Personal VPN and VPN Privacy
Prevent identity theft, stop data mining and be secure online
Blog's, forums and sites all over the web talk about proxies and VPN's. The claims vary, with some boasting that they can make you totally anonymous while online. Any company that claims to do this is just plain lying to you.
Government agencies with unlimited time, equipment and money can easily track you anywhere, anytime, if they really want to and you are worth the time and money required to do so. Fortunately, the average person is not worried about an all out government assault on their data. However, agencies in many countries routinely scan internet traffic just because they can.
Hackers routinely steal peoples identities, passwords and bank information. People are concerned that search engines will compile databases about them for marketing purposes. Websites gather personal information all the time so they can profile you and sell your profile to advertising companies and others who want information about you and your habits. The personal VPN is the beginning of the process of securing your information.
A personal VPN will give you a reasonably anonymous presence on the internet for the purposes that most people are needing from such a service. It will encrypt your data connection so that your ISP cannot see what websites you are accessing, which prevents them from profiling you. When you go to a website, the owner cannot see your IP address so they can't figure out who you are. They also won't know by the IP address if you have been there before.
However, there are other ways in which sites can identify you. Obviously, logging into the site is the most common way of self defeating your privacy. From this point on, they can follow you all over the net.
When using websites that require entering personal information, consider using a pen name. Using a throwaway, free email account will further keep your privacy secure. Never use true, personal data when signing up for these email accounts and only sign up and use it while on the VPN. From this point on, if a website asks you for your email address, give them this clean address that does not trace back to you. For optimum effect, sign up for several addresses and mix them up.
Most websites try to install 'cookies' on your computer when you visit them. Cookies are used to track you and allow them to identify you when you visit again. Search engines can use these cookies to follow you across the net. Since most websites will not give you full access to their site if you block cookies, just erase the cookies after you leave the page. All browsers can be set to delete cookies when you close the browser and also provide a delete personal information option.
There are also several programs on the market that will 'wash' your computer and remove all traces of personal information that can be revealed by your browser while online. These programs also clear many areas on your computer where private information is stored and not properly erased.
A new type of cookie is called the 'flash cookie'. Similar to regular cookies in recording personal information, they are saved by flash-enabled websites. The best way to handle them is to delete them often. A plug-in for Firefox browser called Objection will clear flash cookies easily. We highly recommend the Firefox browser due to the many security applications that are available as plug-ins for it.
Most websites today use scripts to perform various tasks. Many of these complex scripts are designed to extract personal information from your computer and can even install objects on your computer to further track you. Turning off scripting in your browser does not solve the problem as it also keeps most sites from working properly. However, a wonderful solution is available as another Firefox plug-in called 'No Script'.
Using networks you don’t have control of can also pose several risks. It doesn't matter if it's a network at work, the library, a coffee shop or even a friend's house. Being on an unknown network means you don't know who is watching and recording your information. The Personal VPN will ensure VPN privacy, in these situations.
Just remember that all of this well-planned protection can be lost by something as trivial as using a computer that is not yours or a public computer. Key loggers on these machines could make quick work of all your hard earned privacy.
For detailed information on how to secure your browser form the attacks described above see our secure browser page.