Anonymous Browsing the Internet

Browsing the Internet Anonymously

Anonymous Browsing the Internet

Many of you may be concerned about the unseen tracking that happens when you browse the internet.

Much or most of this is fairly innocuous; for example the majority of online tracking is used by marketing and advertising companies for the purpose of serving relevant advertisements to you in allocated banner ad space on websites who are supplementing their income, etc.

Having said that, there are legitimate concerns that when you browse certain websites (or any websites), that your internet address (IP) location may be logged and correlated with the sites that you are visiting..

This could potentially be flagging or profiling your behavior in NSA data mining servers located in Bluffdale, Utah for example , or any other 3rd-party entity.

Related: How To Search The Internet Without Big Brother Watching

Here’s one way to get around all that…

 
It’s called the ‘Tor Project Bundle’ for browsing anonymity online, to protect your privacy and defend yourself against network surveillance and traffic analysis.

Tor prevents anyone from learning your location or browsing habits.
Tor is for web browsers, instant messaging clients, remote logins, and more.
Tor is free and open source for Windows, Mac, Linux/Unix, and Android.

By the way, I am in no way affiliated with them (it’s free), and am only presenting this for your information…

After you’ve downloaded the Tor browser software, and when you use it to connect to the internet, your internet address (IP) location will be completely hidden as your connection is bounced around the world between various Tor nodes.

To the end-user (or the entity that is watching) you are not ‘you’ anymore, but instead become a different IP address at some other random location within the Tor network. You are masked.

Without getting heavy into the technical details which you can read about on their website, TorProject.org, all you need to do is download the Tor Project Bundle software to your computer and you’re done.

Then, anytime you wish to browse the internet anonymously, simply click on the Tor Browser link located inside the Tor Browser folder (which is located wherever you had downloaded the software).

You can even save a copy of the downloaded Tor Browser folder on a USB thumb drive, which you can then use on any computer anywhere.

The speed of browsing is somewhat slower than your typical connection, but that’s a small penalty for anonymity. In addition, not all features may be available that you may be used to with your regular browser while you are on the internet with Tor Browser.

torproject.org/

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13 Comments

  1. Though Tor is great and will shield you from the generalized scan of whatever ABC agency you might like it will not hide you completely from a targeted surveillance effort. Even though Tor bounces your packets around the internet and back again there are definite paths that it takes. Through the use of multiple nodes and router schemes makes you hidden from all but the most prying eyes, make no mistake, if someone has the resources and the time they can track you. And with the data logging and data mining that goes on at the NSA they don’t even need to be actively watching you.

    Will Tor help… Sure I have used it a lot. Does it mean you are suddenly invisible to everyone, no. Use it but remember common sense and don’t go out there and look up things that will get you arrested or watched. Use it so that you can be inconsequential when it comes to the data foot print you leave.

    1. Thanks for the input, and I agree entirely that with the resources of government, there is nothing that you can really do if you are fully targeted in this way. Best to stay out of their radar, stay away from illegal activity, and simply maintain a low profile ;)

      And let me add so as to be clear… in no way is this article suggesting the use of Tor or any other similar method for illegal activity. It is a tool to become reasonably cloaked while you browse legitimate sites but wish to remain anonymous from trackers.

      1. Thanks, I just wanted to make sure people didn’t think they were suddenly getting a cloak of invincibility on the net, it tends to bread stupidity when you think your invincible. I think most of the people on here are level headed enough to know better than to use anything you post for illegal purposes but you definitely got to cover your back side. Keep up the good posts Ken!

    1. I had no problem using IE to access the Tor page. Also, the browser that the Tor bundle uses is built around Firefox.

  2. You can still be tracked with Tor (even though difficult with regional data miners)But if you really want to be anonymous use tor with a Laptop that you paid cash for at a store that doesn’t know you. Dont buy the warranty because you dont want to give out any personal information at any time. Buy a prepaid 3g or 4g modem- again with cash and give no info. Use false names when you register online (It always asks you when you register). This way even if you are eventually “tracked” – there is a dead end. This is probably why Anonymous the online group has been mostly successful evading detection when they have every security system in the book looking for them. The only way they get caught is through sloppiness (using named accounts) or by the Govt. using snitches.

    1. Even this will leave you open to being tracked. Any time you connect to a network be it physically or through a wireless connection you can be tracked. Some topologies and connection media make it easier than others but all have a point of contact and that contact can always be known. With a physical connection like DSL you have a wire and records as to who is on what line. If you use a wireless link like 3G or 4G you still have a radio signal that is being broadcast and ever since 1996 every cellular device has had track capabilities built in, not to mention the simple idea of triangulation of radio signals could be used.

