The best way to hide your computer activity from your boss (and where you are located) is to set up a remote server from your current home and access it from abroad. This way you LOOK like you are at home. The second best is to have a VPN either installed on your computer or on a portable router that your devices connect to.
Hide Your Computer From The Boss
What if want to live outside your home country, work your remote job, and not have your employer know where you are? Maybe you are part of a remote team, like many people, working full time outside of the traditional offices. Right now you are one of the team members working from home but you’d like to do it instead from another country. Your only issue can you hide your computer from the boss?
It can be done.
You will need to know some technical stuff but it is not THAT technical. Anyone with basic computer setup skills can pull it off.
First step: Hide Your IP Address
Your IP address is the numerical code that shows where your computer is connected to the internet. If you want to see your current IP address, go to www.whatismyipaddress.com and see what yours is.
It will look like this: 126.96.36.1990 (sample numbers, not a real IP address). The IP shows where your internet traffic is going. A VPN is a secure encrypted connection that protects your data as well. Think of it as an encrypted tunnel between you and the websites that you visit.
If you don’t want someone like your boss to know where you are located, you need to change this number that is shown to the public.
There are several ways to hide your IP address.
Use a VPN
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network, which is a service that encrypts and makes your internet connection anonymous, hiding your online activity. This means it hides where you are connecting from, allowing you to access content that may be blocked in your country or region. It also lets you hide your IP address (which is how websites can see what country you’re in).
This can be particularly helpful when trying to avoid censorship or surveillance by governments or companies like Google and Facebook who track what we do online with cookies and other tracking methods like browser fingerprinting and cookies from third-party content providers such as advertisers. It can also make it look like you are in your home town when you are in Cancun!
How to use a VPN:
- Download a secure VPN software from the VPN provider of your choice (you can get a free VPN but we don’t recommend it);
- Sign up for an account with the provider and download their app onto each device. Most VPN services come with apps for all major operating systems like Windows or iOS/Android.
- Install it on any devices you want to access the internet through (laptop, tablet, phone).
- Make sure that the choices of location include the city/state that you want to be shown publicly.
What if my employer issues us a company laptop?
When it comes to remote work, some employees are allowed to work remotely but their employer supplies the laptop. This is typically for security reasons (controlling the access to the company’s servers) and to make the process simple and easy to manage. The laptop only does one thing: logs into your office main frame and that’s it. You cannot load other software, browse the internet or anything else. You want to use your company laptop overseas but are not sure how to do it.
This situation complicates things because it doesn’t allow for installing VPN software on your computer. So what do you do?
Use a Travel Router
Your home Internet is connected to your computer with a Wi-Fi router. This takes the signal coming into your house or building, broadcast it by Wi-Fi and you connect your computer to it. You can take this whole process on the road by buying a small portable router.
The portable Wi-Fi router works the same way that your home one does. You can load a VPN onto this and then any device that connects to work will be behind the VPN. It makes it easy and you get some benefits out of this:
- You can connect multiple devices with ease (laptop, phone, etc.)
- You can allow other people to use your VPN (share it like at home)
- You can connect your company laptop and its behind the VPN
The portable router is easy to connect to the Internet while traveling. You can connect with an ethernet cable or simply with Wi-Fi to the other Wi-Fi router.
An added benefit if you few connect by Wi-Fi is it turns your portable router into a repeater. This means that it extends the reach of the Wi-Fi where you are staying.
Here’s the portable wifi router that I use: The GL.iNet GL-1300.
Higher level: Use a Remote Server
A remote server is simply a computer that is in another location that you access over the Internet.
What people do is they leave a desktop computer connected to the Internet in their house in their home country, (or at a friend’s or relative’s) and they can access it from abroad.
If you set this up from your normal home and anybody checked, the web traffic would be coming from your actual house. Even though you were using it from another country.
This can be a handy set up too because you keep all of the files and data on your home computer and nothing on your travel laptop. So if you lose the laptop or it gets stolen, you don’t have to restore any of your data because none of it was on that laptop.
One final note: you can still get caught
There is no full proof way to keep a high-level IT guy from figuring out what’s going on if you use a VPN. Because you’re rerouting your traffic through different servers on the Internet to hide where you are, this creates a delay in accessing a company server. A really good tech will be able to figure this out.
How many bosses have a high-level tech department or even care? Probably not many. You should know that it is theoretically possible.
The remote server option is the safest one but also has its drawbacks (Have to have a second computer, potential Internet or power issues while you’re not there, etc.).
The best bet is to find an employer that knows you are working remotely and doesn’t care. Until then, these are your option