If you want to help protect your digital identity, a virtual private network (VPN) is an excellent tool for added online privacy. A VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your data, making it difficult for cybercriminals to steal.
This blog explains VPNs, how they operate and why they are becoming essential tools for people in today’s digital world.
How Does A VPN Work?
A VPN hides an IP address by letting the network redirect it through a configured remote server run by a VPN host. It encrypts your data while you’re online, making it hard for someone to steal this sensitive information.
How Does an Encryption Tunnel Work?
Encryption is the process of turning information into code to prevent unauthorized access. With a VPN, any data (search queries, link clicks, payment information, etc.) that passes through the encryption tunnel gets replaced with a cipher, or “secret code,” that can only be deciphered by the intended user or destination.
The Benefits of a VPN Connection
Security of Public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi is convenient, but it comes at the expense of security. For example, if you’re at your favorite coffee shop using their public Wi-Fi to answer emails, there’s a good chance someone could be tracking your online activity.
A VPN would be helpful for this situation because it would keep your online activity private and secure from strangers.
Data Privacy from Your Internet Service Provider.
While connected to your Wi-Fi at home, you are less likely to run into online attacks. However, internet service providers, such as Verizon, Spectrum, and COX, can access all your internet activity.
But if you use a VPN, your browsing history is kept to yourself.
Data Privacy from Apps and Services You Use.
A VPN can prevent apps and websites from attributing your behavior to your computer’s IP address.
Access to Any Content in Any Place.
You may or may not know this, but streaming platforms license content differently depending on the country you’re in. For example, say you travel to Europe while you’re in the middle of your favorite show.
You bring your smart devices to binge in your spare time but then realize you can’t access the same content. With a VPN, you won’t have to worry about regional restrictions to streaming because you can choose to appear anywhere in the world if your VPN provider has a server.
So, if you can’t access U.S. Netflix in Europe, you can connect to a VPN server in the United States. The same works in reverse.
If you want to access shows only available in the United Kingdom or France, you can connect to the internet from a server in those locations.
Security When Working Remotely.
A VPN is a valuable investment to keep confidential material safe, especially if you’re a remote employee. Most companies provide VPNs to employees to avoid hackers and better protect employee and company information.
Do you know you may be paying higher prices for goods and services depending on your area? It’s called price discrimination.
This is when people are charged based on their perceived ability to pay. So, if you live in areas with a higher average income, like Boston, New York or Los Angeles, you can be charged higher prices on airline tickets, hotels, and rentals.
With your IP address hidden, you can check for prices as if you were inquiring from a different city or country.
The Potential Drawbacks of A VPN Connection
Potentially Slower Internet Speed.
There is a possibility that using a VPN can impact your internet speed. However, if you find yourself in this position, here are easy tips to fix this issue.
No Cookie Protection.
While a VPN does a great job of protecting your online activity, it does not prevent cookies from tracking you.
Luckily you can delete tracking cookies. You can also use a private browser that prevents tracking cookies from following your internet browsing.
Not Legal Everywhere.
Some countries, including Russia and China, have banned or highly regulated VPN use.
What to Watch Out For When Choosing a VPN
If you’re considering getting a VPN, here are some things you should watch out for when choosing a VPN service.
Beware of a Free VPN.
A free VPN may sound great, but some downsides exist. For instance, they tend to impact internet speed, come with unwanted ads, and have weak security protections.
Ensure the VPN offers sufficient speed, as many providers need help to stay fast enough for streaming or downloading.
Make sure to research the VPN service. Consider finding consumer and professional reviews to learn more about the VPN provider.
Look for Shared IP Addresses.
Choose a VPN that offers shared IP addresses because it can add another layer of privacy to your browsing experience.
When exploring VPN services, consider what you need from your VPN service. For example, some VPN services offer ad-blocking, firewalls, kill switches, simultaneous connections or the ability to change your IP address and server location at will.
Good Customer Support.
The best VPNs have customer support standing by in case anything goes wrong.
Can VPNs Be Hacked?
VPNs are susceptible to hacks and malware. Ensure your VPN properly encrypts your data to help prevent hacks and data leaks.
What Kind of VPNS Are There?
VPNs use different types of VPN protocols to encrypt your data. Here are the three main types of VPNs.
1. SSL VPN.
A Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Network (SSL VPN) works to create a secure connection over an unsecured network. For example, remote users can access a company’s network without installing special software.
2. Site-to-Site VPN
A Site-to-Site VPN is a connection set up between multiple networks. This VPN can be helpful if you have two private networks between which you want to send files without users from one private network explicitly accessing the other.
3. Client-to-Server VPN
A client-to-Server VPN establishes a secure connection between the user and the server. This VPN is unique. Instead of creating an encryption tunnel to hide the internet connection, the VPN can automatically encrypt the data before making it available to the user.
How Do I Install A VPN on My Computer?
To set up a VPN connection to your computer, you must choose a VPN service. Then consider the type of computer you own because installation instructions may differ.
If you need step-by-step instructions, reach out to your VPN provider.
How To Install A VPN Connection on Your Smartphone?
As mentioned before, you need to decide on a VPN service. Then your VPN provider can instruct you to download their app. From there, you can set up your account and have access to your VPN.
Again, if you need help, contact your VPN provider, and they can guide you through the process.
If you are interested in keeping your data secure, consider IdentityIQ services! If you sign up, you receive identity theft protection and an option to add antivirus and VPN to your plan for complete protection.