Tag Archives: google

Best Chrome Extensions that Protect Your Privacy

From ad and tracker blocking, HTTPS, advanced proxy to interfacing with the Tor network, the right extensions can turn Chrome into a dream machine.

It’s time to stop passively allowing corporations, shifty sites and shady third parties to feast on any private data they can manage to grab. Now that you’re on to them, arm yourself with some of the following top privacy-enhancing extensions for your browser.

AdBlock

Browsing history, cookies and other various data is exploited aggressively by Advertisers. So that gas barbeque you showed a fleeting interest in will definitely be showing up again in cube ads – haunting you for days. Changing your privacy settings on the most common offender’s sites makes a difference, but who has the time?

Adblockers are the most popular extensions out there and AdBlock continues to be the dominant force in this arena. Big boys in tech have devised methods to force their ads to display even when AdBlock is enabled. However, it’s still a great way to generally declutter your Web experience.

Ghostery

Almost every major site out there uses cookies and tracking technology, and it builds a profile of you based on your activity. Worse, there are suspicious third parties with malicious agendas far worse then just attempting to sell you the latest widget.

Ghostery finds every instance of trackers embedded on the sites you visit. It then gives you the ability to tailor how you handle these trackers depending on the level of trust you have for the site in question.

HTTPS Everywhere

Major sites have made the switch to beefed-up HTTPS security but many smaller operations haven’t caught up. This means ISPs can easily access your browsing on these sites if laws allow in your country.

Big names in anonymity software EFF and the Tor Project have joined forces to give web users a secure experience on every site. Insecure HTTP sites are automatically converted to secure HTTPS thus preventing surveillance, account hijacking, as well as some varieties of censorship.

Proxy SwitchyOmega

SwitchyOmega provides an alternative to digging though the advanced setting section in Chrome, and the chore of filling and clearing proxies in the config dialog of your OS. This is a powerful, timesaving idea for power users, because just one proxy server will often not get you very far, especially the free variety. Enter all your proxy servers IPs, plus port, protocol, then switch between them quickly with a mere click.

Kronymous

Formerly called KroTor, this extension allows you to access the Tor network. It’s a more advanced alternative to the easy-to-use Tor Browser that requires no configuration and works out of the box. Tinkerers will love the extensive options Kronymous provides, plus the ability to continue using your preferred browser, Chrome.

Cupcake

Cupcake aims to make Tor “the onion router” tastier by giving it a pathway into your web browser. A plain, happy or sad cupcake is displayed depending on the status of the proxy, signifying not in use, in use, or disabled respectively. Chrome users that don’t need the extensive options found in Kronymous may prefer this.

Open in Tor Browser

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best, not to mention the least likely to break. Open in Tor Browser is perfect for Chrome users that occasionally want to switch to true incognito mode with Tor Browser when viewing sensitive content. The only catch is you’ll need to install a minimal native client for it to open links correctly in Tor Browser.

Graphic: Sean MacEntee

How to Hide your IP on Android

As smartphone hardware becomes increasingly powerful, Google is equipping Android with powerful features once only found on the desktop. Hiding your IP with a VPN is a perfect example.

Although there are apps that can hide your IP for Android, you can do the same thing right within the OS. This tutorial teaches you how to utilize a VPN service to mask your IP with no additional software.

Please note that this tutorial was written using the stock version of KitKat on a Nexus phone. Android may be a bit different on your device.

Step 1

Using a VPN has become the standard solution for anonymous browsing, making it next to impossible to trace activity back to your true IP.

Before you get started with exploring the settings in Android you’ll need to choose a VPN service.

I used a free provider called JustFreeVPN for testing purposes. Please note that while free services can get the job done paid options are much faster and offer superior security. Most providers offer plans under $10/month or less if you pay for the full year.

Recommended services:

Step 2

Locate “Settings” either by browsing your apps or by swiping the top menu, tapping on the user icon on the top right, then touching the cog icon.

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Step 3

Now that the “Settings” menu has appeared, tap on “More…” directly below “Data usage.”

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Step 4

Tap “VPN” just below “Tethering & portable hotspot.”

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Step 5

In “VPN” options screen, touch the “+” icon to the right.

Step 6

A box labeled ”Edit VPN profile” will appear. Give the VPN service you plan to use a name, make sure “PPTP” is selected, and then enter the server address you were provided in step 1. Check the box next to “PPP encryption (MPPE)” then tap “Save.”

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Step 7

Tap the VPN entry that has been created. A new box will appear allowing you to enter the username and password you got in step 1. Check the box so your info is saved for next time.

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Step 8

Confirm that you have successfully connected to the VPN. It should say “Connected” directly below the name you gave the server in the beginning. A tiny key icon will also appear at the top left. For additional info about the connection or to disconnect, tap the entry again.

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All Done

Congrats! Your IP is now hidden on Android!

How to Hide your IP Address in Chrome

In order to hide your IP address you must replace it with another decoy IP. This means you’ll need to use a VPN service to achieve true anonymity in Chrome.

Unlike browsers like Firefox that allow you to enter proxy settings (supplied by a VPN service) natively, Google refers directly to your OS network settings.

Step 1

Locate the options icon to the far right of the Chrome browser window and click on it. A pull down will appear. Select “Settings” near the bottom.

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Step 2

The settings page will appear directly in the browser window. Scroll down to the very bottom and click on “Show advanced settings…”

Step 3

Continue scrolling down until you see a heading called “Network.” Click on the “Change proxy settings…” button directly below it.

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Step 4

In order to complete the next steps you’ll need an IP address, login and password supplied to you from a VPN service.

Avoid free services for anything other than testing. They’re uniformly unusably slow plus I wouldn’t trust my browsing data with most of the operations offering it.

Sign up with a reputable service listed below. They’re fast, inexpensive ($10/month or less) and highly recommended.

Recommended services:

Step 5

Windows

The “Internet Properties” window will open with the “Connections” tab selected for you automatically. Click on the “Add VPN…” button to the right.

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Enter the Internet address supplied to you by your VPN provider and give it a name in the field below. Click the “Next” button.

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A window will appear. Enter the login and password you were given by the VPN company.

Mac OS X

The “Network” window will appear with the “Proxies tab” selected. To use a VPN, check the box next to “Secure Web Proxy (HTTPS)” [preferable] or “Web Proxy (HTTP)” depending on the service.

Check the box next to “Proxy server requires password” and enter the login and password provided to you by the VPN company.

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All Done

Congrats! You’re now ready to browse with your true IP hidden from prying eyes. Go back to Google Chrome and surf to your heart’s content.