Websites and ISPs can track Internet users in multiple different ways. Web servers can use cookies or log IP addresses. ISPs can even track who uses what service.

One way of tracking users is HTTP Cookies which are sent to the web server in every page visit. Cookies are restricted to the single domain so cookie belonging to the boo.bar domain can not be accessed by a web server in the foo.bar domain. Tracking cookies can mitigate this by using third party web server and cookie. In this scenario, the boo.bar website loads content (ad) from an advertiser website. The advertiser creates the cookie for the ads.bar domain and sends it to the browser. The foo.bar website also uses the same advertiser. When the user visits the foo.bar website, the browser now sends the same cookie it got from boo.bar website to the ads.bar web server. By adding more sites to the advertising network, the advertiser gains larger view to user Internet surfing habits and can create a deeper profile of us.

The Firefox cookies

Of course, you can disable cookies but that will hinder the use of almost all of the modern websites.

On the other hand, websites and ISPs can profile users based on their IP address.  Obfuscating IP address is a bit more complicated as it requires using a proxy or a special software.

IP address from whatsmyip.org

From web server logs, it is possible to interpret who has accessed what page.

Nginx Access Log
Nginx Access Log

What is Tor?

By quoting Wikipedia, Tor is:

Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication. The name is derived from an acronym for the original software project name “The Onion Router”.[7][8] Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays[9] to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult for Internet activity to be traced back to the user: this includes “visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms”.[10] Tor’s use is intended to protect the personal privacy of users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.

Tor is widely available to many platforms, including  Android. The Tor Project publishes two versions of Tor, the Tor Browser, and the Tor Router. The Tor Browser is a ready-to-go solution for you to safely browse the Internet. The Tor Router ( or just plain Tor is labeled in Tor Project website as “Expert Bundle” and contains only the software to connect to Tor network.

Tor Download page

How to use Tor Browser?

Download the Tor Browser from the Tor Project website and run the installer.

Tor Browser – Select language.
Tor Browser – Choose Install Location.

Tor Browser now installs Firefox, NoScript plugin, and the Tor router software. After launching the Tor Browser first time, you need to tell Tor that does you need a bridge to connect to Tor Network. Usually, you do not need bridge unless you live in a country where Internet connections are censored.

Tor Browser – Tor Network Settings.
Tor Browser – Connecting to Tor Network.

After connecting to network, you can always check that your connection is using Tor by vising Tor Project’s check page.

 

3 Replies to “Anonymity in the Internet”

  1. comprensión de la tecnología y lo que significa para usted puede hacer la diferencia entre un gran acuerdo VPN y uno que no resuelve sus problemas.

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