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Ok so I'm LGBT, but I'm not out to my parents. They wouldn't be very accepting- and I don't want to be in an environment where they know because trust me it would be a bad situation. However, I want to start connecting to online LGBT resources. I'm currently living at home and I don't want them to find out if I go to LGBT sites and things like that. If I use incognito mode on google chrome I know it stops it from displaying the sites on my internet history, but the ISP still can see it. Is there a way my parents could get the list of what sites I visit from my ISP? My dad knows a lot about tech and security as well- so is there anything I can do to stop him seeing it knowing that he knows a lot about internet security and might know if I'm trying to hide something?

marked as duplicate by RoraΖ, Bacon Brad, Xiong Chiamiov, Rory Alsop Sep 18 '17 at 23:19

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  • If your dad knows a lot about security, use a VPN too. – ThoriumBR Sep 18 '17 at 15:43
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    FWIW I don't know any ISP's that would expend their internal resources to provide customers with a listing of their internet traffic. That sort of energy is usually only expended for Law Enforcement Agencies or potential business partners. – DKNUCKLES Sep 18 '17 at 16:10
  • @user159315 this question technically falls under secureity.se 's "Questions asking us to break the security of a specific system for you are off-topic unless they demonstrate an understanding of the concepts involved and clearly identify a specific problem." ... please delete question once you have a sufficient answer – CaffeineAddiction Sep 18 '17 at 16:21
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    @CaffeineAddiction completely disagree. This application is specifically what systems like Tor were designed for - protecting people from oppression and persecution for legitimate reasons. I see a basic understanding of browser forensics and the visibility that ISPs have and there is no request to "break the security" of a system. – DKNUCKLES Sep 18 '17 at 16:28
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    @caffineaddiction my parents never specifically put any system in place. I'm not trying to break their rules or get around anything they put in place. Just trying to maintain my privacy because I would be in an unsafe environment if they knew and I don't want that for myself. – Elliot Sep 18 '17 at 19:11

All the sites you visit regardless of what you use software wise (incognito mode etc) need to do a DNS resolution, i.e query the domain name for an IP address.

If you are in the UK your ISP will have a record of all this, I cannot comment on other jurisdictions but would be surprised if the vast majority did not have the same level of data.

If the sites you are visiting are HTTPS, then that is all the ISP will have just the domain name of the site, if however the site is only HTTP, your ISP will also have full visibility of the sites content.

If your dad is tech savy he can also see all of this if he wants. At the very least he can view router logs and see the site domain names.

Your best defence here is to use a hardware based VPN, again you could use a software VPN but there is a chance it may be interrupted and you device would just revert back to the regular network while it re-establishes a connection (There are way to stop this but it requires some know how).

Another option is TOR, however this may be more trouble that it is worth if you are not familiar with it. It would allow you to mask all your internet traffic from both your family and your ISP but there is a learning curve with it.

Some valid arguments against your dad for using such devices include:

  • Getting round content restrictions
  • Using a lot of public WiFi, you want to be sure you are safe
  • Your uni/school/place of work have request it
  • you don't want your ISP knowing what you are doing
  • I looked at TOR, and it seems good. Will it mask even domain names from my ISP? – Elliot Sep 18 '17 at 16:09
  • Yes. A lot of TOR domain names are .onion, even regular DNS lookups are masked, so you should be fine. – Trickycm Sep 18 '17 at 16:11
  • @Trickycm this is incorrect, you can change your DNS to or add sites to HOSTS file or even port forward DNS to a VPS and hide this traffic – CaffeineAddiction Sep 18 '17 at 16:12
  • What is incorrect? TOR masking DNS queries? – Trickycm Sep 18 '17 at 16:14
  • @Trickycm "Your ISP will have a record of all this." this is not always true depending on how you set things up – CaffeineAddiction Sep 18 '17 at 16:23


  • Tor Browser (but if your dad monitors any traffic ... he will know something is sketchy)

Cheap (but less suspicious)

  • Setup a VPS through a provider like Vultr (shameless affiliate link)
  • Do initial security setup on the VPS Tutorial Link
  • Setup a SSH tunnel with dynamic port forwarding & browser proxy settings link (random blog w/ screenshots found via first google search)
  • Setup DNSchef on your VPS and use SSH port forwarding on port 53 (also need to set your computers network settings to use for dns)
  • Setup a Wordpress blog or something so if your dad asks about SSH traffic you can honestly say that you are working on a website.

Depending on your jurisdiction, the ISP could be forbidden to monitor what website you visit or your ISP could be mandated to do so. Whether your dad can access this information is another matter entirely. Basically, you do not provide enough information for us to give you a meaningful answer for this question.

Also, you do not mention if you are using you own computer or not. If you are using a computer your dad has access to and if you dad is skillful, there is little you can do to be sure that you can hide you browsing habits from him. The best advice one can give you in this case is not to use your dad's computer for this stuff, but go to a library. You can also use a live Linux distribution on a USB key, like Tails, using the Tor Browser to go on the web. Also, do not use your house WiFi when using your smartphone to browse LGBT websites.

If your dad is not that skillful or not that curious, or if you are using your own computer, you can use the Tor Browser to go to the internet. This, by itself, will not make you anonymous, but it will prevent your dad from knowing which websites you browse.

Also, this website by the EFF explains really well who can spy on you and what information they can collect, depending on your use of HTTPS and/or Tor. This is a great educational material that you should read, whether or not you are using Tor.

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    "If you are using a computer your dad has access to and if you dad is skillful, there is nothing you can do" a Linux Live CD would bypass everything except hardware keyloggers – CaffeineAddiction Sep 18 '17 at 16:32
  • I am not using my dad's device, I'm on my own computer. However, I can't really go out of the house without permission and they usually don't let me just randomly go to the library or something, so I'm basically stuck on their wifi. Thank you for your comments, I'm strongly considering TOR – Elliot Sep 18 '17 at 19:13

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