Tor successfully, but you’ll also need to change your web surfing behavior to retain as much anonymity as possible. Abide by the Tor warnings, and remember this isn’t a magic bullet. It still has some significant weaknesses.

 

 

Justified paranoia

You might not think you have anything to hide, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the benefits of online privacy. Some of these recommendations are a real hassle to live with — I’m well aware. It’s a lot easier to shove your fingers in your ears, and pretend like the NSA and your ISP aren’t watching every move you make. But what you browse is your business, and your business alone. Now is the time to stand up for yourself, and take back your privacy.

In time for Black Hat and DEFCON, we’re covering security, cyberwar, and online crime all this week; check out the rest of our Security Week stories for more in-depth coverage as the week goes on.