As technology progresses, we are putting more and more of our personal information at risk. This includes the fairly typical identity information such as our name, date of birth, social security number, and credit card information. It also includes even more personal information such as access to our homes, our business information, and even our genetic information.

Almost everything nowadays is transmitted online. This means now is the time to take internet security seriously to prevent your information from being compromised. Additionally, hackers lurk at every corner of the internet waiting to steal your information.

The following article will examine two of the more common ways to protect your data online.

Proxy Explained

A proxy is simply a remote server that you can make an internet connection through. Your internet traffic is then routed through the proxy.

The proxy has no encryption, which makes it less than ideal for protecting your data. However, using a proxy still has some benefits. Those benefits include the ability to change your IP address and a fast connection.

An IP address is the identifying information for your network’s connection and can be used to track your location by websites. Some websites will block certain content from certain locations. A proxy located in another country will allow you to get around this geographic blocking because it will change your location.

A proxy also offers plenty of speed. Oftentimes, the proxy will have a minimal reduction in speed compared to a normal connection. The importance of reading proxy reviews is critical because the speed of a proxy connection makes them ideal for streaming videos online or other data-heavy tasks.

VPN Explained

A VPN (very private network) works a little differently than a proxy. A VPN still routes your internet connection through a remote server. However, the VPN does this through an encrypted connection. The encrypted tunnel makes it nearly impossible for hackers to access your information.

Additionally, the encrypted tunnel makes connecting to a public wireless network much safer. Under normal circumstances, a network administrator or third party can view information transmitted over a public wireless network. That is the reason experts do not recommend doing online banking over public wireless networks. However, the encrypted tunnel eliminates the risk.

A VPN offers more than just the ability to safely connect to public networks. They also encrypt all network traffic via software downloaded on your computer. This operates a little different than a proxy because a proxy will only route your connection from the application you use to connect to the proxy. In other words, if you connect to a proxy in Mozilla Firefox, then your connection through Google Chrome will not be routed through a proxy.

Proxy for Data Protection?

Using a proxy for data protection is not a good choice. Proxies have no encryption, which makes them effectively useless for data protection. They do have uses other than data protection, though.

The main use is to hide your IP address. Some reasons for hiding your IP address might include avoiding geographic blocking of content or to hide your IP address from websites you visit. Some businesses will use geographic blocking to limit access to certain content for legal reasons. In other cases, entire countries will block websites. The only way to get around a country block is to use a proxy or a VPN.

A proxy will not work for protecting your data. Using them will only conceal your online identity, but even then the concealment only works on a very basic level as the connection is not encrypted. You should only use a proxy when security is not a major concern and you just need to change your connection location.

VPN for Data Protection?

A VPN can protect your online data. Do not misinterpret this as a VPN stopping malware because a VPN cannot do that. They will encrypt your internet connection, which will prevent anyone from listening to your connection and potentially stealing your data.

Additionally, you can use a VPN to connect to a remote server located in another country. You should read VPN reviews before you commit to a specific VPN for country-specific needs as some countries will imprison you for using one. This effectively changes your country and can be used to get around geographical blocking of certain websites or content.

Even further, a VPN will encrypt all network traffic from your computer. If you have Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and a peer-to-peer software open at the same time, then the VPN will encrypt all that traffic. This makes it especially difficult for anyone to monitor your network traffic.

The only possible way to monitor your network traffic is if the company in control of the remote server you connect to has decided to keep a log of all records. If you want true anonymity online, then you must find a VPN provider that does not keep records.

Using a VPN does have some negative aspects, though. The connection with a VPN will be slower than a proxy as the encryption takes time and routing your connection to a remote server takes time.

For example, if you are located in China and want to connect to a United-States-based VPN, then your connection would have to cross the Pacific Ocean to reach the remote server. The process does not end there; from the remote server it would connect to the website server, from the website it would go back to the United States, and finally from the United States back to China. This process still takes less than one second. However, it will result in a noticeable drop in internet speed.

Final Thoughts

If you want data protection while browsing the internet, then the only option that will fulfill that is a VPN. As mentioned earlier, a proxy will only work for changing the location. VPNs offer network encryption, which makes surveillance extremely difficult. Additionally, they have the ability to change the location of your network connection.

Use a proxy if your only concern is changing your network connection location such as when viewing Netflix in a foreign country to access different content. Proxies will also offer a faster connection speed.

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