10 Reasons Why You Need a VPN

10 Reasons Why You Need a VPN

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:

  1. Government Surveillance and Censorship
  2. 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.

  3. Netflix and Hulu
  4. 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.

  5. IP Throttling
  6. 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.

  7. Local SEO
  8. 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.

  9. Public WiFi
  10. 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.

  11. P2P File Sharing
  12. 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.

  13. Privacy and Tracking
  14. 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.

  15. File Security
  16. 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.

  17. Free Access at Work/School
  18. 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.

  19. Phone Calls
  20. 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.


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VIPRE Password Vault feature list

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The Heartbleed Bug – Why You Need To Change Your Passwords Now

What is The Heartbleed Bug

In case you haven’t been on the Internet or looked an any online news in the past few days there is a new Internet security vulnerability called The Heartbleed Bug.

News websites and technology blogs have gone into overdrive posting articles about this new OpenSLL bug over the past few days, and with good reason as it is one of the biggest online security threats in recent years.

The Heartbleed Bug

The Heartbleed Bug is a vulnerability in the widely used OpenSSL cryptographic software library. What on earth is that you ask? Well SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer.

When you are logged into a website such as an online shopping cart or your Gmail account for example, you will notice a little padlock next to the web address in your web browser. Also you will have https: at the start of the web address instead of the normal http:

This means you are in an SSL secured layer so that any sensitive information you are sending is encrypted, which basically keeps it safer from being eavesdropped or accessed by hackers.

The Heartbleed Bug allows anyone on the Internet to access the memory of systems that have the vulnerability. This in turn allows them to access secret session and private keys used by SSL which would allow decrypting of past and future SSL traffic on that web server.

Heartbleed Bug

Why is The Heartbleed Bug so Nasty?

As OpenSSL is so widely used on web servers this is a massive concern. It would appear the vulnerability has been there since December 2011, but hackers have only just realised it was there. Or the knowledge of it’s existence has only just been made public.

So basically anyone who had the know how about the Heartbleed Bug technique since December 2011 could have used the vulnerability to eavesdrop on any secured information being sent to the affected web servers.

Which Passwords You Need To Change NOW

As OpenSLL is so commonly used on web servers, even some of the biggest brands have been vulnerable to The Heartbleed Bug for quite sometime.

We found this great article on Mashable published yesterday called The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now.

We have collated the data from this article below so you can easily go through the list of websites you probably use every day. You should immediately change your passwords for all of the websites listed.

All of these sites listed either definitely were affected, or it is unclear if they were. Best to be on the safe side and change your passwords asap.

Passwords You Need To Change Immediately

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • Gmail
  • Yahoo Mail
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Etsy
  • GoDaddy
  • Intuit(TurboTax)
  • USAA
  • Box
  • Dropbox
  • GitHub
  • Minecraft
  • OKCupid
  • Soundcloud
  • Wunderlist

Video Simply Explaining The Heartbleed Bug

This video created by Mashable explains the bug reasonably simply

Test a website’s server for The Heartbleed Bug

You can use this Heartbleed test to put in a website address and see if that website has the Heartbleed Bug on it’s web server.

The Good News

Our web servers here at Byron Bay Web Hosting did not have the vulnerability, so you don’t need to worry.

Something We Found Interesting About Heartbleed

One thing we thought was very interesting about The Heartbleed Bug is its branding. As far a we know this is the first Internet security vulnerability that has it’s own cool logo.

The Heartbleed Bug Logo Branding

Not only that it also has its own website here: The Heartbleed Bug.

We aren’t the only ones thinking the way this thing has been branded for mass consumption is a little odd – check out this article on TechCrunch called Heartbleed, The First Security Bug With A Cool Logo.


Security online in the modern digital world is of utmost importance, with people making online transactions every day that could expose their sensitive data such as credit card and banking details.

The Heartbleed Bug looks to be the most serious Internet security treat we may have ever had, and it’s not quite over yet.

Until all vulnerable systems running OpenSSL are patched and any SSL certificates used on those machines are renewed there is still the chance that the Heartbleed Bug could be used to access sensitive data. We will keep you posted on any new updates to this situation as they arise.

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