      So if you want to remain completely off the radar you need to be mobile you need to use proxies, free wifi hotspots and by all means as was stated above you never use a computer that is tied to you. If you have a PC that you intended to use for this but now you cant because you paid with a visa or something, there is a way around this. You need a new wireless card (never use the Ethernet port for this) and perhaps a new CPU as both have traceable serial numbers. Swap them out with ones you have paid cash (or at least a prepaid visa) and you’re good to go. Then use an operating system/browser combo that does not track you internet usage on the PC (it will be a bit slower because caching wont be there, but its worth it if you really want to stay off the radar.

      Tread lightly, move quickly and only stay online as long as you need to.

  3. One possible downside to using Tor.

    I tried it a while back. Showed my IP as being in Romania. Went to Amazon, got the German Amazon site. Just goes to show that situational awareness counts in cyberspace as well.

    1. Yes, that makes sense as a downside when shopping at Amazon, whereby you would be automatically sent to their nearest online country presence based on your current IP address location. Thanks for the heads-up. Being anonymous is NOT easy in today’s modern digital world.

  4. The main problem in using any privacy-enhancing product or procedure is to NOT be the ONLY (or one of FEW) users. That was the problem with early tools like PGP. It’s easy to spot the people who use it and ironically that may attract undue attention to yourself. What you “need” to do is get MANY people (including most with “nothing to hide”) to use a tool/procedure so as to be able to “hide in plain sight”.

    With PGP (Pretty Good Privacy, an email encryption program), the analogy given was sending people letters inside an opaque envelope as opposed to sending messages on postcards. If you automatically put your letters in paper envelopes, whether you “need to” or not, then it wouldn’t look (as) suspicious.

    I was a big fan of PGP, even being one with “nothing to hide”, but, unfortunately, it never achieved “critical mass”. It was enough of a hassle to install and use it that few of my email friends would go to the trouble of installing and using it. PGP’s biggest weakness was the human factor — keeping keyrings secure.

  5. Might it be true that any effort to hide yourself is itself a flag for government “bots”. Therefore it becomes part of a profiling tool, which, I believe, MOST of the internet is designed to do. Why do most sites solicit “comments” like this site, here. Is it supposed to make us feel good, does it build loyalty, does it connect us socially? Or, is it a COLD hard illuminati eye with an inherent bad faith model of humanity?

  6. Just a couple of thoughts:
    1) You are tracked by multiple tracking companies wherever you go on the Internet. There are addons for Firefox that block that. One is called DoNotTrackMe. One can also download an addon for Firefox called Google Shring Disabled. I sure wouldn’t utilize Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.

    2) Tracking occurs not only from IP addresses but also more quietly ny MAC addresses. Your computer likely uses a Wifi connection, and your Wifi card uses a unique MAC address. One can randomize that with a tool called TMAC which is free.

    3) Today websites can read your font cache, the fonts that you have stored on your computer, and that acts like a fingerprint. A good program like CCleaner will remove that as well as cleaning up your history in a far better manner than just clearing your Internet history.

    Doing all three will significantly reduce your online presence.

    Let’s be honest. People are extremely foolish these days with things like Facebook, Instantgram, and so forth. Why in the world would you load up your private photos to a cloud somewhere for anyone to download. Most people forget to carefully check the privacy settings on such photos. Some foolishly have their name and address in there as well as signifiers like the camera model. All of that can be tracked to you.

    Even with photo recognition software, many hackers have traced people’s profile photos to their Facebook accounts, and therefore learned just about every personal thing about you. Why are people so blind?

    Not to mention this, but each of us writes in a unique manner. We can’t help but use the same common phrases over and over, or relate the same stories over and over as we make posts on forums. Because of things like the Internet Wayback Machine, nothing that is ever foolishly stated on an Internet forum, and then even deleted, is truly deleted. One need only look up an archived website as above, and then see what was posted, something that several technically savvy journalists have begun doing.

    It would behoove folks to intentionally write incorrect or misleading personal narratives in order to reduce detection and improve your anonimity…such as it is today.

    There’s a scary film that preppers may wish to watch called the End of Violence. It was made in 1997 and details the lack of privacy leading to assassination by government operatives using Satelite based missle systems. It is entirely probable and foreshadows things like drone attacks that are occuring in present day.

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