How to Be More Anonymous Online

Silhouetted person - Photograph: Tim Robberts/Getty Images

How to Be More Anonymous Online
WIRED, January 5, 2024
Security
By Matt Burgess

“Being fully anonymous is next to impossible—but you can significantly limit what the internet knows about you by sticking to a few basic rules.”

 

On the internet, everyone wants to know who you are. Websites are constantly asking for your email address or trying to place tracking cookies on your devices. A murky slurry of advertisers and tech firms track which websites you visit, predicting what your interests are and what you may want to buy. Search engines, browsers, and apps can log each search or scroll you make.

 

At this stage of the internet, being totally anonymous across your entire online life is incredibly hard to achieve. Phones, SIM cards, browsers, Wi-Fi networks, and more use identifiers that can be linked to your activity. But there are steps you can take to obscure your identity for everyday browsing.

 

If you’re looking to be truly anonymous or to protect your identity for a specific purpose—such as whistleblowing or activism—you should consider your threat model and individual security situation. But many of the changes you can make, which are listed below, are straightforward switches that can stop you from being tracked as much and apply to most people.

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About the Author:

Matt Burgess is a senior writer at WIRED focused on information security, privacy, and data regulation in Europe. He graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in journalism and now lives in London.

See Also:

  • Cover Your Tracks: See how trackers view your browser. A project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.