How to Hide Your IP Address
In my last article, "How to Check a Computer IP Address", I discussed how to find Both your WAN and your LAN IP's. (and I tried my best not to teach you anything ...(yawn...blah, blah), but I did "sneak" in a few tips... (sneaky, I know, but it's important).
I mentioned that your "WAN" IP is like a "Phone Number", it's unique across the globe. Only you (and your household) have that unique WAN IP. I then gave you a few web links where you can go and check your WAN IP in seconds. Let's think about that for a moment......
Your WAN IP is linked to everything you do, everything you search, everything you write, buy, play, etc.
It's nice to think that "More Cameras means Less Crime"..., but just WHO is in control of the "cameras", and "how exactly are they being used"?
No, Seriously, did you know that ISP's sell your surfing information?
Free Web Proxy Servers
Web Proxy Servers are simply web servers that you can surf through. Once on the page, you may then use the page to browse elsewhere. They're a bit limited and sometimes slow, but the good sites usually work. Below I've listed a few that I know of, as well as a screen shot of what "pimpmyip" looks like. (and of course, you know me, I'm giving you the FREE options)......
- pimpmyip.com -- This is a very easy, single page that works.
- freeproxielists.com -- This is a huge list server. Look to the left pane, under "proxy lists". You don't need to start a "trial" of a paid proxy service...(unless you really want to).
- proxy4free.com -- Even better, super easy to use list of FREE proxy servers, that are categorized for you in groups like "Highest rating" and "Best Access Time".
You'll notice the large ads "Your system is doesn't support this video file" --- ignore those. See at the bottom of the page, where I typed "bing.com". That's all you have to do.
Next hit "Browse" and you're off to search on bing. Now, let's see what happens when I type "IPCHICKEN.com" --(remember, from my last hub?).
Now I know for sure that my WAN is disguised.Simple, works (usually), but, the Ads can be deceptive (as you saw in my screenshot), AND, only that traffic which is going through the proxy site is disguised. Read on and I'll give you even better solutions (IMHO).
There are VPN services that you can pay for. Most are fairly cheap, and the key is, once you're in a VPN tunnel, all of your web traffic is within that VPN tunnel. For the sake of keeping this a "hub" and not a "book", I'll just give you a couple of quality links that I know of:
1. Anonymizer Universal - This one actually costs some money, $79.99 for a 1 year subscription, but I have heard people swear by it. I invite you to at least look at the site.
2. HideMyAss.com --- (their logo is a jackass FYI), These guys offer a free proxy service right on their home page (like the web proxies mentioned above), but are also known for their Pro VPN service. The cool thing is that if you choose to pay for a vpn service, you can monthly, for under $12 bucks a month.
TOR - The Onion Router
I saved my favorite for last! For those of you who didn't fall asleep, and actually made it to the end of my hub, the rewards come sweet my friend. The TOR browser package is super easy to install, use, and of course, its free...
You can download and read all about the history of TOR here. The folks at TOR strongly suggest downloading the entire Tor Browser Bundle, and using the Tor Browser itself (which looks A lot like firefox). Why? Add-ons, extensions, and toolbars have "loopholes", and your browser will not be configured to stay completely private. By using the TOR browser (very easy -- only a click when needed), you ensure a private browsing session. Follow my screen shots and I'll give you a Tor:
1. Download your TOR Package. When you download the package (in my case for Windows), you'll probably end up with a folder in your "downloads" folder. I simply moved mine to my desktop.
2. Open the folder and you'll see an icon that says "Start TOR Browser". Double click the icon and your TOR browser will load.
3. You'll then see the "Vidalia" screen pop up, just give it a sec, and you'll be in your new TOR browser, with IP confirmation.
TIP - You can actually have a normal browser session open separately (like firefox) and your TOR browser at the same time. I actually played with TOR browser to check out some of the proxy lists ;) -- see? hubbers have to research...
The best thing about using the complete, TOR Browser, is that once you are done surfing anonymously, close the browser window and TOR goes away. The next time you need it, just open up the folder and click the "Start TOR Browser" icon. .........Easy, Free, Cool (The history of TOR is very cool, and I invite you to read up on their website).
Final TIP - I just want to stress that all of these tools are but "bricks in the wall". All of the choices I offered have their advantages, but you still need a good antivirus, routine cleaning, and of course, good judgement.