So what are your options?
To begin with, it is important to note that nothing is ever 100% hidden on the internet. With that being said, you should avoid posting things that you would regret later. If you are going to go online, you should first understand how the internet works.
Cables, cables everywhere
As wireless technology is becoming rampant, it is surprising to note that the internet is supported by cables . As seen from the submarine cable map, there are massive wires that connect the world to the internet.
Since it would be extremely complicated to connect all of the computers in the world together with wires, there are certain ways to make this process wireless.
Each computer is connected to the network by a router. To build a connection with other networks, a modem is used to connect the network to the telephone infrastructure which already connects one house's network to anyone in the world. Typically, when you connect to the internet, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns a temporary Internet Protocol (IP) address to you. An ISP manages special routers that link everything together. This IP address allows you to access other networks. These IP addresses are usually given names called domain names. For instance, you could enter one of the many IP addresses owned by Google instead of "google.com" to reach their website, but it is much easier to remember the latter .
Due to this process, when you head into sites, it is possible for the data to be traced back to you. This means that sensitive data such as passwords and banking information could be exposed. In order to better hide your identity, there are some things you should note.
HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)
When browsing sites you should notice that there is an "HTTP" in the address bar. This is the protocol for communication between web browsers and web servers which allows the web pages to be transmitted. When this ends in an "s", as in "https", this indicates that the data that is being transmitted between the browser and the website is secure.
In other words, all communication is encrypted and customer information cannot be intercepted . This is especially important when doing things such as online banking. To ensure that you only access “HTTPS” websites, consider downloading the extension, “HTTPS Everywhere” for your respective browsers.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
If you have tried to access your nexus files at home, then you may be familiar with Virtual Private Network (VPN). To access your school files, you need to log onto to the university's network remotely. To do this, after connecting to the public internet with your ISP, you need to initiate a VPN with using a client such as Cisco AnyConnect and connect the University's VPN server. After doing so, you are able to access the Waterloo's internal network, including your N: drive. Furthermore, you can learn more at About the Virtual Private Network (VPN).
VPNs also have a wider use for greater security. When data is routed through a VPN, the IP address looks like its coming from the VPN server. Thus, even if you are not accessing an HTTPS site, it will still be hard to trace your data. This is especially important when using public networks because you never know who could be watching your traffic or after your private data. Nevertheless, it is important to assess the reliability of the VPN service provider. Although VPNs protect you from prying eyes, they are still the ones with access to your data as you have to establish a connection with them to begin with. Therefore it is important to do some research before using their service .
The Onion Router (Tor)
Even when using HTTPS sites and a VPN, you are still not 100% anonymous on the internet due to things like cookies.
If you want the real spy anonymity, then you will have to look into Tor. Tor is a free, volunteer-run, anonymity network developed with the US Navy. Tor is notorious for its extreme use such as journalists working in an oppressive country or anonymous hackers. It works by bouncing your traffic through these volunteer-run server nodes, thus anonymizing your data . This makes it difficult for websites to find your location and browsing habits.
Still, there has been a case where the suspects were hacked by the FBI on Tor so you still are never truly safe . It is important to note that although Tor offers anonymity, they do not necessarily offer security.
Although hacking onto the Tor network is very difficult, the browser is not necessarily secure and is still exploitable as your traffic can still be monitored. For increased security, there are other guidelines that should be followed such as not opening any other programs and using a VPN in addition to the Tor browser.
However, it is also important to note that the Tor browser also gives access to the dark web, which is what the browser is usually associated with. The dark web includes everything from illicit trade markets to conversations between journalists and whistleblowers . The browser is also quite slow because of the process to provide anonymity. Therefore, if you are just going on the internet to check the weather, it is probably better if you use a normal browser.
Other tips to note
A simple task like putting tape over your webcam can put your mind at ease after knowing how easily a hacker could put spyware onto your computer and capture unwanted photos/videos. These scares are what is making even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg cover up his webcam . As stated at the beginning of the article, it is important to be mindful of what you do online as you are never fully anonymous. Therefore, you should always be mindful of what you download and upload. It is also a wise decision to invest in an antivirus and malware program.
When you connect to the internet you are potentially allowing your private information to be exposed for free. For all intensive purposes, Tor should not be used for day-to-day work. It is incredibly slow and not all that secure either. On the other hand, using a trusted VPN provides security on the internet and should be used whenever possible.
 TeleGeography. (n.d.). Submarine Cable Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved May 16, 2018, from https://www2.telegeography.com/submarine-cable-faqs-frequently-asked-questions
How does the Internet work? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/Common_questions/How_does_the_Internet_work
Difference between HTTP and HTTPS. (2017, May 15). Retrieved from https://www.instantssl.com/ssl-certificate-products/https.html