Privacy has become something very important to people using Internet these days. The more we do online, the more trails we leave behind. There are lots of private companies tracking every movement, keystrokes, websites you visit and the people you communicate with online. These companies often sell this information to law enforcement agencies or the government for legal affairs. Day by day more sophisticated tools and methods are being discovered to track your activities and the entire scenario has become very sophisticated. So it is very important for one to keep his privacy and stop third-parties from intruding into their activities. In this article, we will learn about various methods by which you can become secure online and mask your activities that you do not want the world to know.
The three types of methods we will use to make ourselves secure online are:
Tor, short form of The Onion Router is a system that offers you anonymity online. TOR clients redirects all your internet traffic through a network of computers concealing your actual location and preventing any tracking. The TOR bundle comes with a firefox that’s integrated to the TOR network and a GUI named Vidalia is used to use the TOR network. Here is how Vidalia looks like:
So before we start, let’s see how the TOR network works. Here are some pictures from the official website which will help you get started.
So whenever you try to contact to Dave, instead of directly contacting him, TOR first sends your transaction through a number of networks so no single point can track back to your location. So packets from your network take a random route through the network and reach the destination.
So once a route has been established, all kinds of data can be sent and received over the TOR network. And after a fixed amount of time, TOR changes the route through which you connect randomly which makes it very hard to trace back to you.
Tor is good, but it can’t completely secure you and your activity. While it protects the transported data, experts can use statistical analysis and get your circuit route and find out your location. Official Website: http://www.torproject.org
Download TOR Bundle: http://www.torproject.org.in/download/download-easy.html.en
A proxy or a proxy server is a computer system or application that acts as an intermediary between you and your client server or application. So you want to access a target, you connect to the proxy, the proxy connects to the target, then it gets back the relevant information to you.
So a proxy can be used to keep you anonymous, or to bypass IP restrictions, security/parental controls, or to get around regional restrictions. A proxy server appears as an IP address which you have to configure on your web browser to use it. When you do that, your original IP will be masked by the proxy and you will be anonymous.
188.8.131.52 – This is how a proxy looks like. All proxies are from a particular location or country so using a proxy near to your target server might help faster browsing too! If you’re on Firefox, you can set a proxy by going to Firefox Options > Advanced > Network > Connection Settings > Manual Proxy Settings.
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a remote server in an offsite location that tunnels all your data and information through their secured servers by encrypting them thereby making your connection secure. Most of the VPN’s use 128 bit SSL encryption or 256 bit SSL encryption. More the bit count, better the encryption. VPN helps you hide your real IP and spoofs your location to any programs or clients trying to track you. So suppose you’re from USA and needs to access a website that’s for Russia only, I could use a VPN located in Russia that masks my IP as a Russian one and thereby access the website.
Another matter of concern while using a VPN is logs. Almost all of the VPN providers keep logs as a security measure. This is done so that if they ever want to check up a user’s activity, they could refer to the logs. So federal agents or the government could contact the VPN providers and get your activity. Hence if you are really concerned about your security, you should purchase a VPN that do not keep logs. When you purchase a VPN, make sure you choose one which is closer to you since it will make your Internet experience smooth and won’t cause any lag or slowness.
There are lots of free VPN’s available but they’re not recommended since most of them come with lots of ads, adwares and slow connection. Most of them keep logs which mean you’re not really secure and the connection won’t be having a good encryption rate. So it is always recommended you get a paid VPN. But I’ll include some good free and paid VPN’s to help you out.
- HotSpotShield – http://www.hotspotshield.com
- VPNBook – http://www.vpnbook.com
- ProXPN – http://www.proxpn.com
- AnchorFree – http://www.anchorfree.com
- nVPN – http://www.nvpn.net
- MicroVPN – http://www.microvpn.com
- InterVPN – http://www.intervpn.com
- VPNTraffic – http://www.vpntraffic.om
So that’s it. I’ve discussed some main methods by which you can be secure online. But always remember, you’re never 100% safe. If the federals or others want to track you, they can still do it no matter what measures you’re using to prevent it. These methods will work, but only up to a limit. The rest is up to you to use your intuition to keep yourself safe.