If you use the Internet, it is highly likely you are sending a considerable amount of personally identifying information. Today, people use the Internet for online shopping, banking, credit checks, and paying bills. On top of these personal administrative errands, we go online for recreational purposes like social media and television streaming. Even our favorite TV and movie providers collect our personal information in order to better assess our preferences. Also, let’s not forget the never ending presence of online advertisers and their increasingly sophisticated cookie-tracking behaviors.


When new technology takes root as everyday household utilities, basic security precautions soon follow suit. When the desktop computer became widespread, the antivirus software soon followed. It soon became the mark of an educated and responsible user to have an antivirus installed; to not do so was considered ill advised and perhaps even reckless. Now, the same is true with privacy protections. If you use the Internet, a VPN server to protect your privacy and security is a must.


Identity Theft: The Looming Threat


A thief with a credit card

There are numerous reports estimating that for every identity theft, it can cost upwards of thousands of dollars it takes to recover. These financial figures don’t even take into account the time cost: the onus is entirely on the victim to put in the hours sorting through every applicable agency to attempt to solve the problem. As of 2012, the average American lost over $1,700 and took several days to attempt to solve the issue. The reality, however, is that the after effects of identity theft last much longer, with victims reporting unexpected consequences years after the identity theft occurred.  The only true protection against identity theft is to prevent it from happening altogether.


One of the most common means of identity theft is to intercept Internet communications over unsecured connections. A report from the Department of Justice found that a majority of the information stolen is used to access credit card and banking accounts. Would-be identity thieves today take advantage of popular public WiFi spots and create fake public hotspots with harmless-sounding names: CafeWiFi, PublicAccess, CityLibrary – you get the idea. The reality is, there is no way to protect yourself over an unsecured public wireless connection without encrypting your own communications. A strong VPN will secure all of your online communications so that nobody listening in can see what you’re up to – regardless of who made the hotspot.


How Encryption Protects Your Privacy Online


You can read How Does a VPN Work? for a full explanation, but the most important aspect of a VPN is encryption. VPNs use public key encryption to generate code that can only be decrypted following specific protocols.


As with ancient methods of cryptography, encrypted code is decrypted with special keys. Public key encryption uses both a public and a private key. After Alice uses a private key to encrypt her data, she then uses a public key to encrypt the private key. Next, Bob uses his own private key, different from the one Alice has, to decrypt the public key, and finally uses that public key to decrypt the data Alice sent him. You can see that this method involves multiple layers of encryption. Now this method has scaled to the network level, with websites using digital certificates (SSLs) to share public keys between sending and receiving servers.


Along with encryption, VPNs also use authentication. This is how they verify that the sender is who they claim to be. Using both public key encryption and authentication as their core goals, VPN developers work with numerous security protocols in tandem with one another to ensure the strongest possible performance.


Protecting Against Identity Theft Using ProxyServer’s ProVPN


Perhaps encryption is not one of your interests, and you are beginning to think a VPN may not be for you. The good news is ProxyServer’s ProVPN was designed to be as simple as possible. All you have to do is download, install, and login to get started protecting against identity theft with your own VPN account. Visit How Easy Is It to Set Up YourProxy ServerVPN? for screenshots and step-by-step instructions.


proxyserver.com screenshot


Selecting a Region


To get the fastest possible speeds, you want to connect to the server nearest you. VPN servers protect your identity by directing your traffic through different servers before reaching the host server. Each transfer from one server to another is called a “hop.” The fewer hops, the faster the connection. That means that a server closer to you will have fewer hops and therefore optimize your VPN’s performance.


Sometimes you may have a reason to connect through a different country; for instance, if you are trying to bypass regional content blocking or government censorship, or trying to stream content from a country-restricted service like Hulu or BBC iPlayer. In that case, check out How to Select the Best VPN Server for Your Location for a full run-down on your options.


If you simply want to protect against identity theft, however, privacy is your greatest concern. Your best option is to find the server closest to your actual location.


Congratulations! You are Securely Connected


Once yourProxy ServerVPN is up and running, you can shop online, manage your credit, and do anything else with peace of mind. Now that you know how to use ProVPN, check out all of the other ways you can get the most out of your secure and private connection. See our How-To articles for a full list of our capabilities.