Protecting your privacy while browsing the Internet may seem difficult, but there are a number of tools available to prevent your data from being tracked. Considering the controversies of data commercialization on the deep web, collected due to the use of popular search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, it is important to preserve the identity on the network and avoid slippage. Services like alternative search engines, VPN networks and temporary e-mail accounts are some of the alternatives to protect yourself online. Below, check out the most important tools for using the Internet without leaving a trace.
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Alternative search engines allow you to preserve privacy – Photo: Daniel Dutra / dnetc
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1. Use VPN applications
One of the best ways to protect your privacy on the Internet is to use VPNs. The acronym stands for «Virtual Private Network», which can be translated as «Virtual Private Network». Basically, this type of service restricts access to the credentials of computers and devices on a given network. Thus, these devices can connect to each other through a restricted access communication network, which keeps the data exchanged between them more encrypted and secure.
As a result, VPNs have several advantages, in addition to protecting privacy. As they restrict access to the source of the connection used, they can be used to access streaming services that are not available in a user’s original IP region, for example.
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Despite all these advantages, one must pay attention to the risks offered by free and unlimited VPN services. Some of these risks are the transmission of malware, theft and sale of data, and even the application of attacks using ramsomware, which prevents the user from accessing his own device until a ransom amount is paid to release the system.
Therefore, the best VPN options remain paid. There are several outstanding options on the market, such as Private Internet Access, F-Secure Freedome VPN and NordVPN. There are also options offered by antivirus services, such as avast! SecureLine VPN.
2. Access websites only through anonymous browsing
Anonymous browsing, a feature found in most browsers, prevents data from being recorded in the browser’s history. This browsing mode can be activated in browsers such as Safari, for iOS, for example, as well as in browsers such as Mozilla Firefox. The function is also available in Chrome for mobile, both in its version for Android and for iPhone (iOS).
Anonymous or private browsing mode is a globally used tool, but it has limits – Photo: Reproduction / Barbara Mannara
It should be noted, however, that there are many myths regarding the use of anonymous browsing, both on desktop and mobile. This browsing mode is particularly useful for preventing browser history from being recorded, as well as preventing many ads. In addition, as it prevents the customization of searches on some sites, the anonymous browsing mode can help, for example, in the search for cheaper products.
However, anonymous browsing does not make the user completely invisible. As the user’s IP remains active, the Internet server, as well as mass surveillance agencies, continues to have access to the user’s actions in the virtual space.
3. Use browser with crawler blocker
A useful tool for protecting online privacy are browsers with crawler blockers. This type of browser brings a tool that blocks ads used by companies like Google and Facebook, which protects user data, in addition to making browsing faster.
Mozilla browser with crawler blocker reached one million downloads in its week of launch for Android – Photo: Reproduction / Elson de Souza
A standout product is Firefox Focus, a Mozilla browser whose version for Android phones was launched in July 2017 with the promise of increasing the privacy and security of its users. This browser, whose version for iPhone had been launched in 2016, reached the number of 1 million downloads in the first week of launching its version for the Android system.
4. Use temporary email for logins
Preserving your primary email account for spam is an important strategy in the virtual environment. For this reason, free temporary email options are increasingly common, which can be useful for testing free services and keeping your main account anonymous. The services can offer different benefits to the user.
Sharklasers allows you to modulate different domains in your temporary email, but it does not offer possibilities for reply or forwarding. The 20 Minute Mail service allows you to send text messages and also images. One of the sites with the most accessible interface is Temp Mail. Finally, a service that stands out is Air Mail, which allows you to customize an address and, later, access a special inbox via a URL.
Air Mail offers a unique link to your temporary mailbox – Photo: Reproduction / Paulo Alves
5. Avoid Google or Yahoo
Avoiding some of the main search engines is an important strategy to preserve your privacy on the Internet. Although they are very popular, Google and Yahoo search engines have a long history of controversy regarding the privacy of their users. In the case of Google, the search engine stores information about its users for each direct search, such as cookies and IP address.
In addition, the search engine uses the search history of users to display ads. Due to these aspects of the most widespread search engines, there are more and more rivals of search engines like Google, such as Qwant, StartPage and DuckDuckGo.
DuckDuckGo is an alternative to more popular search engines like Google and Yahoo – Photo: Reproduction / André Sugai
A prominent alternative to search engines like Google or Yahoo is DuckDuckGo. This search engine stands out precisely for the promise of greater privacy, which helped it reach the mark of 30 million direct searches per day in 2018. Another differential of the search engine is the lower occurrence of advertisements on the site.