Make yourself anonymous online with a VPN
The internet is filled with both intrigue and entertainment. It is a hub for businesses, interests both public and private, and the final frontier for free information.
For all these reasons and more it is also a target for those looking to stifle, restrict, and steal information. Your best defence against these threats is a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
For those of you who are unfamiliar, a VPN is a service you use to connect your device to an offsite secure server from any network.
It encrypts your connection and is useful for a slew of different problems. Here are a few instances where you’ll absolutely benefit from using a VPN:
Government Surveillance and Censorship
Netflix and Hulu
P2P File Sharing
Privacy and Tracking
Free Access at Work/School
Whether you’re using the internet in of China or in the USA, the government has something to say about what you’re doing and seeing. Government censorship is on the rise in dozens of different countries, including Australia. Yet this censorship is typically IP address driven, meaning it only blocks access for people in a specific region.
Using a VPN can circumvent this problem because you can connect to servers in a different country (VPN servers can be located anywhere). Encryption also makes it more difficult to track exactly what you’re doing, and using an anonymous IP address means you’ll be beneath their radar.
Cable will probably never be entirely replaced, but both Netflix and Hulu have made a serious dent in cable subscription rates. Unfortunately, both services restrict content based on user location. Netflix users can only view content specified for their region.
In the same way you can avoid government censorship, you can also view other countries’ content on Netflix and Hulu by selecting a server in a different area. This is especially good for non-US users, as a great deal of content is restricted to the US.
Your internet service provider (ISP) sometimes throttles or slows down traffic related to select services if they view that service as either using too much bandwidth or illegitimate. Yet they can only do this if they’re able to track what you’re doing.
Connecting to an encrypted server will help stop your ISP from tracking your activities and prevent them from slowing down your connection based on that usage.
Internet marketers will especially appreciate using a VPN to check search results in other regions of the world. Connecting only with your local region will limit your ability to view results in other regions of the world and minimize the effectiveness of your marketing.
A VPN is a cheap and effective solution because as in most other situations, you can connect to different countries and run searches as though you’re a local, picking up useful results and information for your marketing efforts.
Free public networks are convenient, but unfortunately public WiFi often comes with a cost. Anyone can connect to it, and that alone makes it vulnerable to hackers trying to steal the information users are sending across the network.
It’s even possible to hack into someone’s device over public WiFi directly and access their files. Using an encrypted connection via a VPN service makes it nearly impossible for hackers to sneak in. Not only is your connection anonymous on a VPN, but data sent and received can’t be read by anyone hoping to intercept data.
File sharing itself is not illegal, but big companies would like it to be. Unfortunately, a few unlucky people can sometimes get caught up in big corporate lawsuits if they decided to download a file online using a P2P connection (often a torrent). Torrents identify all those connecting to one another, making them vulnerable to surveillance.
Connecting with a VPN hides your IP address and makes your session anonymous. This in turn removes the likelihood you’ll be charged of committing a crime (which you had no part of to begin with) or having data stolen by sneaky hackers.
Using the internet once came with an expectation of privacy, but the rise of data collection and sales has put an end to that for most users. Websites and services routinely track what their users are doing. Ever wonder how Google seems to know so much about you?
Using a VPN’s encryption and anonymous connection can put a stop to some of the tracking and restore your privacy. Companies are making quite a bit of money from your data, but they certainly aren’t giving any of it to you.
What you download is your business. The same goes for files you create. For businesses, that means customer data, credit card numbers, account information, and more. This data is valuable and as such it becomes a target for data thieves. We’ve seen it before with businesses such as Target.
A VPN can help avoid data theft by reducing the likelihood you or employees will become targets. Their anonymous connections and encrypted data will likely go unnoticed, especially compared to an easily intercepted regular connection.
Speaking of data interception, using the internet at work or from school often means using a very restricted internet. In the same way governments block certain IPs or restrict the content you can view, private organizations do the very same thing.
This can restrain your free access to information as an individual. It can also put a serious slowdown to your work, as these systems are not perfect and can restrict extremely useful information purely by mistake. A VPN navigates around these blockades with its secure tunnel.
Voice over IP (VOIP) calls are increasingly popular, with Skype being one of the most well-known. But did you know these services are also extremely easy to hack and monitor? For years there’s been discussion and arguing over whether or not wiretapping is legal or ethical, but it turns out doing it over the internet is much simpler.
If your Skype and other internet calls are of a sensitive or private nature, you’d do well to make them over a VPN. The data interception methods used to listen in on standard VOIP calls don’t work so well if the people connecting are using VPNs.
You Deserve Online Security Now
There are other instances when a VPN will benefit you such as gaming online, but the reality is that you deserve privacy and freedom online all of the time. Don’t settle for anything less. Get a VPN today and start browsing the internet safely and anonymously.