Since June 2019, the spread of the COVID-19 has been all over the world, even making its way to Canada. In the beginning of the pandemic, people were afraid to leave their homes, and businesses were forced to close down. Now that we’ve gotten past the worst of it, people are curious about returning to social gatherings and getting back to their old ways. However, security professionals are warning us that while most people may think they’re safe due to the effectiveness of the pandemic vaccine, they may be putting themselves at risk of cyber-attacks.
What is a VPN?
For those who aren’t familiar, a virtual private network (VPN) is a network connection that adds an additional layer of security to your digital life. When you use a VPN, all of your internet traffic is sent through a secure tunnel that prevents hackers from eavesdropping or interfering with your data stream. So, instead of taking chances, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, people are choosing to protect themselves via a VPN.
Here’s how you can tell if someone is using a VPN:
Check Their Apps & Websites
Everywhere you look, you’ll see security-related news articles, so it’s only natural that you’d go looking for a way to protect yourself online. One of the best ways to do this is via a VPN, so you can connect to a reputable provider and ensure your security on all of your devices.
You’ll see that many VPNs have apps to make the process of connecting easy and enjoyable. These apps will usually feature a login screen, which you can use to access your VPN account. Once you’re logged in, you’ll see your IP address, which will help you determine if you’re connection is secure or insecure. If you’re on an insecure connection, then any website you visit will show up as “Not Secure” in the URL bar of your web browser.
This is also an opportunity for you to check out the websites associated with your VPN provider. If you’re on a secure connection, you’ll see the URL begin with “http://” followed by the appropriate padlock icon.
Check Their Language & Culture
One of the best things about a VPN is that you have the option to connect to a server located anywhere in the world. This means you can access content and services that you normally wouldn’t be able to access if you were restricted to visiting websites from a single country. Even though Canada has recently relaxed some of its restrictions, it doesn’t mean that all of them have been lifted. So, you should always check the rules and regulations before connecting to a server in another country.
Many VPNs are extremely easy to use, simply because they have a lot of services available to download. These are mostly entertainment-related apps or services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify. In some cases, you may need to pay for these services with a credit card, but most VPNs work on a “freemium” basis, where you don’t need to pay to use certain amenities.
Consider The Cost
With the cost of VPNs coming down, it’s no longer a question of whether or not to use one. However, even though the cost has come down, it’s still a lot of money for some people. Especially these days, when people are cutting back on a lot of things, especially things that they perceive as luxuries. If you’re one of these people, then you may decide that you don’t have the money to invest in a VPN.
To avoid this issue, you can use a free VPN service with a limited number of features. Some providers will even allow you to connect to servers in other countries, which is something that you normally have to pay for.
Be Careful With What Apps & Websites You Include
A lot of apps and websites can be risky, even when they’re free. The key is to look for apps and websites that have a good reputation and have been around for a while. Even then, you should still be careful. Especially when you’re downloading apps and websites from the App Store or Google Play, you should always use a VPN to ensure you’re connecting to a safe server.
Use A Trusted Source
If you’re new to the world of VPNs, then it’s best to stick with what you know and use a trusted source. This is especially important if you’re connecting to a server in a different country. In that case, you’ll need to make sure that the server you’re connecting to is legitimate and won’t hack into your device or steal your information. One way to do this is by using a VPN.
Even though Canada has recently relaxed its restrictions, particularly regarding the use of VPNs, it doesn’t mean that you should just open up your device to any and all servers you find online. Instead, you should connect to a VPN server in your home country, as there are still plenty of restrictions that apply there. Especially if you’re a U.S. citizen, you should avoid connecting to any of the potentially malicious servers located outside of the U.S.
Know Who You’re Connected To
One of the best things about a VPN is that you have the ability to connect to a server in a different country. This opens up a world of possibilities for people who live in countries where certain services are blocked, or individuals who simply want to access content that is only available in other countries. Because you’re not physically located in Canada, the ability to connect to a VPN server in Canada is something that you can’t do unless you’re traveling or accessing content from outside of the country.
Check Out Their Support
Just like with any other product or service, you should always look for support when dealing with issues. This is especially important if you run into problems while using a VPN. Even when it’s free, you should still have the option to pay for professional support via chat or email.
If you contact their support team, you’ll find that most providers will offer very helpful and knowledgeable personnel, who will try their best to assist you in fixing any issues you may have. While some providers may not offer the greatest customer experience, you’ll definitely find that their staff is more than willing to help you out, as long as you contact their support team.
Consider All The Options
Even though many businesses, schools, and government agencies have moved to reopen their doors, we’re not there yet. For those who are still afraid to leave their homes, or for those who simply want to continue staying locked inside, a VPN may be the best option for them. If you’re looking to protect your privacy and security online, then a VPN is definitely your best bet.