Cyber Security

What is a VPN and Why You Should Use One

July 29, 2015

Guest Author

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are groups of remotely connected computers that route information through different channels to mask the sender and receiver’s IP addresses. Through transportation the message is unreadable.

VPNs become more necessary for protecting yourself online and supplying enterprises with secure portals to access and share resources. Instead of opting for the “I don’t care” attitude consensus towards privacy that millenials tend to advocate, show that you do care about your information online and learn about how a VPN gives you protection you didn’t know was possible.

Connect to multiple networks together securely to share resources

Share servers and network resources between offices and employees outside of the office. Enterprise offices use VPNs for employees to access applications, files, printers, and additional resources on office networks for better security from inside and outside the office walls. Home VPNs allow people to access home networks when outside of homes.

Bypass Regional Restrictions

No longer call yourself a victim of state sanctioned censorship. Americans do not run into the same problems of Internet censorship that restrict citizens of China, North Korea, Syria and other hands-on countries. However, the looming suspicion of NSA eavesdropping should make you consider strengthening your personal security online against all individuals, groups, or governments.

VPNs create a layer of anonymity for your Internet activities. They stop geoblocking 0n websites. Sometimes you may just need to bypass work or school network browsing restrictions.

Hide Your Browsing and email habits in public WiFi spots

Do not assume you’re safe using free WiFi at Starbucks or the local public library. Free public WiFi spots save money and provide convenience, but they leave users who connect to them open to attacks. Novice malicious hackers don’t need sophisticated tools or knowledge to gain access to your private accounts. Tools such as the Firefox Tamper Data add-on lets them do a lot with little.

When connected to public WiFi, connect remotely to a paid or home VPN setup to protect yourself.

Use search engines without being tracked

Are you one of those who hates Google’s advertising and marketing practices? You can’t stand the fact that they track your browsing habits, gather all kinds of user information, and then proceeds to sell the data for advertising purposes?

VPNs take you one step further in protecting you from search engines. Alternative options include using DuckDuckGo for searching, the operating system Tails, or Tor, which relies on a system of VPNs to hide user IP addresses.

What about payment records for paid VPNs?

People who want truly anonymous VPN services ask this question. As this author at TorrentFreak points out, the best way to cover your tracks would involve registering for the VPN service with an anonymous email and paying for it with Bitcoins. Even paid VPNs give you the choice to cover your tracks while protecting your identity.

When considering the investment, perhaps weigh the cost against potential identity fraud, eavesdropping, and other tactics used to violate your personal privacy. For the frugal individuals who still want the benefits of a VPN, look into OpenVPN

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