002 – Hide Your Internet Traffic
If you are surfing the net from home, your office, or a coffee shop your web activity is being monitored, logged, and possibly stored for later. As I mentioned in my previous post, the websites you visit are storing your IP address for their records. If you are a college student, and are using Chegg for “Research,” they are logging your IP number and will gladly give your institution your email address and IP information. In some cases your IP address can be geolocated to your home residence. Scary stuff.
Still not worried about Chegg knowing the exact location of where you are coming from? Listen up, college student with a fancy Macbook, you may be accessing naughty websites in a crowded library at your University, but your laptop has a unique identifier (nerds call is a MAC address) and it is associated with you every time you sign into the campus wireless network. Your college knows where you are and what sites you are visiting.
Stop. Letting. People. Track. You.
Go to Mullvad, pay $5 a month, and hide your internet traffic from wireless internet providers. Download the software to your desktop or laptop, download the free mobile phone app, and connect to a location nearest you. Mullvad is a VPN provider, which stands for a Virtual Private Network.
Typical people don't care how a VPN works. I've watched eyes roll in the back of their head when I explain it to them. As soon as I tell people it hides their internet traffic, they wake up and pay attention.
Once you install Mullvad on your device, when you visit an online website, they only get the IP number of the server you are connecting to, not your actual IP number. You could be living in Bakersfield, California, but if you connect to Los Angeles in your Mullvad software, your home internet service provider, your school, your coffee shop, and your family's home wireless provider only see you accessing a Los Angeles IP number. And those retail sites see you accessing their webpage from a Los Angeles geolocated IP address.
Five bucks a month for a solid layer of privacy and anonymity online.