Your ISP knows everything about you, like;
- Your email and passwords
- Your visited sites logs
- timings to stream and torrenting stuff
- your destination & physical address
- You social security number
And if you are unfortunately living in “Free” Country like USA, then you’r ISP can sell your personal information to promotional companies. hows that feels? Yeah that happened after Ajit Pai the chairman of FCC passed the Net Neutrality Bill.
Your browser is playing the biggest part of gathering your information and sending to ISP.
In my opinion, you can not tweak enough to secure your regular browser and prevent tracking. You need strong encryption like VPN provides from the behind.
Let’s discus this more deeply.
About Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Following the controversial ‘sold out’ voting of Congress members in favor of ISPs power to sell subscribers information to the highest bidder, President Trump has signed on the Anti-privacy bill to alter the previous rules set by the FCC.
The giant ISPs like AT&T, Time Warner, and Comcast who were previously bounded by the rules to ask their customer before selling their information now have the freedom to sell the user information without any prior consent.
The action has outburst the debate of privacy all over United States between the partisan and the privacy advocates. While the Congress House is divided into two groups, the question for us still remains now with much more importance that how to Hide Browsing History From ISPs to protect your privacy?
What User’s Data Can be Collected By ISP
After all of this: FCC Privacy Rules, ISP’s now sell your data to any advertising company they want. Well, here are things which they collect from you and why.
- Browsing history and activities: they will sell your browsing history to advertising companies to target you with relevant ads like Google or Facebook already do 🙂
- Personal Detailed: they can now store and provide user’s personal information such as email address, phone numbers, payment data, security number and other logs.
- Internet Devices: will provide you device which is already configured with their own spying software.
- Cookies Injection: Can inject hidden and untraceable cookies into the browser, and retrieve data.
If you are thinking as I’m thinking right now, yeah that’s bullshit. Bad news for USA Guys!
Can you Choose or Change Your own ISP?
There are many ISP’s which are still in good hands and signed the bill against FCC rules. You can find the list here.
Keep in mind that it is not sure that these ISPs do not sell user data. Because, the net neutrality rules had repealed afterwards and these ISPs signed the opposing letter proposed by the EFF before the law was finalized.
How To Hide Browsing History From ISP
The fact is, your information is exposed in the wild, and you have two options;
- Either you change your ISP to a more privacy-friendly one which might be not possible depending on which area you are in, or,
- You follow the privacy measures to hide browser history and other online activities by encrypting your Internet data packets.
This guide on How to Hide Browser History will help you render your ISPs inoperative in tracking your activities on the web.
You can encrypt your Internet traffic to hide browser history and other online activities by using:
1. Use HTTPS Everywhere
The HTTPS browser extension is a feasible option you can use to hide browser history from ISPs. It works by preventing your browser from disclosing any online activity.
HTTPS browser extension protects you from various types of surveillance and censorship by automatically switching many websites from vulnerable “HTTP” to secure “HTTPS” sites. Hence, it encrypts almost every website you visit.
Although your ISP would know which site you visited, they can never gain access to the exact content of your online activity.
2. Use TOR Browser (disadvantages)
TOR is a volunteer service, and it provides both anonymity and privacy against your ISP monitoring and the TOR network itself. You can connect to the TOR network using the TOR browser which works like other browsers. It also helps you to hide browser history from your ISP.
- The anonymity and privacy are limited to the TOR browser only, and the rest of your Internet traffic is still exposed.
- Since TOR is a volunteer service and has different gateways (nodes) to pass your Internet through; therefore it is most of the time slow to browse the web.
If you want to use TOR without the TOR browser, you can opt for NordVPN which provides TOR-over-VPN functionality in its service to completely hide browser history and rest of the Internet traffic.
When BeEncrypted asked Marty P. Kamden of NordVPN about the TOR, he said, “We understand the power of decentralized structure and the anonymity that TOR provides. NordVPN offers a unique solution, Onion (Tor) over VPN that encrypts user Internet traffic before entering the TOR network, ensuring additional privacy.”
