More obvious reasons for anonymous surfing include, surfing in internet cafes, public terminals in libraries, or hotel business centers. In fact, you may want to surf anonymously on any PC where you don’t want to leave traces of your private surfing activities.
Most typical PC users are amazed at the amount of information their browser provides to web sites they visit. For example, the information below is available to every web site I visit. I have X’d out certain parameters for privacy purposes only.
Your computer is connecting to the internet at xxxxxxx, xxxx, in the xxxx, with an IP address of 24.xxx.xxx.142
Your User Agent is being reported as: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:220.127.116.11) Gecko/20080201 Firefox/18.104.22.168
Your Referrer is being reported as:
Your IP Address is 24.xxx.xxx.142
Your Host Name is d235- xxx.xxx.home1.cable.net
A trace to your phone comes back with an area code of: 0
The objective of anonymous surfing then, is to conceal this information from web sites and other computers, and typically you would use an anonymous proxy server between you and the web site to accomplish this. When surfing anonymously, your web browser talks to the proxy server; the proxy server talks to the web site. Effectively this means, the web site does not know you; it knows only the anonymous proxy server.
You have a number of choices when it comes to anonymous surfing. You can use a free proxy server service; not my personal first choice – but that’s fodder for another article!
More reliable and safer, in my view, is to download and install a client application which manages the details of anonymous surfing for you.
One such application is OperaTor, a free utility that includes the Opera browser, the Privoxy Web proxy , and The Onion Router, which is a method used for anonymous Internet communication. All components launch simultaneously.
OperaTor, and the component pieces, does not require an installer and the utility can be installed and launched from a USB flash drive. This makes it ideal for surfing at public computers.
Download at: Download.com
A second free utility is XeroBank Browser, a special version of FireFox that runs in conjunction with the free Tor anonymizer service. and that can also run directly from a USB flash drive. Just plug in your USB stick to any PC with a USB port and FireFox V2 is automatically launched, set up for secure and private surfing.
TorPark creates a secure encrypted connection between the PC you are using and the first Tor server. This allows you to safely transmit information without fear of local interception. This makes it ideal for surfing on open Wi-Fi networks.
Download at: Download.com
One caveat you should take note of however; since all transmissions are encrypted and transmitted across many nodes, anonymous surfing can be slower.