If you think you are anonymous on the internet then think again, by simply connecting to the internet you share information about your computer, your geographical location and even web sites you have just visited.
Some of the information you have already given away:
What will anyone possibly do with this little information? but if you combine this with say your Facebook profile where you have given away your name, date of birth, email address and also your browsing habits i.e what websites you often visit, what you like to buy on internet etc, you have pretty much given it all away. Ever wondered how the ads on websites you visit relate to a recent search or purchase?
Before i tell you how to be anonymous, it is important to understand what an IP adress and proxy server is.
What is an IP address?
Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique number assigned to devices connected to public Internet. Your internet router is assigned an IP address when it connects to Internet service provider. So your ISP can identify internet requests made by your router and can route the data to it. Similarly, your devices such as PCs and laptops connect to your router and are assigned a local ip address so the router can identify which device is making the request and where to route the data. So it is your internet router that is connected to the internet, has the public IP address that gives away the above information and shares this internet connection with all your devices.
What is Proxy Server?
An anonymous proxy serves as a middleman between your web browser and an end server. Instead of contacting the end server directly to get a Web page, the browser contacts the proxy, which forwards the request on to the end server. When the end server replies to the proxy, the proxy sends the reply on to the browser. No direct communication occurs between the client and the destination server, therefore it appears as if the HTTP request originated from the intermediate proxy server. The only way to trace the connection to the originating client would be to access the logs on the anonymous web proxy (if it keeps any). So an anonymous proxy server can protect your identity by stripping a request of all identifying information.
I could not have explained the above any better so credit where its due.
How to be anonymous?
We now understand what IP address is and what proxy server is so all we need to do is hide our IP address by using a proxy server so all the websites see the IP address of the proxy server that cannot be traced back to us.
There few ways of achieving this:
This is a paid service which lets you connect through a VPN to a server. Here is an example: http://www.hideipvpn.com. There are many other websites offering similar service, whichever website you decide to buy from, ensure there are no logs kept by the server and all the data is encrypted.
2) Web Proxy
This is very simple, go to proxy website such as www.hidemyass.com/proxy/ or www.anonymouse.org and then typing the website you want to access in their search box. The only disadvantage is that there are ads above the website.
3) IP Proxies
First go to http://hidemyass.com/proxy-list/ and find an IP address with good speed, connectivity and high anonymity level. Set the IP address and the port in your internet browser.
Firefox: Edit > Preferences > Advanced
Internet Explorer 8
Google Chrome: Options > Under the hood > Network > Change proxy settings > LAN settings > Use a proxy server > Advanced > HTTP
Opera: Tools > Preferences > Advanced > Network
You will have to regularly update this with an IP address that provides good connection and speed. There will be country specific restrictions e.g. if you set an IP from China, you will not be able to browse websites blocked in China.
If you need to anonymous for life threatening reasons than stick to VPN solution, otherwise use Web or IP proxy.
Remember, your IP is your ID!