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|Amber Brooks • 1/30/17|
The Short Version: In the world of online dating, some singles may feel uncomfortable leaving an electronic trail of personal details, but Hide My Ass! offers encryption software to cover any tracks. Since 2005, the company has built up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that encrypts your personal information, and provides you with a new location and IP address, while you browse (and flirt) online. Today, HMA! gives hundreds of thousands of subscribers professional-grade peace of mind by masking their online identities. The tech team stands between you and the Internet so people only see what you want them to see. With the protection of Hide My Ass!, your privacy will remain secure on every website you visit, including dating websites.
In 2005, Jack Cator was a 16-year-old technological whiz kid looking for a challenge. His secondary school in the U.K. unintentionally gave him the push he needed. His inspiration didn’t come from an eloquent teacher or a plucky guidance counselor, but his own defiance of school rules.
When the school put blocks on their computer network to keep students from accessing non-educational websites, like Myspace, Jack found a project he was eager to work on. Teenagers today may not care about being blocked from Myspace, but in 2005, it was a big deal.
Jack decided to use his computer programming chops to build a way to access his favorite websites on the school’s network. He’d built his first website at age 11, so he knew what he was doing.
“I literally created it in a few hours in a single afternoon,” he told “The Guardian” in an interview.
To combat censorship and play games in class, he created a proxy, a server that functioned as a relay between the user and the website, essentially hiding the user’s IP from the web. That way, he and his friends could navigate the school’s blocks and post on Myspace as much as they wanted.
All he needed was a catchy name for his site. Thus, Hide My Ass! was born.
He posted a link to his encryption hack on Digg, and it went viral. Within a few years, he’d built a Virtual Private Network (VPN), filling the high demand of people who value their privacy.
Today, Jack’s brainchild has expanded into a global enterprise to protect the online identities and IP addresses of millions of users. The VPN software works on multiple devices, including laptops, tablets, and gaming consoles. Whether you want to bypass government censorship or hide your location from strangers on a dating site, Hide My Ass! can get it done.
“It started as a happy accident,” said Tony Anscombe, Senior Security Evangelist. “Then people outside the U.K. started to use the network to navigate blocks in their own countries, and Jack realized the potential for VPN as an encryption tool for people around the world.”
A public network often requires users to forfeit confidentiality and security for the sake of access, and ill-intentioned people can take advantage of a hotspot by retrieving unencrypted information from browsers. Thus, free wifi actually costs you your privacy.
However, you can take control of your web experience for a low monthly fee. Hide My Ass! has established a trustworthy VPN system so no matter where you travel, what network you connect to, or what dating services you sign up for — your data is always encrypted.
A VPN offers increased online protection from censorship, spying, or identity theft. It deters people from going after your personal data. Tony compared it to putting a “great big lock on your door” whereas you neighbors have left their windows wide open.
Hide My Ass! can also be used on Internet-connected devices. “You can protect everything in your house by applying the VPN to your router,” Tony told us, “and we can talk you through it end-to-end.”
A dedicated support team of super geeks lends their guidance to technological novices, who can also learn about the services from the HMA! website’s How VPN Works page. Putting VPN into layman’s terms, Jack the Donkey (the company’s mascot), outlines the basics for you.
Hide My Ass! gives everyone the gift of worry-free Internet for a one-month, six-month, or 12-month subscription. With a little forethought, you can easily line your VPN subscription period up with dating memberships, so you stay safe online.
“If you’re worried about privacy, it’s important to switch to VPN before you connect — especially if you’re using public wifi,” Tony cautioned. “A VPN encrypts all the data you send over the Internet, so if there’s anyone waiting to intercept your information, all they’ll see is gobbledygook.”
Security-conscious singles can find it daunting to join a dating site and open their private lives to a public arena, but there are safe ways to go about it.
Tony recommended five best practices to keep your information on lockdown wherever you browse. Of course, for added protection, you can always use a Virtual Private Network to automatically block people online from finding out who or where you are.
“People are waking up to the benefits of VPN and what they can do against the threat of hacking or snooping,” he said. “A lot of personal information is required for a dating site, and, if you want to protect your identity, it’s really important to switch on a VPN.”
In the meantime, here are Tony’s expert safety tips for singles to use when online dating.
Start by using a pseudonym as a protective measure. Your dating profile is like your online alter-ego. You don’t want to reveal your secret identity to anyone and everyone you meet.
Make sure any website you go to uses SSL. “It’s really easy to see because the website will have ‘https’ at the beginning of the URL address,” Tony said. “The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure.'”
This Chrome browsing feature means that no one who uses the browser after you will see the dating websites you’ve visited.
The dating site shouldn’t be saving and automatically inputting your password. That defeats the purpose of having a password in the first place.
If you don’t want embarrassing adverts for dating websites giving away your private life, disable targeted ads and keep your profile on the down low.
From humble beginnings on his parents’ sofa in the U.K., Jack grew his brand into a global company. Hide My Ass! has a presence in every country in the world — including Vatican City.
The company boasts having more servers than any of their competitors. A server is a computer program that manages services for computers that connect to it, and a VPN server acts as an intermediary by encrypting your information and relaying it to the server so you retain your anonymity.
HMA! has over 950 servers at their disposal in over 350 locations in 190 countries. In North America, the company keeps more than 400 servers. This comprehensive coverage ups the overall speed and security of the services.
Their software is uniquely fast and easy to use. “We wanted to make it so you can just flip a switch and get connected to VPN,” Tony explained.
As more people realize the increased security benefits of a VPN, they turn to Hide My Ass! for the freedom to browse anonymously. “We lead the market in terms of server coverage,” he said, “so people can take control of their online presence.”
Out of teenage rebellion and technological know-how, Jack created a memorable brand. He built his company from scratch, with no outside investment and through mostly organic growth. The teen even met the man who would join the company as COO, Danvers Baillieu, based on Reddit recommendations.
Now, Hide My Ass! is a full-service encryption company with over a decade of experience protecting users. HMA! took off as part of a grassroots movement toward greater Internet security. With the rise of online censorship and cyber threats comes an increased demand for Virtual Private Networks to give people freedom and privacy on every and any website.
A VPN adds an extra level of comfort to singles looking to date on the web. Before you join a dating site, give yourself one less thing to worry about and let Hide My Ass! cloak your online identity. With the support of their servers, you don’t need to divulge any more personal details than you choose.
“Hide My Ass! is such a fantastic brand,” Tony said enthusiastically. “It’s all about choice and being in control of how and when you share you personal data online.”