What are the benefits of using a VPN?
A lot of internet users see VPN services as an unreplaceable part of their online experience. VPNs can be an excellent method of achieving privacy and anonymity online, but they also allow users to protect their sensitive information. Protecting yourself online is an essential part of today’s internet culture, as online threats such as malware, hacking incidents, online censorship, or online traffic monitoring are common issues.
The problem is that the lack of awareness regarding these dangers is preventing people from adequately protecting themselves, which is why they often unknowingly make it easy for hackers to steal and sell their information, or misuse it in some other way. Also, ISPs, government agencies, and even schools and companies with a large number of employees are often tracking the online actions of internet users.
Luckily, VPNs can prevent most of these issues, in addition to providing users with complete online anonymity and unrestricted access to online content. It is perfect for travelers, as it can give them access to content from different countries, and also protect them while using unsecured public networks. To learn more about why it is crucial to have a VPN as part of your internet experience, what benefits a VPN service can offer, and what to look for while searching for the right VPN — read our full article on why you should start using a VPN right now by clicking here.
Even though the reports of hacking incidents, data leakage, and information theft have become a norm in recent years, a lot of internet users still tend to browse the web without proper protection. These incidents have been a part of the internet ever since its creation, as cybercriminals know the value of personal data, which can lead to things like identity theft, or the theft of money from people’s bank accounts.
To combat these issues, cybersecurity researchers came up with a new type of security software which we now know as Virtual Private Networks — VPNs.
What are VPNs and what do they do?
The concept of VPNs is quite simple — these are security apps and programs that cover a wide variety of devices, and that can provide protection, privacy, anonymity, and access to pretty much anything that exists on the internet.
They can protect the user’s data flow by using security protocols, but they can also provide users with anonymity by allowing them to connect to different servers that can mask users’ actual location. VPNs are useful in a lot of different situations, and most businesses are using them these days for protecting their company’s secrets.
As mentioned, VPNs are an excellent way to protect data flow, which is often targeted by different entities. Data has high value in a modern day, and it does not only attract hackers. Advertisers can use it for predicting their customers’ needs and desires, governments of different countries are always trying to monitor it, and even our ISPs (Internet Service Providers) can record it and potentially sell it to third parties.
When a person uses the internet, their data traffic is exposed, and anyone can spy on internet users’ activities if they know how to do it. This practice is also often used by companies for monitoring their employees and tracking their online activity during work hours, and some schools are doing the same for following the online activity of their students.
To prevent this, VPNs are using security protocols for shielding the traffic by creating a protective tunnel around it. The tunnel shields the data flow from those who might try to intercept it, but it also encrypts the data, so that even if someone finds a way to access it, it will remain obscure to them. By doing this, internet users can ensure that no one, criminal or otherwise, can violate their privacy.
Another useful aspect of this method of protecting data is that it can make the use of public networks safe. Public Wi-Fi is open to everyone who is close enough to have a signal, which means that hackers can exploit users’ devices for data theft. Considering that travelers often depend on public Wi-Fi for work, social media, or internet browsing in general, using a proper VPN can be crucial for their information security. Public Wi-Fi networks are found in Airports, Coffee shops, Hotels, campus, etc.
VPNs can provide anonymity
Remaining anonymous on the internet is another big issue that is slowly becoming a luxury, as ISPs tend to track their customers’ every move. When we use the internet, all of our activities are connected to our unique IP address, provided by ISPs. In other words, all of our actions online are getting recorded by the internet provider.
Another problem is that some countries purposefully choose to block some websites for various reasons. Sometimes, they block online content because they do not agree with it, or because they do not want their citizens to have access to it. In other cases, countries can block the rest of the world from accessing their content, which is often the case with the UK.
VPNs can address this issue as well. Most of the high-quality services tend to install servers in different countries around the world. By doing so, they can allow their users to connect to any of these servers, and receive a local IP address, instead of using their own, which are provided by their ISP.
That way, even though the browsing information is still recorded, there is no way of telling who did what during the users’ online sessions. A side effect of this process is that users can now gain access to content that their country has blocked. Coincidentally, if they are using a UK-based server, they will gain access to the UK-based IP address, which means that any website with UK-only restrictions will allow access to its content. So if you want access to BBC content that is only available in the UK, all you have to do is connect to a UK server regardless of where you are physically located.
Some of the best VPN services often have hundreds, or even thousands of servers all around the world, which ensures that anyone can access anything while using the VPN.
To provide these services without putting their customers in danger of having their identity revealed, VPNs often have a large variety of additional security features. Some of them are security mechanisms which will cut off the user’s connection to the internet if they detect data leaks, while others use double encryption to make sure that no one will ever decrypt the data, even if it does start to leak.
Choosing the right VPN
Considering the popularity VPN services have experienced in recent years, there are now numerous services, all competing to gain customers. However, not every service is of equal quality. There are a lot of different aspects that can vary from one service to another, including the strength of encryption, the number of servers, connection speed, as well as additional security features.
Because of this, users have to carefully study every VPN to make sure into what they will get by subscribing to it. The best services also do not record user data themselves, so that they can never reveal it even if the authorities demand that they do. Another common practice is for VPNs to offer a money-return guarantee if the user decides that they are not satisfied with their services. The guarantee usually lasts around 30 days, although this can also change from one service to another.
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