Are you looking for ways to improve your privacy whilst browsing online? If so, you may wish to start using a VPN or virtual private network. Virtual private networks are networks that connect remote sites and users and encrypt the traffic of devices, sending it through remote servers and providing access to resources that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible.
VPNS and proxies
VPNs have grown in popularity amongst the privacy-conscious over the years and are also being used to access content meant for specific countries away from users’ physical locations. They can be used to mask internet activity from ISPs and even governments. VPNs are often used for geo-spoofing, which tricks sites and services into thinking you are in a different country. One other big reason for using VPNs is that they can protect you from hackers and cyber criminals when on public Wi-Fi connections, such as those found in cafes, airports and other environments. A proxy is something that sends traffic through networked devices like remote servers.
Hiding your identity
VPNs and proxies can hide the identity of users, including their IP addresses. Proxies can hide your IP addresses from the websites that you are using but can’t keep your activities secret from your ISPs. However, VPNs can do both. Proxies are commonly used to get past geo-location restrictions when streaming audio and video content. Though your ISP won’t be able to see your data when you use a VPN, this doesn’t mean your activities are visible from your VPN. If you are worried about the VPN seeing your data, read the terms and conditions to find out whether they will be able to access it or not.
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VPNs and business
One pitfall of using VPNs is that they can slow your connection down. The closer you are to the server, the faster the experience will be. Strong encryption can also reduce speeds. Nonetheless, steps taken by VPN providers can ensure you’re only experiencing slightly slower speeds. The world of business has been using VPN technology for many years to cater for those working remotely that need to access resources like the office intranet. Since companies started using VPNs for these reasons, more and more people have been using them to thwart censorship attempts, boost privacy levels and get access to content blocked by geography.
Are VPNs legal?
VPNs are legal in most territories, though have been banned in censorship-conscious countries like China. Streaming services such as Netflix have expressed their disapproval of VPNs and have taken steps to penalise those using them to access content not intended for their countries. It’s wise to choose carefully when browsing the market for VPN providers. As you would expect, the quality can vary wildly, and there are some apps on the market that don’t encrypt traffic adequately and target unsuspecting users with malware. If you are looking for a VPN service that meets your needs, it’s a good idea to take your time and compare what various companies have to offer before you sign up with a certain provider.
When anti-virus protection hasn’t worked
Many people use VPNs purely to protect themselves from hackers and have no interest in downloading geographically-restricted content. When you connect to the internet, you can find yourself exposed to a host of threats, with new risks being discovered all the time. You may decide to opt for a VPN after being hit by hackers even after you’ve taken other steps to protect yourself such as downloading anti-virus software and using a firewall.
Reducing the risk of attack
VPNs won’t give you comprehensive protection from attack, but they can greatly reduce the chances of being targeted due to the high levels of encryption offered by reputable VPN providers. A large number of people use VPNs to avoid being targeted by marketing companies and others wishing to identify their names and addresses and are not happy with the level of privacy being offered by their ISPs. When you visit a website, chat online, view or listen to content, you will assume the identity of the VPN provider whilst your own IP address is masked. It seems the popularity of VPNs is showing no signs of fading away.