Privacy is an essential human right that everyone should be able to enjoy, regardless of whether or not they have anything to hide. It’s not just about hiding information but also about protecting it. People may believe that online privacy is all about them, which can be partially true. Online privacy is less about what you’re doing and more about your online interactions with different people and websites. Data has tremendous value on the Internet. It’s stolen, sold, gathered, and studied.
In this guide, we’ll go over some steps you can take to increase your privacy online. These steps will help you conceal your identity and activity from corporations, agencies, governments, friends, family, or anyone else you wish to hide from.
Can complete 🐱👤anonymity be achieved online?
You can’t achieve complete anonymity online without investing money, but it’s worth trying. Here are several reasons why internet privacy is important to everyone, regardless if you have or don’t have anything to hide.
- Privacy is a fundamental human right – Anyone who denies it with the argument that they have “nothing to hide” puts us all at risk of being monitored, scanned, manipulated, controlled, and restricted by the authorities with every new untested law vote and accepted.
- Privacy isn’t about hiding information. It’s about safeguarding it – It is essential that we all take steps to protect our privacy and ensure that our personal information is secure, whether that means using encryption, using a virtual private network (VPN), or simply being mindful of what we share online.
First of all, you have to figure out your stealth priority. Who do you want to hide your identity and activity from? Corporations, agencies, governments, your friends and family, or everyone. In this tutorial, I’ll assume you want to hide as much as possible and suggest the best ways.
Buying a prepaid 📵 SIM card with ₿ cryptocurrency
One of the first things you can do is buy a prepaid SIM card using cryptocurrency. This can help you obtain an unknown phone number, which you can use to register for different online services. Just be sure to use a VPN client and various proxies to conceal your identity further. In some countries, changing or masking your IMEI is illegal, so getting a phone without one from the factory is a significant advantage.
Online transactions with limited💳VISA/Master Card
Online privacy is essential for protecting personal information and maintaining control over its use. One way to protect online privacy is using a prepaid SIM card with cryptocurrency. This can help obscure your identity when registering for online services. Another option is to use a limited VISA or Master Card for online transactions.
This can help prevent unauthorized access to your financial information. It’s also essential to use a virtual machine for internet browsing, get a personal VPS, and turn it into a VPN. Using a Linux phone or an Android device with Lineage OS can also help protect online privacy.
Operating systems (macOS vs. Windows vs. Linux)
It is difficult to determine the single best operating system for privacy, as different operating systems have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to privacy. Some people prioritize certain features or functions, while others prioritize security or ease of use.
💩Windows for privacy
Using any version of Microsoft Windows while maintaining privacy is possible but very hard to achieve. That’s why I wouldn’t suggest any Windows version or Microsoft software. Windows comes with preinstalled Cortana and tons of botnet that you would have to remove manually, and even then, if you aren’t an advanced user, Microsoft installs them back silently. Disabling Cortana in Windows does nothing. Additionally, if you have to use Windows for any reason, consider debloating it using the scripts for Windows 10 AME.
🍏macOS for privacy
macOS is based on a custom hybrid Unix Kernel. Maintaining privacy while using macOS is difficult due to preinstalled tracking and monitoring applications. While it may be possible for advanced users to remove these, it can be challenging for less experienced users. Additionally, Apple products prioritize convenience over privacy. Choosing a different operating system may be better if maintaining privacy is a top priority.
🐧 Linux for privacy
Linux is generally considered a good option for privacy due to its open-source nature and customization options. It allows users to view and modify the source code and configure their system to their desired level of security. Linux also includes features such as SELinux, which helps enforce security policies and is regularly updated with security patches. Additionally, hackers are not as widely targeted by Linux as by other operating systems, making it a potentially safer choice. However, it is still essential for users to take precautions and stay up to date with security updates to ensure their system is secure.
🌐 Virtual machine for Internet browsing
A virtual machine is a software program that creates a virtual computer within your physical computer. It allows you to run multiple operating systems on a single physical device, which can be helpful for internet browsing and privacy because it can help reduce the risk of being fingerprinted.
(Fingerprinting is collecting unique characteristics about a device, such as its browser, plugins, and IP address, to identify it. Using a virtual machine can make it more difficult for websites to accurately fingerprint your device because the virtual machine can provide a different set of characteristics.)
