What is Anonymous Surfing Software?
In recent years there has been an increase in the prevalence of hackers, credit card fraud and identity theft. Like other types of crime, it always seems to be happening to other people, until it unexpectedly happens to you.
This article is not meant to be a scare tactic to get you to buy something. I, myself, was a victim of cyber-crime twice – once in a phishing scheme involving email passwords, and once involving my credit card number. Luckily, both times nothing serious happened, but I did have to change email and cancel a few credit cards.
This makes the need for Internet security of increasing importance, and an important part of any kind of Internet security is anonymous surfing software.
As far as I know, there are now two main types of anonymous surfing software on the market. Though different in structure and use, they both allow you to surf the Internet without the concern of your activities being traced, or of any data being compromised.
The first type is proxy servers. Proxy servers provide a step between your computer and the Internet. requests you make for traffic are sent through the proxy server, which may serve the request directly itself from its cache, or request it of the server on your behalf.
The obtained traffic is then sent back to you. Most proxies you’ll see can work on web browsing only, which are called web based proxies. Software based proxies, which require software installation to run, can be purchased online.
If security is in question, though proxies do provide you with an anonymous IP address, and can give you some level of anonymity on the Internet, there are many factors to consider when considering a proxy as you main form of privacy on the Internet.
1. Is this a transparent proxy? Many proxies are detectable, and can be blocked. Sites like Hulu, Netflix and other media sites block the use of proxies.
2. Is this an open proxy? Using an IP address that’s been abused by spam-making Internet criminals won’t do you any good. Using open proxies is like wearing someone’s used underwear.
3. Are you sure about the identity of your network administrators? Proxies are know spam-holes, and though many open proxies provide you with good service and anonymity, there are just as many that will compromise your data security.
Web accessed proxy servers do not require the installation, allowing you to use them through your web browser, ie Firefox, Opera, Chrome, etc. However, some proxy servers do provide anonymous surfing software where you install software in order to use the web proxy.
For More About Proxies, read HERE
Read a Review of My Favorite Proxy
Virtual Private Networks
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are another type of anonymous surfing software, and they answer the question to many of the issues mentioned above. They require the installation of software in all cases.
These operate by allowing you to join a “private network” of users, where the network is set up using special encryption and tunneling protocols. With VPNs that are combined with SSL encryption, certificates are required, meaning that no device but your own will be able to use this connection.
Though standard 128 bit encryption is enough to withstand most full frontal hacker attacks, military grade 2046 bit encryption is available as some providers like 12VPN. The connection between your computer and the server is encrypted with these codes to ensure that your data is secure.
Unlike proxies this kind of anonymous surfing software allows for all programs on your computer or applications on your phone that use the Internet to do so through the VPN. This includes VOIP software such as Skype, programs such as Filezilla, and online games.
VPNs often have a range of different IP addresses you can choose, with many providers offering free switching between different IP addresses located across the globe. This is advantageous if you are trying to access content that is country- specific such as some video-streaming sites, or if you are in a country where content is restricted, such as China.
Check out my Top 10 VPN recommendations, or see a few select choices below.
Recommended VPN services
Hide My Ass
Hide My Ass (HMA) is a great service for beginner users. Easy installation and an all encompassing VPN means that you’re not missing out on anything. All your standard protocols (PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN) are available, and more than 20,000 IP addresses are spread across 33 countries and counting. It’s pretty impressive for $6.55 per month.
PureVPN offers many things that HMA doesn’t including static IP addresses, live support, and SSTP VPN protocol for Vista and Win 7. Most operating systems are supported, and their standard package is only $74 for a year which is slightly cheaper than HMA ($79). Custom options are available for users in countries that block PPTP and L2TP.
12VPN has to be on any VPN providers list because they have a long list of VPN protocols and options for users that aren’t on your standard platforms/operating systems. Nokia and other Symbian devices, custom Android settings, and IPSec options for iOS users in China. Simultaneous login features, military grade encryption options, port forwarding, and a FREE viscosity license for Windows and Mac users make 12VPN a great choice. Easy installation also means that non-Geeks shouldn’t be afraid trying 12VPN.
Users in China Click HERE