You’ve probably never even thought that “browsing the web privately” was something that you needed to take extra steps to do. Most people think all web surfing is relatively private and nobody is really paying any attention. Unfortunately, there are many people, particularly in the form of marketers and advertisers, who watch almost every website you visit and record almost every click. Then there is your government. It may or may not be happening in your country, but many oppressive governments watch every move their citizens make.
But browsing privately may mean a few different things. Are cookies being installed on the device? Is the user’s IP address visible? Can someone see the data you are transmitting? Fortunately, there are a bunch of things you can do to reduce the potential for Big Brother surveillance to happen on your PC.
#1 Use your browser’s “anonymous” or “incognito” tab. Chrome definitely offers a private browsing option that leaves no cookies or cache behind. This is generally used when a PC is shared amongst many people and a user doesn’t want others peeking at his or her history.
#2 Remove cookies. Each browser has its own setting for removing cookies. For example, in Internet Explorer, hit Ctrl-Shift-Delete and a dialog box will pop up that will allow you to delete whatever you want in your history. More browsers are listed here.
#3 Install a free tool called CCleaner. CCleaner cleans your Windows PC of all the stuff that you don’t want on there. Added bonus: It makes your computer faster, too.
#4 Checkout PrivacyChoice, which is also free. PrivacyChoice is a browser extension that instantly checks your privacy settings across websites and companies collecting your data.
#5 Use free Hotspot Shield VPN. Out of all the above options, Hotspot Shield VPN provides the most privacy by proactively protecting your IP address by assigning an IP address of its own. Used in combination with an incognito or anonymous browser, Hotspot Shield VPN will make you pretty close to invisible on the internet.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.