Browsing the Internet is now an integral part of our lives, and Google Chrome is the #1 most widely used browser all around the world, ranking consistently ahead of its competitors such as Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and the likes. It is deemed as the fastest browser and has a simple interface that is user-friendly and evergreen. But nothing is perfect – Google Chrome is optimized for speed but not security and privacy unlike TOR, so despite the convenience, it exposes the user to the dangers of the internet.
Can’t I Just Use Incognito Mode?
People generally have the impression that the Incognito mode is equivalent to privacy mode, thinking that the absence of pre-filled forms, cookies, and bookmarks is an indication that none of their data is captured anywhere on the internet, but that’s not the case. Records are only wiped from within your browser, but traces of your traffic, browsing history and even personal information are leaked online in the following ways:
- Requests from your IP address are stored at the DNS (Domain Name System) server
- Requests going through your ISP’s proxy server are recorded by your ISP
- ISP interception of your unencrypted traffic, redirecting you to their DNS server or placing a super cookie in your HTTP requests for tracking purposes
Pages you view in incognito are visible not only to your ISP, but also to your employer and the sites you visit. Take time to understand the distinction between ‘online privacy’ and ’local privacy’, and you’ll learn that it’s the prying third-parties you want to be shielded from, not just members of the family sharing your computer.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
An elegant solution would be to use a VPN. Not just any free VPN, but one that encrypts your traffic, has a private DNS server and does not keep logs of your DNS requests, traffic or connections. Not a lot of VPN service providers does all three of them, but ExpressVPN does.
Why is it important that a VPN encrypt your data? ISPs can intercept your unencrypted traffic to redirect you to their DNS servers to record your requests (or might already be voluntarily using their server), inject super cookies to track you, or throttle your bandwidth when you’re streaming content just because this has not been fully monetized. There have been reported cases where ISPs request payments from Netflix to lift their traffic throttling, so that viewers could enjoy shows and continue their subscriptions. To avoid ISPs from tempering with your internet experience, data encryption is key. ExpressVPN adopts 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) to tunnel your traffic, a standard as adopted by the U.S. government to zeal confidential assets, so you can be sure that your privacy is intact with ExpressVPN.
What about a private DNS server and a no-logs policy? You have to trust your VPN company enough to use their DNS server instead of the ISP’s, otherwise you’re just handing yourself over from one bad guy to another. ExpressVPN has a zero-knowledge DNS, so they do not see the requests made through them; they also take no logs of the traffic or destination content when users are connected to their service.
How does a VPN Chrome Extension protect me?
ExpressVPN’s Chrome Extension is incorporated with EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere, so on top of all the other benefits listed in the next section, the extension puts you in HTTPS automatically all the time. Here’s what it does:
- It allows users to connect to any of its secure HTTPS sites only when this feature is enabled.
- It guarantees the users of an encrypted traffic between them and the sites they visit as evidenced by the green padlock and the “Secure” label at the left of the web address.
- None of your information gets visible to your ISP and admins.
- It enhances privacy and security of your data through encryption even if the site you are visiting is not a fully-supported HTTPS.
Other Outstanding Features
ExpressVPN offers the best VPN experience to its users because of the following features:
- Easy to use. It just takes a click to get connected.
- Global VPN Connectivity. You get to choose which network to connect to among 94 countries with 148 VPN servers.
- Kill Switch Feature. ExpressVPN automatically switches off during VPN connection downtimes to prevent traffic flow outside its tunnel.
- Protection from DNS Leak. This feature keeps your online activities from being accessed by ISPs or DNS providers.
- WebRTC Block. This protection masks your IP address and location to avoid getting traced.
- Location Spoof. ExpressVPN changes your geolocation in Chrome to match the server of the VPN you are connected to.
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ExpressVPN is now offering up to 49% off their monthly subscription. With a single subscription, you can enable VPN on up to 3 devices at a time. You can also get the Chrome Extension for free upon signing up. Still undecided? Try their service for up to 30-days with no strings attached. Get your exclusive ExpressVPN discount now before it’s gone.