Can I Remain Anonymous by Using Incognito, VPN, or TOR?


Daya and ACP reach the exact house and slam the door of the criminal. Daya slaps and the chair starts rotating in the CID headquarters. The criminal did not remain anonymous on the Internet. Hence, easily caught.

This time CID team caught him using his IP Address.

That dumb fellow was using Incognito mode to hide while doing criminal activities.

In case you are unaware of what exactly I am talking about, read my previous article. You will understand the storyline.
How Police track addresses?

People think that using Incognito mode, VPN, or the TOR browser will help them remain anonymous completely from the monitoring agencies like Internet Service Provider (ISPs), Police, or even Government. Is it?

Can You Really Remain Anonymous?

1] Incognito Mode

In one or the other part of our lives, we all have thought that incognito mode or private window will completely hide us from the world and we are totally anonymous.

That is a myth. Incognito does not keep you anonymous or hidden from the Internet.

If you felt that you will remain anonymous then you have clearly missed something really important out of the sheer excitement while browsing ‘privately’.

Be it any browser like Chrome, Opera, Mozilla or even Microsoft Edge, all of them clearly mention that your activity will be tracked by the websites or your ISPs while you are browsing.

How does Incognito Mode work?

Incognito mode or the Private Window of your browser is merely avoiding to save the cookies, browsing history, and data like passwords or ID. That’s it.

Read More | Difference between Cache and Cookies

If someone checks your device, that person won’t know about your browsing history but your ISP will know everything.

Your operator or Internet Service provider still knows which websites you visit, what you do there, for how much time, and so on.

When to use Incognito mode?

1] While browsing on some public device that does not belong to you. You would not want him/her to know what you exactly did on the Internet and what you surfed. Even if you have nothing to hind, have a habit of using Incognito on any other device.

2] While checking the ticket prices and other details about hotels, restaurants, trains, buses, and most importantly the flights.

Every time you visit the websites of these organizations, they store the cookies. Now, the more you visit their websites, the more confirm they get that you will be buying out their tickets because of your urgency.

Your ticket prices will automatically rise every time you visit the same website to book a particular ticket. So, always use incognito mode.

3] While browsing on e-commerce websites like Amazon and Flipkart. Every time you visit their website, again your cookies are stored. They know what you are looking for. In return, you will get tonnes of advertisements.

For example, I am just looking for a wrist-watch on Amazon. I would not want to see so many ads afterward. I would better surf on the incognito mode.

4] Reading free articles from various websites that restrict you from viewing their paid articles for free. I am not promoting this, but this is one of the ways to use Incognito mode.

2] Virtual Private Network (VPN)

This fad of using Virtual Private Network (VPN) has grown exponentially since the porn ban in India. I don’t need to tell why. *Ahem*

But many people think that anything can be done using a VPN and nobody will be able to track. Even if you carry out some criminal activity, the police will be easily able to track you.

I’ll mention how the police can track you. Before that, let’s see how VPN exactly works.

How does a Virtual Private Network (VPN) work?

Virtual Private Network is made by a private company which allows you to change your location and IP Address.

Let’s say I am in India and I am surfing a website which has servers in the USA. Now, my Internet Service Provider very well knows where exactly I am surfing. Even that website will know that I am coming from India.

In this case, I’ll use a VPN. Let’s assume that the server of my VPN lies somewhere in Africa. I’ll set my location to Europe. Now, my connection is going something like this:

India > VPN Server in Africa > European Server > American website

Here, my Internet Service Provider will keep thinking that I visited somewhere in Africa. However, my ISP will never know after that because it is completely encrypted. The VPN takes care of this thing.

This VPN took me and assigned my connection to an European server. That American website will keep thinking that I came from Europe.

How can Police track if VPN is completely safe and anonymous?

Sure. It is safe and it keeps you anonymous. However, if it is a matter of court and police, the VPN company gives your data. Nobody knows, but your VPN knows where you visited and what you did using their service.

Beware of such myths. The Government is the boss. They know everything.

I hope I explained VPN in the simplest way possible using the analogies and examples. I have not used any technical terms. Let me know if you still didn’t understand. Comment down below.

When to use a VPN?

1] While accessing those websites which are blocked in your country. For example, many Chinese websites are banned in Inda. You can access them by using a Chinese location on a VPN.

2] While accessing those websites which are blocked in your school/college/office. Even my college had blocked Torrent websites. We used a VPN.

How to use VPN?

Even if you are technically not sound, it is totally fine. There are numerous mobile apps for VPN. Just search for free or paid VPN apps on the app store. Also, there is a VPN software for PC. Some browsers like Opera provide you free inbuilt VPN.

3] TOR Network

The Onion Router (TOR) is the most efficient way to maintain anonymity. It is also known as the anonymity network.

TOR was first made for the American military services to remain anonymous on the Internet. However, the Government soon handed over to the common citizen as well.

This is what most of the criminals and hackers use to protect their identities. Even if the authorities try, it becomes difficult. It is next to impossible to track the location of a user if the user takes care of required things.

How does TOR work?

There is a separate browser named TOR browser which is based on Firefox.

This browser is even smarter than the VPN.

VPN just changes your location once. TOR keeps changing your IP Address (location) from time to time. This is bouncing of your IP Address.

This makes the speed of browsing really slow. But it is fine when your priority is anonymity over the seamless fast experience.

When to use TOR?

1] When your first priority is only anonymity. Speed and experience wouldn’t matter to you.

2] While opening the onion links and surfing the dark web.

Do you want to read more about Dark Web?
Check out | Myths about Dark Web


Do you want to know how you can save yourself from cybercriminals? You might like my Free Ebook ‘Digital Nexus’ where I discussed the safety measures against all types of attacks.

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