9 reasons why everyone should use a VPN. Yes, even non-techies – Forbes Advisor
If you’ve ever connected to a public Wi-Fi network, worried about how your data was being used by your ISP, or just wanted to unlock Netflix shows that aren’t available in your area, you should consider using a VPN, or virtual private network.
A VPN is a service that encrypts your data and hides your IP address by bouncing your network activity through a secure chain to another server miles away. This masks your online identity, even on public Wi-Fi networks, allowing you to browse the internet safely, securely and anonymously.
9 reasons why you should use a VPN
We’ve covered the basics. Here is an overview of the reasons why you should consider using a VPN.
1. Security on public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is convenient but comes at the cost of security. When you answer emails at a local cafe or browse social media at the airport, someone might be following your activity online.
Using a VPN protects your data when you are on other networks, by hiding your browsing history, banking information, account passwords and more from malicious strangers on the internet.
2. Confidentiality of data from your Internet service provider
When you are connected to your home Wi-Fi network, you are less likely to be attacked by strangers than on a public connection. However, your data is still vulnerable.
Your ISP or Internet service provider – Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon, or whatever company you pay for Wi-Fi each month – can access all of your Internet data. Your ISP can see when, where and how you are browsing.
This data can be collected and sold to advertisers even if you use the “private” browsing feature, and it can be dangerous in the wrong hands in the event of a data breach. A VPN can help hide your IP address from your own ISP.
3. Data privacy of the applications and services you use
Your ISP is not the only potential liability that you have brought into your home. Unfortunately, many of our favorite internet apps and services, including Facebook, have come under fire for the way they have used their users’ data.
A VPN will prevent apps and websites from attributing your behavior to your computer’s IP address. It may also limit the collection of your location and browser history.
4. Confidentiality of your government data
While many Internet ISPs, apps, and data centers suggest they don’t sell your browsing data to governments, the information nonetheless finds its way into their hands, even in the United States.
Since 2013, when Edward Snowden first revealed that Verizon sold users’ internet and phone data to the NSA, Americans have become more aware of the different ways the government monitors and collects their data. Following the Snowden leaks and the outrage that followed, several laws were enacted to curb government oversight.
However, as recently as January of this year, the Defense intelligence agency bypassed a law requiring government agencies to produce warrants before coercing phone companies for their user data by paying third-party data brokers for that same data, according to the New York Times.
If you have any qualms about government reach, a VPN is a good investment to protect your data.
5. Access to any content anywhere
While Hulu may frown on your using a VPN to stream the latest Criminal minds Episode in a country where content is not offered, this VPN use is not illegal (in the US and most countries), and it helps provide a useful workaround to content restrictions.
VPNs spoof your location, making it look like you’re browsing from somewhere else. It means you can get your Criminal minds correct even if it is not available locally.
6. Safety when working remotely
One of the advantages of a VPN is its data encryption features. Encryption, or putting data in an encoded format so that its meaning is obscured, allows you to protect confidential information.
If you are an individual who is considering investing in a VPN for your business, one of the benefits is that employees can connect to your office network and view sensitive documents on their own devices when they are not at home. office. As remote working seems a possibility even after the pandemic is over, a VPN is a worthwhile investment to protect confidential offsite material.
7. Easy to use
While we would all like to add more security to our lives, some security devices and processes seem to take more effort than they are worth for those who are unfavorable to technology. VPNs, however, are easy to use. Several vendors have created intuitive and user-friendly interfaces that make installation and use accessible to non-technicians.
8. Adaptable to many smart devices
While many of us may first try a VPN on a company loaned laptop, many VPN services also protect other smart devices like your phones, tablets, and desktops. Each VPN company may offer slightly different protection plans and have different capabilities to protect different devices, but many providers offer plans that help you stay safe on multiple devices.
9. Smart savings
If you’re willing to do a little research, a VPN can help save you money with its location spoofing capabilities. Many types of businesses, such as subscription services and airlines, offer the same equipment or products at different prices. If you change the look of your location to a place where services are offered at a lower cost, you can end up with big savings.
While a VPN is a great tool to help you separate your location (and in many ways, you) from your data, it doesn’t obscure everything about you. If you take a Facebook quiz or like a post on Instagram, the app you use while connected to the VPN is still able to use your behavior to personalize ads and app content. They might not know where you are browsing from, but they will always know what you are doing on their apps.
Likewise, if cookies are enabled on your computer, businesses can track you while you’re on their site – and after. Your complete data is not hidden with a VPN alone. Combining the protection of a VPN with Tor, an open-source tool that lets you browse the web anonymously, and other security measures are needed for more comprehensive security.
VPNs are not perfect tools. Like any computer program, they are susceptible to malware and online attacks. In the event of an infection, the security benefits of a VPN are negated.
The likelihood of attacks and security breaches is increased by using a free VPN service. To recoup their business costs, “free” VPN services can sell user data or serve advertisements that may be infected with malware. If your goal is to increase the privacy of your data, investing in a paid VPN is your best bet.
Global legality issues
Beyond security issues, there are questions of legality. If you are based or visit a large list of countries, including Russia and China, VPNs are either banned or highly regulated.
It’s important to know the laws of your country and any country you visit before using a VPN, as well as understanding if your VPN use is monitored by a government, negating its privacy benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are VPNs Really Necessary?
If you’re concerned about your data privacy, VPNs are an easy-to-use, reasonably priced security measure that gives you a basic level of internet protection. While it might seem silly to protect your data when you’re doing nothing “wrong” on the Internet, even the most innocent of us have data secrets online, such as sensitive passwords and financial information. .
A VPN’s identity protection and encryption services are like a lock on a door, or in other words, a basic security measure that everyone should have.
Does my business have to use a VPN?
If you are a business with confidential documents or a business that wants to allow its employees to access your network remotely, you should use a VPN.
Yes. VPNs are not foolproof and, like all software, can be susceptible to hacks and malware.
Several Android VPNs were hacked in February 2021, leaking data on millions of users. This is because these VPN services tracked their users’ data in the first place.
To limit vulnerability to hacks and data leaks, make sure your VPN doesn’t collect your data and provides adequate encryption. Free VPNs may not offer the best protection.
Is it illegal to use a VPN to watch Netflix?
No. While subscription services may frown upon using VPNs to stream, this use is not illegal. VPNs are illegal in some countries for any purpose, however. Check the restrictions for your country or the countries you are visiting before using a VPN.