To ensure a safe and anonymous browsing, you can take the following tips for private browsing:
1. Be Careful of Businesses Asking for Information
Companies ask for personal information for them to know you. Some only need an e-mail address from your end for you to access their service or join contests they hold in exchange for prizes. However, these companies might only use your email for marketing purposes while others can even sell it to other companies.
To avoid this, research the company for you to know how legit they really are. E-mails containing raffle entries or a message saying you “won” are something to be wary of. Another tip when avoiding these types of emails is to create an “alternate” e-mail address with a fake name and use it to register in websites/forums.
2. Cookie Maintenance
This non-edible cookie is used by websites to register your browser on their end – giving you faster access to already visited pages and even leaving your account logged in if you want to. It also allows the website’s company to track your activity on their website, and they can use it to provide advertisements. However, they can also use it as another revenue tactic without your consent.
To protect yourself against certain cookies, you can download add-ons for browsers, access private browsing modes for on your browser, or use anonymity browsers.
3. Ignore Suspicious E-mails
These are emails which offer contests, prizes that you “won”, and even product promotions. Some even post self-development programs, but who knows what’s really inside of that “service” once you register?
Therefore, these spam emails should always be ignored and deleted. Some of these emails will still send but will eventually give up if you don’t reply. Otherwise, report them instead.
4. Access Confidential Accounts Privately
Aside from social media accounts, accounts like online banking and/or payment accounts should never be accessed in internet cafes, others’ gadgets, or even on other networks. Other devices such as a computer in internet cafes might contain key loggers – software to detect everything you type. Some networks tend to send data to third party networks. Its operators can hijack your internet traffic and send clickable ads, or even viruses in your device to steal info.
Just don’t login your confidential accounts in public or on a different device. However, if an emergency arises or if you’re using a friend’s device, do so.
5. Password Strength is Important
There are lots of people who often use passwords like “qwerty” or “12345”. Whether it’s through guessing or via a software, people can easily access an account with mediocre passwords. You should be aware that we live in an age where thieves can expertly steal information online – without you noticing at all.
To strengthen your password, simply make a mixture of numbers and letters. Some even put special characters in the middle of the combination to make it stronger. You can also use Diceware and password managers if you feel like going for stronger passwords.
6. Private Browsing must be Considered
There are some browsers that can help you access pages anonymously, and these are for free. Tor browser is the prime example of anonymous browsers. For cookie-free search engines, there are also some available for free and as a mobile app. VPNs are also important to install along with these. VPNs can also be installed as add-ons on your favorite browser.
Also, you must take note of shortened links nowadays (ex: youtu.be/ASD123) because some might be “masks” leading you towards a fake website that can steal your login details. Use Tor when accessing these sites.
7. VPNs are Helpful
If you connect to a VPN service, your traffic and IP address will be placed in a network tunnel with high security and encryption. Once done, everyone who attempts to check your traffic and online activity will see a lot of jumbled up letters, numbers and symbols only.
VPNs also allow you to access certain sites that might be blocked – such as sites only available in geo-restricted sites. Some of these might be stores that can help you purchase at a very low price. Attackers and third party networks see a proxy IP address at this point, and not your current IP address. It’s a must-have in all browsers nowadays.
8. Never Share Too Many Details
Securing your information is of your own consent, and only you can do it. Always know who you’re going to share information with – be it online or offline. When online, never give your real e-mail address to suspicious websites and on chat. Never share your personal data or any related info such as your SSID to public websites and other computers.
Lastly, whether you’re on a secure network or not, every info shared online cannot be undone. Some people can use that saved info for their own profit.
9. Share Your Location Wisely
Nowadays, thanks to GPS, we can share our current location in our own social networks to let others know our whereabouts. Most of these locations might be a luxurious resort, your favorite hangout spot, a hotel, or a place away from home. This is often called as “check-in” on social networking sites, and people even include pictures with their friends and special someone when doing so. It’s a very fun activity online, but it’s also one of the reasons why stalkers find it easier to do their own “fun” activity.
Sharing location publicly can also let third-party networks to track your exact location or even hijack your device to get updated on where you may be. Aside from GPS and checking-in, never share your location to suspicious companies and people online.
10. Always Log Out
It’s very convenient for social media sites and other forums to leave our accounts logged in for easier access. However, it’s also important to remember that they must be logged out at all times, especially if you’re logged in on other devices/networks. It’s the very basic form of anonymous browsing and the very tip that some people tend to forget.
These 10 extremely vital tips when browsing privately are the very basics of private browsing. If you know more than half of them, you can consider all your e-mails and accounts safe and away from any potential attacker that can exploit it.