Internet privacy has become a hot issue: Governments are snooping, user data is being breached, shady apps have questionable permissions. Is it possible to be the least bit anonymous online? While no software can claim to be 100 percent PRISM-proof, the following apps significantly improve your chances of having a more private experience on the Web.
Do Not Track
Do Not Track lets you opt out of Web site tracking services, including social network services, analytics, and various ad networks. Many browsers already provide support for enabling Do Not Track within their respective native options. Supported browsers include:
Not to be confused with Do Not Track, DoNotTrackMe is a more interactive blocking tool that lets you create masked e-mail, phone numbers, and credit numbers. It's especially useful for users who shop online and want to protect their financial accounts when things like Target's data breach happens.
DuckDuckGo is an alternative search engine that offers several privacy features. For starters, it doesn't keep any of your unique search terms, computer info, or personal info. In addition, it doesn't display uniquely tailored results from any special filters, but rather shows search results as they'd normally rank, regardless of your prior browsing history. If you're thinking of switching to a more independent search engine, DuckDuckGo is a good option to drastically reduce saved data from your search queries.
Tor takes preventive measures against network surveillance by bouncing your outgoing communications through a complex network connected all over the world. The user base of Tor spans all sorts of organizations, from journalists to the military. While Tor is not a single solution, when used in combination with other privacy services, it's a vital resource for maintaining anonymity.
Spawned from a collaboration between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tor Project, HTTPS Everywhere is a browser extension that makes HTTPS encryption a default standard when visiting sites on the Web, even those with limited encryption. The browser extension is available for several browsers, including Firefox and Chrome.
OpenVPN is virtual private network software that's open source. It offers some robust options, like certification-based authentication, and it uses OpenSSL encryptions. Some paid VPN services may not be compatible with OpenVPN, but it's a free alternative to many commercial servers and has plenty of authentication options.