Most of us use the internet on a daily basis. But how many of us think about protecting ourselves over the internet? Do you ever think about the possibility of hackers tracking your browsing activity?
Unfortunately, there are a number of ways that hackers can see what you’re browsing on the internet.
So what do you do? You should consider using a VPN.
We’ve put together this guide to show you how does a VPN protect you from hackers.
The Guide on How Does a VPN Protect You
Before you even consider a VPN, we want you to consider if you are using the best internet provider. Often, a low-quality internet connection makes it easier for hackers to track you.
While you probably will opt for Wi-Fi, you may also want to consider a wired internet connection for your home or office. If you do choose a wired internet connection make sure you also look for the best cable material available.
Here’s what you need to know about VPNs:
1. What Is a VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It allows an internet user to access a private network. It cloaks your browsing activity from potential hackers.
It also allows for the ability to access website content only available in specific jurisdictions. So if you are in Europe and wish to access content available only in the United States, you can connect to a VPN based in the United States.
It is especially great for sending files securely through the internet. If you are emailing a file or uploading or downloading content from a cloud storage service, you should connect to a VPN.
A VPN is an application that you pay for (usually as a subscription) that connects you to a private network of your choice in a few minutes.
A VPN also contains a plethora of different security protocols which we will explore in the next items.
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2. VPN Features
IP Security, also known as IPSec, is used to secure internet communications. It has Transport Mode which encrypts the data packet message. The Tunneling mode encrypts the data packet as a whole.
There’s also the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) connection which makes sure that your browsing a website is secure. It makes sure that your credentials on the website are encrypted.
There are many other features that VPNs have to make them secure. When choosing your VPN, you want to make sure that it can connect to as many servers as possible. You want to make sure that it can protect your credentials in a variety of ways.
3. VPNs and Privacy
This continues on where we left off in the previous item. You must know that some VPNs are better than others. While it’s the goal of a VPN to maintain your privacy, there are some cheap or free VPN services that actively sell your data to third parties.
Make sure you do your research with which VPN you should use. Make sure it is highly rated. You should contact the customer service department and ensure that it doesn’t sell your data.
You also want to do your research on which VPN’s have been hacked or compromised. While a VPN is difficult to hack, there is never a guarantee. You may want to consider using multiple VPNs – in case one gets compromised you can always switch to another.
4. Best Practices
What are some of the best practices to follow when using a VPN?
If you ever have to use someone else’s Wi-Fi or a public Wi-Fi (and you should try to avoid this when possible) then you must have your VPN activated first. It is when you are using public Wi-Fi that your login credentials, browsing history, files, etc. are the most vulnerable.
You should also avoid using any VPN that is advertised as being ‘military-grade.’ The government uses similar VPNs to civilians. So it’s likely that a VPN with this false advertisement is of poor quality.
Just look directly at the features that a VPN offers and go for it. We also recommend that you don’t skimp on your budget. A VPN is an important investment so don’t opt for the cheapest option.
You should especially use a VPN in instances where you might be hacked or your data is not naturally encrypted. If you work remotely, for example, you may not have complete security on a Zoom or a Skype call. Make sure your VPN is activated during these calls.
If you are uploading or downloading a file from the internet, make sure your VPN is activated. Make sure that if you are sending an email (especially if there are attachments), that your VPN is activated.
5. Who Uses a VPN?
So have VPN’s received mass adoption? Unfortunately, they haven’t – but we think that they should. There are many businesses both small and large that use VPNs. It is imperative to make sure that no hackers steal your company’s data and files.
VPNs are particularly popular in parts of the world where there is mass internet censorship. For example, in China, citizens can use a VPN to access a banned website such as Google or YouTube. In Iran, an internet user can use a VPN to stream an American film over the internet.
Many internet service providers also engage in sharing your data with third parties. This is why we suggested looking for the best internet service provider that you can. In any case, always have your VPN activated.
6. What VPN’s Don’t Do
Finally, there are some things that a VPN cannot do. If there is a space (such as in a bank) that has a VPN blocker, your VPN won’t work. You may have to deactivate your VPN to check your online banking.
Your VPN cannot protect from viruses or from any type of malware. Your VPN also doesn’t guarantee 100% privacy – it only reduces the risk of a hacker tracing you and compromising your data.
Get Your VPN
Now that you know how does a VPN protect you over the internet, you are ready to get your VPN. Make sure you do your research on which is the best VPN for you.
Be sure to read more great content on technology and the internet.