It seems that the modern web makes it hard to stay private, but there are still ways to make it less likely that anyone can trace you. While no one can promise 100% privacy protection, these tips can maximize your odds.
Use a “No Log” VPN
A no-log VPN is a virtual private network (VPN) service that does not keep logs of its users’ online activities. This means that the VPN provider does not collect or store information about the websites you visit, the files you download, or the content you access while using the VPN.
Using a no-log VPN can help protect your online privacy by preventing third parties from seeing your online activity. Some VPNs may claim to be no-log, but it’s important to research and verify their privacy policies before using one.
Make Sure Your VPN Isn’t Leaky
You also need to be wary of VPN “leaks.” A VPN leak is a situation in which data that is supposed to be protected by a VPN is somehow exposed to outside parties. This can happen if a VPN connection is not properly established or if the VPN itself is not functioning properly. There are several different types of VPN leaks, including DNS leaks, IP address leaks, and WebRTC leaks.
To test for VPN leaks, you can use a VPN leak test tool, which is a website or app that checks for exposed data in your VPN connection. These tools typically work by establishing a connection to a VPN server and then running various tests to see if any sensitive information is being exposed. Some VPN leak test tools also allow you to test for specific types of leaks, such as DNS leaks or IP address leaks. If you want to test for VPN leaks, you can search online for a VPN leak test tool and follow the instructions provided by the tool to run the tests.
There are many VPN leak test tools available online. Some popular options include:
- ipleak.net: This website offers a simple and easy-to-use VPN leak test tool that checks for DNS leaks, IP address leaks, and WebRTC leaks.
- Perfect Privacy IP Check: This website offers a VPN leak test tool that checks for DNS leaks, IP address leaks, and WebRTC leaks.
VPN leak test tools may not be able to detect all types of VPN leaks, and the results of a leak test may not be accurate in all cases. If you are concerned about VPN leaks, it’s always a good idea to use a reputable VPN service and regularly check for leaks using a test tool.
Use Tor and Tails
Tor (The Onion Router) is free and open-source software that enables anonymous communication. It’s designed to protect your privacy and security by routing internet traffic through a network of servers, known as “onion routers,” which are operated by volunteers around the world. This makes it difficult for anyone to track the origin or destination of web traffic and allows you to access the internet anonymously.
TAILS (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) is a free and open-source operating system designed to be run on a USB stick or a DVD. It is based on the Linux operating system and comes pre-installed with several privacy and security-focused applications, such as the Tor browser.
TAILS is designed to be used with Tor, and it routes all internet traffic through the Tor network by default. This makes it difficult for anyone to track your online activities and provides an additional layer of anonymity and security.
Both Tor and TAILS are popular among those concerned about online privacy and security. They can be used together or independently to protect your online activities from surveillance and tracking. Tor does have its drawbacks, though, and setting up both Tor and TAILS isn’t a walk in the park. If you’re up for the challenge, though, you can download and install Tor and TAILS from their respective websites.
Use a Virtual Machine
Using a virtual machine (VM) can help with internet privacy in several ways. First, it allows you to use different operating systems on the same physical computer, which can help to compartmentalize your online activities. For example, you can use one operating system for personal browsing and another for work-related tasks. This can help to prevent your personal and professional activities from mixing and can make it more difficult for anyone to track your online activities.
Second, a virtual machine can provide an additional layer of security by allowing you to run applications and browse the internet in an isolated environment. This can help to prevent malware and other malicious software from infecting your main operating system and stealing your personal information.
Third, a virtual machine can also make it easier to use privacy-focused tools, such as the Tor browser or a VPN. These tools can be installed and run on a virtual machine, which can help to protect your online activities from surveillance and tracking.
Finally, virtual machines can prevent tracking methods that record your exact computer hardware, operating system, and browser fingerprint. If you use a VM, your hardware will look identical to anyone else using that VM, making it useless as a data point to track you.
For Ultimate Internet Privacy, Use a Killer Combo
If you use a VPN to hide your activity from your internet service provider and anyone else monitoring your internet connection and then use TAILS in a VM, while browsing using Tor, you’ll make it exceptionally hard for anyone to tie your identity to your internet activity or to see your activity in the first place. Of course, this isn’t the most convenient way to browse, so you’ll probably just want to do it for your most sensitive online activities.
There’s no such thing as perfect privacy or internet security, but if you use the right tool at the right time, you can make the risks vanishingly small. The above tools are all powerful privacy measures in their own right, and you can use them to build your own iron-clad solution.
However, just remember that none of these measures mean anything at all if you go ahead and share your private information openly. If you log into any of your accounts (such as Facebook) or pay for something using your credit card, whatever you do can be traced back to you, even if you are behind seven proxies.
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