3. VPN Is The
If you are looking for the immediate solution to this epidemic situation, then you should opt for a commercial VPN service.
- They are outside the jurisdiction of FIVE EYES member countries.
- Follows strict NO LOG policy (which means as soon as your information is generated on their servers it is immediately sent to /dev/null directory – as pointed out by NordVPN as Black Hole).
- All of these VPNs encrypt your Internet traffic with 256-bit AES encryption and OpenVPN security protocol.
- They have a vast majority of servers to choose from.
- These VPNs posses advanced security features like Kill switch, Split Tunnel (PureVPN) and Tor-over-VPN (NordVPN).
- They hide browser history and other Internet activities.
Virtual Private Network or VPN encrypts your Internet traffic with 256-bit AES encryption algorithm which takes 1 billion years to break using brute force attack according to researches made. Moreover, it cloaks your IP address to make it harder for ISPs and third party advertisers to track you on the web.
How To Check Your VPN Credibility
This is most important thing to check if you are behind any VPN router or network, and assuming your browsing history hidden.
1. Check IP Leak & DNS Leak Test
IP leak and DNS leak are the prominent vulnerabilities through which user privacy gets exposed while they are behind an encryption tool like Tor or VPN.
An easy way to check IP leak and DNS leak;
- Get a non-affiliated/non-promotional tool like VPNInsights.
- Run the test (one-click test if you know your real IP)
Testing method for IP leak
- Open the IP leak tool page.
- On the left, your real IP and network information will be displayed.
- Now connect your VPN and click “Run.”
- After a few seconds, your VPN server information will be displayed.
Result: If your VPN server information is different from your real IP insights, then your VPN is working great with No IP leak.
Testing method for DNS leak
(Keep in mind, your real IP insights found in the previous test).
- Connect your VPN and open the DNS leak tool page.
- Click “Execute Test” button.
- After a few seconds, a detailed DNS result will be displayed.
Result: If the DNS results are according to VPN server (i.e., location and IP) to which you are connected and has nothing similar to your real insights then you VPN is not leaking DNS.
Some Other Ways to Hide Browsing History (Used but not verified)
Does Browser’s Privacy Mode Help?
To a certain extent, this process could be helpful as it restricts the browser from developing and maintaining your online activity, search history, and cookie information. Due to such restrictions, it may become difficult for ISPs to track you but they will still be able to access your online activities.
Could Altering Browser’s Setting Be Helpful?
However, altering the browser’s setting could be helpful in obscuring your online history. Yet, it’s not a fully secure and guaranteed method to provide you with complete anonymity from ISP’s snooping. Such methods are;
Stop Cookie Tracking
Almost every site track your preferences through different techniques from which cookie tracking is most helpful for them. Through placing these cookies in different locations such as ads, comments, and sponsored links, web pages collect data. This provides an ease to the internet provider who could access and gather data any time in the future.
To avoid such tracking you could change the browser privacy settings and switch on the ‘Do Not Track’ option. Also, the Network Advertising Initiative and Digital Advertising Alliance could stop such tracking activities.
Restrict Social Sites Tracking
Most of the social networking sites have detailed information about the user’s personal interests and sensitive data such as photos, passwords, and other stuff. ISPs find these websites as a useful link which could help them to access an individual’s detailed information.
To avoid such tracking you could stop advert tracking which is the main cause for collecting a person’s personal data.
Browser Extensions Could Also Enhance Privacy
The privacy extensions enhance security features of your browser which could be helpful for you to keep your online identity safe from internet providers to a certain extent.
Anti-privacy bill in USA and surveillance laws in other countries are creating privacy urgency. To hide browsing history, VPN is a complete solution with free and paid options.
However, to remain calm and confirm about security, you should select reliable VPN which are available at low prices and also have trial periods so that you can test everything before making the final decision.