50 Ways to Protect Your Anonymity Online and Off
Posted by Staff Writers on January 5, 2009
In today’s information age, it’s incredibly difficult to keep your personal data private. However, there are a number of ways that you can work to increase anonymity. Read on to discover 50 methods you can use to be as anonymous as possible.
Follow these tips to protect your anonymity online and off.
- Do not use credit cards: Credit cards make it easy for you to be tracked online and off, so avoid using them.
- Create a pseudonym: With a pseudonym, you can interact and communicate without revealing your identity.
- Avoid using your name when making donations: When submitting donations, do so anonymously.
- Encrypt: Use cryptography to protect your personal and confidential information online and off.
When browsing sites online, downloading, and performing general Internet activities, be sure to keep these anonymity safeguards up.
- Do not accept cookies: Cookies sound great until you realize they’re not delicious treats, but rather data miners after your browsing habits. Set your browser to never accept cookies.
- Pay careful attention to settings: On social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, you can set your options so that only people you know and trust will be able to see your information and updates.
- Don’t use email connected to search engines: Email like Gmail or Yahoo! Mail is connected to search engines, and using these can help the company identify who you are.
- Use a private ISP: ISPs almost always collect information about your browsing habits, so if possible, use an ISP that is private.
- Avoid spyware: Be vigilant about keeping spyware off your computer, as these programs can record your computer activities.
- Use a different password for every website: Be careful to mix your passwords up, so that if someone finds out your password for one site, they can’t use it for another.
- Blog without your real name: Keep your real name out of the picture when creating a blog.
- Use a variety of aliases: Don’t use the same screen name on every website you join, or it will be easy to find you online.
- Don’t use browser history: Set your browser history to avoid keeping a record of your visited websites.
- Use private domain registration: Keep your address and other personal information private when you register your domain name by using private domain registration.
- Clear your browser’s cache: Clear your cache to avoid keeping photos and other files on your computer.
- Exclude search robots: Keep your website or blog off of Google and other major search engines by creating a robots.txt file that will exclude all or some of the website.
- Carefully scrutinize anything you download: Some programs will piggyback spyware or allow the program to monitor your activities.
- Use a laptop: With a laptop, you’ll be able to move between a variety of different Internet connections.
- Use public computers: Make use of computers at libraries and cyber cafes that cannot be personally traced to you.
Although much of today’s information crimes are performed online, you can still be victimized offline as well, so be sure to follow these tips.
- Appear average: Don’t adopt a distinctive style — try to follow the situation or community that you’re in.
- Avoid excessive eye contact: Avoid eye contact when in crowds.
- Rent a PO box: Protect your home address by using a PO box for communications.
- Don’t sign up for loyalty programs: Avoid signing up for club key cards, as they will track your purchases.
- Block your number from caller ID: Dial *67 before placing a call to prevent your number from showing up on the call recipient’s caller ID.
- Only share information that can be changed easily: If you have to give out information, share a cell phone number or email address, both of which can be changed without too much trouble.
- Pay in cash: Whenever possible, pay for purchases using cash so that it can’t be tracked.
- Use a prepaid telephone: Prepaid telephones generally do not require your personal information and will almost never be listed in the phone book.
- Use public transportation: Using public transportation will help you avoid the paperwork involved in car titles, purchases, insurance, registration, and more.
- Rent anonymously: Check the classified ads and find someone who is looking for a roommate so that you won’t have to be on a lease, and can pay in cash.
- Ditch your landline, or go unlisted: Landlines are a common part of public records, so use a cell phone instead or pay to keep your number unlisted.
A great way to protect your anonymity is to put tools to work that will help you do so, so make use of these tools when protecting your anonymity.
- Firefox: The Firefox browser offers cookie options and lots of add ons that can help you create a more anonymous browsing experience.
- Tor: Tor will help you stay safe against traffic analysis.
- Privoxy: Pair this non-caching web proxy along with Tor to enhance your privacy and anonymity.
- Hushmail: Hushmail provides encrypted, secure email for free.
- GnuPG: You’ll be able to get encryption from GnuPG.
- SafeLizard: Using this CGI proxy service, you can retrieve websites anonymously.
- Public Proxy Servers: Use this resource to find a variety of proxy servers you can make use of.
- Anonymizer: Anonymizer’s Anonymous Surfing can help you protect your identity online.
- PGP Freeware: Use this encryption tool to protect your messages and more.
- Cloakfish: Get an analysis of your anonymity using this tool.
- SurfSecret: SurfSecret has a variety of online privacy tools, including firewalls, privacy vaults, and a popup eliminator.
- BrowserSpy: BrowserSpy will help you find out how many footprints your Internet browser is leaving.
- Anonym-OS: Anonym-OS is an anonymous operating system based on OpenBSD.
- HistoryKill: Use this tool to automatically delete cached files, cookies, URLs, AutoComplete, and more after you’re done with your session.
- InPrivate: Internet Explorer’s private browsing mode will allow you to surf the Internet without leaving a trace behind.
- beHidden: Make use of the tools on beHidden to surf, email, and more anonymously.
- Mixmaster: Mixmaster is a remailer that will provide you with anonymous or pseudononymous emailing that’s protected against traffic analysis.
- Anonymouse: Anonymouse offers anonymous email, web pages, and news.
- Complete Cleanup: Make your privacy arsenal more complete with this tool that will remove cookies, URL history, cache files, and more.