Everyone connects to the internet nowadays. We log on to social media platforms, stream videos, and even shop online! However, while most people utilize the internet for leisure purposes, the government and large corporations are taking advantage of our trust in accessing information. They can see everything we type, make phone calls to us, and track our movements online. Even worse, many ISPs are engaged in the practice of data harvesting or ‘throttling’ where they collect data about their customers’ online activities without consent.
To protect ourselves from these prying eyes, the government has provided a solution in the form of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). VPNs allow users to connect to a server somewhere overseas that acts as a middleman keeping our personal data secure and private. This blog post will educate you on how to use a VPN to ensure that your personal information is shielded from prying eyes where you connect to the internet.
Set Up A Virtual Private Network
If you’re reading this, I assume you’re aware of the risks associated with exposing your personal data online. It’s not that the information doesn’t exist in the physical world, it’s that the risk of being illegally exposed is higher than the chances of being ‘harvested’ by an ISP. It’s a fine line between security and privacy nowadays. You have to ensure that you don’t put yourself at risk while accessing the information you need for your daily life.
A VPN service will connect you to a server located somewhere in the world that has the capability of handling many connections at once. This server is called a ‘VPN gateway’ and it acts as a middleman between your computer and the internet. When you enter your VPN credentials (usually referred to as a ‘preexisting condition’ in VPN contracts), the VPN gateway will establish a secure connection with whatever site or service you might want to access. As soon as that connection is established, your computer will ask for permission to access the requested site or service and this permission will be granted automatically.
Secure And Private
A VPN is not just a safe harbor for your personal data, it also has the ability to make selected websites and services accessible only to you and those you grant permission to view your personal data. This is called ‘encryption’ and it’s a vital component of any VPN. Without encryption, your data would be vulnerable and easily accessible to anyone with the right software or tools. Even worse, many websites and services that are protected by encryption can be completely blocked if your ISP doesn’t agree to give you access to them. In short, without encryption, you’re not really ‘secure’ online.
Choose A VPN That Suits Your Needs
There are several factors to consider when selecting a VPN. First, make sure that the VPN you choose is reputable and offers good value for money. Also, check to see if there are any ‘logs’ or records of users’ activities that could jeopardize your personal information. Nowadays, most VPNs are perfectly acceptable to use as long as you exercise caution and remain discreet. However, if you’re looking for a ‘bullet proof’ service where you can fully trust that all your personal data will be kept secure, then consider paying a bit more for a verified VPN.
Features You Should Look Out For
Every VPN has features that make it a little bit better than the rest. Depending on your needs, you might want to look for a VPN with certain features that make it suitable for your needs. Here are a few things to look out for:
- Multi-platform support
- Chrome extension
- Preexisting condition
- Zero logging
- Strong encryption
- Anonymous surfing
If you’re using a VPN for the first time and don’t have a preexisting condition, then make sure that the service supports Preexisting conditions (this ensures that you won’t be blocked as soon as you connect to a blocked website or service). If you’re not sure what this is, then it’s probably a good idea to look for a VPN that does not require you to register or log on to use it. The former is usually preferred by ISPs and government agencies while the latter is generally used by individuals who want to remain anonymous when using the internet.
Another important consideration when selecting a VPN is whether or not the service ‘throttles’ or slows down the connection speed for certain websites and services. This could be a deal breaker for some individuals who want to use the internet for streaming videos or downloading large files. In such cases, you might want to avoid VPNs that throttle connections because it will considerably limit your online freedom. Remember, the bigger the network, the more potential there is for throttling. Keep this in mind.
If you’re planning to use a VPN for the first time, then it’s vital to read the VPN contracts before you make a purchase decision. Most VPNs require you to settle down for a certain amount of time before you make a purchase and you will generally be bound to that contract for the rest of your time with the service. The best thing you can do is read the small print so that you know what you’re getting into. The worst thing you can do is sign up without reading the contract first because once the contract is done, you can’t really get out of it without paying a significant amount of money.
Finally, make sure that the VPN you choose is extremely secure. This means that the internet connection will be protected by a secure protocol like TLS (Transport Layer Security) or IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) so that even if a hacker manages to get access to your username and password, at least your data will remain secure. Remember, not all secure connections are created equal and some are more secure than others. When selecting a VPN, make sure that you look for a company that is already well-established and has a good reputation. Also, make sure that the company is updated with the latest security protocols and that their servers are maintained at a high level so that your data is always secure when you use the service.
If you’re worried about whether or not your personal data will be secure when using a VPN, then you might want to avoid services that require you to register or log on to use them. The biggest risk with these types of services is that if you do end up getting hacked, then your personal data could be at risk. Remember, if you do get hacked while using a VPN, then there’s no way to recover your data without paying a fortune. At least with a verified VPN, you know that all your data is safe because the company has enough resources to protect itself and your data from illegal access.
In order to keep your personal data secure and private when accessing the internet via a VPN, you should exercise caution when selecting a service and make sure that you know exactly what you’re getting into. Also, make sure that you’re not paying too much for the service because there are other VPNs that offer the same level of security for a much cheaper price. Last but not least, always read the terms and conditions before you agree to them because they can alter your contractual rights without your consent. In summary, safe and private surfing via a VPN is possible but it requires a bit of caution and research.