Using a virtual machine for Internet browsing can help protect your privacy in several ways: Here are some ways in which using a virtual machine can help with internet browsing and confidentiality:
- Separation of online activities: You can use a different virtual machine for various online activities, such as work, social media, and online shopping. This can help prevent your activities from being linked together.
- Enhanced security: Virtual machines can provide an additional layer of protection because they are isolated from your primary operating system. If you encounter a malicious website or download a malware-infected file, it is less likely to affect your primary operating system.
- Greater control: You can customize the virtual machine to meet your privacy needs by using privacy-enhancing techniques, blocking tracking scripts, blocking records in the Hosts file, and using a VPN.
- Testing new software: You can use a virtual machine to test new software or updates before installing them on your primary operating system. This can help prevent any negative impacts on your privacy.
You can make several additions to a virtual machine to enhance its privacy capabilities. Some options include:
- Installing a privacy-focused browser, such as Tor or Brave
- Using a VPN to encrypt your internet connection and hide your IP address
- Installing ad-blockers and script-blockers to prevent tracking scripts from being loaded
- Using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection and hide your IP address
- Installing and configuring firewalls to block incoming connections from unknown sources
- Disabling automatic updates to prevent any potentially privacy-invasive updates from being installed without your knowledge.
🖧 Getting a personal VPS and turning it into a VPN
An important step would be to acquire your own Virtual Private Server KVM/XEN-based VPS server outside the 14 eyes jurisdiction and turn it into a VPN that runs a KVM technology. There are many solutions for self-hosted VPNs, such as Open VPN, Libreswan, Openswan, Wireguard, and others.
iPhone vs. Android vs. Linux phone
🍎Apple products – are heavily bloated with botnet and tracking applications. Using an iPhone or a MAC is an extinction to privacy and prioritizes comfort.
📱Android – is the entrance level to online privacy, but not out of the box. I suggest you pick a device whose bootloader is easy to be flashed with a Lineage OS. Lineage OS is a clean installation of the Android operating system without the Google Play store and the spyware that comes with your phone. When buying an Android phone, the first step would always be to flash it with LOS. To be serious about your online privacy, you should compile it from the source.
Android is based on the Linux kernel, an open-source software project. However, Android itself is not entirely open-source. While the Android operating system includes some open-source components, it also includes proprietary components owned by Google LLC and not publicly available. It’s the most popular mobile operating system used on various devices worldwide.
One of the main concerns with Android devices is privacy, as they can potentially collect a large amount of personal data from their users. To protect your privacy on an Android device, it is essential to know the permissions that apps request and only install apps from trusted sources. Using a VPN and enabling encryption on your device is also good.
You can also use privacy-focused alternatives to Google services, such as a search engine that does not track your searches or a different messaging app that encrypts your messages.
You can also use a firewall to block network access to specific apps and control which apps can access the internet. I advise regularly updating your device to ensure that you have the latest security patches and using a mobile security app to protect against malware and other threats. By taking these precautions, you can help protect your privacy on your Android deice.
🐧Linux phone – Linux phones, Pinephone, and others are the way to go when privacy is your absolute goal!
💬 VOIP (Voice Over IP) Clients
Do NOT share your phone. If you install Telegram from F-Droid and delete all your existing botnet messenger applications such as – Viber, Facebook Messenger, and Whatsapp, that’ll be a good start. Make sure you download Telegram from F-droid and not the Google Play store. Having a Play Store makes your privacy non-existent and meaningless. Keep in mind that Telegram isn’t a complete solution. It’s not entirely open source. The client is, but Telegram servers are the man in the middle. With that said, if you read more about Durov, the creator of Telegram, you’ll find out where he comes from and that he refuses to share private keys with every big company and corporation.
If I wanted better anonymity, I would delete every social media account on my devices. What If I have to use social media? I would create an account with a temporary email address.
It’s important to note that it’s almost impossible to be completely anonymous while using social media. Most social media platforms require you to provide at least some personal information to create an account. However, there are a few steps you can take to increase your privacy and reduce the amount of personal data that is visible to others:
- Use a pseudonym or a fake name instead of your real name.
