Worried about your ISP keeping an eye on your online activity? Think someone on the coffee shop’s Wi-Fi network is eavesdropping on your traffic? A Virtual Private Network can help you safeguard your privacy, and it’s super easy to use too.
Read on to learn more:
What is a VPN, and How Does it Work?
A VPN is a useful tool that establishes a private connection, or tunnel, between your device (laptop, mobile phone, smart TV, etc.) and the public internet. As your traffic passes through this tunnel, it’s encrypted using protocols like IPSec, OpenVPN, and IKEv2, meaning nobody can see what you’re doing online, like the websites you’ve visited or apps you’ve used.
That’s not all, though. A VPN also changes your actual Internet Protocol (IP) address, making it difficult for your online activity to be traced back to you. The IP masking and encryption capabilities of a VPN also come in handy when you want to access geo-blocked streaming services or bypass government-imposed censorship.
Benefits of a VPN
The following are some major benefits of using a VPN:
Protects Your Privacy
Every time you go online, you leave a digital footprint (your browsing history, location, IP address, etc.) valuable to third parties like advertisers and companies. Similarly, your ISP can see everything you’re doing, whether it’s watching a video or playing a game. A VPN encrypts your entire connection and hides your real IP address, ensuring no one can snoop on you or track you.
Pro Tip: Do you use the dark web? You can access dark web websites with a higher level of privacy and security via a VPN!
Secures Any Wi-Fi Network
Using public Wi-Fi may seem harmless, but it puts your information in jeopardy as these connections lack encryption, making them a breeding ground for hackers. Even private Wi-Fi networks aren’t entirely safe – cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities like KRACK to steal transmitted data. With a VPN, you can stay secure on both public and private Wi-Fi networks, thanks to bank-grade encryption.
Bypasses Geo-Restrictions & Censorship
Want to access geo-restricted streaming services and content from anywhere? Are certain apps and websites blocked where you live by the government? Nothing to worry about. A VPN lets you switch your IP address and location to any country in the world, enabling you to bypass such blockades in a matter of seconds.
How to Protect Your Internet Privacy with a VPN
While you have the option available to create your own VPN server, the process of doing so is too complicated for most people. Plus, if you don’t configure it properly, you’re at a greater risk of compromising your online privacy.
Using a commercial VPN service is the quickest and easiest way of protecting your privacy on the internet. You might be tempted to give free VPNs a try, but they’re notorious for collecting and selling user data to third parties.
Here’s how you can secure your online privacy using a VPN:
- Subscribe to a no-log VPN service of your choosing. Ideally, you should go for one that has been audited multiple times as it proves they’re true to their privacy promises.
- Once you’ve signed up with a VPN provider, the next step is to download and install their app on your device.
- Now, launch the app and sign in using your username and password.
- Select a VPN server in a privacy-friendly country like Switzerland or Norway and wait a few seconds for the VPN connection to establish.
- Browse the internet with improved privacy!
Note: A VPN doesn’t guarantee complete online privacy as you can still expose your identity and information through other means like phishing and malware. That’s why it’s important to use VPNs in conjunction with other protection tools, such as an antivirus and firewalls.