About Anonymous BrowsingAnonymous browsing works by encrypting traffic before it is sent out over the Internet. The IP address of the originating traffic and the destination IP are both encrypted inside the anonymous browsing packets. This prevents anyone from discovering the origin or ultimate destination of the traffic, preventing tracing of the user. The packets are encrypted, so if they happen to become misrouted, they still cannot be read. Once on the network, the packets are passed through a random series of servers on the anonymous browsing network until they reach the destination.
Although it may sound like a tool for hackers or software pirates, anonymous browsing has many uses. Businesses, for example, can use anonymous browsing to keep notes on competitors. Journalists and whistleblowers can also use this method to report news stories or dangerous behavior. Even regular Internet users who are concerned about their privacy can benefit from using an anonymous browser. (Read more about Internet privacy in What You Should Know About Your Privacy Online.)
The Onion RouterOne of the most popular anonymous browsing platforms is the Tor browser. Tor, short for The Onion Router, uses a worldwide network of anonymous servers to move traffic from location to location. Each packet passed through the network is wrapped in several layers of encryption. As the packet moves from server to server, a layer of encryption is removed. The wrapping of packets in several layers is akin to the skin on an onion, which is how Tor gets its name.
Tor is free to download and use and can be obtained from the Tor Project site, located at http://www.torproject.org. Tor comes in a number of different distributions and packages, but the easiest to download and use for anonymous browsing is known as the Tor Browser bundle. The package comes complete and ready to use. No installation is necessary. Once the package is downloaded, all that’s required is to connect to the Internet and open the Tor browser. The Tor software handles all of the connections needed with no configuration by the user end. Within minutes you can be up and browsing anonymously.