How to Cover Your Online Activities and Digital Footprint

Are you worried about how much information you put online? It’s a concern many people have had as the internet grows at such a fast pace that more and more of our lives go online.

From our credit card details to our social lives and our relationships; our computers know everything about us.

So how do you go about keeping your online activities secure and your online history a secret?

Here’s everything you need to know about anonymous browsing.

1. Use a VPN

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is vital to internet security in the 21st century. A VPN disguises your Internet Protocol Address (IP). This is a unique address that websites and other companies can trace back to your computer connecting your personal browsing with your computer.

A VPN disguises this address. This means it is not clear who is browsing or where you are located. On the surface level, it can trick the system into believing that you are based somewhere else. It’s great for accessing content from services such as Netflix from different countries that are geo-locked.

But what if a savvy internet user was to try to trace the user back to the country of origin? They would soon find that the VPN scrambled the IP address and it would be impossible to trace it back.

You can purchase a VPN for a small subscription fee each month, so it’s worth it if you care deeply about privacy on the internet.

2. Use Private Browsing

Private browsing ensures your internet search history is not recorded on your machine. If you share your computer with friends or family it can stop them from seeing what you’ve been looking at. Remember you still also need to clear your cookies now and again. Here’s our guide to how to delete cookies for beginners.

If a hacker was to get inside your computer or guess your password they would automatically be able to see what banks you use or what social networks you use just by scrolling back through your internet history.

Be warned though. Private browsing can stop the average user from finding out what you’ve been looking for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or your employer can still find out through other means.

Many countries now require their ISPs to keep a record of your internet browsing history for one year in case of a criminal investigation. Edward Snowden, a former agent for the National Security Agency (NSA), revealed secretive mass surveillance programs that the government had been conducting on its citizens for decades.

3. Consider Tor and the Dark Web

If you want to maintain your privacy on the web then you may want to consider the dark web and a tor browser.

The dark web is pages of the internet that are not indexed. This means they cannot be found through a search engine, you have to know about the address to find them. It’s highly secretive and largely anonymous.

However, this is a precaution that might be deemed over the top and there are still methods and ways for internet service providers and the government to trace users.

It is used by criminals but also by freedom of speech activists who want to avoid the perceived censorship of YouTube and other social media platforms as well as political pressure from some governments.

4. Don’t Do Anything Illegal – You Will be Caught

The easiest way to cover our online activities is not to do anything illegal. Illegal activity such as selling and buying drugs or looking at indecent images of children will bring you the attention of the authorities.

Once law enforcement has you in their sights no amount of private browsing, VPNs, or dark web browsing is going to stop them. They will have far more resources than you do and you could end up in prison.

One example of this is the dark web site the Silk Road which was a website on the dark web for selling and buying illegal drugs. It seemed impenetrable and its founder remained above the law for years.

The website’s founder used the alias Dread Pirate Roberts – a reference to the film the Princess Bride and an allusion to the fact he could be more than one person – only to be unmasked by the FBI in 2013. Despite his best efforts he, could not cover his tracks against the FBI.

5. Use a Password Generator

If you use the same password for everything then you are making life easy for a potential hacker to gain access to your internet activity.

Most people use passwords that are easy for them to remember and contain some elements from their everyday life that it could be easy to guess. Whether it’s their birthday in numerical form, their cat’s name, or the name of their favorite book, these are all weak passwords.

One way around this is to use a password generator. This generates passwords randomly that contain a string of numbers and letters that are hard to remember. It ensures you get a different password for each website.

It then stores them in a computer program and you can access them using your master password or through touch ID or Face ID.

Apple has also now introduced a feature called ‘Sign in With Apple’. This allows users to sign in with their Apple ID but to keep their email a secret from websites, allowing Apple to hold their credentials on their behalf.

This stops you from getting junk emails and lessens the risk of you being subject to a data hack with your email addressing being compromised.

Conceal Your Online Activities With Some Great Tech

You can conceal your online activities from your friends, family, and hackers with some amazing tech like VPNs, password generators, and private browsing. But it’s important to remember that you can’t conceal your browsing history from the government.

If you are interested in learning more about your online activities or how to cover your tracks online be sure to check out the rest of our site.