Saturday July 18, 2020

You might not know that every time You visit a website, the information what website You’re visiting is relatively easily available for 3rd parties, i.a., due to that:

  1. It is not encrypted (therefore it may be easily intercepted, especially over the air (Wi-FI)).
  2. It is saved and stored on Your Internet Provider’s computers (servers).

You can prevent this to happen (at least to a significant degree) by:

  1. Making the information encrypted.
  2. Saving the information on the other - supposedly more private - place than Your Internet Provider.

Here how can You do that.

Encrypt Your Browsing.

There are various methods to encrypt the information what websites You’re browsing - one of them has been recently introduced as a kind of a native feature (although not enabled by default) of the most web-browsers available out there, and it’s called “DNS over HTTPS”. It’s a very nice surprise, and it is available both on desktop and mobile web-browsers.

The easiest way to enable this feature (I’ve checked this within the newest Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi and Opera) is to enter the following into the address field:

chrome://flags/

Then confirm. You should see a page with experimental features (“Experiments”), with its own search field somewhere. Enter the following into the search field:

dns-over-https

Then confirm. You should see the item called “Secure DNS lookups” - switch it to “Enabled” and click or tap on the “Relaunch” button (probably on the bottom right). The web-browser should be restarted and now Your browsing should be more private :) .

You can check whether it’s actually working or not by visiting this page. If it does work, the page should display “Using DNS over HTTPS (DoH)” set as “Yes”.

Choose a Private Storage.

As I mentioned before, whether the information what websites You’re visiting is send via encrypted or not encrypted means, it finally lands somewhere, where it is saved and stored. By default the destination place are computers (servers) of the company which provides You with Internet (so-called ISP). But there are many other places to which You can switch if You want, instead of relying on the current one. Such a decision may be appealing especially when You’d like to gain more privacy on Your browsing: there are places out there which seem to be privacy-oriented. In one such a case (by Cloudflare), for example, the information on Your browsing is stored for a considerable short amount of time: up to 25 hours - instead of some long period or even for ever.

So how could You switch to Cloudflare, for example? There are two ways to enable it under Android 9, and one under Windows 7 (unfortunately I don’t have experience with other platforms - You’ll find the how-to’s for them here).

Android - the Easiest Way.

Pros: It’s easy - just install the app and make a few taps :) .

Cons: You need to have one more app always up-and-running on Your device, therefore utilizing its memory and power.

Android 9 - No App Needed.

Pros: You don’t need to put another burden onto Your device (in a form of yet another app constantly up-and-running).

Cons: It requires more of Your attention to set up everything - although You need to do it only once.

  1. Since the same Android ver. may differ in details on various devices, first check whether You can access Settings › Network & internet › Advanced › Private DNS. If yes, go straight to the step 7. If no, continue with the step 2.
  2. Install QuickShortcutMaker - it’s free; although You need it only once, it may help You in the future, because it has many applications.
  3. Turn off Your Internet connection.
  4. Open the app and on the Activities tab enter more into the search field (“Input keyword to filter”), follow it by a single space.
  5. Unfold Settings and choose the item which contains fine-printed “NetworkDashboardActivity”.
    img1
  6. Tap on Try and then on Private DNS.
  7. Under Select Private DNS Mode choose Private DNS provider hostname and enter the following into the field below:
    one.one.one.one
  8. Confirm by Save and turn on Your Internet connection.

You can check whether it’s actually working or not by visiting this page. If it does work, the page should display all the three items: “Connected to 1.1.1.1”, “Using DNS over HTTPS (DoH)”, “Using DNS over TLS (DoT)” set as “Yes”.

Windows 7.

  1. Right click on the internet connection icon shown in the Windows task bar and click on the Open Network Sharing Center.
  2. Click the linked name of Your connection (under “View your active networks”), e.g., Wireless Network Connection........
  3. Check which connection out of IPv4 or IPv6 is connected (the connected network is indicated by “Internet” status).
  4. Click on the Properties button.
  5. If You use IPv4 connection (step 3), double-click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).
  6. Check the radio button Use the following DNS server addresses and enter the following addresses into the two fields below:
    1.1.1.1
    1.0.0.1
  7. Confirm all the windows via OK buttons, restart Your web browser.

You can check whether it’s actually working or not by visiting this page. If it does work, the page should display “Connected to 1.1.1.1” set as “Yes”.

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