In this chapter we look at;
Here are some of the reasons for browsing the Internet anonymously;
When we visit a website on the Internet we leave a trail of information behind us, both on our own computer and on the server (the remote computer that hosts the website): who we are, what we are looking at, when we looked at it and what pages we visited before and after the site we are currently looking at. When you visit a website, you leave a record of what is called your IP (Internet Protocol) address behind. This is unique to you and it is linked to the home address that the computer is being used at by your ISP (Internet Service Provider eg. BT or Virgin). The police, scammers or advertisers can use this information to find out who has looked at what site and when. Your web browser is also likely to be disclosing all sorts of information about itself, and, by implication, about you too, without you knowing it.There is more information on this in an interview here.1
Using an internet cafe or library may help. However, a lot of them require ID (library card, passport or drivers licence) or may have CCTV.
Here are a few broad categories to think about and pointers to further information.
There are no methods of security that are 100% reliable and they do not always work with all operating systems. It is a good thing to ask your techie friends about. There is a mailing list on aktivix where people may be able to help too: firstname.lastname@example.org However be aware that it is open and publicly archived.
Duck Duck Go - http://duckduckgo.com/ : We don't track or bubble you
Ixquick - https://www.ixquick.com/ : The world's most private search engine
There are other things you can do to increase your safety when browsing the Internet. These include.
To do this we reccomend installing Firefox as your browser. There are other browsers out there that work just fine but Firefox (of some of the close relations) have great Add Ons as we will find out.
Https is a form of encryption for browsing the web. You can tell if it is being used as you will see https instead of http in your browser.
Https Everywhere is an Add On which forces your browser to use https everywhere that it possibly can. http://en.flossmanuals.net/basic-internet-security/ch018_noscript/
Adblock Plus (http://www.adblockplus.org) is mainly known for blocking advertisements on websites. But it also can be used to block other content that may try to track you. To keep current with the latest threats, Adblock Plus relies on blacklists maintained by volunteers.
Firefox can remember your internet passwords. This can be a very convenient option to use with all those different sites requiring passwords nowadays. However, if you use this function you have to set a master password, otherwise this feature is a real security threat. To enable a master password open your Firefox preferences and select the security icon. Check the "use a master password" box. More info here. 5
Below is a short list of extensions that are not covered in this book but are helpful to further protect you.
Flagfox - puts a flag in the location bar telling you where the server you are visiting is most probably located. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/flagfox/
BetterPrivacy - manages "cookies" used to track you while visiting websites. Cookies are small bits of information stored in your browser. Some of them are used to track the sites you are visiting by advertisers. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/betterprivacy/GoogleSharing - If you are worried that google knows your search history, this extension will help you prevent that. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/googlesharing/