How (and why) to surf the web in secret

Essential tips and tools for hiding your IP address and surfing the web in blissful anonymity.

By Brad Chacos, PC World |  Security, privacy

To avoid this, download a second web browser (Chrome and Firefox are great choices) and change your anonymous browser's settings to wipe cookies every time you close the browser. If you're worried about local users snooping on your Internet exploits, be sure to use your browser's Private or Incognito mode so anyone who opens your browser won't be able to check the history and see where you've been.

Finally, this probably doesn't need to be said, but if you log into a website using a username/password combination, the website administrators can track you regardless of whether you're using an anonymizer service. If you need to log in to a website to tap into its full features, see if BugMeNot has a generic login available for the site.

Got it? Good! Let's dig into the various anonymizing tools at your disposal.

Web proxies

The most basic way to surf websites anonymously is by using web-based proxies like Proxify, Anonymouse or Hide My Ass. Web proxies are simple and easy to use: Just head to the anonymizing website, type in the URL of the website you want to visit anonymously, and you're off! Some even include advanced features like the ability to encrypt your connection or block ads, cookies, and JavaScript.

Web proxies may be straightforward (and often free), but they have several drawbacks. Data speeds can be atrocious, certain types of content (videos, music, etc.) may be difficult to access, many proxy services interject their own advertising, and some websites simply won't work through a proxy.

Also, while free web proxies are a dime a dozen and new ones pop up on an almost hourly basis, it's difficult to tell which ones are honeypots set up by bad guys hoping to sneak a peek at your personal information as you share it through their proxy server. In other words, you shouldn't do your online banking or log into a password-protected website when you're using a web proxyespecially if the connection isn't encrypted vita HTTP Secure (denoted by an https:// prefix in your browser's address bar).

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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