People are slowly waking up to the idea that privacy is dead. We live in a world where our personal details are easily stolen and hacked into. Your home wifi password and personal information can be accessed by anyone with a digital device, and while there are various levels of risk, the idea that you might not be able to protect your personal information is stressful.
If you’re one of the many people who have realized the importance of protecting your personal data and don’t want to live in a world where your every move is available to everyone, then you’re going to want to know more about VPN. What is it and how does it work? Keep reading.
What is VPN?
Virtual Private Network is a network traffic controller and encryption protocol that allows for secure connection between two or more devices. This is achieved through the use of a VPN server, which is usually a virtual machine running on a remote computer. The server is often times referred to as “The VPN Anchor” because of its central role in maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of all the other devices connected to it. When you connect to a VPN, your device is assigned a secure private IP address that is not traceable back to you. This effectively gives you a new identity on the internet.
How Does VPN Work?
When you connect to a VPN, your device will first establish a secure connection with the server, after which it will receive an IP address that is not associated with any identifiable information. In order to log into a VPN, you must have a strong password, and must enter it every time you connect. The login process is usually done through a series of questions that must be answered correctly to ensure that you are in fact a human and not a robot or a computer virus. It is also advisable to use a VPN service that encrypts all your internet traffic, as this will greatly secure your personal data against cyberattacks. Finally, make sure that you consult your VPN provider’s support team if you encounter any problems while using their service.
Why Should You Use A VPN?
If you spend a lot of time online and engage in online shopping, social media, or download/streaming video content, then you’re going to want to be sure that your personal data is kept secure at all times. Without a VPN, all of these activities are completely open to the risk of cyberattack or data theft. If you do any of these things on public Wi-Fi, then anyone within range could potentially access your personal data. Even if they don’t intend to, there’s no way of knowing for sure.
VPNs offer privacy, anonymity, and security when used online. They also allow for easy connection to various locations and platforms, which many people find useful. By connecting to a VPN when you’re online, you can ensure that your data is kept private, even when browsing public Wi-Fi. You can use VPNs to access blocked websites, browse anonymously, or use restricted content wherever you go.
How Do I Set Up A VPN?
The first step to setting up a VPN is to locate and download the VPN client software from the vendor’s website. After your computer has installed the VPN client, you must then login to the program using the provided username and password. From here, you can start configuring the VPN settings, which are located in a menu on the right side of the screen. These settings can be modified to suit your personal preferences. Once you’ve configured the VPN as desired, click the “Save” button to store your changes and close the VPN window. Finally, you must restart your device to make sure the changes take effect (unless you want to use the VPN immediately).
Where Can I Use A VPN?
You can use a VPN server to securely access the internet from anywhere and everywhere. This could be from a home computer, tablet, or mobile device. VPNs are also frequently used by journalists, activists, and whistleblowers to keep their personal details and any documents or information they might need secret. You can use a VPN to access blocked websites or content, or to ensure that your personal data is kept private and not exposed to third parties.
If you’re unsure about whether or not a specific location or platform is going to be allowed while connected to a VPN, then it’s usually best to refrain from connecting. This can be extremely frustrating if you’re trying to do your online shopping or access your bank accounts, as you won’t be able to complete those tasks while connected to a VPN.
There are various laws that pertain to the use of VPNs. In many countries it’s illegal to keep secrets about your identity and your location while connected to a VPN. In some places, using a VPN is considered “hacking” and can be punished by law. Each country/region has different rules and laws pertaining to VPNs, so it is important to check with the government and local authorities before using a VPN in a region or country where this is not permitted. If you’re unsure about what the law is in your area, then it might be a good idea to consult a lawyer or legal expert. In most cases, using a VPN is not illegal, but it is still considered risky and inappropriate in some countries.
What Types Of Vulnerabilities Do VPNs Have?
Just about any connected device (laptop, mobile, etc.) could be affected by a cyberattack or malfunction while connected to a VPN. If either device is affected, then neither will be able to connect to the internet or any other remote network without being vulnerable to attacks. This is why it’s important to always keep your devices updated, and virus and malware free (especially if you’re using public Wi-Fi).
VPNs are often a target for hackers and cybercriminals, who attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the service by compromising individual users’ accounts and installing malware on their devices. Some common malware threats that are often aimed at VPN users are:
- Ransomware — this kind of malware will encrypt your personal data and hold it for ransom
- Trojans — these are malicious software programs that perform various functions (such as keylogging and document stealing)
- Keyloggers — these are programs that allow attackers to identify and record keys that are entered on your device (usually passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs))
- Backdoors — these are secret pathways that hackers and criminals use to bypass security measures and gain access to your device. The existence of backdoor protocols in VPNs means that your private data could potentially be accessed by anyone with physical access to your computer or mobile device.
- Man in the Middle Attacks — this is where an attacker secretly sits in the middle of an encrypted connection and alters the data as it’s sent back and forth. This is a difficult attack to prevent, and it requires constant vigilance on your part to ensure that your data remains secure
- Phishing — this is where an attacker poses as a trustworthy entity in an attempt to trick you into giving your personal information. The threat of phishing attacks is very high in today’s world, as people trust their lives to devices that they connect to the internet with. It’s very easy for hackers to trick people into giving them sensitive information
- Spyware — this is where unwanted software is secretly installed on your computer or mobile device without your consent. One of the most common types of spyware that is found in many versions of Windows is Adware. This is frequently bundled along with other unwanted software (like browser extensions) in order to promote more software downloads and increase the revenue of the companies that create it. When you visit a website that has spyware installed on it, then this software will load along with the page and record your visit. This information can then be used to identify you and/or your device without your knowledge.
If your device becomes infected with any of these threats, then it might be a good idea to consult a reputable security expert who can remove the malware and help you figure out a way to prevent this from happening again. In most cases, cleaning your device of these infections is not difficult, but it’s a time-consuming process and requires patience.
How Do I Keep My Personal Data Secure When Using Public Wi-Fi?
While there is certainly nothing wrong with using public Wi-Fi to gain access to the internet and any services that it provides, it’s still not a very private method of doing so. Your personal details are still visible to anyone within range, and this could mean that someone might be able to steal your login credentials if they’re not protected. Even if they don’t have your login details, they could still use your device to access your personal data. This is why it is always best to use a VPN whenever you’re connected to public Wi-Fi, regardless of whether or not you’re using it for personal or business purposes.