So you want to browse the web securely and privately? Here’s a hard truth: it’s almost impossible. It’s not just your internet provider that knows which sites you visit, it’s also the government — and other governments! And when it’s not them, it’s social media sites, ad networks or apps tracking you across the web to serve you specific and targeted ads. Your web browsing history can be highly personal. It can reveal your health concerns, your political beliefs and even your porn habits — you name it. Why should anyone other than you know those things? Here are three tips to cover most of your bases.
A VPN can help hide your identity, but doesn’t make you anonymous
You might have heard that a VPN — or a virtual private network — might keep your internet traffic safe from snoopers. Well, not really. A VPN lets you create a dedicated tunnel that all of your internet traffic flows through — usually a VPN server — allowing you to hide your internet traffic from your internet provider. That’s good if you’re in a country where censorship or surveillance is rife or trying to avoid location-based blocking. But otherwise, you’re just sending all of your internet traffic to a VPN provider instead. Essentially, you have to choose who you trust more: your VPN provider or your internet provider. The problem is, most free VPN providers make their money by selling your data or serving you ads — and some are just downright shady. Even if you use a premium VPN provider for privacy, they can connect your payment information to your internet traffic, and many VPN providers don’t even bother to encrypt your data.
Some VPN providers are better than others: tried, tested — and trusted — by security professionals. Services like WireGuard are highly recommended, and are available on a variety of devices and systems — including iPhones and iPads. We recently profiled the Guardian Mobile Firewall, a smart firewall-type app for your iPhone that securely tunnels your data anonymously so that even its creators don’t know who you are. The app also prevents apps on your phone from tracking you and accessing your data, like your contacts or your geolocation.
You’ll need a secure DNS
What does it mean that “your internet provider knows what sites you visit,” anyway? Behind the scenes on the internet, DNS — or Domain Name System — converts web addresses into computer-readable IP addresses. Most devices automatically use the resolver that’s set by the network you’re connected to — usually your internet provider. That means your internet provider knows what websites you’re visiting as chatfemmelesbienne. And recently, Congress passed a law allowing your internet provider to sell your browsing history to advertisers.
You need a secure and private DNS provider. Many use publicly available services — like OpenDNS or Google’s Public DNS. They’re easy to set up — usually on your computer or device, or on your home router. HTTPS is your friend
One of the best things for personal internet security is HTTPS.
HTTPS secures your connection from your phone or your computer all the way to the site you’re visiting. Most major websites are HTTPS-enabled, and appear as such with a green padlock in the address bar. HTTPS makes it almost impossible for someone to spy on your internet traffic intercept and steal your data in transit.
Every time your browser lights up in green or flashes a padlock, HTTPS encrypts the connection between your computer and the website. Even when you’re on a public Wi-Fi network, an HTTPS-enabled website will protect you from snoopers on the same network.
Every day, the web as www.unerencontregay.com becomes more secure, but there’s a way to go. Some websites are HTTPS ready but don’t have it enabled by default. That means you’re loading an unencrypted HTTP page when you could be accessing a fully HTTPS page. That’s where one browser extension, HTTPS Everywhere, comes into play. This extension automatically forces websites to load HTTPS by default. It’s a lightweight, handy tool that you’ll forget is even there.