Everyone’s getting more concerned with internet privacy and with good reason. A large part of our lives is conducted online, we shop, bank, socialise even date on line in some cases. All that involves information, personal information being transmitted online.
So what’s involved in keeping your internet surfing privacy in tact ? We transmit so much personal information across the internet that it is not surprising that online theft is growing at an alarming rate. The simple fact is that the internets success has been built on a very simple protocol called HTTP (Hyper Text Transport Protocol) which is fast, efficient but unfortunately transmits everything into clear text. Anyone who intercepts this data can pick up an awful lot of information about each and everyone of us.
So how do I get some Internet surfing privacy?
Well there’s a few key areas but these are the most important.
Information Stored on your PC
Your browsing is tracked and monitored and personalised by a long collection of techniques of which the most common are cookies. These little text files are stored on your computer to record account details, preferences and personal details. To be fair they are used primarily to improve your browsing experiences mostly but they still represent an extensive record of your browsing. Fortunately if you are concerned with Internet surfing privacy you can easily delete these records. Most browsers allow you ‘delete browsing history’ which will delete all the cookies, temporary internet files and images stored on your PC. Google Chrome even has an incognito mode which does this automatically.
Hiding your IP address
Every web site you visit has logs, and they will record your IP address in these logs. Everything you do, download andlook at is recorded in these logs which can be tracked down to a specific computer via the IP address. This is also quite easy to fix and it requires using an anonymous proxy server. This server sits in between the web site you visit and hides your IP address so that it canot be recorded. There are anonymous proxy servers all over the internet but be careful, a large proportion of them are hacked virus infested servers which actually steal your information anyway. These are much, much worse than just getting your IP address logged in a web server,never use an anonymous proxy server that you don’t know about as it will be the worse move possible for your internet surfing privacy.
Encrypting your Web Browsing
The most important in my opinion for real privacy in your surfing. All your browsing is conducted in clear text as mentioned above, in fact the most detailed and comprehensive list of all your online activities exists in your ISP. This is why governments across Europe and the world ensure that they have access to these logs and ISPs are legally bound to store them for up to two years. However if you encrypt your connection then these and all other logs of your browsing are unreadable. How do you achieve this? Well there are two main methods using an encrypted SSH tunnel or an SSL Tunnel. This creates an encrypted session which can protect your surfing privacy completely.
This is just a starter but probably the most important thing is to be aware, think of the web sites you are visiting, realise that you could be monitored or intercepted. Be very wary of entering any personal details onto any suspect sites sites. Here’s a useful video about hiding your location (IP address)
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