How Private is your Privacy?

Every time you surf the web you expose yourself to snoopy websites that could endanger you privacy. Websites can see your history list, they can sniff and follow your online track like hound dogs and uncover the sites you've been to. They are even capable of knowing your operating system, find out your machine name, and even know what kind of browser you are using. With your IP address they learn about your location and other basic information about you.

There are many techniques used by different websites to gather information but the most common are examining your IP address and placing cookies on your PC. Your personal profile is easier to create by matching your IP address with your cookies.

Are you really curious about how deep websites could stick their nose into your privacy? Then try Privacy.net Analyzer, it will peer into your browser and tell you what it sees, such as your operating system, general system setup, what site you last visited before going to their site, and even your screen resolution. Want something scarier? Try BrowserSpy, it could stick its nose deeper into your system and tell you what software are installed in your computer, including the version of the software.

To keep your privacy you do not need to spend a fortune for it because there is a great free software that can insure that you remain anonymous while you surf the web. This software is Tor. When you use Tor, all your communications, (not just Web surfi ng, but also instant messaging and other applications) is in essence bounced around a giant network of Tor servers called “onion routers,” until it’s impossible for sites or people to be able to track your activities.

Tor is very easy to set up because it configures itself, there is no need for you to dirty your hands with port settings and things that could confuse the average computer user. Just download the package from their site and install. The package contains Tor and another software, Privoxy (a proxy program) which is designed to work in tandem with Tor. After installing Tor you will see its icon in your system tray. Right-click that icon and click Start to start Tor. You can stop the program by right-clicking the icon and choosing Stop. Once Tor has started everything is safe so just use the internet like the way you normally use it. If you are still fearful about being snooped by websites and some talented hacker, you can regularly change your Tor “identity” to make it even harder for anyone to track your travels. Right-click the Tor icon and select “New Identity”. It's as easy as that. If you are a Firefox user like me, you should download Torbutton, this lets you turn Tor on or off within Firefox.


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