- Don’t include personal information in your profile, such as your address, phone number, or date of birth.
- Be cautious about what you share online. Don’t post sensitive or personal information, such as your home address or phone number.
- Use privacy settings to control who can see your posts and personal information.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing social media to add an extra layer of protection to your online activities.
- Use a separate email address for social media accounts rather than your email.
- Consider using a service that offers end-to-end encryption, such as Telegram, for private messaging.
- Be aware of the information collected about you by social media platforms and adjust your privacy settings accordingly.
- It’s worth noting that even with these precautions, it’s still possible for your personal information to be discovered or for you to be tracked online. The most important thing is to be aware of the risks and to take steps to protect your privacy as much as possible.
It is generally illegal to create a fake online profile using someone else’s identity without their consent. Depending on your jurisdiction’s specific circumstances and laws, this could be considered identity theft or fraud. With that said, I would think of a more innovative variant – use an AI generator for your profile picture and information.
- Buy a prepaid card with crypto
- Tor network isn’t secure – as a program, Tor is free and open-source. You can compile it from the source. The main problem is that 90% of the hosted nodes on the Tor network belong to the CIA/NSA.
- Buy your KVM/XEN-based VPS server outside the 14 eyes and turn it into a VPN
- Save no logs
- Use temporary emails
- Use a username generator, and don’t ever operate under the same username twice. You can keep track of your logins within a .kdbx file.
- Use the prepaid card and register many accounts through your newly acquired privacy setup if you need that social media. Another option is to use shared social media accounts where the activity of 100+ users.
🔍 Search Engines
Google, Duckduck Go, Yahoo, and other popular search engines are a no-go. You are pretty much screwed in terms of privacy when it comes to them. Using any search engine for an online search will result in your data being monitored, collected, and eventually used against you.
Some alternative search engines prioritize privacy and do not track user data. These include:
StartPage: This search engine uses Google’s search results but does not track users or store their IP address or search history.
Qwant: This European search engine does not track users or store their search history.
👂🏻Your ISP (Internet provider)
It is possible for your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to monitor your online activities, as they have access to the data that passes through their network. This is often done for various reasons, such as to help manage network traffic, prevent illegal activities, and provide targeted advertising.
However, it is essential to note that many countries have laws that protect internet users’ privacy and regulate how ISPs can collect and use personal data. Suppose you are concerned about your ISP spying on you. In that case, you can take steps to protect your online privacy, such as using a virtual private network (VPN) or Tor to encrypt your internet connection and mask your online activities.
📧 Email Hosting
ProtonMail, Hushmail, Tutanota, and Runbox prioritize privacy and security, but I wouldn’t trust them! There’s also Cock.li , which I would use for unimportant registrations.
It’s important to note that while these email hosting providers prioritize privacy, it’s still possible for your emails to be intercepted or accessed by government agencies or other parties with sufficient resources and motivation. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible to further protect your accounts.
Here are several self-hosted email hosting solutions that prioritize privacy and security:
- Mail-in-a-Box: This open-source, easy-to-use solution sets up a full-featured email server on your Ubuntu 16.04 server. It includes spam filtering, encryption, and support for multiple domains and users.
- iRedMail: This is another open-source solution for setting up your email server on Linux. It supports multiple domains and users and includes spam filtering and antivirus protection.
- Modoboa: This free, open-source email hosting platform allows you to manage multiple domains and users from a single web interface. It includes spam filtering, antivirus protection, and support for numerous languages.
- Zimbra: This commercial email server can be self-hosted on your own servers. It includes advanced features like calendar and contacts integration, spam and virus protection, and support for mobile devices.
Before choosing a self-hosted email hosting solution, it’s essential to consider your technical expertise and the resources available to you. Setting up and maintaining your own email server can be challenging and requires specific technical knowledge.
☁️Personal self-hosted cloud solution
Syncing contact names, phones, calendars, birthdays, tasks, and fields anonymously can only be done on a personal cloud. Forget about Amazon, Google, Dropbox, or whatever service you have used until now. Nextcloud is a great solution to start with. Hosting it on a personal server is the way to go. There are other alternatives.