An overview of the security benefits people get when they browse anonymously and why it is becoming so popular.
Privacy is a topic that is brought up regularly when it comes to the internet. With easy access to almost all information, and third-party tracking spurred by advertising needs, the internet can be a double-edged sword for people with privacy concerns.
But the development of private browsing options from popular internet browsers, as well as web-based proxy servers has changed the way information can be accessed, giving people some more internet security and anonymity. While it might seem a bit extreme to go to the trouble of finding and using privacy options, there are many reasons people may want to browse anonymously. Here is an overview of three of the most common reasons and the privacy options available.
Protecting Personal Information
Every time someone accesses a website, they leave behind information about where they are from, what internet browser they are using, what computer they are on, how long they spend on the site, or what they do on the site and more. Using a private browsing option provided by an internet browser such as Safari or Google Chrome can protect this information from third-parties. Similarly privacy protection software like Hide My IP, and using proxy servers will stop the information that normally gets sent out by acting as a middle-man when browsing the web.
Proxies And Targeted Advertizing
Some advertising companies have the ability to access personal information and search results to generate more specific ads. While this may be a benefit to some people, it can also be quite frustrating to have pop ups and other ads vying for attention; not to mention distracting to see an ad for "spam meatloaf" after discussing spam in an email.
The nature of this tracking also means that there is potential for anyone to access that information which, again, is a privacy issue. Proxy services, such as the popular websites SafeProxy, HideMyAss.com or the-cloak.com, act as a shield so that these details do not go straight from the computer to the advertiser.
Accessing Blocked Websites
Whether at school or in the office, there are times when accessing a blocked website may be important. Some companies and institutions, for example, will use their networks to restrict people from accessing personal email websites such as Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail. If there is work information on a personal email account, or other important information that needs to be checked and responded to, these blocks will be in the way.
Browsing anonymously can provide a loophole to server restrictions, however, it is important to remember the difference between a proxy and private browsing settings. While a proxy can unblock these websites, it does not remove the internet history from the computer which has accessed them. An internet browser's private settings generally will delete that information from the computer once the session is ended, so some people might want to consider using both options for more security.
As the internet continues to change, so does the behaviour of users, and there are many more reasons for someone to browse anonymously at any given time. In general though, privacy and internet security are the big issues here, which is why having an understanding of these trends, and the features of different internet browsers, can be so valuable.
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