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Opera VPN does not allow me to surf annonymously

  • So I set the VPN button, yet when I surf websites can track how many articles I've read. How? If I've cleared all cookies, etc. in Windows 10 and I'm using VPN in Opera I should be able to surf with no cookies, supercookies or anything alerting a site who I am.

    How can this be happening? Can I config something to stop being tracked?

    Thanks,

    Mac

  • @mac29 A VPN doesn't block cookies, it just hides your IP address. So the site may know that the IP address from the VPN has read a certain number of articles.

  • @mac29 A VPN will only block the user's IP from being routed to the destination. Depending on the sophistication of a website's code, there are other elements that can be used by the site to attempt to uniquely identify a visiting browser. As you note, cookes and supercookies can betray a unique browser. However, there are other elements that can be exploited: WebRTC leakage, enabled system/software geolocation, browser service workers, enabled website notifications, user-agent fingerprinting, and a variety of system and browser fingerprinting via website Javascript code. The effectiveness and accuracy of these elements can and do vary, but all have been known to be employed by various sites at times.

    My own experience is that the IP, cookies/supercookies, WebRTC leakage, and service workers are the most common trackers used by many sites to limit the number of viewed articles, so they are the best areas to attempt to suppress in the browser. However, there is a constant effort on the part of subscriber-based sites to find creative new ways to limit free visits, particularly using Javascript to play with and exploit browser API's and in seeking ways to plant various kinds of site-related "seed" data bits into browser storage areas.

    Usually I've found that if one kills cookies/supercookies, WebRTC, and exterminates service workers before revisiting a site, the site is likely to allow viewing for a brief time until their limit is again exceeded. If those techniques don't work, there's typically not a lot one can do (in practicality) since killing other tracking mechanisms usually involves blocking the site's Javascript - which usually causes the sites to not work at all.

  • OK, good to know leocg & blackbird,

    But I swear I've read online somewhere that there's something that allows you to surf "anonymously". What would that be? I know it's not a Tor browser. If must have been something I could use in conjunction with Firefox or Opera.

    It's the Proxy. Isn't there an easy way to use one of those in Opera? Anyone know a safe site if it's a plug-in or Add-on? Is softpedia safe?

    Thanks.

  • @mac29 There are a lot of browsers, extensions, and accessories (VPNs, proxies, etc) that may claim to increase browsing anonymity, with actual results that may or may not really improve one's situation to some degree, depending on what a site is doing with its code technology and from whom one is seeking to protect their anonymity. However, in most cases, there is no perfect answer (even with Tor) that assures 100% anonymity against all types of betrayal of privacy or user tracking.

    I've observed that, in trying to 'hide' from a visited website, the most effective techniques also tend to break the websites. One of the strategies used by some sites seeking to ID visitors is simply to deny access if they aren't able to derive legitimate-appearing data from the visitor, and there are various methods for them to test such data-legitimacy. I wish you the best results in your quest, but I have little optimism that any major success you may obtain will last, since websites (and their market affiliates) are constantly seeking new and 'improved' ways to enforce their paywalls and/or their user tracking.

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