Review: Surf the Web in privacy with Surf Anonymously Free | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Review: Surf the Web in privacy with Surf Anonymously Free

Hide your IP from hackers and identity thieves with this free anonymous browsing service.

Surf Anonymously Free hides your identity online by replacing your Internet connection's regular IP with an anonymous IP that changes regularly. Hackers, identity thieves, and other would-be threats can't see your real ID or location, and neither can those creepy ads that know what you've been looking at. We've tried similar utilities, but they slowed down our browsing enough that we simply stopped using them. But two things have happened: 1) Online threats to your privacy and security have gotten bigger, meaner, and nastier; and 2) global Internet connections have gotten way faster. Some of the newer safe surfing services we've tried have nearly kept up with our broadband connection, so we thought we'd try Surf Anonymously Free, which is free but limited to U.S.-only IPs. To use Surf Anonymously Free from a non-U.S. IP or to disguise a U.S. address as a foreign IP, a Pro version is available.

Surf Anonymously Free's user interface is about the size of a media player, but that's fine with us since it's small enough to keep open in a corner of your desktop. The program displayed national flags and IP addresses for two locations in numerals large enough to be seen at a glance: Our Real IP address, including our city and country, and the Fake IP Surf Anonymously Free showed to online snoops. Clicking "Check IP Info" opened a Web page proving that our Internet connection displayed the Fake IP. "Select Fake Location" opened a page of national flags we could sail under, but only by upgrading to the Pro version.

Surf Anonymously Free hid our IP, but what about speed? We opened some bandwidth tests to see if using the Fake IP slowed our connection. As we expected, it did, but nowhere near as much as we feared it would, at least most of the time. We had to reselect our location for each bandwidth test, too, so obviously our real location was hidden. We had plenty of opportunities to upgrade from Surf Anonymously Free to Surf Anonymously Pro, but unless you need or want an international IP, the freeware does the job.

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