In this day and age, protecting your personally identifiable information online is more important than ever. From hackers clearing bank accounts, to fraudsters stealing identities to open insurance policies in someone else’s name, the fraud is relentless. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a victim too.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to protect your browsing history and other information online is through a virtual private network (VPN). Discover how a virtual private network can keep you safe from fraud due to online security issues in the privacy of your own home.
Do You Need a Virtual Private Network at Home?
Contrary to popular belief, your personal information is not always safe, even on secure websites. Connecting to your home network can be safer than a public Wi-Fi hotspot, mainly if your Wi-Fi is hidden, but that method isn’t foolproof. Keep in mind that hackers are skilled enough to crack the passwords of million-dollar corporations with great security features on every website and server. Therefore, your information is likely more vulnerable.
Now that you understand what risks lurk online learn how installing a virtual private network can help guard your personal information against prying eyes to protect your identity.
What is a VPN?
When determining whether or not you need a virtual private network, it helps to know exactly what a VPN is. Virtual private networks, or VPNs, encrypt your connection from end to end. Ultimately, this means that when you browse the internet with a virtual private network, your browsing activity is sent to a secure server, decrypted, and passed securely to its intended destination, and returned to your device in the same manner. End-to-end encryption will help to eliminate any Man in the Middle (MITM) attacks and potential routing hacks.
Advantages of a Virtual Private Network
Much of your online activity is being protected already with Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) browsing. Sadly, there is a gap in this protection, and a virtual private network picks up the slack between an HTTPS connection and the most common threats.
When most people think of secure browsing, they think of antivirus software. Although antivirus tools are valuable to maintaining a safe online presence, they do not play a role in protecting the information entered on websites, search engines, or social media applications the way that a virtual private network does.
If you are reading this, you are likely fortunate enough to live in an area with unaltered and endless access to information at your fingertips. However, some governments are not so courteous due to various belief systems. With a virtual private network, you can combat firewalls and network restrictions, such as parental controls and website blockers. Although not guaranteed depending on the country and virtual private network, this browsing method may help open previously inaccessible websites and applications.
With a VPN, you can also block most potentially harmful activity from outsiders, such as cyber attackers and hackers who survive on scamming unsuspecting victims out of their hard-earned dollars and cents.
Additionally, most internet service providers (ISPs) willingly and legally sell your browsing data to various marketing and governmental agencies to learn your commerce behavior. With a virtual private network, your ISP cannot track your browsing history and location. That way, you can retain and promote internet freedom without shoddy marketing or research companies analyzing your data for segmentation and targeting.
Additional advantages include threat protection for downloads, obfuscated servers, multi-factor authentication, and an automatic shut down if the virtual private network service stops responding correctly.
Disadvantages of a Virtual Private Network
Did you know there is no foolproof way to protect yourself from online vulnerabilities? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, though. Although a virtual private network’s disadvantages are based solely upon minor inconveniences and technicalities, here are a few to consider.
Most virtual private network service providers limit the number of devices allowed to connect to their servers per plan. Depending on the number of devices in your home, you may want to shop for the best virtual private network provider before signing up.
Some VPNs leave specific vulnerabilities open depending on the servers they use. If privacy and security threaten you and your loved ones, consider a virtual private network with an obfuscated server. That way, your use of a virtual private network will remain protected.
In some countries, virtual private network service is slower than in others. Ensure that the virtual private network you are considering won’t slow down your connection or cause your device to lag significantly.
Unfortunately, VPNs cannot stop advertisers from installing cookies on your browser. Try using tracker blockers on your browsers or installing an extension from your browser’s list of available attachments. Be wary, however, as some blocker companies will collect and sell your data just like free virtual private network companies.
Not all virtual private networks are created equal. Sadly, there are existing virtual private network companies with other interests in mind. When looking for a virtual private network provider, opt for a reputable and reliable company that does not collect or sell your data to third parties. An unsafe virtual private network company may be worse than not having a virtual private network altogether. When in doubt, always do your research and check online reviews. That way, you do your due diligence to keep your online browsing activity and information safe.
Who Should Install a Virtual Private Network
If you aren’t worried about your online privacy, that is great. A virtual private network may not be necessary for everybody. However, suppose you regularly utilize your devices, work from home, or do a lot of online shopping. In that case, a virtual private network may be an excellent way to keep your personally identifiable information and browsing history safe, secure, and private.
You may think you’re too wise to fall for a hacker’s tricks, but a hacker doesn’t even need to be in the same town to get what they need from your insecure internet connection. They have to be in the right place at the right time to gather enough of your personal information. Besides, most people aren’t fond of their entire browsing history being sold to marketing companies by their ISPs. If you want to keep your personal information private and secure, a virtual private network can help protect you. Go here to get started.