Sunday, December 20, 2015

How to go Incognito from ISP and websites ?

Incognito mode or private mode in browsers is extensively used for various reasons. Core value it brings is non-persistence of your browsing history.  Your browser starts with clean slate and leaves no traces on laptop/device which is great for privacy.
 Just to refresh what you get from Incoginto -
  1.  Browser starts with clean slate - No cookies or older traces of visiting any sites or login info 
  2. Leave no traces of visiting any site
  3. Cleanup any cookies when you close down browser 
All-in-all a great tool for privacy. 
Using just Incognito mode is NOT the total solution for privacy. You need to go beyond that.
Your browser clearly calls out two warnings 
  1. Your Internet service provider (ISP) can see what you do online
  2. Websites you visit knows where you come from - your physical location is known 

Possible solution ?  Use VPN / Tor / Tor-Router

Use VPN 

 Virtual Private Network(VPN) is known way to protect yourself from ISP. It creates a tunnel between your computer and a server and all data from machine gets encrypted.  You ISP cannot see what you browse or download.

There are lots of VPN service provider with various internal options to choose from.  Most of VPN vendors come with handy app/program to install on your laptop and use login credentials to go incognito. 

Advantage of using VPN:
  1. Great for travel purposes. If you connect to public Wi-Fi then VPN is perfect
  2. Multiple servers world wide to connect and choose your exit point. Most VPN vendors have distributed network of servers around the globe for you
Disadvantage of using VPN:
  1. Its a paid service
  2. You need to configure it on every device on which you need privacy
  3. Your data now can be snooped by VPN vendors.

Use Tor  browser -

Tor browser has been getting popular for privacy and its been used by 2 million plus people around the globe.  Its a package that you need to download and run from your laptop which comes with its own browser (Firefox tuned for privacy).
Once you use Tor browser, all network-data from browser gets encrypted and traversed between random servers around the globe. Your ISP cannot see which sites you visit, neither websites know where you come from. Read more on Tor here -
Advantages of Tor Browser:
  1. Its a free service
  2. Your data gets encrypted with tree layered encryption 
  3. Data travels between random volunteered servers and thus great level of privacy
Disadvantages of Tor Browser
  1. Tor slows down your network as it routes your network traffic from multiple servers before it hits the website.
  2. Tor browser is platform specific - available for Mac / Linux / Windows / Android  and you need to install it on every device. 

Use Tor Router - 

A new generation of routers are seen in recent years that integrates Tor in Wi-Fi router. You connect any device to this Wi-Fi router and your privacy is ON.  No installation required on any device.  Your network-data from any device and any app gets routed from Tor Network.  ISPs can't see which websites you browse, neither websites know your location.
There are three companies(in my knowledge) in this space - "Privacy On Top",  "Anonabox" and "InvizBox"

Note that you need to still use Incognito mode when you use Tor Router. You now get benefit of protecting your entire network data from ISP and also all advantage of local Incognito mode.
Advantages of Tor Router- 
  1. Network Data from all devices and app gets encrypted and routed via multiple servers.
  2. No installation of any app on any device
  3. Centralized privacy for all your home device
Disadvantages of Tor Router
  1. You need to buy Tor Router - Its a one time purchase though
  2. Tor slows down your network as data is routed from multiple servers around world.
Hope you found this article useful. Please share and comment on it.  Would love to hear more options in case if I missed anything.

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