; An Introduction To Anonymous Surfing
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An Introduction To Anonymous Surfing

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									An Introduction To
Anonymous Surfing
     Brought to you by:

       Margaret Ortiz
     Affilorama Jetpack
Privacy is a right most people practice everyday. It’s why bathrooms have
doors and locks, cubicles at the library are constructed to block out the
glances of other patrons, voting laws that allow you to cast a ballot
anonymously exist, and commuters don’t sit on your lap in the subway
(unless it’s really crowded, of course!) So it’s no surprise that people expect
a certain amount of privacy when surfing the Internet. In fact, many people
think their online activities are entirely anonymous – after all, no one can
see you in the World Wide Web, right?

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Internet browsing is not necessarily
anonymous, even though it may seem to be. First of all, your ISP (Internet
Service Provider) has the ability to log all the sites your IP (Internet Protocol)
address visits. Your IP address is how your computer is identified every time
you log on to the Internet. Secondly, the actual websites you visit can easily
track your IP address and log it for future reference. Your IP address doesn’t
specify your actual name, but it’s not difficult for the owner of a particular
website to link your IP address to your ISP.

It’s safe to assume most Internet surfers value anonymity online because
that is what makes the Internet a unique experience. For the first time in
history, people from around the world with access to a computer have been
able to connect to each other, communicate, and share information without
having to disclose personal information. On the Internet your alias is your
identity. It is this opportunity to remain anonymous that has allowed many
people to practice freedom of speech and use the Internet as a tool of
expression.

If used for legitimate activities, the Internet creates a forum in which the
average person can correspond with other people who share similar
interests and discuss issues that might be cause for embarrassment,
reprimand, or persecution in other circles. For instance, using a pseudonym
allows the individual to be creative, lets concerned citizens voice discontent
over corporate practices, and makes it possible for mistreated minorities to
express their feelings and discuss topics related to their experience without
fear of reprisal. As a source of information, the Internet is also a good place
to research sensitive topics, such as hair loss, without having to reveal your
identity. It’s easy to see why people might want to protect their anonymity
in the virtual world.

You might want to remain anonymous online for other reasons as well.
Some people require protection from the government, employers, or
corporations. Businesses use anonymous surfing to research their
competition incognito, while lawyers use it to visit websites that will help
him/her make a strong case for a client without disclosing their conduct to
the party under scrutiny, which could compromise a case. The average
person wants to surf anonymously just to avoid the prying eyes of nosy
websites and aggressive marketing companies.

So how do you surf anonymously? The only way to keep your browsing
habits under lock and key is to hide your IP address using anonymous web
browsing technology. Anonymous web browsing entails the use of a proxy
server, which is placed between you and the website you are visiting.
Essentially, your web browser “talks” to the proxy server (instead of directly
to the website) and the proxy server then “talks” to the website, shielding
your IP address from view. The website only sees the proxy server. Just make
sure you choose a proxy server you trust because the proxy server will know
your IP address.

Although all methods of anonymous surfing involve the use of a proxy
server, there are several ways to go about it. The first method works through
another website. You simply visit the website of the proxy server and then
type the URL of the site you want to browse. You’ll then be taken to the
website through the proxy server.

Another method requires that you download a client application. This is a
program that handles everything, regarding the proxy server, on your behalf
so you don’t have to worry about anything except browsing.

An anonymous web proxy service is another way to remain anonymous
online. With this method you have to configure your browser to point to an
anonymous web proxy, but once this has been accomplished your browsing
experience should be relatively hassle-free. These services are public and
exist for the sole purpose of anonymous surfing by proxy.

You can also set up your web browser to surf through your choice of an
anonymous server – the difference here is that an anonymous server does
not advertise as a web proxy service. Instead, you can find lists of these
servers published on the Internet. Another difference: you might not know
who is running the service, and as a result, the server could potentially
record your web traffic.

If you choose to employ a web proxy service, here are some things to look
out for:

1. A reputable service should set up a TLS or SSL tunnel for you. This means
network sniffers won’t be able to eavesdrop on your surfing habits.

2. Choose a service that supports the protocols you want to use. Some
services offer FTP, while others only support HTTP. Some also offer HTTPS,
but not all.

3. A good proxy service should do more than just hide your IP address. It
should also remove traffic such as cookies, scripts, pop-ups, banners, and
referrer information. Just make sure you have the option to configure these
elements so that websites for which you need to use cookies and pop-ups
won’t be rendered unusable.

No matter how you choose to surf the web anonymously, you’ll surely rest
easy knowing that your privacy isn’t being compromised every time you log
on.
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