Despite being the UK's main technology hub, London is behind a number of other cities when it comes to VPN use among security conscious consumers.

AnchorFree provides the free Hotspot Shield VPN (virtual private network) service for PC and smartphone users, and says its service is more likely to be used in Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool and Birmingham, rather than London.

AnchorFree says its VPN service is 2.5 times more likely to be used in Manchester compared to London. Six other cities, including Dublin, also rank above London's use, even though its inner suburbs are ranked as having the highest instance of identity fraud in the country, according to a recent study by Experian.

VPNs provide security and privacy to internet users, particularly in public WiFi hotspots such as coffee shops, hotels and airports, by encrypting sensitive data traffic and blocking online and mobile threats.

AnchorFree says its monthly installs of Hotspot Shield VPN on PCs and Macs in the UK grew by more than 339 percent in the last year. For iPhone and Android devices, the figure was up 467 percent in the past 12 months, illustrating an increasing concern around mobile security.

David Gorodyansky, CEO of AnchorFree, said, "London citizens and businesses are leaving themselves exposed to risks from malware, hacking and identity fraud. It's vital they take the right steps towards protecting themselves and their information."

Gorodyansky said, "Manchester also recently ranked number one in a survey of the riskiest cities in Europe for cybercrime. The high ratio of VPN use there indicates internet users in some markets are starting to recognise the potential threats, and are taking action before they become a statistic."

Cities of the UK and Ireland ranked in order of per capita usage of Hotspot Shield VPN:

1. Manchester

2. Dublin

3. Bristol

4. Birmingham

5. Glasgow

6. Liverpool

7. London

8. Sheffield

9. Leeds

10. Edinburgh