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Privacy is becoming more and more in demand these days. A lot of people thought that they were perfectly safe and their private stuff was indeed private.

Unfortunately, that is something we can no longer consider an accurate statement; not after 2013 and all the info Edward Snowden leaked confirming that the US government had been spying on their citizens for years without their consent. The Internet gives us all the good stuff that we love like social media, Youtube, Wikipedia, online gaming, blogs, news and much more. Those things have great importance to a lot of us and it’s impossible to imagine life without using them. ‘Is there a way out?’ you might ask or ‘what do I do to reclaim my privacy?’

In fact there are ways to hide your web-life from peeping Toms. VPN’s and Proxies are the most widespread solutions. ‘I use a VPN every day, am I safe’ could be your next question. The general answer is ‘Yes’.


1. Make sure a Firewall is up and running.

Despite how trivial this may sound, Firewalls should be on at all times, generally even when you are not using a VPN to avoid unauthorized incoming connections over the network. Most MS Windows anti-viruses come with built-in firewalls. Those have per-configured presets and do not allow you to change the settings. This sounds convenient but does not give you 100% assurance that all your ports are closed (except for manually added rules).

That is why we recommend using something like UFW firewalls or IP tables (both are native for Linux) which will provide a decent level of customization but will also require a little expert knowledge to configure. You may also be interested in something like zonealarm. It is one of the most popular anti-virus + firewall programs available today.


2. Stay Incognito

Most people forget that their web browser gives away a tremendous amount of personal user information. This partly happens because of a website policies which require them to use cookies and things like that. Some websites inform you about this situation as you enter them but unfortunately not all. So, be cautious and use incognito mode (ctrl+alt+n on Chrome browser) or purge all your history and cookies after the session is over.


3. Disable Geo-location services

Most of us use tablets and smartphones for everyday stuff like Youtube, Facebook, Netfilx, your Google account, etc. Those who want to use these devices for private operations better watch out as your device is outfitted with numerous tracking features, like GPS, and it can easily leak your actual location without you realizing it. So it’s safer to keep all those turned off if anonymity is your priority.


4. Manage your cookies

We do not pay attention to cookies nowadays, they’re everywhere and often perceived as something trivial that we should not worry about. Well, for most regular Internet users that somehow holds true. “What do cookies do?” Well, by design, cookies try to improve recurrent web-browsing, that is to say if you often some same web-sites cookies try to remember your preferences and store pieces of a website for faster access at a later time.

“Well, there’s nothing wrong with that!” True, however, cookies can be easily modified and transformed into tracking scripts which will monitor your activity and network information often to be able to sell it to advertisers. That does not mean it cannot be used for other purposes. Those who value privacy and anonymity should avoid using and most importantly storing/caching cookies or at least filter their cookies while looking for potentially unwanted ones.

Clear all browser history and cookies after the session is over to stay private.