The term anonymous browsing refers to browsing the internet without exposing personal information that can be easily linked to you. From your internet service provider (ISP) and the companies behind popular internet browsers to hackers and criminals, there's a wide variety of entities who might want to view your personal data. Private browsing is the process of using the internet without giving away that data.
However, it's very important to remember that it's basically impossible to be fully anonymous online. Anonymous browsing is a catch-all term for a privacy-focused approach to internet use. While there are tools and techniques that can help you do this, you won't be able to go completely anonymous online.
Before deciding what tools you want to use to stay private online, it's important to define what level of privacy and general anonymity you need (bearing in mind that full anonymity is not possible).
From stealing your personal or financial information to tracking your location and monitoring all your internet activity, there are individuals as well as organizations who would have no issue with prying into your internet activity or personal life.
Stealing someone’s personal information is so easy that there are links which, when clicked, gather all your personal information like your name, phone number, address, and device information. This is quite a cause for concern as one can never know how this might be used by the thief. Where hackers look to steal your identity and personal data, government organizations look to monitor your internet activity in order to keep your activity in check in the name of national security.
Since nobody would like their activities monitored, let alone their personal information being stolen, anonymous web surfing is essential in today’s world.
No, it is not possible to stay truly anonymous online. Using certain tools — including VPNs, tracker blockers, and private browsers — can help a lot. But the moment you connect to the internet, you begin to leave a data trail. You can limit that trail, but eliminating it altogether is just not a realistic option.
In case of a proxy, the web address you are browsing thinks that the IP address of the proxy server is your address, making it harder to track your location or monitor your activity. There are a few things you need to know about proxies first:
Using a VPN is another method to surf the internet with a greater level privacy. VPNs connect you to the internet through an encrypted tunnel, so you can enjoy a safe browsing experience. The IP address visible to others is the address of the VPN server through which you are connected to the internet. They offer another functionality which makes them superior to proxy servers in that they encrypt all the packets exchanged between your system and the computer. So not only do VPNs hide your IP address, they also keep your data safe.
A third option to increase one’s privacy online is to use anonymous browsers. Tor Network is an example of such browser. Tor Network is a privacy network designed to hide information of which computer actually requested the traffic. Routing traffic through different nodes, it makes it difficult to say whether your computer initiated the connection or it may just be acting as a relay, relaying that encrypted traffic to another Tor node. If you want to get the benefits of the Tor experience while still keeping your data private and secure, use Onion Over VPN, one of NordVPN's useful additional features.
There are many threats to your personal data being exposed while you are surfing on the internet. Your location, identity, personal information, including interests and behaviour patterns can be ‘sniffed’ online. That information can be exploited without your knowledge. Therefore, you are encouraged to use a combination of anonymity services for desired security and privacy level.