As inhabitants of the information age, the internet is intertwined in a significant portion of our daily lives. From work to play, education to socialization, as well as from managing finances to shopping, it is a tool we all heavily lean on. And the more important it is, the greater the need to keep it secure. One great way to keep yourself safe is to protect your online privacy using proxies.
While countless people may declare that they have nothing to hide, in truth, we all do. If nothing else, your login info for, oh, say, your bank account. But really, for so much more than just that. The anonymity granted by being online is a privilege that helps numerous individuals in so many ways. You can therapeutically scream out into the void and have it respond ‘big mood’, avoid unfounded bigotry, etc.
One downside of the enormous influence of the internet on our lives is the number of people that strive to either control or take advantage of it. Identity thieves, scammers, and other cybercriminals may try to steal your information. Pushy marketers may try to drown you in their specific ads. Or, perhaps, you live somewhere that the government tracks and/or limits its citizens’ online habits.
Cover Your Tracks, Or Fingerprints
Virtually everywhere you go and everything you do on the internet leaves a trail of bits in your wake. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is probably tracking your usage. The sites you visit build cookies while snooping around. The internet-utilizing software you use sends back information. Countless bits of data build up to form a unique fingerprint of who you are, what you do, what you like, and where you are.
There are numerous extensions, like Mozilla’s NoScript or Chrome’s AdBlock, as well as various antivirus software out there to protect you from malicious intent. But, a surefire way to change your footprints is to wear different shoes, right? You normally have a fixed IP address from your ISP, and the best way to keep it hidden from trouble is by using a proxy.
Your ‘Internet Protocol Address’ is a series of numbers that make up your, well, address. Your home has a series of numbers and letters attributed to expressing where it’s located so that your DoorDash delivery knows where to go. Similarly, any device connected to the internet needs an IP address so that all that data knows where to go in order to communicate with said device.
Just like it’s ill-advised to casually share your address with serial killers and creepy stalkers, having your IP address out in the open can be an invitation for trouble. Of course, some degree of effort goes into tracking it down. But, the exact people you don’t want knowing it are some of the very ones that are already familiar with how to get it.
Looking beyond any potential nefarious individuals stirring trouble; your IP address is also a key component in determining your geolocation.
Actually, there’s a ton of names for it. Geopositioning, geolocalization, geotracking, geoposition fixing, geolocation… notice a trend? Anywho, it’s how something online figures out where in the world you are. Even if it has to recalculate a few times to get it right.
What do you mean this road was made over two years ago? You’re clearly driving through an open field. Go through that wall over there to reach your destination. Oh, you missed it, recalculating.
Sure, the Global Positioning System features of Google Maps (it legit defaulted to the city I live in when I went to get the link) can be useful when hunting for a meal. But, there are internet services that are location locked. A well-known example would be the Chinese government blocking access to… quite a lot of internet content. Also, there’s a lot of region-locked content on services like Netflix.
Or, even if things are not locked, they might instead be localized. Some sites have features that will be different depending on your location, or have varied item availability in their catalog. Even if it’s a digital game that is already in English, but for some reason, you can only buy it on the Korean Playstation Store.
Speaking of games, that geolocation may determine which server(s) you can play on. Who doesn’t know people scattered all across the globe at this point? But, by using a residential proxy that appears to be located where you want it to be, you can get around any limiting geolocation-based issues.
Even if you don’t necessarily care about appearing in a different location than you truly are, just hiding your real location has plenty of its own merits. Whether it’s defending against things like swatting, which has happened an alarming amount of times, or simply maintaining your privacy in general. You certainly don’t want to be targeted by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, either.
While many people freely give away a lot of personal information over social media, it’s still only fair to be the one in control of just what is available out there.
It’s one thing to let people know what you had for lunch, another to let them know about your… private viewing habits. Or even just your google search history. Don’t look at me like that, I’m an author, it was all for research! Accuracy is important!
Regardless of the magnitude of your desire for internet anonymity, your best bet is to protect your online privacy using proxies. You can change your geolocation with a residential proxy. Or, you can be worry-free about some script kiddie’s nonsense behind a secure and affordable datacenter proxy. Just don’t use any ol’ free one, the whole point is to have it be effective, and the freebies are unreliable.