I was just sitting there minding my own business, enjoying an episode of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, when I got a popup that shocked me: I needed a virtual private network (VPN)!
I never heard of a VPN until then, but I know what it is now—I need one. So, what is a VPN and why do I need it? Let’s explore.
What Is a VPN And Why Do I Need One?
A VPN (virtual private network) is a software application or a set of protocols that allows for secure and private browsing or connecting to a remote server while still being connected to the internet (unencrypted).
VPNs are usually free, but you have to keep in mind that they require you to have a valid reason for wanting one. When you connect to a VPN, all of your internet traffic—including your web browser activity—is encrypted. This prevents your data from being intercepted by hackers, ISPs, government agencies, or anyone else.
There are several good VPNs out there. Some of the better-known names in the industry include TunnelBear, NordVPN, and IPVanity. You can research which ones are available for your operating system (OS) and device by entering “vpn” in your search bar and hitting enter.
Why Do I Need To Secure My Connection?
If you read the link above, you’ll see that I mentioned several times that I need a VPN. Let’s take a look at why.’
You may be wondering why you need to secure your connection when all of your data is encrypted. Well, as we’ve seen in the past, encryption alone is not enough to keep your personal data secure. Remember: data can still be accessed and read by hackers, even if it’s encrypted. That’s why it’s important to always take some kind of additional security measures.
If you use a free VPN, you’re typically safer than when you’re not connected to a VPN. However, this does not mean that all free VPNs are created equal. You need to keep your eyes open for signs of surveillance and make sure that your privacy is always protected. Free VPNs tend to be much more vulnerable to hacking and data theft than paid ones. This is because they can afford to have fewer resources dedicated to security. You can look out for these signs of weakness by ensuring that you’re always connected to a VPN when you’re online.
How Do I Connect To A VPN?
Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Unless your ISP has implemented a VPN client on their end, you’ll have to manually connect to a VPN every time you want to use it. To do this, simply follow these guidelines:
Make sure that you’re always connected to a VPN—even when you’re not using it. This way, you’ll always be secure and private whenever you use the internet. If you think that you’ll occasionally need to connect to the internet without a VPN, then you can choose a free, open-source VPN solution such as OpenVPN or PIA. If you use these types of VPNs, you won’t have to manually connect to a VPN every time you use the internet. They will automatically connect you whenever you log on to the internet. You should be aware that if you’re using a free VPN, you’re opening yourself up to increased risk of data theft or surveillance. In this case, it’s always best to choose a paid VPN.
Why Should I Use A Hardware Wallet?
Although it’s always best to use a hardware wallet when making financial transactions, you can still use your credit card to make online purchases. When you make these types of transactions, you’ll have to provide your credit card information to the website or service that you’re purchasing from. This is where the risks of using a credit card online and how to keep your information secure. If you ever get hacked, your credit card info could be at risk. This is why it’s crucial to use a VPN while making these types of online purchases—it encrypts your data and hides it from the prying eyes of hackers. Some VPNs even provide you with an additional layer of security through two-factor authentication. This way, whenever you make a financial transaction (or anything else requiring sensitive info), you’ll have to provide a verification code to the site or service. This code is generated by an additional device (such as a phone) that you possess.
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your login information by requiring you to have both something you know (your password) and something you have (a code generated by an app on your phone). Even if someone hacks your password, they won’t be able to access your accounts without the code—provided that you have it. You can use a two-factor authentication app, such as Google Authenticator, to generate codes for websites and services that you need to log on to. Or, if you prefer, you can simply use your phone to authenticate yourself as you normally would with a password.
How Do I Set Up My VPN?
You can set up your VPN using either a web browser or a mobile app. In order to use a web browser to connect to a VPN, you will need to access a secure (https://) website that provides you with the information you need to connect. In most cases, you will need to log on to a VPN provider’s website and create an account if you don’t already have one. You can choose the credentials (username and password) that you want to use for this account and click the “Create Account” button. You can now connect to your VPN—all you need to do is enter your username and password when you’re prompted.
On the other hand, to use a mobile app to connect to a VPN, you will need to download and install the app onto your phone. Then, when you want to use the VPN, simply open the app and enter your username and password when prompted.
Why Is My Privacy Important?
This is a question that a lot of people ask nowadays. Why is privacy important? Well, as we’ve already seen in the past, you shouldn’t have to worry about your privacy when all of your data is encrypted. However, the truth is that even when all of your data is encrypted, there are still ways for others to access it. This is largely due to the fact that someone, or something, has to have the technical know-how to decrypt the data. Thankfully, there are ways for you to keep your personal information private even when all of your data is encrypted—you just have to be a little bit careful.
If you’re worried about someone hacking into your email accounts and seeing your personal information, you can use a service like PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) to encrypt your email. You can also use a service like Confide to send and receive encrypted messages. If you keep your smartphone locked and secure, nobody will be able to hack into your messages even if they have your phone. Even then, they’ll only be able to access your most recent messages—unless you want them to access everything you’ve ever sent or received (which you probably don’t).
Why Is Security Important?
As we’ve established above, encryption alone does not protect your personal data. This is why it’s important to use a VPN to secure your connection while online. However, using a VPN doesn’t guarantee your personal information will stay private. This is because the majority of VPNs are open source and anyone can access and see your data if they get the right software and technical know-how. In most cases, it’s possible for someone to get access to your personal information simply by looking at the server logs left behind by your VPN.
Even if you use a private VPN (ones that don’t leave any servers’ logs behind), you should still be careful when using the internet. Remember that everything you do on the internet (e-commerce, social media, etc.) is tracked and that this information can be used to identify you. To keep your personal data secure, avoid using publicly available wifi when near a hotel or restaurant as these networks are often connected to the internet and anyone within range can see your traffic. Instead, use a VPN that provides you with a dedicated IP address so that your identity cannot be tied to your internet activity.