The internet can be a hairy place. How do you protect yourself?
There are a number of things you can do to stay safe and anonymous. One of the strongest solutions is to use a VPN, or virtual private network.
It's a solution frequently employed by large companies to keep its internal communications to itself and to let employees securely connect to its network while they're out of the office.
By logging in to the network via a VPN client, all of your internet activity and communication is routed through a "middleman" computer (or maybe even several). Your IP address (and therefore your physical location) is concealed, and it becomes harder to follow you around online.
If you want to harness this technology for yourself, it's pretty easy. You need to first install a VPN server (we like OpenVPN since it runs on all major operating systems) on a computer that you want to route your internet traffic through. Then run OpenVPN's accompanying client on the computer you'll be browsing from. You are now connected.
If this sounds like too much trouble and you don't want to finagle with the setup, we like a service called AnchorFree. It's free if you go the ad-supported route or $30 a year to go ad-free. AnchorFree will handle and anonymize your traffic, even checking it for malware before delivering it to you.
More From Business Insider