In this age of overwhelming and exponential growth with mobile technologies, almost every part of our lives has some digital facet to it now. From online shopping, social media, cloud computing, weight loss apps and a surging global blogosphere, virtually everyone is connected now, and most of them on more than one device.
With even our watches going online, there have been a whole host of new concerns raised as our level of connectivity quickly surpasses the typical users’ awareness of security threats. Worldwide, online information theft is skyrocketing, and identity theft and fraud are quickly becoming the most common crimes on a global scale as hackers prey on the millions of unprotected users that are now so prevalent.
Whereas most of our security threats used to come in the form of Trojan horses and viruses hidden in suspicious downloads, a large majority of the attacks on our personal information are now happening on our connections themselves, as hackers dip into our streams of data, and fish out their latest victims.
While anti-virus software is great for protecting your device from dangerous downloads and attacks, it does little to protect your actual connection—where you’re most likely to be targeted. VPNs are the solution here, offering simple but comprehensive protection that goes anywhere, and can keep your information secure on any device.
What is a VPN?
VPNs are Virtual Private Networks and basically secret tunnels in the internet that provide you with an encrypted connection. That connection is routed to a secure server in a location of your choosing, giving your connection total privacy and security, while keeping you anonymous and opening up your access to geo-restricted content.
A lot of people are still learning about VPNs and what they’re capable of, so I’m going to break it down for you here, and explain just how crucial this software really is to every internet user.
1. Keeping Personal Information Secure
The first and most obvious reason to use a VPN is to protect your information. Though websites do what they can to keep their customers privacy and personal information protected, in the end, if it’s lost over the connection, that’s on you. You can make sure your information reaches their server with a securely encrypted tunnel.
Most VPNs use military-grade, 256-bit encryption, so your connection is virtually impenetrable as it travels to its destination server. A VPN even blocks your IP address, so your activity is untraceable back to you.
2. Preventing Government Surveillance
In recent years, government surveillance of everything from phone lines to e-mails has become a hot button topic, and for a good reason. With the revelation of the NSA documents detailing programs such as PRISM in the US, and other surveillance programs abroad coming under greater scrutiny, more people are turning to VPNs to give them a greater sense of privacy while they’re online.
The efficacy of a VPN is protecting your connection from government surveillance largely depends on your typical online activities and how you utilize your connection. However, with a little bit of conscientious browsing, you can effectively use a VPN to keep the NSA and other government surveillance agencies out of your business.
3. Safety on Public Networks
There have been some major security concerns raised with the rising availability of open public Wi-Fi networks. Businesses around the globe have used it as a means of drawing in more customers, and quite effectively; almost anyone will log onto a public network, with little concern for its terms and conditions or security.
VPNs provide you with a way to fly completely under the radar on public networks and give you military-grade encryption to keep snoops and hackers out of your connection. Not only is your personal information secure and protected, but you don’t even appear to be on the network to other users.
4. Avoid Local Taxes and Fees
Okay, so I know this sounds a bit dodgy, but let’s be real here, if you can get a break anywhere, you’re gonna. VPNs give you a chance to get out of local taxes and fees that may apply to digital purchases based on your location. When the VPN blocks your IP address, it assigns you a new one in the country or region of your choice, giving you the option of avoid things such as goods and services taxes on VoIP services.
5. Bypass Content Restrictions
One of the main reasons people are so excited about VPNs is because they actually get you around content restrictions. Whether it’s blocks put in place on a privately controlled network, or large scale censorship programs put in place by the government, a VPN easily and effectively gets you around it. It all comes down to that magical IP address block and switch; just choose a server in a country with access to the content you’re after, and you’re in business!
You can not only get around censorship, but use this technology to access the American versions of popular TV streaming services such as Hulu+, Netflix, HBO Go and even Pandora radio. There’s no waiting around for a release in your country; there’s no hoping to get a torrent. You get the real deal, the same as if you were in that country yourself.
VPNs offer multifaceted service that gives users privacy, anonymity and access to any content they want, regardless of their actual geographic location. Using this simple software, you can keep the government out of your business, keep hackers from stealing your information and even watch The Walking Dead from anywhere in the world.